New Year’s Resolutions: A Manifesto

I have seen many lists of New Year’s Resolutions around the blogosphere this month. People are setting admirable goals for themselves, and you would think that I, having had a highly successful round of New Year’s Resolutions from 2010, would be raring to set still more awesome goals for myself this year. In fact the exact opposite is true. All through January of 2011 I have shied away from making Resolutions, even in my brain, because I think that in general they are unrealistic and ultimately a self-esteem suck. Having goals is one thing, but New Year’s Resolutions tends to be something slightly more idealistic, and thus more fraught with the potential for failure.

Well, dear ones, I have found an alternative. I have opened up a glorious future for us all. Your lives will never be the same. Here is what I’m proposing: Retroactive New Year’s Resolutions. This is the cure for all resolutions-related depression. I will explain.

I have a purple blanket, which my daddy made for me and which I have had since I can remember. As I was tucking myself into bed a week ago, I tugged too hard on the frilly border of the blanket and ripped a long strip of the border away from the lining. This weekend I sewed it back together again, and as I was sewing it (by hand, which took two episodes of The Good Wife) I felt really proud of myself for sewing it so successfully. (I don’t sew.) I kind of wished I had made a New Year’s Resolution to sew something together that wasn’t buttons. So I decided, I did make that New Year’s Resolution. That happened. And now I have accomplished it. Yay me! No wonder I feel so proud: I accomplished a resolution!

This is how New Year’s Resolutions should work. Every time you accomplish something difficult that you’re proud of, you should make a retroactive New Year’s Resolution to do that thing. I feel so happy right now, after having sewed my blanket back together. If you did a scan of my brain at this moment, I bet you would find it’s being flooded with serotonin and dopamine. I bet you would find my brain responding like it would respond to delicious food and revenge. Bloggy friends, I want this feeling for you. Join me in making retroactive New Year’s Resolutions the norm. It’s a foolproof recipe for a reward chemical cocktail of awesome.

I’ll start. Jenny’s 2011 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Sew something together that isn’t buttons.
2. Fall in love with a book translated from Spanish.
3. Modify several existing recipes to create one amalgam recipe, and then use that amalgam recipe to cook an official food of Louisiana and have it come out awesome.
4. Read more translated modern poetry and find a translated modern poet to love.

Done and done and done and done! Go Jenny! 2011 is shaping up to be a huge success, and I feel awesome about myself! These aren’t, of course, my only New Year’s Resolutions. There will be more. I’ll find out what they are as the year goes on, and when I do, I will be sure to let you know. Anyone want to join me? Have you accomplished anything that can be retroactively made into a resolution? Alternately, do you think my plan is insane and self-serving? Have any refinements to suggest?