My Meta New Year’s Resolutions

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Each year I make a list of impressive New Year’s resolutions. And each year I fail to achieve them. I think I’ve finally figured out why: my resolutions have always lacked self-awareness. Well, I’ve fixed that this year. In 2017…

1. I resolve to make a reasonable number of New Year’s resolutions—no fewer than twelve, no more than twenty-five. Enough to make a difference but not so many that I embarrass myself. Yes, that sounds very reasonable.

2. I resolve to actually achieve all of my resolutions this year, unlike last year when I wimped out after six weeks.

3. However, I won’t overexert myself either. I’m not going to kill myself over this whole resolutions thing like I almost did in 2014 when I resolved to run a 10K and was hit by a car in the parking lot before the 10K started.

4. A resolution is, I think, worth striving for but not worth dying for. What is worth dying for? A country? A lover? I resolve to answer these questions definitively by mid-October.

5. I will make resolutions that respect my true nature. This means that at least some of my resolutions have to involve sleeping later and eating more ice cream. Plus no more 10Ks. Metabolically, I’m more of a sprinter.

6. I resolve to be kinder and help other people more. Specifically, I want to help my friends and family achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

7. I resolve that if one of my resolutions seems unimpressive or ill-conceived in retrospect, I will cross it out.

8. I will read at least five books about sticking to my resolutions. These books will be self-help volumes that instill better habits or perhaps business books that instill additional smugness.

9. I will read at least one cautionary novel about a guy who doesn’t stick to his resolutions and, as a result, he becomes accidentally dead and dismembered on a leisure boat.

10. If no such novel exists, I resolve to write it by late May, so that I can read it on the beach this summer.

11. I resolve to forgive people. I will give up my penchant for waging retaliatory smear campaigns. Specifically, if someone hits me with their car in the parking lot before a 10K, I won’t take a swing at them. I also won’t take a snapshot of their license plate, hire a detective to track their movements and start a website of surveillance snapshots with a domain of

12. I will have this list of New Year’s resolution framed above my fireplace, so that one day my grandkids will look at it and say, “Wow, grandpa sure knew how to get things done!” As a part of my resolution, my grandkids have to say that exact phrase in a reverential (not sarcastic) tone. If they don’t, I will be disappointed in them and I will not have accomplished this resolution.

13. I resolve to never become jaded about New Year’s resolutions, even if the evidence merits it. A jaded person might say, “Enough of this woo-woo New Year, New You hokey bullshit! What, the month of January is gonna stir up some pixie dust that hypnotizes us into putting down our donuts, getting off our asses, and starting a Fortune 500 company before lunch? Horse crap! News flash: The physical universe gives no shits about the Gregorian calendar, and if human motivation were amenable to such persuasion, we’d all be rich and famous and beautiful.” No, that tirade will never escape these lips.


New Year’s resolutions pic courtesy of unsplash.

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Written by

Alex Baia is a humor writer and contributor to McSweeney’s and Slackjaw. He lives in Austin, TX.