8 Variations on the “New Year’s Resolution”

The stretch between Christmas and New Year’s gives a person some time to mull over self-improvement strategies. At this point in the holidays, the average individual has likely spent weeks on end overeating some of the richest, decadent dishes, attending social gatherings of all shapes and sizes making small talk about their lives, and stewing in the heavy inertia of the holiday aftermath. This time allows for reflecting on how the next year could be happier, more goal-oriented, and successful.

Each year when the ball drops, my life seems full of individuals who are resolved to make a powerful change. It never fails to leave me marvelling at how the simple switch of a calendar inspires such strong (albeit perhaps finite) motivation. I would be lying if I said I was immune to the temptation of a New Year’s Resolution, as well as the inspiration that comes with trying to turn over a new leaf.

This past year, in particular, has left me on the brink of a precipice, about to dive into the terrifying but elating consequences of some changes I decided to make late in 2018. While I have no intention to discourage the sometimes fruitless, but usually harmless practice of the New Year’s Resolution, I would like to take this time to gently explore some of the more colourful promises that seem to speckle my conversations, social media, and headlines each year.


The Soul-Searcher

Travel to new places. Record more inspirational quotes. Reflect on losses and gains. Never stop seeking personal growth. Reach for new horizons. Love thyself, flaws included.

The Ambitious Career-Driver

This individual is on a mission. They are going to snag that new job, meet that new milestone, land that dream house, reach that killer salary. They will rest for nothing and nobody will stand in their way. We all know somebody like this, and while we roll our eyes each time they list their goals, maybe deep down we could all use a little motivation. A kick-start to the system never hurt anybody, but I suppose a turbo kick with the power of a small elephant might not be what everyone is seeking.

Keto Kyle

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Who wouldn’t want fewer carbohydrates, more energy, better sleep, and clarity of mind? In all seriousness, the Ketogenic diet has indeed changed many lives in our time. Some doctors swear by it while others recognize the many psychosocial factors that make it difficult to pursue such a demanding regimen. I lived with a guy last year who was trying the Keto diet- let’s call him Kyle for the sake of anonymity- and I must say that the only thing worse than the concept of intermittent fasting was listening to Kyle speak about it for 8 days on end. All the same, I am largely happy for him, and simultaneously grateful we no longer share the same roof.

The New-Age Yogi

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The ancient Indian practice of yoga has taken on new meaning in Western society. Like the Ketogenic diet, it has indeed changed many lives for the better. This being said, it would seem that yoga cannot be practiced in this day and age without the multitude of accessories that come along with it. So, for the New Age Yogi, prepare not only to purchase your class passes, but also to grab hold of an extra-grip mat, a quick-dry towel made of microfiber baby alpaca wool infused with lemongrass, and a meditation journal. While you’re at it, don’t forget to Instagram that sweaty post-yoga bliss selfie: You know your followers could use some inspiration today.

Régine Phalange

This girl is determined to learn French in 2019. She has already downloaded Babbel to her smartphone. Look out, Paris!

Altruistic Abby

She is planning on volunteering more this coming year because there is nothing like the feeling of giving back to one’s community. To be honest, this is one goal with which I can identify, as someone who used to be involved with my community before free time became scarce due to the typical excuses of school and work. There is something to be said for donating your efforts while expecting nothing in return. Sure, there are some who argue that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed, because of the satisfaction you derive in turn. To those individuals I say, is it so wrong to enjoy the feeling of contributing to your world, in exchange for your time and labour? Furthermore, perhaps that satisfaction is a helpful factor in motivating people to return to volunteerism after giving it a try.

The Go-Out-and-Get-‘er

Maybe 2018 was a terrible year. Perhaps you were left reeling after the end of an intense relationship and are now coming around to the new possibilities of another orbit around the sun. This changed person is going to put themselves out into the world this year. I’m talking Tinder and PlentyOfFish. There is nothing like the switch from “December 2018” to “January 2019” to remind an individual that they are valuable and worthy of love. Let this be the year that you find it.


Whether you fit into one of the above categories, or whether you reject the concept of a New Year’s Resolution entirely, I wish you all the best as you embark around this new trip around the sun. I hope you find yourself challenged, inspired, and grateful each day of 2019. I hope you find the courage to take deliberate risks and to resist the pressures of conformity and caution. Most of all, I hope that you take the time to spend 2019 doing the things that make you feel alive. May you approach this new year with unmitigated temerity, and if all else fails, there is probably a lemongrass-scented essential oil that can help you achieve your goals.