Over the past few years, the concept of New Year’s Resolutions has always been a running joke in my conversations. People say that they have a list of resolutions they want to accomplish, but they also attach a disclaimer saying that they know they will probably barely achieve them.
Now I know that for some people, NY resolutions do work as real motivation, but for most, they seem like just a set up for great disappointment. I am a New Year’s Resolutions nonbeliever because I know that they don’t work for me. I know that even if I tell myself for example, “This year I’m going to start running,” I won’t actually feel obligated to do so, and if I don’t do it, I’ll also feel guilty about it later.
Still, I do like the idea of ushering in the New Year with the mentality that I’m going to keep striving to become a better person. And I have a theory that the best way to look forward to change is by charting past change. I think people naturally change in a year, more than they think. If we consider how much we have already changed, maybe we will feel less compelled to make huge promises we won’t really keep for the next year. Maybe through reflection, we can get a sense of the general direction we are already heading right now, and work on taking small steps from there.
To push myself to really use this time to reflect on my year, I wanted to list specifically 16 ways I’ve changed for the better in 2016. Here’s what I came up with:
- My hair looks healthier. Yes, this is something I care about.
- I started and got better at filling in my eyebrows. Yes, this is also something I care about. EYEBROWS ARE A HUGE DEAL TO ME OKAY.
- Despite still being a nail noob, I am getting a bit better at doing my own nails. Someone told me recently that my nails are always on point, which is totally not true, but I felt so blessed that someone was tricked into thinking that way.
- My relationship with my boyfriend is growing stronger. We bicker a lot, don’t get me wrong, but in the past whenever we had a fight, I would instantly get melodramatic and think that it meant we would be breaking up. Now I realize that just because we fight, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, especially when we have so many good times that outweigh the bad times.
- Oh yeah, I graduated. Woohoo.
- I have slowly gotten more and more confident in my writing, thanks to the constructive criticism and encouragement from my writing buddy Annie as well as my Creative Writing professor Said, aka best writing mentor ever. I wrote stories that I can say that I’m proud of and I hope I can continue working on them in the new year.
- I am learning to be less jealous of pretty girls. The solution is focusing on more important things. Like playing with dogs.
- I am becoming more assertive with my time and I can now say “no” to plans easier without feeling guilty.
- I started learning how to cook for myself. I’m hoping in 2017 I can get into more legit cooking, especially Korean dishes.
- I got better at handling kids thanks to entertaining Snapchat filters.
- I started going to the gynecologist which I never did before. I hate it but I’m not nervous about going alone anymore.
- I taught my dog how to high-five and believe me, teaching him anything is a real trial.
- I got closer to some friends. I’m learning to open up to more people. I also feel like more of my friends are opening up to me.
- I’ve been getting closer to my cousins thanks to some big holiday gatherings we’ve been starting to have.
- I was able to stick to a schedule of waking up earlier and sleeping earlier during the school year. I felt very productive with this schedule and I hope I can keep it up once I start working. (If I get a job that is. Eek.)
- Annie and I started writing in this blog, which I love to write in and which I’m thankful to Annie for because the rules we set push me to practice my writing, even whenever I feel lazy or depressed.
In some ways I was sad for a lot of 2016. I think my main problems were that I hated being in school for so long, PMS-Eunice was being out of control, I had a lot of weird medical problems I never had before, and I also felt a strange sense of loneliness even when I was with friends and family. (Also the bomb that was President Elect Donald Trump was tragic.) Since I graduated this past year (past month actually), my complaint about school won’t be an issue anymore, but it doesn’t mean I won’t get just as annoyed with work life, and there’s no easy solution for any of the other problems I listed either.
Still, as many first world problems I have to complain about, I also have a lot to be proud of and thankful for. It is tempting to wish I could just hit the refresh button on my life and become a better person instantly in the new year, but since that’s not a real option, I’m satisfied to see that I’ve been making some progress this past year toward becoming the kind of person I want to be. I am trying to have faith in that as long as I want to be healthy and happy, I will continue to move in the right direction in the next year as well.
I look forward to what 2017 brings. Happy New Year!