Subtitle: Oops, I posted this around the new year and then accidentally deleted it.
Though I appreciate the idea of having a specific time in which to reflect on the year past and plan for the year forward, I don't like to think about New Year's Resolutions as sudden, big life changes. The whole "New Year, new me" mentality just doesn't seem useful. And why do we keep trying to make ourselves other people, anyway? Sustainable change is usually slow and steady and kind of boring. Plus, I'm wary of big, year-long commitments! When i was younger, I used to joke that my only New Year's Resolution was not to kill myself that year, because that seemed to be the only thing entirely, and consistently, within my control. I was also pretty depressed. But, I digress. Without further ado, my goal for the next year is a continuation of my goal for my past year and a goal I will likely be striving towards for the rest of my life: Think better and live better. Here's how I plan on doing it.
1. LOOK IT UP
This one, I admit, I have tried to implement over the past few years, with varying amounts of success. I don't know a lot of things. Many of these things are unknowable. Most of the unknowns that I encounter on a day-to-day basis, though, I could totally know if I would just look it up! And it's silly to just keep not knowing something when it's so easy to figure it out online. I don't want to be complacent in ignorance. So, if I encounter something that I don't know as I go about my day, I'm going to Google the damn thing.
2. ALWAYS ASK WHY NOT
As a scientist, I have been trained to always ask why (Why does this happen? Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this this way?). This makes me annoying to hang out with, but I genuinely believe it is an important step to understanding, well, just about anything. I am unabashedly a skeptic. I think I am better for it. And yet, some of my most important experiences have come as a result of asking why not. (Why not spend a few months abroad alone? Why not get a cat? Why not move in with that guy 9 years your senior that you met on Tinder two months ago immediately after moving to NYC?). Good things happen when I play it a little less safe. And so, in addition to asking why all the time, I'm committing myself to asking a little bit more of, "Why not?"
3. READ THE PLAQUE
This one I have borrowed liberally (read: stolen) from a podcast that I just started listening to, 99% Invisible (which, incidentally, I highly recommend). I am surrounded by interesting facts and tidbits and history that I am constantly overlooking. I see informational plaques and signs on streets and buildings and I never, ever bother to read them. Not even when I'm in museums! And why not (see: 2. Always ask why not)? It would take me 30 seconds, and I would probably learn something that would enrich my experience with whatever the plaque is about. So, in 2017, I'm reading the plaque.
That's it. Short, sweet, and slow. What are your goals for 2017 and/or beyond? Did you live up to your 2016 resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!