Ahhhh, January. For us Canadians, it’s that brutally cold and dark month in the middle of winter that we try our hardest to pretend doesn’t actually exist. But it’s also the beginning of a new year, a chance to hit our internal reset button, and resolve to be a better person, or maybe just better at life. I did a quick Google search to try and get some background info on the whole resolution-making thing, but surprisingly, there isn’t really a whole lot on the subject, at least, not a whole lot of easily accessible info that wasn’t going to require a lot of effort for me to compile. But I’ll save you a trip to the Wikipedia page on the subject – this resolution-making thing has been around since the time of the Babylonians, who used to make promises at the start of their new year to pay back old debts and return borrowed items in an effort to curry favour from the gods for another year. The Romans made promises to the god of beginnings, Janus, and eventually the Pope got in on the action too. As far as I can tell though, resolution making isn’t really connected to religion anymore, and we’re all just doing it because we really like the idea of starting fresh and setting goals.
And why not? Setting goals gives us something to look forward to, work towards, and maybe even feel hopeful about. In one quote that I read, New Year’s resolutions were “a triumph of hope over experience.” Take that as you will, but I kind of like the idea that we all let go of the worst from last year and decide to start fresh with a list of aspirations for ourselves to carry forward. Not everyone shares this opinion though. 2016 seems to be shaping up as a year of resolution hating. Articles online list all the reasons why resolutions are stupid, impossible to keep, or that people who make them are too self righteous. Just googling “new years resolutions” brings up search results that tell me the science behind failed resolutions, “false hope syndrome,” and why we’re all doomed to fail at life. But I’m choosing to ignore all of this negativity. Sure, I can’t remember a single resolution that I’ve made in the past which I actually stuck with, but that doesn’t mean 2016 can’t be my year. I’m a list maker. I enjoy writing things on a list (even if I don’t actually make any attempt to check those things off said list), so resolutions are already an idea I can get behind. And maybe this year, I’ll add “check items off of lists” as one of my resolutions. But regardless of succeeding or failing, can we all just take a moment to think about the inherent goodness that there is in making some resolutions? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no one out there is making a resolution to be a bad person, or worse person than they were in 2015. So, doesn’t the fact that we’re willing to at least try mean that we can add a little extra good to the world? Resolutions help to remind ourselves of what we value, what’s important to us, and what we want for ourselves in life.
There’s all kinds of advice out there for the best way to set goals, or stick to the promises we make to ourselves, but I’m not going to spout any of that here. I’m declaring 2016 the year of “YOU DO YOU,” and I’m gonna say set any goal you want, as many as you want, and make them as broad or as specific as you want, as long as your resolutions are important to YOU. Don’t lose weight because someone else says you should pick that goal, don’t resolve to save more money because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. Pick the things that make you happiest, and if adding some improbable ones in there make you smile, then damnit, add those ones too! (NASA recently posted on Instagram that they are hiring astronauts, and I’m strongly considering adding “Become an astronaut” to the list) And, if partway through the year you decide that a resolution doesn’t make sense for you anymore, then cross that one off the list and let it go. There’s no point in feeling guilty about something that isn’t right for us anymore. So, in the spirit of all things good about New Year’s Resolutions, and because I love making lists, here are my own personal resolutions for 2016:
Develop and Grow Wanderlost & Found
I started this blog last year because I used to really enjoy writing and I wanted to be able to make time for that again, but sadly I didn’t really do too much to make that happen in 2015. I also wanted a place where I could capture those awesome moments that happen while traveling, and make them into permanent memories because sometimes the experiences fade away instead of staying with me as long I wished they would. Plus, I just really like talking about traveling, and taking way too many pictures of everything (who needs an insane close-up of beach sand? I’ve got about 100 of these photos). So this year, I want to do more to add original content to this website blog, the Facebook page, and the Instagram account. If you aren’t following Wanderlost & Found on Facebook and Instagram, please start! The more followers I can gather, the more accountable I’ll feel to keep producing original content.
Stop Online Shopping
This is an insanely bad habit of mine, and one that has hit intervention-necessary proportions. I feel really guilty about this habit, for so many reasons, and yet I keep going back to it time and time again. I think part of this is simply because I sit in front of a computer for 12 hours a day while I’m at work, and my job is not exactly intellectually stimulating, so for the same reasons that some people snack on food at work all day long, I end up shopping all day long. I’m bored and I’m looking to fill the void. But it’s time to say enough is enough, and accept the fact that I now own 15 bathing suits. I do not need to buy 4 more, even though that one new Mikoh one is soooooooooo cute.
Complete Kayla Itsines’ BBG (v 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0)
I’ll be honest, working out has never been my “thing.” I want to be fit and strong and love my body and all those other things, but I also really love eating and drinking and generally just hate being sweaty and out of breath. I don’t enjoy going to the gym, and contrary to all the advice from fitness advocates out there, exercising does not make me happier OR help me sleep at night. So I have never been able to find a workout program that I could stick with. But the transformations that Kayla posts on her Facebook page and Instagram and truly inspiring, and the community of BBG girls is super supportive and it all just seems like this could finally be something I can stick with. So 2016 is going to be the year I finally find those ab muscles (that I’m 90% sure) are hiding somewhere. The workouts are short and sweet, easy to adapt if needed, and seem to be getting some amazing results. Seriously, just do a quick IG search for #bbg. Those girls are killing it! And finally, I want to be one of the people killing it also.
Circumnavigate The World Without Getting On An Airplane
Did you know that you book passage on cargo freighters and get on a ship to cross the oceans? It is actually entirely possible (although not always cheap) to travel the globe without ever setting foot in an airport. Obviously in the not too distant past this was the only way somebody could cross an ocean, but these days it seems impossible to get anywhere far without having to fly. But I want to start in Vancouver and travel east, taking only trains, cars, boats, bikes, or foot power to keep moving until I cross the pacific and end back up in Vancouver. Seriously, how freaking cool would that be?! Okay, so it might be hard to accomplish this one before 2016 is out, but there’s no rule that says your resolution has to be finished in the same year it starts, is there? This is something I really want to do, and even if all I can do is get the planning stage down this year, at least it’s a start.
Practice French and Increase My Vocabulary
I use the Duolingo app and it’s great! I’ve made it through all the French lessons on Duolingo, and I find reading stuff written in French fairly easy now; but having an actual spoken conversation with someone is much more difficult. I want to practice my listening and speaking skills this year, and also increase my working vocabulary in the language. According to Duolingo, even though I’ve made it through all the lessons, I’m still only 12% fluent in French, so looks like there is still a long way to go! Ideally, I’d like to be able to go to Montreal or Paris and be able to hold a conversation with someone without having massive pauses in the middle where I have to spend way too long translating back and forth inside my head.
Go On Another Volunteer Trip
I really, REALLY wanted to return to Haiti in May and go back to l’ecole d’union to see all the kids going to school there, to see some old friends from last year, and to keep working on new construction projects for the school. But unfortunately my work schedule is completely up in the air right now, and my boss can’t even tell me if I can expect to have set days off or not for the next few months. (Actually, what I was told was, “don’t plan anything on your time off without checking with me first.” *insert pursed lips and incredulous stare here*) I’m disappointed to be missing out on such an amazing opportunity, but hopefully I’ll get another chance to join Live Different on another build later on in the year. Last year was an amazing opportunity, and although it’s hard work for sure, it was a lot of fun and I made some great friends along the way. If I can’t join Live Different for another one of their builds, I’d like to still volunteer my time somewhere else. Perhaps next time I’m in Thailand I can find a group to join forces with there? Either way, volunteering while traveling is such an awesome way to gain new perspectives on a culture, meet new friends, and to make a lasting, tangible difference in the lives of others. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!
There you have it. Six resolutions to make myself a better person inside and out, help make the world around me a little bit better, and have some fun at the same time.
Did you set some New Year’s Resolutions for yourself too? Let me know in the comments section below what they are!