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The last few years I have tried being more open minded about New Year’s Resolutions. I used to roll my eyes and scoff at these mental get-rich-quick-schemes which seem to be discarded (and not even recycled!) with the empties from your New Year’s parties.

Then one day I decided to try to yuck fewer yums, and appreciate that for some people resolutions are meaningful, and for others they may not be worth the internet magazines they are printed on. Both can be true!

So in 2020, a year with lots of terribleness, I offered up 11 “Super Easy” resolutions that anyone could do. I wanted them to be accessible and simple enough, while still making things better for the resoluter and or the people around them. In 2021, I went back to the well and submitted 11 more universal resolutions. In 2022, last year, I took a third trip down the road, which may seem lazy, but I posit that it is much harder because I had already used up 22 other resolutions.

Now 33 ideas in, it would be easy to give up the ship, but that’s not what resolute people do. This year, I will simply bring 10 offerings to the table, with the same principles: that these 10 things can be done by people with any income, privileges, or physical gifts. All you need is a little effort and discipline.

I don’t have the answers for making life better. If I did, I would surely sell them and not give them away for free here, but these are some things I am going to try to do, and invite you to join if you are feeling ambitious and hopeful about the new year.

1) Don’t compare results from 2024 to 2023 or any other year.

Years are going to be different, and that’s life. One year you might read more books. Another year you may travel to more new places. Maybe you’ll go to the gym more or be more successful at work, or be there more for friends. All of those things would be amazing results in 2024, but each comes with a time cost. Maybe you read fewer books because of your time at the gym, or because you volunteered more. Point is, you can’t set career highs in everything every year. High scores are worth celebrating but unsustainable. So resolution No. 1 is merely the self-acceptance if you fall short on some things, which is not falling short overall.

2) Meander more.

Meander with or without purpose. Just walk or drive or bike, and explore. Intentionality is not a requisite. See what you find or ignore it all. Give yourself time to take a path less traveled.

3) Donate something you don’t need anymore.

Don’t mix this up with putting something outside your place in a box labeled “free” because it was a shorter walk than taking it to the trash. Make it something that someone will actually benefit from and take it to a place that will get it directly to someone who needs it.

4) Add a new podcast to the rotation, and take an old one out.

Podcasts are like zombies in an apocalypse; they just keep coming after you. New ones every year, by the thousands. If you’re like me, your podcast rotation is at capacity. And like any good club, it should be a one in, one out policy. So that means finding one new good one and means getting rid of one, which shouldn’t be too tough. I’ll bet you already know which one you want to get rid of and just haven’t got around to doing it yet, because you have history. Just do it. No one ever regrets breaking up with a podcast.

5) Be funnier.

I don’t know how. Maybe consume funny things and hope for osmosis. Maybe read a joke book.

6) Consider nuance.

Many of the big and ugly news stories we are in the middle of will still be unresolved in 2024. I encourage you to not just jump onto one side or the other, but remember the nuance that lies between them. If there were easy answers, there would be easy answers.

7) Floss.

I know it sounds awful, but it helps. And it only takes a couple minutes. Plus it’s really nice to not have to lie to your dentist.

8) Thank somebody.

And let’s make this a non-transactional “thank you.” Thank someone meaningfully for something meaningful that they have done. Let them know how important they are and how you are better for it.

9) Learn about (at least) one factual, historical thing.

Museums are great for this, as are books, traveling, and general curiosity. This world plays fast and loose with “facts” and “truth,” so learning comes with some real premium inflation these days. Thanks, Biden.

Plus, doesn’t it always feel great to flex on some idiot who doesn’t know what he/she/they (mostly he) is talking about?

10) Don’t listen to people who promise solutions for life.

That includes life coaches, a round number of steps to a perfect life, life hacks, or promised answers to the problems in your life, if the person promising answers doesn’t know your actual problems. The only authentic hacks are the coaches who guarantee they can fix things quickly and easily.

And I know it feels strange to wrap up this list with something that feels vaguely hypocritical, but I am not promising you anything more than a set of ideas that would be good to practice. I don’t offer results, just ideas. Maybe we can make a difference for ourselves or a few people around us, but maybe we won’t. And the point in doing them is that we aren’t promised anything by being better than we were.

I think I’m an incrementally better version of me now than I was in the last few years, and hope I can say the same thing next year. All I’m inviting you to do is try to say the same.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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