Words without intention are empty gestures. You may or may not have heard that before, but you probably do it all the time without knowing it. And while empty gestures may be somewhat appreciated by others, it’s the kind of behavior you should never carry out on yourself — let alone wrap into a New Year’s resolution.
Go to the gym and eat healthy. Read a book a month. Learn a new hobby. These are all trite resolutions that invite more eyerolls than actual action. How are you to achieve better habits when you don’t quite believe in them in the first place?
No wonder we break them as fast as we make them.
So this year, let’s skip empty gestures and the unnecessary guilt that comes with them. Instead, take something you already love doing and make it into a resolution. Even if you fail, you’ll still be happy you tried.
Below, five ideas to help you do just that.
The Resolution: See more movies directed by women.
If there’s one thing we can do in the wake of sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood, it’s to be more mindful of equitable gender representation in TV and film. New versions of the Bechdel Test factor in female crew members and the role of women in color, which is a good place to start. Plus, MoviePass, the service that offers unlimited movie tickets for $10 a month, has made it easier than ever to visit the theater. Three to put on your agenda for 2018: Lynne Ramsay’s deranged hitman thriller You Were Never Really Here, Ava Duvernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, and Nightingale, a fugitive-on-the-run period piece from Jennifer Kent (The Babadook).
The Resolution: Learn how to observe the sky.
Light pollution is a real thing. And if you want a more compelling way to tend to environmental issues, look up to the sky. Start in the darkest place in your city, download a stargazing app and flex your inner astronomer. Then head to central Idaho, where The U.S. anointed its first International Dark Sky Reserve late last year, designating a 1,4000-square-mile piece of land for night skygazing.
The Resolution: Silence your commute.
If you’re a 9-to-5er, your daily commute mostly likely involves music or a podcast. For a change, how about this: do nothing. Not all “unplugging” resolutions need some sort of grandiose plan. Sometimes it takes finding a time to be bored. Because whether you realize it or not, your best ideas come from giving your brain a rest.
The Resolution: Buy ugly fruit.
Food waste has become a serious economic and environmental issue. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, a third of the global food production goes to waste every year. Much of that has to do with our desire for perfect-looking fruit. Do your part and buy something ugly. Better yet, patronize startups like Imperfect Produce, which is basically a CSA for ugly fruit.
The Resolution: Get better sleep.
Most of us are guilty of not getting enough sleep, which affects us in ways we can’t even start to comprehend. While it’s about breaking a habit (put down the phone!), it’s also about creating a fortress dedicated to sleep. Buy a new mattress (everyone else is). Get comfier sheets. Get a sound machine. You’ll thank us.