New Year’s resolutions are an admirable and alluring concept. It seems wise to reflect, reassess, rework, and renew with annual regularity, and to stop for enough conscious contemplation to systematically switch gears. I like the ritual. I like that we come together in our simultaneous ventures towards transformation.
But I struggle with the sideways sentiments that too often steer our aspired self-improvements: Get fit. Abolish debit. Be “happy.” Sneaky shoulds and subtle supposed tos and other bossy societal norms tend to drive our universal understandings of what it takes to be a “good human.” That’s what resolutions are, really: good intentions, molded around silent apologies for all of the ways that we aren’t up to speed.