By Anne T. Donahue
Well, well, well if it isn’t a marker representing the passage of time. It’s 2024, we’ve escaped 2023, and we’re approaching the next 360-something days with the ethos of a determined Don Draper. Our lives move in one direction: forward.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I hate resolutions. I hate New Year’s and I hate forced fun, and I hate that I’m expected to adopt a different mindset come January 1 in an attempt to “better myself.” I think I – and all of us – are fine! Are we here? Are we doing our best? Excellent.
But I also get the appeal of wanting to try One New Thing – at least provided said Thing isn’t an extension of magical thinking and part of a bigger plan to be bigger, faster, better, stronger. I understand wanting to add a little something to life or wanting to use a new year as an excuse to commitment to something that seemed daunting in November. So with that in mind, here’s a list of actually-achievable things that take little to no real effort. They won’t make you a new you because you’re fine as-is, but they may make the year a little less tedious.
Or so I tell myself, staring out at the abyss that is January, swearing that I can circumvent seasonal sorrow
When a friend pops into your head, message them
This is a thing I’ve started doing and it’s never gone awry. Have you ever been on the receiving end of something like this? It’s a joy! I’m on your mind? You, a friend I want to hear from? Amazing! Though please note: this does not apply to exes, fair-weather friends, people who stress you out to the point of avoiding get-togethers where they are, and former romantic interests you walked away from because you knew better.
This is for friends. Friends you like and who like you. This is not a séance.
Go to the movies by yourself
This is actually my only goal for 2024. I used to go to the movies! I loved the movies! Then the pandemic happened and life happened, and now it’s January 2024 and I’ve seen nothing outside of what I’ve had to see for work. I hate it! The movies are great, popcorn is wonderful, and having two glorious hours in which I cannot look at my phone or have to talk to any other person is divine. Will I be able to do this regularly? Probably not, because I have responsibilities! But let’s aim for once a month. Once a month, we can do this. Together. But separately.
Stop policing your downtime, for the love of all that is good
Last year I spent about a week in January reading instead of watching TV, and that’s a good thing until you realize it doesn’t matter, nobody cares. Do you want to zone out in front of Bobby Flay instead of reading a book? Sure! Do you want to read instead of scrolling through your phone? Go for it! Do what you want, watch what you like, read all the time, it’s fine. God forbid you space out to disassociate for a precious hour. And yes, I am typing this while watching an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games I’ve seen 14 times.
Leftovers for breakfast: an absolute joy
You know how a lot of resolutions are anchored in starting the day off by eating a particular way at a particular time? I hate all of that. Instead, I encourage you starting your day on the highest and most delicious possible note: eating your leftover dinner for breakfast.
Of course, this counts only when and if what you ate the night before is something you enjoyed. (Which I also encourage: eat food you enjoy.) But believe me when I tell you that I am never happier than when I wake up and remind myself that there’s half a Reuben sandwich in the fridge, and that it’s for me, all me, and no one can take that away. This morning I had leftover Chinese food, and I felt peace in my mind and my soul. Cookies are also a foolproof choice.
Wear clothes you feel comfortable and powerful in
I will never again wear skinny jeans. I have accepted that crop tops make me feel uncomfortable and like I’m wearing a baby’s shirt. Heels and my back are a deadly combination. And yet, for many moons I have worn and adopted these trends and told myself my discomfort was my own problem.
That’s true only because I didn’t wear what I love: comfy clothes that I can exist in without wanting to throw myself down a well. I like baggy pants and big shirts and sneakers that don’t end with my sciatic nerve sentencing me to a week of doom. I feel prettiest and most put-together when I have many layers on (jackets!) and evoke the majesty of someone transported out of the 1994 Sears catalogue. Trends are great, if trends work for you and you like the way they make you feel. But damn it, life is too short to compromise comfort. And this is why I just bought wide-legged pleather jogging pants I plan to wear when I feel “fancy.”
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!