New Year's Resolutions That Can Work

Suspiciously easy-sounding recipes for success not included

By Hugh Upsher

I’m not one to tell people how to live their lives. More often than not it has the opposite effect, like when someone tells me to stop being so annoying. I’ve never been a fan of bestselling self-help books or dead-eyed motivational speakers that impose suspiciously easy-sounding recipes for success. I do however believe in personal attempts at making myself less of a kak person every once in a while, and as a wise person once said ‘New Year, New You!’ So here are a few tips I’m sharing that I may or may not stick to, depending on how convenient it is to accommodate into my current lifestyle.

Be a little less judgmental  

I have been known to make fun of people with great ease and enjoyment. Knocking other people down is a great way to make myself feel superior, but it causes damage that is not always obvious at the time. Everybody has their own hidden struggles and often they are just victims of their circumstances. What I am getting at is that white people with dreads are humans too.

Read actual books

Just because I read twelve shitty news and opinion pieces a day doesn’t mean my mind is being enriched. The online content marketplace is flooded with the literary equivalent of junk food that is designed for quick consumption with little or no nutrition (except this article, this is different). My plan to combat this is to read actual books in my spare time. I’m talking about those paper bricks with chapters and a narrative that forces your brain to imagine things. If you don’t think you have time to read books, consider not watching just one of the shitty TV series that is depriving you of having a personality of your own.

Start a personal creative project

Having a self-indulgent project is a great way to stay sane and happy when other parts of your life aren’t going according to plan. I always try and make time to work on something that is rewarding to me alone. Try playing an instrument badly, making bad paintings, writing terrible poetry or constructing a life-size model of your crushes head using only raw macaroni and craft paint. As long as you’re not forcing anyone to appreciate your hobby on a regular basis, it should bring you boundless satisfaction.

Get rid of things

‘Hoarder’ is too a strong word, I’m only just heading in that direction. But you gotta start somewhere, you know? Homes don’t become blockaded by piles of old magazines and dusty PA systems overnight. So this is the year I make a point of spring-cleaning three months later than what the seasons try and dictate to us.

The old T-shirts and books that I haven’t looked at in six years need to go to a charity shop. My electric guitar that I haven’t touched in five years needs to go on Gumtree. The crusty lilo with a puncture in it needs to go in the bin along with the twenty-year-old broken toaster lying amongst my shoes. If only there was a reality TV show that would come and do the hard work for me while I could just talk to a camera about how difficult letting go is for me...

So this is where I am at on the self-improvement front. Choosing vague goals that aren’t easily quantifiable is definitely the way to go in my opinion. If I stick to most of these, I should come out of 2016 a better person. If I don’t, there is always next year. Don’t judge me.