How to start this new year right

Put down your resolutions for a minute and think about what you did well last year

Congratulations! You've (almost) made it to a whole new year. And given 2018, that's no small feat!

Every year for the past decade, maybe more, I've written a list of things I want to accomplish in the year to come. It's become a habit, and every once in a while, it seems to have an effect. One year the list said "book," "chair," and "credit cards :(," and guess what? I sold a book, I bought a chair, and I can't remember what happened with the credit cards. Maybe I paid them off only to accrue new debt, and, whoops, it's time to put "credit cards :(" on my list again, along with everything else I want to fix: not eating perfectly healthily (or healthily at all), not exercising at least five times a week, not weighing the right amount (whatever that is), not doing enough volunteer work to make an appreciable difference/save the world, and definitely, definitely, drinking too much on more than one occasion. I haven't written enough books or enough columns or enough reported articles; as for the ones I did write, they should have been better. I blew off too many deadlines, offended too many editors, wasn't funny or smart or fast or successful enough. I was cranky far too often. I spent too much time frittering away my energies and emotions on stupid stuff. I definitely spent too much time getting angry while reading Twitter. I should have invested. I should have put more into my retirement plan. I shouldn't have bought so many on-sale yoga pants. I should have cleaned that chair I bought. It's pretty dirty now.

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Jen Doll

Jen Doll is the author of the memoir Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. She's also the managing editor for Mental Floss magazine and has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Hairpin, New York magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review The Village Voice, and other publications.