What a monotonous concept – resolutions. Thinking about all the ways I could resolve to look better, feel better, think better leaves me feeling exhausted every January. But I continue to do it – this year is my year. I open my moleskin notebook and jot down ideas. 

Resolution: I will look better. I re-examine my skincare routine and add in various lotions and potions my Instagram influencers advise me on. The new additions invariably make me break out even worse, and I cyclically revisit said Instagram feed again; this time for the cure. And repeat. Today’s latest — there is a blemish patch on the market that will microblade my problem area while I sleep. A little piece of silicon with hundreds of itsy-bitsy medicated needles can just slap on top of my zit at night. In the morning, the pimple will vanish, hypodermic needle-based diseases be damned! I’m considering it.

Resolution: I will feel better. I’m sick of feeling tired or (worse) I catch sight of my butt in a new mirror. The mantra that my body is, indeed, a temple takes on a profound truth. Plant-based diets! I pick up a new vegan cookbook, to my husband, Max’s chagrin. Cauliflower Chickpea burgers with Portobello Mushroom buns? Dinner is served! You know a great fitness goal might be? Another marathon! Pay the $200 entry fee and the financial commitment alone will spur my body to turn fat into muscle. 

Resolution: I will think better.  I give myself a heavy curriculum of newspapers, book lists, and magazines. Finishing forty books a year across all ranges of literature will make me an excellent friend to invite to a cocktail party. But I also need to stay on top of local and world affairs, so I subscribe to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune. Daily front pages plus an odd opinion piece, business news, or restaurant review sprinkled on top and I will be a whiz at the water cooler. 

Resolutions are tiring because the resolve, for me at least, is not if I’m doing these things but how I could be doing them better. And, in each case, being better is always translated into spending more: bottled beauty supplements, soaring gym fees, more subscriptions. I already take care of my face, treat my body well(ish), and I read constantly. 

So here is the resolution revelation I’m dropping: build better instead of buy better. That’s how this piece of writing was born. I built it. The one resolution that quietly sits on the others, year after year, is writing. I just created all these words for an hour and I didn’t spend a dime. The short-term satisfaction by swiping a credit card can’t be applied. This took more work because it had to be created, not purchased.

Unlike the other resolutions, after an hour I feel like I just became a little bit better. Writing makes me feel vulnerable and funny and ambitious. So I’m going to post this. I’ll let it float on the waves of the internet where I can look at it (and like every tweet I’ve ever sent, feel mortified and scramble for the delete button. In fact, Max just walked over and I minimized the browser. Why did I do that?).

Resolution: I’m going to write this year. And it’s scary. It’s also free. And it is going to be littered with errors and probably some poorly-formed thoughts because – just give me a break, ok? I’m taking the first step to being what, for me, is better. The goal will be set at once a week. Tune in. Or don’t. This isn’t 100% for you right now. However, if this thing turns into a lifestyle blog and I start hawking aforementioned pimple needle pads as a sponsored post, please come get me.

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