“This year will be different,” – me, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015…

I am tired of disappointed Februaries. I’ve had too many January resolutions dissolve into merely good intentions. So this year I have a different sort of resolution – not to resolve anything quite so lofty.

The following are a few realistic resolutions. Choose one, or all of them, with me, and let’s make 2016 the year we make them all come true.

  1. Choose a hobby or interest. Anything will do: knitting or coding or Portuguese. Bookmark seventeen or eighteen websites devoted to this skill and purchase relevant books or materials. Work at it avidly for most of the afternoon and refuse to feel guilty, weeks or months later, when you realize you forgot to continue.
  2. Lie down on your bedroom floor and do a few crunches. Download one of those 30-day workout plans. Do at least three days of it.
  3. Watch that one movie that everyone can’t believe you’ve never seen.
  4. Moisturize.
  5. Master writing your name in bubble letters.
  6. Tell yourself this is the year you’ll write that book. Open a word document and save it under an optimistic name.
  7. Buy new underwear.
  8. Take the Russian novel off the shelf and open it.
  9. Forgive yourself if your prayers begin with “Sorry, it’s been a while.”
  10. Buy a pack of stamps with the intention of writing letters to dear friends. Stick them in a drawer somewhere, where you won’t see them often enough to feel a twinge of guilt.
  11. Pet a dog.
  12. Find love someone to drink wine and watch cheesy movies with you.
  13. Figure out how to play Angry Birds.
  14. Read online articles that confirm beliefs you have already formed.
  15. Or at least go somewhere new, like that museum in the next city or the supermarket on the other side of town.
  16. Go another year without starting to smoke.
  17. Learn to make a new meal, like chopping hot dogs into your mac and cheese or eating canned tuna on toast instead of crackers.
  18. Use sunblock.
  19. “Like” friends’ and acquaintances’ engagements on Facebook without texting your sister “I am going to die alone.”
  20. Make your bed for once.
  21. Buy something that delights you.
  22. Buy something that will delight someone else.
  23. Bring homemade cookies in to work for no reason. Try not to agonize the whole day over whether everyone really liked them or were only saying so to be nice.
  24. Drink water sometimes.
  25. Capture a spider with a cup and sheet of paper. Find something to admire in it. Walk it to your front door and set it free.
  26. Start carrying napkins in your purse because they always seem to come in handy.
  27. Gum too.
  28. Read the news when you remember.
  29. Take an afternoon and study a map until the news makes a little more sense.
  30. Spend more money on coffee.
  31. Tell a child a knock-knock joke she has never heard before.
  32. Wake up before the sun to lace on your running shoes. Run a mile when the world is still sleeping and the air is still cool. Listen with your eyes closed to the cacophony of the birds and then spend the rest of the year thinking that you really should do it again sometime.
  33. Write more. Facebook messages count.
  34. Call your mom.
  35. Climb up to a high place. Look out as far as you can see. “Dear God,” cry out, “What it is to be alive!”

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