To hell with resolutions. I’m just going to start right and keep going.

New Year resolutions. What’s your take? Are you an eye-rolling cynic? A self-confessed self-help junkie committed to bettering your life? A bored social media gadabout with nothing better to tweet about? Or maybe one of those ‘everyone-else-is-doing-it-so-why-not-me?’ fellas.

It doesn’t matter. Resolutions can be pretty useless when made up on the fly, and those made at the new year, even more so. Who’s to say what you propose will come to pass 48 hours on? Who’s to say you will even want to? But the fact is, the idea of a new year is not so much chronological as much as it is forgiving, relenting, benevolent even. A little bit like rain. Stay with me; I’ll explain.

Like rain, a new year is like life giving you another chance. To fix, to break, to walk away, to walk back, to renew, to revise, to revel, to repel, to engage, to disconnect, to undo, unmake, unfuck up. The new year is like life stepping back from giving you a hiding and saying, “go on, go. Get out of here.” The new year is like time saying, “I’m going to slow down so you can decide exactly what next. You can decide. You can choose. You have a choice. Now go make the right one.”

The new year is a moment of reckoning. And it isn’t, but you can make it so. You can make it anything you want. That is what the new year is.

I think resolutions have a good heart but don’t always have the impetus to make it through. So what if you did away with the entire resolution business – it’s all Hallmark trollop anyway – and wrote down what you’d like to do better this year? Or how you’d like to live differently, or think differently. You have to start somewhere, and maybe this time you might just end up somewhere… else. It’s a start. And it’s always good to start right. And start at the beginning. I mean, where else would you start?

1. Tell someone you love that you love them on a more regular basis. To their face. Not via SMS.

2. Prune your Facebook friends list. Ditto your Twitter follows. Less is always more.

3. Is it absolutely essential to broadcast whatever you’re doing to the world? Probably not. Say less. Mean more. 

4. Call your parents. You might not have them for much longer and then there won’t be any calling left to do.

5. Eat your vegetables. 

6. Learn something new every day. A word. A tune. How something works. Where you get the best dim sum in town. Something. Then teach someone else.

7. Be patient with others. But more importantly, be patient with yourself. Tides turn. Good things WILL come.

8. Teach yourself the art of letting go. With grace. It’s not worth holding on to that which doesn’t hold on to you.

9. Read, read, read. The more you know the less you need.

10. Hold her hand. Hold his.

11. Take your time. Get to know someone before sleeping with them.

12. When provoked, don’t respond immediately. And in anger, never.

13. Don’t start something you know you can’t finish or see through to the end. Be it a relationship, or dessert.

14. Save your money. There are more rainy days than you will ever account for.

15. Put away just Rs. 100 a day. In a ceramic jar, a hand-painted box, a sock. 365 days later you will have a small fortune.

16. Make someone laugh. Even if it is at your own expense. Especially if it is at your own expense.

17. Try not retaliating for a change. Imagine what would happen if you just didn’t respond. If you just… let things be.

18. Vulnerability is power. Don’t give away your power.

19. Don’t be afraid to give. Money, possessions, time. The Universe dictates that it return to you thousandfold. It’s true.

20. If you are a fighter, put down your arms. If you are a doormat, take up your swords. This is a time for change.

21. Be your own parent. Be the daddy you never had. Be the mother you knew never. Love, and bring yourself up again.

22. Let people deserve you. You deserve that.

23. If someone wants to steal your thunder, let them. You don’t need to steal. Remember, you created that thunder.

24. Pretend to not hear an insult. Never dignify it with a response. And drop ill-mannered runts the first chance you get.

25. Distinguish between anger and hurt. Don’t talk when in the throes of either. Add passion to that.

26. Spend less time with devices and more time with living, breathing organisms. Even a cactus is better for you than Facebook.

27. Look at art. It is trying to say something to us. Listen to it.

28. Make time for old-timers. They are living archives of stories, mannerisms, euphemisms, ideas. And they will die.

29. Clean your belly button.

30. Stop talking like the Kardashians. Stop watching the Kardashians. Please. Your brain is falling out of your ears.

31. Wishing people via social media DOES NOT COUNT. Write a card. Pick the phone. They deserve that much.

32. Whatever the occasion, give people books. 

33. Do what it takes to go meet someone who looks forward to you.

34. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s even more okay to ask questions. People LOVE talking about what they know well.

35. Know that one person you want to get to know better? Do it. It might be a complete waste. Then again, it might not.

36. Be it exercise, or food, what you wear or whom you decide to give it to, treat your body with respect.

37. Don’t underestimate the value of personal space. Your own & that of others. Absence makes the heart grow crazy for you.

That’s my start right. The way I see it, fuck resolutions. I’m just going to start right and keep going.

I am as curious as they come and I want to know what your start-the-year-right ideas are, so please share.

30 Comments Add yours

  1. WhiskerBoom says:

    Thank you for putting this in words.

    Here is my only start-the-year-right idea.

    Pushing yourself to do better, each day. Dig deep, keep digging and it will take you through (So, I signed up for a Triathlon).


    1. mentalexotica says:

      WOW. That makes my 37 look like diddly-squat.


  2. While I’m a cynic with her heart on her sleeve, I completely agree with you. But I didnt wait for the new year to start, I’ve wronged a lot of people along the way in the last year or two and the minute I realized it, even if I couldnt make it up to them, I changed the way I treated others. The same goes for habits.

    So M, know that on your journey to ‘right’ this year, you are not alone.



  3. Smiled when I read this list. Came here via your Twitter post.

    I have been following many of the things you listed down above (I don’t want to go back and list the numbers). But the one that I am going to do more of this year is –

    When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I will not do is reach out and turn on my computer screen, or phone, or tablet, and see what others are saying. I do not want to see what others have been doing, or are telling me, or sharing. My first thought for the day has to be for me. To organise. To think. To Plan. It is not going to be something that reminds me of work.

    Of course, this way, I do lose out on some great thoughts from wonderful people. But it is a way of decoupling from the internet. However little. Atleast, for the first thoughts after sleep.

    Thanks for sharing your list. Might just take a printout and glance through it. Sometimes, even the simple things need reminding.


    1. mentalexotica says:

      That is WONDERFUL. That’s my #38.


  4. Loved the article. Hope I make amends with some of these.


  5. BeingMama says:

    Loved your post, loved your list. I don’t do resolutions. I see change like a caterpillar sees change. One knows when it’s time to build one’s chrysalis, and it may have nothing to do with the calendar.

    My goal? I endeavor to not wallow in sadness unnecessarily, to experience sadness when I can use it for personal understanding and then move on to other things, like happiness.

    Like any goal, it’s a meandering path. I see the destination on the horizon and eventually get there with little detours along the way. It’s an internal accomplishment, not one linked to the calendar.

    I feel awkward saying this, but wrote a post about these ideas regarding resolutions, if you’re interested:


    1. mentalexotica says:

      I liked your post very much and thank you for sharing it with me.


  6. CreativeWolf says:

    Passionate and quirky!


  7. pippi says:

    You know…I love you for that post 🙂


    1. mentalexotica says:

      Thank you, pippi 🙂


  8. S.Emerald says:

    I don’t do new year’s resolutions, I find them to be pointless.

    It’s the same with Easter resolutions. I understand that it’s for a religion and for some people it works out, but I personally don’t understand it.

    This post is full of good insight:)


  9. Maaya says:

    “Vulnerability is power”. Pray explain. One of my (ambitious) resolutions this year is to take my vulnerability to 0%.


    1. mentalexotica says:

      To have no vulnerability will not make you stronger. Real strength and power lies in knowing that you are human; that within you is that which is invincible and yet fragile. There is immense beauty in that which can be broken and be put back together again. That is you. Never give it away. Never give it up.


  10. Hus says:

    My new year resolution was (is?) to be more honest. I don’t mean that to say I’m a habitual liar. What I meant is try to stop sugar coating everything all the time. While its good to not hurt people’s feelings, sometimes it’s good to just be honest too. I like to think this helps them also though that may not always be the case. Nonetheless, this is my resolve for 2012. 🙂


  11. linawings says:

    Wow, wow, wow. It’s so liberating to know that the world is yours because you have all the time in the world to do your stuff, isn’t it? Despite that almost everybody and everything tries to put pressure. It makes me happy to find out people like you and the others who share this positivism, lightness and open-mindedness. I believe that brotherhood of the spirit makes the world a better place, even between people who don’t know each other personally.


  12. handshedown says:

    I fear I got carried away with my response. It doesn’t seem worth posting now.


    1. mentalexotica says:

      Let’s have a look anyway. Please?


  13. handshedown says:

    It’s shoddy and in no way near as heart-stoppingly beautiful as yours, but here it is.

    1. Keep lighting the fires in my students until they learn their spark is not a curse, but an ignition. Keep a candle glowing for myself to inspire them by.
    2. Give myself to words whether whispered or roared. Learn, fully, the seduction of both.
    3. Listen more to the slow silence of things. Learn to identify the exact point when a moment unravels.
    4. Steal more moments with people needing to be robbed of them. Fill my clothes with them. Buy jeans with bigger pockets. Fill those as well.
    5. Build barricades around my mental bridges. Tear them down. Build life rafts from the barricades and set sail from this madness.
    6. Dive, like a child, into irrationality when the occasion desires it. Dive into it like a lover when the occasion doesn’t.
    7. Spend more nights, cushioned into conversations with strangers. Peel back their dust covers, examine the hood of their hearts, oil my hands on their histories.
    8. Learn that work is just that and life is more than just an intake of air.
    9. Drag the romances out of my head and into the sunshine. Let them blush at the freshness of themselves.
    10. Read until my heart regains its beat.
    11. See insomnia as a bedfellow. Put him to sleep with stories.
    12. Memorise the taste of a “yes” on my lips. Sugar myself with it.
    13. Write until my hands resemble claws and the world blurs to words around me.
    14. Cut the strings around the people that have left no string for me. Learn to see their goodbyes as sunrises.
    15. Always leave a blank page at the end of everything to allow for an exhale or a footnote.



    1. mentalexotica says:

      I have tears. You don’t just make sense with words, you make love. This, is staggeringly lovely.


  14. handshedown says:

    They are nothing in comparison to yours. Ever.


    1. mentalexotica says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about.


  15. Neha says:

    This year, I am starting right by calling it a draw with time. I’d really love to miss a couple of flights this year and go absconding for a day or two, just to tell myself that I can and the world will still be here tomorrow. It would also be lovely to learn something that I will never use at all, for the love of learning or for the dislike of purpose. I guess, I really need to feel useless and dispensable right now.. so I can feel the blessing in being busy again, whatever it is.

    If I can keep my trap shut when angry and disappointed and hurt, it’ll be an unlikely bonus.

    I loved your list, and there’re very few that don’t apply to me. (I don’t watch the Kardashians :D)


    1. mentalexotica says:

      Neha, I loved your list. And I love you for not watching the Kardashians. I am glad your brain is intact.


  16. miffalicious says:

    Absolutely adore this post. I am not a fan of new year resolutions, primarily because I make (and sometimes break) resolutions all throughout the year…I keep making short term goals hoping that one day, I can attain something in the future.

    If I had anything to add to this it would be: Choose your emotions. Sometimes, what you feel is really in your control. Choose which emotions to act on, which emotions to drown in, and which emotions to let go. It might make the world of a difference.


  17. zilch says:

    Loved your list! 🙂
    Found myself nodding fervently at number 3, 6,19 and 32.
    A few of my own for the year ahead are:-

    Learn to live minimally.
    Watch at least a sunrise or two every month.
    Make less excuses.
    Go and read a book on a hilltop.
    Start a photojournal.
    And eat roughage everyday.


  18. deepasmarkup says:

    Some, i could think of..

    1. Wonder, Wonder, Wonder.
    Wonder, at life.
    Wonder, what it was like for your father when you were born. Life’s greatest moment?
    Wonder, what he felt like when he held your little hand. Precious?
    Wonder, if he was loved as much by his father, or is he looking to be loved?
    Wonder, what it’s like to arrange a bowl of flowers? Impulse of joy?
    Wonder, what it’s like to sense a quiet in a crowded day?
    Wonder, what it feels like to run your hand through your loved one’s hair?
    Because, if you wonder you will know, you will feel, you will do.

    2. Add more cushions to your heart’s living area, feel cozy and new.

    3. Love a great deal. There’s love in every little nook of your heart, of you.

    4. Buy sweaters at goodwill for the deprived.

    5. Conquer dry skin, face pack with yogurt and honey. No Licking!

    6. Respond to messages, mails, phone calls, bills, smiles, Mom. Sure, I’ll be more communicative. Sorry.

    7. Write. Use pen and paper. Gosh! My fingers don’t move as quickly. Hands are tight.

    8. I’ll Read. More.

    9. Do something heroic, maybe ask someone out for a Saturday Dance Date. Of course after I put in order my restricted dancing ability. I will I will.

    10. I’ll try not to tear up over every little thing, happy or bad.
    Um…Emotional yea..There’s got to be something I could do… Should I get tested? Should I take nerve pills? Is it the sugar levels? I know blood sugar causes moodiness….you mean DIABETES?? Gasp!!

    11. I’ll stop being a hypochondriac 😉


    1. mentalexotica says:

      I love it when you write. I wish you wouldn’t stop.


  19. Beautiful!! It’s heartening and encouraging to see so many people wanting to put themselves first; at least before twitter/facebook.
    Thank you for this!


  20. LE says:

    Heaven. Loved #23


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