I’m making a list of things I *won’t* do in 2018 to avoid the resolutions slump

It’s that time of year again. With mere days left until 2018, people are writing up idyllic lists and making mental notes of resolutions to implement for the new year. Most of the time, New Year’s resolutions feel like a fresh start — until it’s been six months and you realize that your unused gym membership is a waste of money. Without fail, when the clock strikes 12 on January 1st each year, you start thinking about how you still don’t have your shit together.

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions because mine have always felt like empty promises to myself. My resolutions list becomes bullet points of all the ways I’ve failed at self-improvement and self-love — painful reminders that I’m good at saying all the things I want and need to do, but I’m trash at taking any kind of action. So, in recognition of that habit, here’s a list of things that I’m NOT going to do in 2018 — an “anti-resolution” list, if you will — in the hopes that I’ll get a little better at practicing healthy and attainable behaviors.

1I will stop acting like “no” is a dirty word.

I have never wanted to say “no” more than I have in 2017. In 2018, I plan to treat the word “no” like a complete sentence, because it is. I want it to roll freely from my tongue in a way that is mighty and without hesitation, I don’t want whoever or whatever is on the receiving end of my “no” to question the fact that I do not want to participate. There were far too many instances of triggering conversations, unfair obligations, and general garbage behavior that went unchecked by me this year. So 2018’s word of the year will be a resounding no.

2I’m no longer making everything about me.

If 2017 was a fictional character, it would be Regina George because I spent the better half of this year feeling personally victimized by everything. When you become a person whose empathy blinds you to the point of internalizing traumas that have nothing to do with you, then you start carrying emotional weight that slowly steals your joy. I’m not sure if I can blame it on my twenties getting harder, but I started finding it difficult to support peers as they unpacked their trauma because I internalized their struggles. I now understand that, for many people, healing often requires solitude. Creating space for myself and allowing people to have that necessary solitude doesn’t invalidate my presence in their lives or make me uncaring. So in 2018, I plan to stop internalizing situations that have nothing to do with me.

3I’m going to stop pouring myself into people who can’t reciprocate.

Be it a toxic friend or a man who “could love me back under the right circumstances” (or so I tell myself), I’m going to retire my cape and stop trying to rescue everyone.  Nina Simone’s famous quote, “You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served,” may be overused, but it is hella appropriate. You can’t entertain that friend who takes and takes but never gives back forever. You can only entertain that love interest who only gives you crumbs when you deserve three-courses for so long before you turn into an empty version of yourself. Note to self: Stop loving shit that can’t love you back.

4I’m going to stop complaining about what I don’t want to do, until I can do better.

You know that oh-fuck-I’m-almost-25 feeling? That’s my current mood, and while I’ve spent the better part of my 24 years screaming about how 9-to-5’s suck, about how we’re all overworked and underpaid, but the reality is that none of those problems are unique to me. So as I countdown to 2018, I’m offering up a silent chant to the universe: I will stop self-sabotaging with my negativity, and learn to power through sticky situations until I get better at adulting. That means learning to make it work even when I don’t want to do something, and figuring out how not to be broke AF all the time before I turn 30.

5I’m going to stop confusing what I *want* and what I *need*.

For example, I might be big on sex positivity, but confusing an occasional orgasm with a genuine connection is a blatant example of mixing up what I want and what I need. I have a bad habit of accepting any ol’ thing in the name of temporary satisfaction and dismissing what makes me feel whole in the longterm. I’m not alone in this behavior, because how often do any of us truly know what we want? Our desires change all the time. However, what we need — what I need — has remained pretty consistent. In order to get better at seeking out those necessary things, I need to set boundaries and learn to speak up for myself. If I don’t, who else will?

This year may have been better than the last, but if I could have chosen not to learn some difficult lessons in 2017, I certainly would have. But I guess those tough lessons are what adulthood is about…or whatever. I think 2018 will continue to teach me challenging truths, and perhaps I’ll have a fighting chance at being the best version of myself if I stop doing all the things that no longer serve me.

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