Happy new year! Are you a can-er or a can’t-er?

4:30 pm: You know you are mentally obese when every WhatsApp conversation turns into a recount of food.
6:30 pm: You know you are M.O. when you move from WhatsApp to GroupMe and are STILL talking about food.
– Tats joon (my flatmate and no, that’s not her real name, but she is a joon!)

Waffles and chaiThis column will change your life. Written by Oliver Burkeman, it’s a column that delves into all things psychology and really all things life: complainers, assholes, self-perception, making time, saying no, underachieving, introverts, etc.

I discovered this Guardian column when I was leafing through Amazon for books to read and stumbled onto this gem:  The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. I got the book and then spent the next two hours reading through the column. I’ve now added it onto my weekly reading list. I will, of course, write about this as soon as I get past “100” Historical Romances to Read before You Die.

It being New Year’s Eve and all, I think Burkeman’s 2010 column on resolutions is appropriate and timely (even if it’s two years old) for those looking for resolution inspiration. Before getting into it though, I’ll share mine. I have 2:

  1. I will stop saying “I can’t”. It’s never that I can’t, but usually more of an “I don’t want to” or “I shouldn’t have to”. Well, tough. That’s life so no more can’t-ing!
  2. I will try to be more patient and not easily angered. My boyfriend gave me this resolution since I am quite easily irritated. In return, his will be to try to not irritate me so much. It should be interesting to see how this pans out since it’s almost perverse the satisfaction he has from angering me. Men! 😛

Now, on to Burkeman’s suggestions for you:

  • Abandon your new year resolutions — today!
    “Far better to aim for one new habit every couple of months.”
  • Stop looking for your soulmate.
    “All that’s really required is two people committed to giving things a shot. Spending years looking for someone with compatible qualities may be – to evoke another cheesy proverb – a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.” Duh! I know this, I already wrote about this one: How do you know he is the one?
  • Overhaul your information diet (but don’t starve).
    “Decide when to be connected, then decide to disconnect.”
  • Self-improvement: track your personal data.
    “Approach personal data “with gentleness rather than judgment.”
  • Volunteer!
    “The most dependable sources of happiness, as the Harvard psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar puts it, are those that lie at ‘the intersection of pleasure and meaning’, and volunteering sits squarely at that crossroads.”
  • Reject positive thinking.
    “‘Inspiration is for amateurs,’ the artist Chuck Close is fond of saying. ‘I just get to work.'”
  • Make dinner, make furniture, make an effort.
    “The effortlessness of having everything fall into your lap is somehow fundamentally unsatisfying.”
  • Don’t take frugality too far.
    “The most efficient way to save money, obviously, is to cut out big expenditures, not small ones.”
  • Befriend your friends’ friends.
    “If you want to rejuvenate your social life, then, consider keeping an eye out for triads.”
  • Creativity: make one small change to your workspace.
    “The way we’re influenced to an extraordinary degree by subtle details of our surroundings we might never consciously notice.”

What are your 2013 resolutions??


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