And here we are again. January 1. The traditional start of all-things resolutions. I can’t be the only one who looks back at the past year and also thinks “UGH, I meant to do $foo but utterly failed to make it happen.” Right? Not just me? Oh good.
This morning I was revisiting resolutions past. Last year, I followed Cate’s lead and did a Liberation List. Looking back, I’m surprised at how many of those actually stuck for the most part.
It feels very different to look back at resolutions and see some success. I usually focus on where I feel like I failed. So as a gift to Future Me, here are a few successful resolutions from years past:
Stop biting my nails.
When I was in my early 30’s, I decided to stop biting my nails. Until that point, I had bitten them to the quick pretty much ever since I had teeth. You know how Frodo’s hands look in Lord of the Rings? Yeah, they were that bad. It took me a full year of weaning myself off biting my nails to make it happen. I started by not biting one of my pinky nails. Then the other. And by that October I was down to just one poor raggedy thumbnail that had been under constant gnaw. A few months later, I stopped completely. My nails are usually polished black and tidy now, but for decades they were a disaster.
Learn to knit.
I learned how to crochet from my father when I was six, but knitting had eluded me. I always wanted to learn, but never had the time or the patience. After moving to California (and not being on-call for the first time in a decade), I was desperate for a hobby. The local yarn shop taught classes, and I’ve been knitting ever since. Through knitting, I found a comforting and meditative activity. I also met some wonderful friends.
Eight years ago, I decided to try something new to reduce my social anxiety. I started complimenting total strangers. I try to compliment people on things they can control, like a pair of shoes or carefully chosen accessory. Or sometimes, “Your eyeliner looks amazing — I wish I could get mine to look that great!” I always mean it. You have to mean it. It doesn’t work if it’s not sincere. This has become a near-daily habit and it still gives me great joy.
Floss every day.
I actually do floss every day. I started this when working at Facebook. Alas before that, I was an inconsistent flosser. At FB, they had these handy little floss picks in the bathrooms and I started using them at work. Then I bought some for my bathroom at home, and now I floss every night. My dental hygienist noticed, so I guess there is something to actually flossing every day.
Test (personal) system backups on a regular basis.
When I was a junior sysad, we had a disastrous RAID meltdown on a system that was never backed up. Not one time. It was a terrible lesson in why backups matter — though they only matter when they actually work. That lesson definitely sunk in. I now have a weekly reminder on my calendar to verify that my phone and computer are backing up. Quarterly(ish), I test to make sure that I can recover files from my backups.
What about 2019?
Eh, I am not huge on resolutions, especially around New Year’s. If I do them at all, it tends to be around my birthday. Maybe I’ll revisit in a few weeks.