Six New Year's Resolutions You Could Actually Keep
The year 2015 is coming, which means it’s time to resolve to “lose weight” and “manage stress” and “save money,” according to the U.S. government’s official list of the best New Year’s resolutions. These seem like fine ideas for overachievers. The rest of us should stick to the relatively attainable goal of honesty, and just admit that one day we might be skinny, rich, and calm, but it probably won’t be in 2015. Here are some more feasible resolutions.
1. Stop working out. We learned three things this year about working out: 1. You get in shape with a daily, seven-minute workout. 2. Running for five minutes a day also works. 3. You can even run for one minute per day and still get in shape. Here's a fourth thing you might take from all this science: Stop working out. If one minute is helpful, who's to say zero minutes isn't even more helpful? Not us.
2. Leave work as early as possible. If you lived in Europe, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. This kind of resolution wouldn’t exist, and we would all be on vacation, eating baguettes and laughing. This is a fact. Americans work 21 percent more hours than Germans do, 15 percent more than the French, and 5 percent more than the Swiss. Meanwhile, most Europeans and people living in the industrialized world live longer than Americans. Do not spend your short life in the office. Leave early.
3. If you're white, make a black friend. Three out of four white Americans don't have a single non-white friend, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. It doesn't help that schools are more segregated now than they were when segregation was legal. There are many reasons why this is bad, but one of them is that not talking to black people can make it hard to grasp the basic differences in the way they are treated by police.
4. Ask for a raise. If you are a man, this is not something you need to resolve to do; you probably already did it. If you are a woman, though, get on it. It's clearly uncomfortable to ask someone to give you money, but think of it this way: If you work in a regulated profession that isn't bike messengering or marijuana delivery (not mutually exclusive), the person you are asking probably isn't giving you more money from their wallet. The company you make richer via your work will be handing it out. Chances are, said company has already done this for all your male colleagues this year already. It's possible you won't be applauded for asking, but honestly, anything you do that is mildly assertive is already making you seem pushy. Worst case, your boss continues to think of you that way. Best case, you get a raise.
5. Take more staycations. Apparently, 40 percent of Americans do not use their paid vacation days. That could be because no one has any money to travel with: As my colleague Josh Eidelson reported in August, wages declined for almost every segment of the U.S. workforce in 2014. If that includes you, one solution is to use those days by staying home and not going to work, also known as a “staycation.” A secret of the Internet is that looking up flights on Kayak.com is actually more satisfying than spending hundreds of dollars to smell airplane food and touch a stranger’s sweaty arm. You can spend the first two days of your staycation on Kayak.com and the rest learning how to cook food in mass quantities that doesn’t also look like throw-up.
6. Do not buy a selfie stick. The selfie stick, a product that would be right at home at a seventh-grade invention fair, is selling out at U.S. stores because Americans apparently want to transcend “the limits of the human arm” when taking a photo of themselves, the New York Post reports. Do not let yourself be one of these people in 2015. Instead, be a force for good in the world, and harness the power of your human arm to break someone else’s selfie stick.
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