the katykatikate guide to new year's resolutions

Step 1: Don't make them.

OMG, you're probably thinking, Katie has seriously been listening to us about how fucking long her blog posts are, and she just wrote one that was 4 words, a number, and a colon long! THANK YOU KATIE!

You're welcome!

Because FUN FACT, a human colon is about five feet long, which is how long this blog post is going to be if you printed it out on that continuous 80's printer paper.

raise your hand if this sight
brings back some serious memories
associated with squeez-its
bubble tape
and og nintendo
Girl, you know I never use 6 words when I could use 6,000. Pull up a chair and take off your bra.

So why do I say no to New Year's Resolutions?

Let me answer my own rhetorical question with another rhetorical question!

How'd it go in 2012 when you were like, "This year I'm going to floss twice a day, every day!"

I know exactly how it went, because I was right by your side.

As soon as I made a promise to do something twice a day, every day, for the next 365 days, my inner wild pony goddess reared up and was like ALL GOOD THINGS ARE WILD AND FREE, fuck you Oral B, you can't shackle this stallioness with your minty wax chains, I don't care how many dentists out of 5 agree.

How about in 2015 when you were like, "This year I'm going to lose 10 pounds!"

I know exactly how it went, because I too made that vow.

On January 2 I went grocery shopping and bought my current weight in raw vegetables and brown rice. And then I went to the gym. And then I got a cheeseburger because fuck, y'all, I was starving. And life is too short to say no when your body whispers cheeeeeeeseburger.

There's nothing like a virtuous diet 
to make you appreciate the spiritual value of vice. 

Or as this conversation goes with Chicken:

Chicken: Mom, is cake good for your body?
Me: Not really, baby.
Chicken: But it's good for your soul, right?
my son

New Year's Resolutions force me to do the math between my immediate comfort and some imaginary long-term improvement to the spaces between my teeth or thighs. And I'm sorry to say that I have exactly enough character to give a shit about raising my children with values, but not quite enough to be voluntarily hungry, or to give a shit about flossing.

So I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I hate to start a new year by placing myself under a yoke. 

Instead, I do annual bucket lists.
And if you're interested, I invite you to do the same. 

A Bucket List is a list of experiences or goals you want to achieve before the coming year kicks the bucket.


1. You can check the box, baby.

So many New Year's Resolutions are progressive, continuous actions, rather than finite achievements. 

A list of resolutions is never fucking DONE. It's like, you either do this forever, or you fail. You either floss every day, or you are nothing more than a host body for a between-the-teeth-gunk colony. 

Have you ever seen those challenges on The Biggest Loser where the contestants have to like dangle from a construction crane until the last person is left? Raise your hand if you watch that and think, "funsies!" 

That's how I feel about New Year's Resolutions.

Everyone knows the only reason we all make lists is to cross shit off, so WHY ARE WE ALL MAKING LISTS THAT CAN NEVER BE CROSSED OFF??? CAN WE PLEASE GET A BOX TO CHECK ON THIS BITCH???

With a bucket list, you get to cross shit off!!! Like, sold. Do I even need to go on? 


2. Bucket List experiences are specific and finite, which means there's a window to commit to them, and it's not a death march to 2019.

Instead of having to do something every day for the next year, you say to yourself, "I want to do an Escape Room with my friends," and then you can do that for your birthday, or for your sister's birthday, or for no reason at all in the bottom of February when you just need something fun on a Tuesday. And then if you like it, you can go again, and if you hated it, you don't have some commitment that you've made to yourself hanging over your head. 

What if you resolved to do tai chi once a week for the next year, and then 3 classes in you were like, "Nope, I need kickboxing." It's not a big deal to change a resolution, but what if the kickboxing classes are too early in the morning and you just stopped going? 

You'd have to choose between:

a) gritting your teeth through a year of tai chi to prove you have character
b) quitting your resolution and proving you failed and have no character. 

If you don't like tai chi it's totally fine! Put it on your bucket list to try it out, and give yourself an experience that you can either enjoy or not, without adding the weight of a false litmus test for your value as a human being. We already have tax forms, bathroom scales, and ungrateful children - we don't need more litmus tests for our value as human beings.

3. A bucket list is respectful of yourself. 

Invite yourself to a party. It's way kinder than giving yourself a honey-do list.

A list of resolutions is a reminder of everything you've failed to be up to this point in your life: thin, rich, spiritual, well-read, dentally hygenic.

A list of resolutions is a list of all the ways you've decided you are deficient. It's a list of solutions to parts of yourself that you've decided are problems. It's a year's worth of trips to the spiritual hardware store on Sunday morning, and that shit sucks.

A bucket list is an opportunity to ask yourself what you want, hear yourself respond, and then honor that response. You're not punishing yourself; you're respecting yourself. Can I get a hell yes?

With a bucket list, you get to indulge in experiences that are just as challenging, rewarding, and healthy as the things you might have done with your resolutions. The only difference is that you're EXCITED about your bucket list. You're not doing the things you think you're supposed to do; you're deciding to do the things that you WANT to do. That's a pretty huge difference, IMHO.

4. A bucket list gives you room to grow.

If the point of New Year's Resolutions is to urge your growth and change, then why are we trying to do the same fucking thing for a whole year? If your resolutions are effective, shouldn't we be doing different things by the end of 12 months of practice?

You might start the year super into trail running to the sound of your own breath, and end the year 100% committed to riding the stationary bike while watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and you know what, those are both interesting and valuable uses of your time. YEAH I SAID IT. 

5. 2018 may not be much better than 2017. Find joy and take care of yourself.

2017 was... it was... well, honestly, it was just...

but it was also like



and we were all like


and just trying to get the fuck to midnight on the 31st like


You don't deserve to start 2018 with a catalogue of your faults.

You deserve to start the new year hungry for adventure, opportunity, and growth. 

You deserve a chance to remember that you're brave, smart, capable, resourceful, and strong.

A bucket list recognizes that you are valuable, that your time is worth something, that you are a person in progress, that your delight in the experience of life is a fucking factor here.

A bucket list invites you to do something fantastic, rather than indebting you to become a slightly less craptastic version of yourself.

Not sure where to start?
Here are some questions to ask.

What makes your life smaller? Knock it down.

Quick side story! Mine used to be a phobia of rats. A literal phobia. I wouldn't let my kids play in parks where I'd seen a rat. If I ever saw one on the street, I couldn't ever go down that street again. Rats made my life smaller and my commute longer. 

Someday I'll tell you about my rat phobia therapy homework, but until then just know that I saw a rat at the zoo with my kids and my legs didn't go numb and we didn't have to leave right away, and that shit was sweet.

What do you do that makes you feel strong? Do that more. A strength isn't just something you do well. I'm good at sales but it leaves me feeling drained. A strength is something you do that makes you feel strong. What do you do that makes you feel strong? That's your strength.

What is something you used to do that you loved and you don't do anymore? Find a way to do it, even if just a little. When we had kids our world got smaller and smaller until we found ourselves making long lists of things we couldn't do anymore because we'd successfully bred smaller, pickier, less sleepy versions of ourselves. Fuck that noise. You may not be able to go to Hawaii for a week and have a nooner and a nap every day, but you can have a nooner and a nap once a month, right? Or maybe one month the nooner, the next month the nap? This is depressing, the point is that the things you loved from your old life aren't gone until you decide they're gone. Don't let them go! 

Whose story haven't you heard? Go hear it. I've also heard this said, "Who do you think you're better than? Go listen to them." Humble and curious are sexy, sexy things to be.

What pisses you off? Get started fixing it. I could be talking about the "old friend" whose posts on FB put your panties directly in a full twist position, or the junk drawer that doesn't really close anymore. I could be talking about unlawful detention centers where undocumented immigrants and held for indeterminate periods of time under inhuman conditions with no legal protections or rights.

What's fucking fun? Do that and don't be sorry!

If you still need more ideas, I'll be posting my own 2018 bucket list on my FB page on the first day of the new year. 

And in the meantime, here are a few of my past bucket list experiences that have been memorable, exciting, rewarding, you-name-it:
  • Have a spa day 
  • Take a rock-climbing class
  • Do a ropes course
  • Ride a roller coaster
  • Read 5 works of fiction and 5 works of nonfiction
  • Watch 5 movies from the IFC's best movies list that I've never seen before
  • Buy a case of sparkling water every week at the grocery store (I love sparkling water, but I used to only buy it for company. Then one night my inner wild pony goddess came to me one night in a dream and told me that I was a goddess and I deserved bubble water. But just the store brand. Come on girl, you're a goddess, not a millionaire.)
  • Spend an hour reading a book on the beach
  • Try 5 new cuisines
  • Take a writing class
  • Join a sports team or league
  • Attend a political meeting, rally, or protest
  • Join a community org in a substantive way (not just casual volunteering)
  • Attend an Oscar party
  • Run a marathon
  • Order fish in a restaurant (I've been a vegetarian since I was 10, so this was a big deal!)
  • Go to the dentist twice (Listen, you only get just the two sets, and I ran through my first one by the time I was 14. I gotta make these little pearlies last.)

What are you putting on your bucket list in 2018? 

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