If you made New Year’s Resolutions—and you’re like me—you’re already dreaming up ways to cheat. Yeah, I know it’s only January 5 and I shouldn’t admit that. But I think we’re going about this resolution thing all wrong, and that’s why I don’t make them anymore. Nope, I just don’t do it.

I think there’s a better way to start a new year.


When I choose to spend time doing something (like photography), it’s not because I’m already good at it. It’s because I want to be good at it. And because I want it, I’m motivated. I know that if I spend a little bit of time every day taking pictures then over time I’m a better photographer. I might take a class or follow online tutorials and learn a lot all at once. Or I can read a book or pair up with a friend to go take pictures somewhere and learn a little more.

Why can’t New Year’s Resolutions work like that? If you want to be a healthier person, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year,” you could say, “This year I’m going to learn about eating better.” Maybe “eating better” means that once a week you try a new recipe from Pinterest and cook at home instead of eating out. Maybe it means you do meatless Mondays for the rest of the year and learn about your favorite ways to cook vegetarian and vegan meals. Maybe you pair up with a friend and take a cooking class. Or maybe you figure out how to prepare leeks and kohlrabi and persimmons. If it’s something you really want to learn about, you’ll stick with it. And when you’ve learned all about vegan meals (or Pinterest or persimmons), you can choose a new way to learn about eating better. No failure, no cheating, just learning. Sound good?

If you could choose one new thing to learn about in 2016, what would it be? Does that sound more exciting than choosing a resolution? Could you do it all year? How would you feel in December if you spent a year learning about it?