At the end of the year, I asked readers to anonymously share their fantastically failed New Year’s resolutions. I did this in part because, as someone with a dismal track record in the compliance department (if my resolve to do or not do something lasts until the first weekend in January, it’s almost a miracle), I wanted to see how alone I am I was.
But I also did it because I believe that there is something we can all gain by shouting our shortcomings from the rooftops at once: power over them. So think of the 13 ridiculous self-improvement mistakes chronicled here less as confessions and more as a way to enthusiastically embrace what makes us all human. Perhaps ultimately, by sharing their epic mistakes, bungles and failures in this very public but still very safe space, the readers who have answered the call will help us all to help us all start the New Year with a clean slate and to begin a spring in our common step.
- “My very first New Year’s resolution was to become a better hugger. A good hug is a wonderful thing, and I had always felt uncomfortable about it. It was 2020 and I think we all know how that resolution turned out.”
- “No Häagen-Dazs for a year. Had a pint of chocolate chip chocolate at 10:30 on New Year’s Day. I’ve never looked back.”
- “I vowed to walk the hill I live on (it’s steep) a total of 2 miles down and back up. I did it. Once. So I revised that resolution from daily to at least once this year. And you did it. Woohoo me. (I also vowed to give up underwired bras forever and this one stuck! Thanks, Pandemic Dressing Codes.)
- “One resolution was to lose absolutely 10 pounds by February 21st. 29. There was no February. 29 this year.”
- “I told myself this is the year I should at least try to swim a mile in San Francisco Bay. I turned 31 on Dec 31 to make lifelong dream a reality by the end of the year. I bought some sweatshirts (put them on now!) and went through the agony and embarrassment of buying a bathing suit. I drove down to Crissy Field, stuck a toe in the water, experienced self-revolution at the cellular level. And give up that idea forever. The sweats were a great result!”
- “The last time I tried a New Year’s resolution was about a decade ago when I decided I would try to be nicer on online social media. It was less than two weeks in January when I apologized to the New York Times’ co-chief art critic for my unkind words. I’ve given up on resolutions now and then. I would like to add a note to this story: I made a tremendously successful resolution in my life when I quit drinking on January 1st. January 1991 and have been sober for over three decades now.”
- “In 2018 I decided to stop a notice tuxedo. Although my generation was heavily brainwashed against smoking, I still developed an attraction to it; a powerful and sensual outfit for Hollywood’s glam lifestyle. I wanted to be a smoker. I imagined myself smoking after sex (super sexy right?!) or at a party with a fur shawl and a martini in the same hand. The cigarette was the perfect complement to any bold statement I needed to make to my lover or in front of a crowd. I got over this desire (which I had been hiding for years) and as a gift my friend bought me a pack of Marlboros (which I had mistook for a deck of cards). Unfortunately, just holding it in my hands made me nauseous and I have not smoked to this day.”
- “My resolution was to have my first ever New Year’s one-night stand. And so I did… and ended up with crabs.”
- “My New Year’s resolution, embarrassingly, was to have a boyfriend by the end of the year. I’m still looking for it.” (Received December 2.)
- “I’ve made a decision to quit smoking weed. It got to the point where I smoked every day for five years. It didn’t derail my life, but I did want to try and get my head around it. After the New Year’s Eve celebrations, my friends and I came to stay with me in Culver City, where we started smoking joints and consuming edibles. I was just trying to get as high as possible before I had to start a sober year. One of my friends was really into weed this year and offered me his tincture—a THC concoction that he put him to bed with. He told me to take two drops before bed. When everyone had gone, I took the prescribed two drops to help me sleep. Thirty minutes later I was still awake. I took two more. Thirty minutes passed. I took three more. Then I finally fell asleep. The next morning I woke up stoned. I couldn’t even bring myself to leave the safety of my bed. I was there all day. Hide under the covers. Finally sobered up until the evening. So much for a sober start to the new year. Since I failed my resolution, I figured I’d be good enough to smoke weed for the rest of the year. There is always next year.”
- “My New Year’s resolution was to start a vegetable garden and incorporate them into my meals. It did not happen.”
- “My excitement and willing attempt at a failed relationship — only to realize it was a failed relationship.”
- “I’ve failed so many New Year’s resolutions that I’ve stopped making them. I thought I should stop lying to myself.”