A List of My Unfinished New Year’s Resolutions


Photo by Marija Kovac

Once upon a New Year’s Eve, my mom’s friend pushed a roll of paper down her long hallway. “We’re going to write resolutions! Or you can doodle. You’re little—do whatever you want,” she probably said.

“We’re going to write resolutions,” was all I heard.

To preface: I love a tradition, even if it’s not my own. When it comes to holiday celebrations, I try to let idealistic tendencies go, but isn’t it tough when visions of Russian tea cake makers of generations past dance in your head? Call on the opportunity to search for raisins in rice pudding or paint detailed patterns on an egg and I’m there.

So I took the mission to heart, devoting myself fully to a revamped style, personality, hobby list. But like any seven-year-old who wants to be an Olympic swimmer on Saturday but is apt to say “mom-can-I-please-skip-practice-today-I-hate-swimming” come Monday, the devotion only went so far.

Regardless, I grabbed my markers and made a list. I’ve continued to do so every year since. One promise after another, and rarely any game plan to accompany it.

Do these resolutions pan out? Much like my Olympic swimming career, no. But it’s the journey, right? Not the destination?

Here, I present a chronological list of my (as of yet) unfinished New Year’s resolutions. I probably won’t ever stop making resolutions; I will revisit them and I won’t feel bad even a bit.


Every day, make a one-page visual journal on Microsoft Word utilizing WordArt. Include the date and at least three clip art photos.

Lasted until January 3, though work remained on the wall through 2004.


Become Eric Carle’s protégé.

Ended midway through the year with the reception of a sweet but ultimately scalding letter by Eric Carle stating he did not, at the time, need a protégé. Postcards included.


Read a book a day.

Almost completed, but that’s easy when the books you read are approximately seventy pages long and have a font size of twenty-four. 


Land a starring role in a Disney Channel show.

Didn’t pan out, though not for lack of trying. Somehow Miley Cyrus got there first.


Room makeover. Pay no attention to the doubters (your mother) who gently remind you you had a room makeover last year.

Never started, for the right reasons on my mother’s part.


Get ears triple pierced.

Again, a plan thwarted by a well-meaning mother. The doubles were cute, though.


Before the nine-day middle school winter break comes to an end, give yourself a full makeover. Return to school unrecognizable.

Ended the first day back at school, when nerves forced a trip to the bathroom to wipe off lipstick. Where hair was concerned…why wake up earlier than necessary?


Instead of a full makeover, focus on perfecting a smokey eye.

Never bothered, thanks to self-assessment and the realization that a bold lip is much more my speed. No panicked wipe-off necessary this time around.


Take up photography.

We may count this complete if we count entry-level DSLR shots of Hunter rain boots and portraits of little sisters and their friends as stunning imagery. These things have value, certainly, but in this instance, we do not.


Never wear the same outfit twice. Don’t do it. Ever. 

Almost completed. Again, easy when you haven’t heard of fast fashion and use your first job money at H&M. 


Create a capsule wardrobe.

Never even attempted. See previous year’s worries about closet overpopulation.


Get into an Ivy League college.

Perhaps a resolution one should resolve to much earlier in life. Requires some background work, i.e. more than a written-day-before-deadline (melo)dramatic personal essay.


Read Infinite Jest, if only to brag about reading it in college.

Did request from the library, but simply wasn’t interested. Why go on? There are many other books to brag about reading in college.


Get into YouTube Pilates classes.

Ended the day it began, a few months into the year. This is a hard one when you don’t like YouTube and have never taken Pilates. Plus you live in a dorm. Plus your roommate. 


Don’t spend any money; not a single cent.

Didn’t last past a 9 a.m. breakfast trip, thus revised to…

Also 2017

Don’t spend any money on clothes.

Lasted, somehow, two months. Ended due to a trip to Greece and the need for pastels.


Read the newspaper every morning.

Kind of lasted. Amended to include only the Style section.


Stop procrastinating.

Unfortunately not the easiest lesson to learn the last semester of senior year of college. 


Become an Olympic swimmer…or at least get back into casual backstroke workouts.

Hey! Maybe this will be my year.

BY Sophie Vilensky - January 12, 2020


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