A New Year’s Resolution for EVERYONE

I wrote this post a year ago but apparently not everyone was paying attention because we still have issues… big issues. Here it is again with a few updates… I hope it works this time.

I gave up writing New Year’s resolutions for myself years ago. As a kid, it was kind of fun to put together a list every year but, as I got older, I came to realize that they really never amounted to much. In the end, and despite my good intensions, there were few pounds lost and no better habits gained. Yep, I was pretty much the same old me after a month or two into the new year.

This year, rather than come up with resolutions just for myself, I have decided to make one big resolution for EVERYONE to share. I figure that, with us all working together, supporting each other, and gently nudging those that falter back on track, maybe, just maybe, we can succeed.

My resolution for the masses:

Don’t be Stupid

The best thing about this resolution for you is, because I’m sure – like me – you aren’t stupid at all, your part will be easy. Just make sure that everyone else doesn’t mess up.

Here is list of 10 ways your fellow humans can avoid being stupid. It’s far from complete.

  1. Don’t text or talk on the phone while driving. Competent multi-tasking is a myth. Even if it wasn’t, the task of piloting a vehicle that weighs over 3,000 pounds requires complete attention. This level of stupid could end up killing someone.
  2. Same goes for drinking and driving.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read, hear, or see on the Internet – check things out. Develop a healthy skepticism. Believing that the Pope supported Donald Trump was stupid. Thinking that reposting a “Privacy Statement” on your Facebook wall will protect your privacy is stupid. Reposting these fake stories (even with the caveat “this could be a hoax, but I’m posting it just in case”) makes the poster’s stupidity evident to all 1,000 of their closest friends. Snopes.com and Factcheck.com are your friends. So are critical thinking skills.
  4. Don’t equate the accumulation of things with the building of happiness. We all like a certain amount of stuff, but chances are the good feeling we get from acquiring something new will not last. Think about acquiring experiences and accumulating memories instead. Travel, spend time with family and friends, learn a new skill.
  5. Don’t over-inflate. I’m not talking about weight here (although, it could be argued that not properly nourishing and caring for the only body we have is kind of stupid); I mean the tendency to take a small incident and inflate it into something much greater. The controversy over Starbuck’s plain red cups last year and their green cups this year comes to mind, as do many stories reported on cable news. Over-inflating creates cultural distortion and promotes misinformation.
  6. Don’t miss out on glorious vistas or the witnessing of actual events or because it seemed more important to take and post selfies. The magnificence of the Grand Canyon isn’t improved with duck-lipped faces in front of it.
  7. Don’t compare yourself physically to models and celebrities. Chances are that they don’t even really look like that. Photoshop and good lighting can do wonders.
  8. Don’t dig your own grave. You’ll get there soon enough as it is. Stop maintaining habits that are self-destructive, staying in relationships that are toxic, and dwelling on negative thoughts. If you like digging around in the dirt, better to plant a garden.
  9. Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to pay a sincere compliment or tell someone that you love them.
  10. Don’t forget to live your best life. Always. It’s the only one you’ll get.

Have a wonderful, safe New Year’s celebration! And, please watch out for stupid people (especially those mentioned in #1 and #2).


Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

48 thoughts on “A New Year’s Resolution for EVERYONE”

  1. Boy is THIS all true, Janis! Loved this and while most of it is serious, it brought a chuckle to me thinking that so many people believe fake news and other media horrors, LOL! Wishing you a fab and safe New Year’s eve and then a day (or more!) of relaxation!

  2. Happy New Year!

    After discovering your blog a few short months ago, I’ve been methodically reading every post. So many of life’s events (can’t think of a better word this early in the morning) resonate here. I so enjoy reading this and the comments posted by your readers.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.
    Lux esto. Be the light.


  3. Janis, well said, then and today. Many good lessons therein. The “overinflate” one gave me chuckle. I have a friend who tends to talk in extremes and laughs when I question him. He will say they were screaming at each other – really, screaming? Or, they hate each other – hate is a pretty strong word. Have a great New Year, my friend, Keith

    1. It seems that some people need to ramp up ordinary events or interactions into extremes. I prefer to keep my blood pressure nice and low. Have a wonderful New Year… and (hopefully) a 2017 based in reality, not hyperbole..

  4. Janis, You are so on with your resolutions, especially number 3. I wish folks would just stop sending me emails with ‘news’ that is not true. Last week I called a local radio station to tell them that Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were never married and that he had not married his adopted daughter because he was not her adoptive father. They thanked me and said they would tell their news anchors not to ad-lib. Folks will believe anything once they hear it and take it as gospel truth. Have a Happy New Year!!

    1. I’d like to believe that news stations want to report truths, but sometimes I wonder if they always do. Sensation sells, unfortunately. Good for you for letting them know that at least one person is expecting to hear facts rather than fantasy. Have a great New Year (hopefully without fireworks 🙂 ).

  5. OMG! Janis you are me! This is all so true. My head is sore from banging it against my desk as dear friends repost the most inane things. I don’t always believe what I think I had for breakfast! Multi-tasking! There is no such thing. It’s called doing two things at the same time poorly. Have a great new year. I don’t make resolutions either. Last year I tried to work on letting things go. It went well but I think I’ll continue to focus on that. (Can’t multitask you know!)

    1. I think that trying to let things go – rather than allow ourselves get all riled up – will be even more important in 2017. When people post stupid stuff, I never know whether to push back or let it go. I pushed back (I thought nicely) once and got unfriended. Oh well. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

  6. Janis, I remember this post from last year! And it’s good to read it again, especially after the dreadful 2016 that many of us have experienced. You said it all: Don’t be stupid. All the rules are things we already know, but often fail to live out in our daily routines. I especially relate to 6, 8, and 9. Happy New Year to you!


  7. Love this Janis! We live in a world of over inflation, especially when we don’t get what we want! I will add #11. Don’t spend more than you make. You can’t spend your way out of debt!

  8. Brilliant post, Janis. You so often write what I wish I had written!
    Although the world (and both of our countries) definitely experienced much horror (and as you say “stupidity”) in 2016, good news quietly did abound. Combined voices become very powerful in helping to tilt the world towards peace. I remain hopeful for 2017!

  9. I remember #3 from last year and can say it helped me be less stupid this year! I also like 7, 8 , and 9. That I think will be part of my focus this year. Happy New Year to You!!

    1. It can be so easy to read something we agree with and, because it conforms to our way of thinking, assume that it must be true. I try to get in the habit of checking everything out to be sure. Have a great New Year too!

  10. This is a fantastic post, Janis. Especially after a year like 2016. I do hope people will listen this time. All the increased stupidity everywhere will stop the world from going around!! Literally and figuratively… Stupid people seem to grow in popularity and I have no idea what to do about that. At least, you are trying. 🙂

    1. Sometimes I think that critical thinking skills should be taught in every school and in every grade. Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”? It’s a brutal satire, but it has some relevance to what goes on today. Have a great New Year, Liesbet!

      1. As a teacher in Belgium, it used to be my “personal touch” to attempt teaching my six graders to think for themselves… I totally agree with you!

  11. Because I can barely remember where I place my coffee cup, I sadly didn’t recall this post. Which is actually fantastic because I loved every word of it. Yes, don’t be stupid! This should be required reading by, well, everyone. Happy New Year, Janice! – Marty

  12. This is one of those posts that should become a classic and get resurrected every year. It’s that good.

    Happy New Year, Janis, and best wishes for 2017!! ❤

    1. I had to make a few minor updates, but so much stays the same year after year, doesn’t it? You may very well see it again next year – thanks for the suggestion. 🙂 I hope you had a lovely New Year celebration… on to 2017!

  13. Hi Janis! Happy 2017! And thanks for posting this again because it is great and as timely as a year ago. My favorites (which are probably no surprise!) are #4, #6, #7 and #10. They are all super SMART! May I embrace them all for 2017! ~Kathy

  14. Happy 2017 Janis! love the post although I struggle with number 4. Accumulating guitars does make me happy, I know they are things and how many guitars does one man need? Trouble is I love them. I should be ok with the others though! My resolution should probably be to start learning how to play them properly.

    1. You remind me of my brother and his bikes. He always says that the appropriate number of bicycles to own is one more than he has. That philosophy could probably work for guitars too! If you don’t have one already, maybe you need to add a ukulele to your collection. They are smaller, a lot of fun to play, and will instantly transport you to a tropical island.

  15. Love this post. It rings true. Reminds me of a family I knew years ago. Their motto was: “don’t do stupid things.” To this day I consider that some of the best parental guidance ever.

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