On Moving Forward Without Mandates

In February 2011, author Cole Stryker looked at the correlation between several common resolutions and their popularity in Google Trends for Urlesque.com. The results were almost comically not surprising. Two months into the new year, the terms “get fit,” “get organized” and “quit smoking” are at their near lowest peaks of the year. “Diet” pops up again toward the summer months, but “resolution” is the most striking, with one solid peak at the culmination of the year and not another appearance till then. Psychology Today writes that “after six months, fewer than half the people who make New Year’s resolutions have stuck with them, and, after a year, that number declines to around ten percent.” With odds like that, it’s tough to be a modern resolution.

I don’t consider myself a quitter. A runner, maybe, but not a quitter, and I’ve been accused of sticking with things (ideas, jobs, people…) long after I should have let them go. In the past I’ve noted that I prefer to call my resolutions ‘to-do lists’ and go at them with the same fervor I attack a daily to-do list at work, or the errands list stuck to my fridge. I’m a staunch list maker, and achiever. So, it’s no wonder that I’m aching for a little break from the tyrannical to-do’s.

As far as lucky ducks go, I might be the luckiest. 2011 was no slouch. First and foremost, I got paid to explore the West Coast, Asia and South America more extensively. I tested my own boundaries, got sick and learned to laugh from it, and opened up to total strangers. I strengthened very old friendships and cemented new ones. I received an immeasurable amount of trust from new colleagues and thus have been able to work with some of the brightest minds in my field. I perfected my summer tan while achieving a work-life balance. Hell, I rode a horse up a mountain like a champ.

And looking ahead, 2012 means…

The beginning of the HuffPost Book Club, my pet project for the past few months, an interactive project that will blur the lines between what we read and how we live. We’re taking books off your nightstand, and out of your commute, and incorporating the words we love into our daily lives as a means of connection and growth.

More mountainous travel to Denver and South America, while planning a honeymoon to somewhere that will blow my hard-working, not-yet-well-traveled fiance’s socks off.

The continuation of my yoga practice, which has had an amazing impact on how I see life and my own health.

The formation of a team at my work place that will quite literally revolutionize the way we read and share and formulate the news, and the chance to re-energize and rebuild one of most important news websites of our time.

Lots and lots of long weekends in new places because, hey, all of that creativity has to come from somewhere.

And, of course, my wedding, February 16th, 2012, when I’ll need to learn to stop being ‘me’ and start being ‘us.’

With so much already on the table, who needs to mandate happiness into their lives?

So, if I had to pick a resolution, if I was absolutely forced to, it would be this: Make no resolutions. Put no boundaries on life. Go where the wind takes you.

See that quote embedded above? Last year I tweeted that simple quote from the Huffington Post Books account. With 57 retweets and favorites, and countless replies, I know I can’t be the only one ready to forge forward without fanfare or looking back.

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