My New Year’s Resolutions

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The list of New Year’s Resolutions is a hackneyed genre (Good Housekeeping, Parade, Pioneer Women, Country Living, Financial Times). Generally, they are quickly forgotten, and known to be so, leaving the motive for making them unclear. Apparently, for some definition of “new year,” humanity has been making New Year’s Resolutions, in one form or another, since the Babylonians.

This looks like a lazy post, but it’s actually not; I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions for some time. And since 2023 was such a pest of a year, it makes sense to see if 2024 can be improved, at all. These resolutions are all small-scale and personal; no “End World Hunger.” They are also precise and actionable (nothing like “Make time for family” or “Try Something New Each Month”). However, in the aggregate, I think they will strengthen me for the year to come. Hackneyed though the genre is, my own list is not that different from those linked to above (though I have not included any stock photos of carefully diverse yuppies doing worthy things about the home, for which I apologize). Here it is:

1) More snark.

2) Go easier on CDC and HICPAC, they’re doing their best.

3) Less doomscrolling.

4) More reading, especially serious books.

5) Don’t relax before sleeping by watching YouTube, the infinite scroll is a seductive time-sink. Keep a sleep diary.

6) No more snacks.

7) Maintain and if need be upgrade my Covid protocol.

8) Finish that novel. Then sell it.

9) Learn to be less prone to irritation and anger, whether about big things or small.

Focusing on #9 first: According to IDRlabs; Multi-Dimensional Anger Test — an online survey popular on TikTok — I am “22.2% more susceptible to anger MR SUBLIMINAL Dammit, only 22?! than the average person.” On the bright side, another cheesy online test gives this result: “Your score is 10: Minimal Clinical Anger Issues.” So there’s that! No matter the surveys, however, it’s what I feel that matters. I don’t want to be walking around with V-ed eyebrows and compressed lips (even if that’s how I look when I’m really focused at the computer, and given that I have a critic’s mind, and that’s the look of a critic). I don’t think anger is good for my vascular system, and I don’t think it’s good for the people around me; I don’t want to be the sort of person people think they have to walk quietly around. Or walk away from. Of course, I said “Learn.” I’m not sure how to achieve this, so I’ll have to study up. And be aware!

On #1-#7: These all seem achievable to me, although we shall see. My life is optimized for blogging (and avoiding Covid), I keep a not unrigid schedule to meet my deadlines, and have a clear picture of places I go and places I do not (basically, 3Cs spaces). These resolutions are further optimizations. For example, when I say #6 “No more snacks,” what I mean, operationally, is “Don’t go to the store immediately before Water Cooler and buy a snack, along with milk, to initiate the writing process.” (I will, however, continue to buy the milk.*) That is, there’s only that single context to change my behavior in; I don’t have to contend with a generalized urge to consume donuts or Tastykakes wherever encountered. As for doomscrolling and YouTube vs. books, I feel the need to rise above the newsflow and impose stronger frameworks upon it. Those frameworks are generally only available in a scholarly or at least journal context; they demand serious, sustained attention, they are ideas to be worked with, and I do think that over-consumption of social media blunts that skill. This is a time to become smarter, not stupider. Not an easy task, given this timeline!

On #8, the novel… I’m still buying green bananas, but I do feel an urge to round out my life with a genuine artistic work of some kind. Perhaps a year is overly ambitious. But maybe when I get rid of all that stupid doomscrolling, and discipline myself to write 500 words a day, say, I’ll be happy with the outcome.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you! What, if any, are your New Year’s Resolutions?

NOTE * Every article I can find says that milk does not increase mucus production. All I can say, is that I need to keep Kleenex by my desk when I start drinking it. And getting rid of whatever that mucus carries along with it — PM2.5, viruses of all sorts — is good. So N = 1, here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Bsn

      Yes, water is amazing! I don’t drink much milk anymore (late middle age). We do grow lots of grapes some Shiro plums and a few apples. We steam them to extract the juice and it is beyond belief incredible, especially if we combine them: plapple and grapple for example. I’ll stop and leave all with that unintended interior rhyme. Happy New Year to all as ours begins in a few hours. Go 2024! Go Rangers! Go Lambert, Yves and NC!

    1. Carolinian

      I don’t speak German but after bingeing a couple of seasons of Babylon Berlin it was starting to make sense! Seriously though I do believe that movies with subtitles–if translation is what you are paying attention to–might be a viable route to language acquisition. However see the Links comments re whether it wouldn’t be easier for everyone else to learn English.

      1. Lee

        I’ve watched Babylon Berlin twice, and given how good it is, combined with the paucity of new productions worth watching, I resolve this coming year to watch it again. I’m doing a lot of re-watching these days and just finished The Wire for the sixth time, and with subtitles as the local dialect eludes my easy comprehension.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I rewatched The Wire (just season 1) back in May when i picked up covid while traveling and had to hide out in his upstairs bedroom for a few days.

          It was a fun rewatch. Feels dated in some ways, but still holds up. Characters are so well written! I love how they all wrestle with institutional pressures and constraints and look for ways to express their individuality within the ‘system’.

      2. Janie

        About 25 years ago we were at a Laura Ingalls Wilder historic site in Minnesota. It’s way off the beaten path, and the only others there were a group of Norwegian men and women crossing the US by motorcycle. They chorused, “we LOVE Laura Ingalls Wilder”. They explained that they all learned English from the show; it was about all that was on TV after grade school.

    2. Bruce F

      I wanted add that I find my time learning/speaking spanish is so different from my “paying” work that it offers a much needed (mental) break. I’m guessing that there are some studies showing that it changes how your brain functions. I do know that I feel better, at least now that I’ve reached an intermediate level, after listening to, or speaking, spanish.

      1. GramSci

        Henry James meets Beckett?? But I guess not, if Resolution #3 is a keeper. Resolutions kept or dissolved, Happy New Year, Lambert et al.!

          1. Alice X

            Every time I play Mozart I feel a bit of the fog lifting. I resolved to get back to reading since I’ve had my eyes fixed, but I haven’t done much.

  1. farmboy

    Gotta say Lambert that 2023 was the strangest year of my life and I don’t know what to do about it. Flumoxed at the prospect of even getting a handle on it to make a resolution. Efforts that always work, didn’t. Do I put more into it or is it the old saw about the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again with the same results. It only appears to me I will be more insane to begin the year and it certainly has the possibility to get worse, but I can’t see how. Might just have to go Hubert Humphrey on 2024 as the Happy Warrior or some such nonsense.

    1. ambrit

      ” Might just have to go Hubert Humphrey on 2024.”
      Actually a good idea. Perhaps with a bit of Clean Gene for balance.

  2. Socal Rhino

    On the subject of green bananas, I took on a puppy a year ago.

    My only resolution is to limit news (doom) consumption to once per day, like business emails when on vacation.

  3. Laura in So Cal

    Over the years, I’ve learned what works for me and several New Years resolutions have stuck and improved my life. I stick to a single resolution that is small in scope and is a “do” and not a “don’t.” The ones that have stuck are making the bed everyday, sorting the mail (and tossing most of it) immediately after getting it, and flossing my teeth everyday (huge payoff for me).

    I also have a “to do” list of 4 or 5 things I need to get done like financial tasks, home improvements, or a new skill I want to learn. I probably have a 75% success rate with these but they help keep me focused. In 2024, I want to get our wills updated, replace some window screens, redo the front yard, and learn to make a decent pizza.

  4. Tom Pfotzer

    I don’t do New Years’ Resolutions, but I do occasionally adopt new policies as I gradually notice that what I’m doing isn’t working that well. One generalized long-term evolving policy is to listen to my wife more. She’s pretty good.

    A long while ago she said “Tom, you’re angry at the world. Maybe it’s better to concentrate on what you can change, and worry less about what you can’t”. At the time, I thought taking that advice amounted to surrender, so I didn’t.

    Then I started to. I have become much more selective about what I allow myself to care about, and I’m angling toward a moratorium on caring about stuff unless I’m willing to actually change what I don’t like.

    Narrows the scope considerably. More stuff’s getting done. Less doom-scrolling. Better for everyone.

    And yes, Farmboy, 2023 was a weird year. The Stupid finally just flung itself, by centrifugal force, off the tether and somewhere into space. Hopefully it doesn’t hit anyone on the way out.

    2024 may actually be the year of consequences for the Stupids, and of course, the NeoCons top that list.

    1. Winston S

      Sounds exactly like my wife, and me, and our experience with me doing the same as you did.

      It works!

      Cheers to the year of consequences.

    2. Karl

      “Tom, you’re angry at the world.”

      I’m like that a lot too, but I’ve mellowed, or maybe hardened. I can read NC’s daily links like I’m with God watching an action flick in the midst of many twists and turns. Wow! Crash! Bang! Pow! I’m not sure I like this about myself. I should care more that real people are dying in Ukraine, Gaza, and many other places, and that my tax dollars are facilitating these futilities. I should care more that our CIA (as Larry Johnson says) are right there on the ground in Ukraine and Gaza helping our “friends” dig their holes deeper. But you have to admit, these are exciting times.

      I look next to me, at God, and She’s wincing at every Pow! and Crash! It’s Her problem. She broke it with the Creation of Adam, She owns it. I can relax and watch the plot unfold without anger, but She can’t. I do feel sorry for Her though. She’s been wincing for thousands of years.

      There are times when I look next to me and God disappears. It’s as though God put me in the movie and I realize I’ve got to do something! I have some responsibility and agency! Then I get angry. Fortunately, those episodes of seeming insanity don’t happen often anymore.

    3. KLG

      The one resolution that made the most difference in my life was giving up all local and national network TV news during the 1992 election when it dawned on me it was all a put-up job. I keep up in other ways: books and NC and several traditional subscriptions (NYRB, LRB, Spectator, Nature, Harper’s, NLR, Verso Book Club), one golf Substack, several other Substack subscriptions, the Pink Paper online, a few personally “curated” (I hate that word as much as “artisanal,” though) websites…I have sprained a finger punching the radio to silence NPR on a few occasions. We cut the cable TV cord years ago, which makes hotel stays interesting. No TV (and NPR) news means that I have heard the “Great Orange Satan’s” voice a total of 15 minutes since the beginning of his 2016 campaign. Ditto for ALL of the others. Reading their nonsense is quite enough and the silence dampens the propensity for outrage, which is a wasted emotion akin to TDS. That I am not so afflicted irritates the hell out of my PMC peeps. Gaza and Ukraine are really testing me these days, though. Real estate p0rn at Country Life online is a guilty pleasure (all Southern boys are closet Anglophiles)…

      As Tom says: Do what you can do!

      And when our mortgage servicer (Wells Fargo, naturally) told us they were selling it to a company I had never heard of, we were fortunate enough to simply pay it off. Customer service at WF on this was surprisingly seamless, a wonder! A load off that will let my much better half retire a year early!

      My five resolutions are: No snacks, write more, continue being quietly (or not) subversive of that which should be subverted, appropriately spoil my two grandchildren, and play more golf (on foot as it was intended instead of on my behind in a golf cart, which is the one peculiar American perversion of a great game).

      Happy New Year to all, as we continue hang on for dear life! And it is dear.

      1. Tom Doak

        A dear departed friend of mine from Scotland told me on his death bed that the worst mistake he’d ever made was to get in a golf cart (or buggy, as they say over there). His friend who he played with every day could no longer walk 18 holes and had to take a cart. His friend died first, but my friend was appalled at how fast his own health declined once he stopped walking that four miles daily. He said they should just have played twelve holes, or nine, of however many they could walk.

    4. Carla

      Very grateful for this comment, Tom. I will re-read and attempt to heed it! My being sick from before Thanksgiving until almost new year’s gave my partner a chance to shine. And shine he did. Just in the nick of time, I have a new appreciation for the wonderful man I live with.

  5. Mark Gisleson

    This spring I’ll make my last contract-for-deed payment and will become a first-time homeowner at the age of 71. Six-year contract with each year’s payment the least rent I’ve ever paid (half down upfront). Now I’m about to go rent-free for the first time in my adult life.

    No resolutions for me, we are obviously living in End Times.

    1. ambrit

      It is a DoublePlusGood feeling. We settled for a smaller “footprint” in exchange for doing an all cash deal on a fixer upper (ex-rental.) It’s worked out more or less so far.
      I’m trying hard to avoid obsessing on Doom. The End can be a hard taskmaster.
      As most do not think about, the obverse of ‘The End of the World As We Know It’ is, ‘Here Comes A Brand New World!’

  6. bassmule

    Wasn’t intentional, but I seem to have done all my resolutions aIready.

    I woke up the morning of August 24 and decided I didn’t want to drink so much booze. So I cut it out. That caused me to lose 10 lbs. Once I saw I could actually lose weight, I got into it. Fruit for breakfast; cottage cheese for lunch; dinner is still dinner (and after the first two months now comes with a Martini. One!) And I started walking: A 4 mile route and a 7 mile route. I did so much walking, it brought back an old knee injury. Fortunately, the hips/knees doc said surgery was not yet necessary, so I did a bunch of P/T and now it’s fine. And I’ve lost another 10 lbs.

    I quit my band in October, because even a small gig turned into a 7 or 8 hour day–driving from VirtueVille (home of Smith College)–for an hour down into some joints in central Connecticut, doing a 90 minute setup, playing for 3 or 4 hours, then reversing the whole procedure. Downside of that, of course, is I’m out of musical work. I’m waiting to hear on results of a recent audition, but I’m not predicting anything. And I confess that I’m kinda excited to be home on the evening of December 31 for the first time since…hmm…2009.

    Another confession: I’m clicking on links a lot less often. Can’t read any more about Zelensky, Netanyahu, Biden, Trump, economists wondering why we’re not happy, billionaires plotting their tech bro fantasies…

    Of course, This Too Shall Pass. Happy New Year, y’all.

    1. chris

      I feel you on the not clicking through all the links lately. Especially when you hear that we bypassed congress twice in one month to rush weapons to Israel. It’s not like congress would have turned them down. But they can’t even leave us with the fig leaf of democratic process anymore.

      Peace and good health in the new year!

    2. Robert Hahl

      Walter Kern on America This Week said that drinking tea instead of coffee had improved his life and the quality of his work. I tried it and agree completely. It produced more regular sleep, and no more drinking swigs of vodka in the night to get back to sleep.

  7. Winston S

    I cheated and started my new year resolution 55 days ago: no alcohol for a year and see how it goes. Being almost 40, I’ve done white months several times before, but since my teenage years this is the longest I’ve ever gone without alcohol (which in the crazy 2020s increasingly has been used to dull my brain – neither a healthy nor sustainable trend). So each day is uncharted territory for me, so to speak.

    And I feel awesome! Energy, humour, presence – all way up. And the weirdest thing is that abstaining from alcohol hasn’t been hard at all.

    So now I’ve decided on a new second New Year’s resolution: to quit tobacco (snus, the Nordic variant you put under your lip – I’ve never smoked).

    This might be a tougher challenge, I’ve been addicted to the stuff since my teens.

    But I don’t like the thought of being addicted to something. And after I started reading Gabor Mate’s most recent magnificent book “”the myth of normal: trauma, illness and healing in a toxic culture”, which I bought as a Christmas present for myself, I decided to give it a serious go.

    Really recommended reading for everyone here on this blessed site.

    1. begob

      The most interesting phenomenon post-alcohol is the recognition, when in the company of the inebriated, that they’re all suffering temporary insanity. Not perhaps in the clinical sense, but as a mark of their estrangement from reality in pursuit of self-centred ideals. The recognition is liberating, and never gets old.

      In vino veritas?
      My bleedin’ ass.

        1. John

          No, it is not a mortal sin, but I do recall acting in near mortally stupid ways when drunk. And, begob, they also become boring and loud. Gave it up a long time ago. Did not make me smarter or more charming or a better person to do so. Just sober.

          1. IMOR

            If their boring ever hit begob levels and you saw them as stupid when you were sober– you may have been as much in need of different drinking companions as anything else! :-)
            But mark me down as another member of this commonteriat who found during the year just ended that things had gotten edgy enough- like my teens in the Seventies- and enough had changed in my life/mind, that drinking much much less often was the way to go.

          2. mrsyk

            I’ve behaved near mortally stupid without the aid of alcohol. I’m not sure how I feel about sobriety during this stupid timeline. I will say that booze isn’t as fun as it used to be. The homegrown, on the other hand, seems to keep me from screaming from the rooftop.

      1. CanCyn

        I gave up drunkenness decades ago but have not and will not give up alcohol completely. During the last few years of my working life I restricted alcohol to weekends – I generally opened a bottle of wine on a Friday drinking a last glass sometime on Sunday evening. Now I drink even less but I enjoy the occasional glass of wine or cocktail and am pretty sure that my current rate of consumption, much lower than most minimal guidelines, is perfectly safe.

  8. Sub-Boreal

    No new resolutions for 2024, but just hoping to keep up habits established in 2023:

    – reading: increasing ratio of books to scrolling (to clear away the Good Intentions moraine of volumes acquired over the past few years)
    – exercise: at least 1 hour of walking or cycling per day

    After 4 months, I’m still adjusting to the new regime of being retired. A wise mentor found that it took at least a year for him to reach a new equilibrium, so I’m not rushing anything. On balance, it’s rather nice!

  9. Portia

    I’ve bookmarked a bunch of Tibetan singing bowl meditation videos. These are the only contact I will have with the online world for as long as possible, other than checking my email. I admit to what I will call burnout. Call it selfishness, but my immediate surroundings need my attention.
    I will check in on Flaco the owl and Larry the cat on nitter (thanks to one of your readers for that link!).

    I wish all of you a Happy New Year and good health in body and spirit.

  10. ambrit

    My New Year’s Resolution is to stop worrying about past NYRs I didn’t pull off.
    Simple survival will be quite enough.
    One lurch at a time, as Dr. Von Frankenstein told me. “One cannot create new life in a day. Even the Deity took six to manage it.”

    1. kareninca

      Yes, when I read of resolutions I think of the scene in O Lucky Man where the old guy sends Malcolm McDowell out into the world with a shiny suit and the advice that he “try not to die like a dog.”

      1. Alex Cox

        Ralph Richardson! I resolve to try and do work as original and fearless and to revisit If, O Lucky Man, and The Old Crowd.

  11. Randall Flagg

    Resolutions? No. Trying to avoid setting myself up for failure.
    But seriously, have been working to make changes before the new year. Why wait when now was as good a time to start as any?
    Read that book rather than watch the nightly news. Snack on something healthy if needed. Slow down the alcohol intake. Especially as our healthcare system is collapsing.

    Peace to all across NC land. Be well.

  12. Callie

    Stop buying shit. Clear out the closets of unworn clothing, use up the supplies and give away anything not really worth selling. Love Craigslist “Free” section.

    Figure out how much rent or mortgage you are paying per square foot. Then measure footprint of never or barely used stuff. Take in a roommate and make money instead of wasting it on that space.

    p.s. Sharing utilities cost and chores is not taxable income. It means you can work less, and pay less, and fewer taxes to buy arms for dictators.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Simplify, simplify, simplify as much as possible without losing the essential of what is sought.’ – Frederick Judd Waugh

      Am finding things much easier if I only buy what I need and not what I want. And I find it much easier to just get rid of at least one item per day as that is no drama. It can be more but it has to be at least one thing per day. You do that daily and for a long time nothing seems to happen as it is easy. But then gradually it gets harder to pick something to get rid of and you reach the point where you are examining what you have to see if you really need it and can get rid of it. I call it an attritional approach and it really works well and you can do the same with computer files and papers. If you tried to do it in one hit, you might give up as it may be too big a job so you Swiss-cheese it instead.

      1. Betty Lou

        I like that. Try hanging newly cleaned shirts or dry cleaning on the far left of the closet bar. This pushes everything else to the right.

        After a couple of years, you’ll find items at the far right end of the bar covered with dust because they haven’t been worn in that time. Take a couple of those and donate to friends first, a local thrift shop or Salvation Army.

  13. kareninca

    I find it sad to think of Lambert not having his snack with milk. Why not an especially healthful snack, instead of no snack????? I have a friend who is in his 70s; he is very careful about his weight but he has had one Enlightened bar every day for years and that has not been a problem (other than the cost now, since they have really gone up in price). Why not a granola bar with milk??? Or a big mug of hot cocoa made with a combo of sugar and (mostly) stevia, with a few mini marshmallows???

    If the store with the milk doesn’t have healthful snacks, they could be kept in a special place at home that is ritually visited upon the return from the store.

    My New Year’s resolution is to do a paperwork task that has to be done anyway, but this way I get to get a fulfilled resolution out of it. That may make it less repulsive. Other than that, I think that my resolution will be to not be worse than I currently am; that is a less daunting prospect than actual improvement.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they could be kept in a special place at home that is ritually visited upon the return from the store.

      I have to organize that. I don’t need an added task.

  14. chris

    Happy new year!

    One concept I’d like to share for the new year, and new year’s day, is declaring organizational bankruptcy. All those emails you haven’t read but meant to? All those lists you didn’t get to? The stuff you’ve been beating yourself up about? Stop it. Mark all your emails as read. Delete the notes unless you’re willing to advance the to do dates, and maybe admit that if it wasn’t important enough to do in the months of 2023, it probably isn’t important enough to do in 2024. Otherwise you’d have made time to do it! So declare organizational bankruptcy and start the year with a fresh page :)

    1. CanCyn

      I like this! I have a friend who goes to bed every day with both her personal and work inboxes empty! And I don’t mean she spends time before bed cleaning up, she reads, deletes or files every email as they come in. It is a never end source of amazement to me. Getting rid of extraneous stuff both physical and digital is my resolution this year. I know that’s too vague, still working out the plan. Some things currently worked out:
      Physical things: Nothing new comes in without something going out. Donated of a bunch of clothes and shoes the other day to get the ball rolling – these do not count in the bringing in of anything new rule.
      Digital: January is bookmark clean up month and new email habits – read then file or delete. February will be photo clean up. March will be for old email clean up – have to workout how that will happen.

    2. Rubicon

      Chris: “declaring organizational bankruptcy.” A wonderful, imaginative way to compensate in Life. We love it:)

  15. albrt

    Lambert’s resolutions seem beneficial, but I am puzzled by number 2. I can see going easier on CDC and HICPAC as a derivative of number 9, but I would be very much interested in hearing the back story that led to the conclusion “they’re doing their best.”

    1. ambrit

      I see Resolution #2 as a subset of Resolution #1.
      Personally, I think that Lambert has had more than enough of banging his head on the desk in frustration with the pure dereliction of duty that are the operational records of the CDC and HICPAC.

    2. KLG

      Perhaps an example of the expression “They’re doing the best they can, bless their hearts.” Some of us remember our grandmothers saying this. They could use a verbal stiletto with considerable grace.

    1. Yves Smith

      Nori seaweed! You can buy it in small packs of little sheets. Mouth feel of potato chips, pretty much zero calories and lots of nutrients!

      Also I have pickles around for when I have the munchies, although the dill pickles imported here are all weird. But pickled little onions, roasted peppers….whatever floats your boat.

      I also drink miso soup (pretty much daily) as another response to snack desire.

      1. Rick

        And here I thought I was the only one! I bought these for making ramen but now snack on them. Good on sodium even though you wouldn’t know it from the taste. They do need to be kept in a sealed container or they will wilt but otherwise a great snack.

  16. Alice X

    The winter solstice, for me, is the calendar point that counts the most (there are the three other similar but lesser points). My resolution was just to get up every day and try to learn at least a little more. That’s been the resolution for quite some time.

    1. Eclair

      Re: Winter solstice. Glad to meet another winter solstice observer, Alice X. We observe Solstice by walking out near Elliot Bay in Seattle, through the mossy cedars, to the shore, looking across the water to the snow capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains. From a small bottle of the best aquavit, we pour out a libation to the Spirits (whichever ones are around at the moment, I am not partial), then take a sip in a toast to the coming revolution around the sun: may we survive.
      This year I learned the Swedish word for solstice: solstånd. Literally, sun stand. And for a week of two, the sun does seem to stand still, the amount of daylight remains about the same, with the sun rising later but setting earlier. It’s a good time to pause, take stock, stop running about frantically, reflect, hold your loved ones closer. To resolve to be kinder, less taken by material things, to be more in tune with the seasons, the greening of the trees as well as their final flings of wild color. To enjoy the flights of birds and the skitterings of the mouse, the delicate grace of the deer. To try to better distinguish between what is real and matters, and what is ephemeral and will pass.

    2. Rick

      I’ve put up a Solstice Tree for decades. My kids have (I optimistically like to think) somewhat fond memories of my promotion of Solstice. I like all the Pagan calendar holidays. The idea that winter *begins* on the Yule Solstice in the Northern hemisphere is just… dumb. It begins on Samhain. And summer begins on Beltane, not the summer solstice. Getting a feel for the natural world has made me less invested in identifying the hour and minute that a season changes.

  17. skippy

    1. – snark is like exhaling rather than holding ones breath in …

    2. – ideological and political agendas are anti science …

    3. – doomscrolling – ???? – where to start … reading the bible is a wee bit like that as it ends in apocalypse..

    4. – reading more than any other means of transferring thoughts and perspectives is the best way to hone the mind save having a living experience e.g. we can not live all those things in one life thingy …

    5. – Well known fact that visual media has negative effects on the mind before attempting sleep, too much stimulation of many parts of the brain, and the time it takes the rev meter to wind back down. Much better to do some light exercise which breathing is a part of …

    6. – depends what the snack is … better yet how many calories vs use of them during a day is at play. Per se I went from a fit 32′ waist to a 30′ waist in less than 2 months just by some light 25 min exercise in lounge room with the help of some well researched workout drinks. Now moving on to the 6 in 1 home gym for a bit of mass and more targeted exercise@62.

    7. – Finishing a job/works is always personally satisfying, especially when done well.

    8. – Yeah … save the ancestor for the really big dramas and don’t wear him out on the small stuff …

    My list is mostly working out/get fitter, make some new quality friends [no drama zone], which then in turn means getting out of the house more after 3 years of basically work work work and dogs whilst doing renos on the place after the epic ending of being married to someone with a pronounced BPD and its aftermath ..

  18. SocalJimObjects

    I wanted to lose 10 more pounds so at the beginning of December last year (it’s already 2024 where I am), I started running 1.4 miles a day, 5 days a week on top of 10000 steps of walking a day. I am also eating healthier by having only steamed food for lunch and dinner during the weekdays. By the way, I absolutely hate running, but gym membership is very expensive so I have to make do with what’s available.

    My biggest want for 2024: GRRM finishing The Winds of Winter, that thing is so overdue.

    1. skippy

      Take your pick …

      By ideology

      Associative Capitalist Corporate Democratic Laissez-faire Mercantilist Neoliberal Neomercantilist Protectionist Social market State Welfare Democratic Fascist Feminist Georgist Green Religious Buddhist economics Christian Sabbath economics Islamic Socialist Anarchist Communalist Communist Market socialist Mutualist Participatory Socialist market Socialist-oriented market State Syndicalist Social credit Distributist Traditionalist Corporatist Feudalism et al mate …. wiki

      Saying ***Capitalism*** did – it – is just so/such a blinkered view to the social dynamics and networks that underpin any critique of the simplistic term. You know it might be better focus on the networks that forward certain agency’s than barking at pejorative dog whistles mate …

  19. zach

    From the google:
    an imaginary animal (used to refer to someone or something that is difficult to track down).
    “pinning down the middle classes is like the hunting of the snark”

    More snark – a perfectly reasonable new years resolution to top your, or anyone’s, list.

      1. Robert Hahl

        Although common Snarks do no manner of harm, yet I feel it my duty to say, Some are Boojums.

  20. William Beyer


    On October 18, 2023, the Minneapolis StarTribune published a letter I wrote, which included a thought on “doomscrolling.” Here is the letter in full:

    Wow! What great advice on October 17 from the Editorial Board of the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, “Tend to your wellness amid a barrage of bad news:”

    “We’d urge everyone to take a break, even if only for 15 minutes. Turn off your phone. Sit in the sunshine. Be quiet and calm. Recharge. Try to find a moment of peace.”

    In other words, look the other way and shut up while we facilitate Israel’s trashing of the Geneva conventions, prohibiting collective punishment of any people, anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

    Soak up the warmth of white phosphorous while ignoring the smell of burning flesh. Calm the hell down, while ignoring Israel’s “final solution” targeting of Palestinian civilians. Try to find a moment of peace while your government continues to do awful things every day, promoting endless war.

    And, about that word for “endlessly reading bad news on social media — doomscrolling,” here’s a better idea. How about ending doomcreating? End our criminal foreign policy and global war on terror, proximate causes of much of the world’s pain and suffering.

    That would be a better approach to the endless supply of bad news on social media and would tend properly to my wellness and to yours.

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      William: that was a terrific post. Possibly some might see my post above – “focus my energies and emotions on what I can change and ignore the rest” as a diametric opposition to yours.

      It’s not.

      Emotional turmoil gets little done. Laser-beam focus of available resources on a _key_ part of the problem-set … well, that has better chances of actually changing things.

      I believe the trick is to pick the right places to apply your talents, and apply the hell out of those talents. Everyone brings a different set of talents to the table, so pick the place where your particular talents and resources can put a dent in the wall. Then use your special sledge-hammer to bash that part of the wall.

      Hopefully we can find some common ground. I do indeed subscribe to your perspectives.

  21. ChrisRUEcon

    Happy New Year to all from the (ex British-colonial) equatorial global south!

    As said earlier by Ignacio, #9 is excellent for everyone!

    • #MOARWalking, #MOARCardio, and maybe a return to some martial arts
    • Better eating, less drinking
    • #MOARPostGrad
    Acta Non Verba
    • Along the line of thought that Tom expressed above, why don’t I do/start something to make a change? I have some ideas …

    Good Luck Everyone! All the best!

  22. Samuel Conner

    > 2) Go easier on CDC and HICPAC, they’re doing their best

    I am prepared to admit the possibility that the principals of these entities are, from their own point of view, doing the best they believe they can do.

    But “doing their best” to what end? It isn’t public health or the public interest. Last I heard, HICPAC was planning to recommend relaxation of precautions against an “airborne Level 3 Biohazard”, a framing of CV that the world might not have were it not for you.

    Please consider revising this resolution. If deep dives are too discouraging, or too great temptations to anger, at least keep up the “top level” news flow, with added snark (per resolution 1).

    A certain level of “something on the spectrum from dismay to outrage” should be maintained with respect to public institutions that so grievously fail to serve the public interest. Very few people with public voices are doing that with respect to the failures of CDC and HICPAC. Please do not back away from this.

    My resolutions — sift the good from the bad of last years efforts, reinforce the former and retreat from the latter.

    Among the former, I hope to give away more N95s and more plants, seeds and growing supplies this year. Already, a long-time friend whom I have been trying, since Omicron, to persuade to accept N95s in quantities greater than handfuls has relented; he’ll accept a case of 3M Auras. He’s principal at a local school and I think he’s going to offer them to his staff.

    Also, re plants — get photos timely to Lambert this year, hopefully they may encourage readers.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Ah, I see from Lambert’s note @ 5:15AM that he is not going to back down. My bad for not reading all the comments before reacting to the post.

      (I did think that there was an odd tension among #1, #2, and #9. My “take” on #9 would be “less spontaneous anger, but more calculated fury”)

      Thank you, Lambert!

    2. LAS

      #2 is a good resolution (and related to #1 and #9). Our public health is under the dominance of politics and a lot of its (under)funding and PR are politically driven. And yet, within the profession are many people dedicated to public health, trying their best under the navigational constraints. Until we achieve idealistic perfection … it’s always a case of in, through, and despite and respecting people who persevere in that.

      I suspect many industries/professions have a majority of good, well-meaning people. It’s at the hinge points, where the most control fraud occurs. It takes time and discipline to distinguish.

      My own self-centered resolution is to learn to be a decent bridge player. It will do good for my inferential health.

  23. dougie

    Lose 65 pounds. Already down 15 since I started in December. #tirzepatide. Big Pharma FTW, (for a effing change) TOTALLY shut down my sweet tooth, my appetite reduced by 2/3. The chips in the cabinet are stale, the chocolate cake and all other Xmas goodies untouched. Absolutely no side effects 30 days in. I decided not to die a fat bastard. A skinny bastard? I’m good with that……..

  24. EMC

    1. Retire and don’t look back.
    2. Spend the fall in a foreign country to avoid the election insanity.
    3. Be more discriminating about who is and isn’t valuable to spend my time with.
    4. Only read good literature

  25. GF

    An interesting book I am reading currently may be of interest to Lambert – and it is of an economic bent:

    Silent Coup
    How Corporations Overthrew Democracy

    “Silent Coup shows us how corporations have insulated themselves from democratic decision-making and stolen our collective power. Through impressive and important investigative journalism, the authors reveal how, why and where corporate power has hijacked democracy.”
    Jeremy Corbyn

  26. Amfortas the Hippie

    i find that im still reeling from wife’s death…as well as the cancer ordeal…so a wreck since 9-11-2018.
    its better when its warm.
    the 2 bottlenecks of 1. roof of big greenhouse and 2. roof on bar extension are irking me.
    #2 is set to move forward on wednesday…#1. hot shrink lady over yonder hill has 3 willing workers for february when i get the tax return.
    i’ll feel better when those are done.
    i resolve to cut back on the beer…before Tam came home for hospice, i was at twice a week…thursdays and sundays.
    thats what ill attempt to get back to.
    difficult in winter, because i hurt all the time.
    (cold fronts…but also cold, itself is painful…plus all the hewing of wood–which leads to another resolution: finally get the woodshed stocked BEFORE winter,lol)
    all the rest of the infrastructure i can handle myself….so once the 2 bottlenecks are surpassed, ill be back to being a magic cripple and my usual mighty self.
    the geese told me to tell yall to have a happy new year.

  27. Goingnowhereslowly

    I see all the resolutions to pay sustained attention to worthwhile writings rather than daily doomscrolling and I can’t ignore the twinge of recurring realization that I need to put down my phone and perhaps attend seriously to my spiritual needs.

    And then I remember all the mental rabbit holes I’ve gone down over my six decades of a fairly closely observed—perhaps too closely observed—inner life and I shudder.

    My first husband was not entirely wrong when he said that I think too much. (My response that one should never say such a thing to a woman was also not entirely wrong!)

    My current mental health strategy of balancing doomscrolling with reading disreputable murder mystery series, and an Instagram habit centered on arts, crafts, and pet videos with developing skills as a seamstress is keeping me functional. I’m tapering off the antidepressants I’ve been on for decades, and so far it’s going well.

    I have focused on establishing reasonable expectations for myself in these disturbing times that I know will only get worse. Small pleasures rather than working towards philosophical and spiritual realizations seems to be the way forward for me now. I can wish I were more ambitious, but I fear that that way lies madness.

    I comfort myself with the thought that my old Zen teacher would probably approve. Wanting enlightenment, after all, is a big mistake. I shall do my daily round of (metaphorical) chopping wood and carrying water and watching my country tear itself and the whole world apart. Is that “enough?” I suspect that the answer is it will have to be.

  28. Librarian

    Understand that irritation and anger come from the inconsistency between your should-be beliefs and your perception of reality. You can surely work to “change the world”, but changing your anger is done through changing your should-be beliefs.

  29. Gregory Etchason

    Selective nonfiction reading. Always look at the table of contents first. There are generally only one or two chapters worth the effort. Skip any book with a 10 page introduction. Too much slicing and dicing of the theme that follows.

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