My Anti-Resolutions

This time of year I get annoyed by all the pressure from New Year Resolutions. We make big plans on December 31—lose 50 pounds, start exercising, get out of debt!—only to beat ourselves up for failure by sunset January 1.

I am all for positive growth and change, but the traditional New Year pacts with perfection set us up to fail. What standard are we trying to achieve and who set it there for us?

Men and women, especially in America, are pressured by the media to adhere to ridiculous standards. We are told we have to be lingerie models in the bedroom, fashion models out in public and maintain photo-spread worthy houses (filled with the best gadgets!) all while working prestigious, higher education jobs. Who profits from these ridiculous standards? Everyone but us.

Success is in the eye of the beholder. Corporations publish these ridiculous ideals to make money off of us. I don’t blame them. I like money myself.

My gripe is the vacuum of joy that results in failing to achieve the impossible. I know many beautiful people who feel worthless because they aren’t the desired income/measurements/education level. It isn’t right.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. There always has been and always will be a drive to keep up with the neighbors. Is it possible to recreate the standards of success to be real ones that are achievable and beneficial?

What if men and women were judged on how kind they are? Instead of strutting down the catwalk with cold, vacant looks, models could instead smile and pass out compliments instead of expecting them.

To emulate them, we would all stand around in coffee shops connecting and building each other up instead of making snide comments behind our cappuccinos.

From an email I recently sent to a friend that set me on this ponder path—

Freedom comes with accepting our imperfections and flaws. When we accept ourselves as we are, flaws are no longer negative. They are part of us, like the knot that interrupts the grain. It is character.

We are perfect as we are, so there can be no mistakes or wrongness as long as we recognize ourselves with truth. Rocks, trees, animals and us… we all have our crags, chips, knots and scars. That’s what makes us Us. Proud to be flawed.

I’ve decided to make anti-resolutions this year. I vow to keep myself open to improbability, see my flaws as facets, and emulate the real beautiful people—those that make everything around them better.

We are good enough as we are, and by being good as we are we become even better.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith's work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association's Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology. She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.
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