I think one of the reasons that people have such a tough time keeping resolutions is because they make resolutions they don’t want to keep. Eating more leafy greens, stopping smoking, getting to work earlier — all important but also kind of a drag. Instead, I try to make resolutions I’ll actually enjoy — and that helps them stick.
1. Bake more bread: There are few things I love more than freshly baked bread. I have a lovely little loaf, a recipe of Delia Smith’s: it’s a red potato, spring onion, thyme, and goat cheese boule, and it takes almost no time to make. And when it comes out of the oven, and I slather it with ripe avocado, I am very, very happy.
2. Eat more Chinese food: I like Asian foods of all varieties, but I really, really love Chinese food. It’s cheap and convenient and it makes me terrifically happy to go out with a big group of friends and share a bunch of dishes either for dinner or over dim sum. So I’m going to do more of it in the new year — and maybe add Peking Duck to the rotation.
3. Give away more spare change: When I’m walking down the street and someone asks me for some spare change, my knee jerk reaction is to say “Sorry,” and just keep walking. And I almost always feel awful about it. I realize that giving someone in need a couple of dollars isn’t going to address any of the systemic issues related to poverty. But I’m really lucky — if far from being wealthy — and it makes me happy to share a little with someone who needs it.
4. Institute cocktail hour: In my mind, there are few things as pleasurable or civilized as a cocktail and nosh before dinner. It’s a good excuse to try out a new fancy drink — Harvey Wallbanger, anyone? — and whet my appetite with some nuts or olives or charcuterie. It’s a perfect way to ease oneself into supper, to catch up with a loved one about the day’s activities, and to institute some calm before we get back into the kitchen and start making dinner.