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New Year’s Resolutions are good. They give us goals to have the best year ever. We support this. We already inform you how to have the best month. A New Year’s Resolution is sort of like a personal best year possible gauge. If you’re keeping it, excellent. If you’re failing, whatever. If you didn’t set one, who needs them?

One month into 2014 we checked in with our writers to see how they’re holding up. Everyone seems to want the same thing: be an amazingly smart hot person.

Mackenzie Baile resolved to look hot

My New Years resolution was to look really hot and return to my previous fit self. It was a great thought and went very well for a while. My sister and I were going to the gym about 4 times a week and we were eating healthy and the goal was within reach. Then I had to go back to school and I’m really broke and the food at my school sucks so I’ve been eating a lot of pizza. On top of that, I actually have real responsibilities now so in my spare time I don’t want to workout. I prefer to nap or watch TV. It’s also -100000 degrees outside so why would I want to leave my warm bed? While this resolution was a good idea, and worked for 3 weeks, I can’t honestly tell you that I regret napping instead of working out, and the cheap delivery food is much better than campus food. In fact, I’m eating an Egg McMuffin as I type this. If anybody has a foolproof way to get hot and healthy while eating shit food and sleeping, let me know, because those things aren’t stopping now.

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Morgan Baskin resolved to read more things

Proud to say I’ve stuck to it: subscribed to the New Yorker and Paris Review, so there’s no excuse for me to say that I don’t have access to beautiful highbrow things. (I also downloaded the PDFs of school assignments/studies so I can read from the go to make it easier. Also feel 875976 times more guilty if I don’t, which is a good motivator).

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Stephanie Breijo resolved to work and rest harder. (Square.)

Last month an editor at Refinery 29 asked about my New Year’s Resolutions. You can find them here but the gist is that–while I don’t normally make resolutions–in 2014 I challenged myself to work harder with more personal photojournalism projects in my spare time and more longform written features up on BYT. I also resolved to give myself more time to relax and catch up on the week’s best magazine articles from around the print-or-web ether and while the latter hasn’t exactly been going according to plan, I did dedicate a night-into-morning documenting Los Angeles’s late-night taco trucks and the people you’ll find there at all times, which to most people might sound like an obnoxious/precious/pretentious photo project but I found it fascinating.  This week on BYT we ran the first piece in our “At Home With…” lifestyle series and I’m fairly proud of the finished product there; it’s not entirely longform but it’s a step in the right direction. *Pushes up glasses*

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Andrew Bucket resolved to learn about empires

My New Years resolution has been to read A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Things have been going swimmingly. I finished Volume I this month. I was startled by what I found in the last quarto, particularly the quasi-pagan treatment of early Christians and, as far as I can tell, author Edward Gibbon is takes a hugely controversial position on exactly how many martyrs (drastically fewer by his estimation) lived in that period, which is an outright challenge to the historical writings of the church from his time in the 18th century.

I’ve been able to stick to my resolution by not being a distracted little child and taking my commitments serious. It’s called being an adult.

Megan Burns resolved to stay dry

My only resolution was to not cry during movies, which I do a lot. (Sometimes I specifically watch that one part of the Katy Perry movie where her marriage is unraveling, all because I know I won’t not cry.) Seeing as how I just got Netflix for the first time on NYE, though, this resolution was broken mere hours into 2014. And for that we have killer whales, Diana Vreeland and the majesty of mother nature (all wrapped up into easily-accessible documentaries) to thank.

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Morgan Day resolved to read

After years of planning to go to the gym on a regular schedule and then experiencing disappointing January after disappointing January, I decided that maybe smarter is better than fitter. The logic went something like: if I can’t impress my peers via a killer bod then I’ll knock them out with my knowledge. This year I decided to read a book a week, or if scheduling is iffy, four books throughout the month. I am happy to say that I have kept up with my resolution and have surpassed it by reading two to three books a week. Downside­– my anti-social tendencies have increased and the number of empty quarts of wonton soup at my bedside continues to rise.

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Books Morgan Has Read In 2014

Pablo Neruda Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man
Tom Robbins Jitterbug Perfume
Tom Robbins Skinny Legs and All
Dostoevsky Notes From Underground
Rachel Kushner The Flamethrower’s
Esquire The Book of Men
Shakespeare Richard III
Shakespeare Hamlet
Aphra Behn Oroonoko

Morgan Fecto resolved to not resolve

Call me un-American, but New Year’s resolutions have never been my thing. The initial excitement at a blind commitment to hot-yoga is just not worth the trip to Lululemon, or the eventual departure from the yoga studio, covered in some guy’s ball sweat. But don’t you want to be thinner? Read more poetry? Know more about how they distill craft whiskey? Eh…not really. I’d rather be doughy and uncultured and drink Jim Beam from a plastic flask than upset a life-balance that hasn’t landed me in prison or on Teen Mom. What if my resolution to “be more adventurous” leads me to sell my car, quit school and live off the land a la Chris McCandless? HUBRIS! I’d sooner stick to my station than perpetuate American notions of “self-improvement,” even if that spirit did give us the Crunchwrap Supreme. Nonetheless, there is one resolution that I would recommend to all for next year: knock-off the nonsense and be true to your own special brand of shittiness. That’s the ideal that drive-thru liquor stores have pioneered for years, and I’d rather subscribe to something I know works than shame-eat my weight in Entenmann’s after failing some arbitrary resolution to do more kegels.

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Jeb Gavin resolved to get all things done

Much as over a decade ago I gave up Catholicism for Lent and opted to begin celebrating Yom Kippur with a bacon cheeseburger, I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in years. There’s something about the arbitrary nature of the Gregorian calendar rolling over coupled with human nature requiring slow, continuous effort to affect change that makes resolutions foolish and infuriating. I am or have been in my life a drunken lout, horny idiot, gluttonous monster- a slothful failure of a subhuman thing paradoxically barreling towards failure and so desperately backpedaling from it I slip ass over tea kettle right into it. I’m also told I can be a tad self-critical.

Point is, fixing myself isn’t going to happen in a flash; a single wish made at the beginning of the year won’t cut it. Instead I get everything I can think of done as soon as I can first day of the new year. I check subscriptions, clean my car, order toiletries for the year from Amazon. Doctors appointments are made, a credit check is ordered, I buy any cards or presents I think I’ll need. I make dinner reservations, book hotel rooms, buy plane tickets if they’re available. If I can I cycle through my wardrobe for anything that needs to be discarded (I’m a guy, and a badly dressed one at that, so it’s a quick task,) and usually I try and clean out my car as I’m lazy about it and need occasion to do it. Finally, I snake the drains and faucets in the house prophylactically. Not sure where I picked up the habit of doing rather than saying at the beginning of the year, but it serves me as well as any resolution, and I’m not throwing good money after bad on a copy of Rosetta Stone or yoga studio membership I’ll never get around to using.

You wake up, you do stuff, you go to bed. You do it 30,000 times in a row and that’s your life. If it makes it easier to break it in to 365 day chunks, so be it, but it’s the continual doing of things that makes you into who you are now, not assuring yourself you’ll start doing them one day.

Svetlana Legetic resolved to not make a resolution but always makes a resolution

Much like every year I try not to make resolutions (and even resolve to not even think about resolving about exercising) but STILL swear on all sorts of things that I will get more sleep and take better care of my skin/hair/etc which is very much in a 33-going-on-13 mode. And much like every year, four weeks in, I am in desperate need of naps I don’t have time to take in the middle of the day, awake at 5am staring at the ceiling with my brain in overdrive, no haircut appointment in sight even though I didn’t see my stylist (Hi Ian!) since like August and a nice array of top-of-my-nose acne and a neck zit that I’ve been trying to get rid of for 3 out of the past four weeks. What I DID achieve in the last four weeks is this: develop a mild melatonin addiction, spend 200 dollars on new pillows that promised me the world (of peaceful sleep) and accumulate over 500 extra Sephora points through various impulse purchases (though I do have high hopes for their beauty oils super sampler, at least for now). Next year I should just resolve to be a good consumer. I’ll have that on lockdown.

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Diana Metzger resolved to wear awesome makeup and bring back the fanny pack

If you read my piece about resolutions, you’ll know I believe in continuing to rock things you’re already doing right. In the spirit of that goal, I have one success and one failing: I am really sporting the clear brow gel I bought on a semi-regular basis, but my plans for fannypack domination are on the back burner. My finances are troubled in the new year (could be frivolous purchases like brow gel for my already lush brows) so I find that I don’t have enough money to purchase the hip pack on my dreams. I’m considering starting a Kickstarter for my fanny pack ambitions–first donation will receive a semi-used brow gel, perfect for storing in your soon-to-be purchased fanny pack.

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Bryce Rudow resolved to read, stretch and keep it clean

Read a poem a day: found a good website, saved it to my bookmarks bar, and I repeatedly pretend it’s not there

Do yoga once a day: this has turned into me occasionally just stretching my calves while watching something on my laptop.

Swear less: fuck you.

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Joseph Schaefer resolved to work out and “eradicate hate”

WORK OUT – BE HEALTHY: Well, like most people, working out was one of my main New Year’s resolutions. It had been hard to make it to the gym at least 3-4 times a week, so I’ve found ways to workout without getting to the gym, whether it be hikes in local parks or doing workouts at home (ab workout app, pull-up bar, push-ups). Between working out, eating well and quitting smoking, I’ve actually lost 9 pounds. (I attribute a good chunk of that to quitting smoking, seriously.) No more late night munchies… It also helps I’ve continued to avoid soda and fast food. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had either.

ERADICATE HATE: I’ve concentrated on being a more positive person in general. Not shedding hate on people or snapping at people who have nothing to do with my “problems”. So far… I’ve failed. I’ve continued to be extremely optimistic and positive but people’s antics still nag me and result in some snappy reactions. One of my adjusted tactics is to avoid the “Facebook wall”. Why am I still “friends” with some people from high school? People’s stupidity surprises me every day. So, one main tip to take away from this is to avoid problems you know you can avoid. It’s crazy how much of a difference it makes.

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Avalon Swindell Jones resolved to eat healthier

It’s gone both ways. I’ve always eaten well,  but with a new super food popping up daily, it’s hard for me to keep up. I’ve been adding extra healthy ingredients to my smoothies, including spinach, kale (the only way I can get it down), coconut water, fruit, protein powder, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, flax seeds, etc. Surprisingly, this turns out to be delicious…like a tropical drink that just happens to be a green/brown color. But who can turn down the Papa John’s buy one large, get one for 30 cents deal?

Brandon Wetherbee resolved to get less fat and less dumb

I embrace New Year’s Resolutions. They make sense. At the beginning of every year you have the chance to begin anew. Why not do all of the things that you’ve been putting off due to stress and the holidays? I gain at least 10 pounds, usually 20, between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. That’s incredibly unhealthy. That’s incredibly normal. I know this and am OK with this. So I give something up for each January. It’s usually meat or soda or beer. This year it’s processed foods and beer. As of this writing, I have not eaten any processed foods and only drank beer once, at an official Monster Jam event. I’m OK with this.

The less dumb part is also going well. My year long resolution for 2014 is the same it’s been since 2009: read 52 books and watch 104 films. I’ve finished 6 books and I’ve seen 12 films. Long walks listening to audiobooks and Netflix has made this year’s resolution easier than ever before. I realize this sounds like bragging. It it not bragging or even humble bragging. It is a tip: audiobooks. I’m retaining more information than reading a book. And I’m doing dishes or laundry or getting from one place to another place. I now know that football causes concussions and Hitler was a real dick because I’m ‘reading’ while doing other stuff. I’m writing about the films and books here. I like documentaries and whatever is available in the DC Public Library online library.

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