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The Lifestyle Habits We're Not Going To Take Into The New Year

These are the things best left behind in 2023.

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illustration animation of the word no with a disco ball, anti-resolutions, new year
Elizabeth Brockway
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Several months ago, my editor asked what we planned NOT to do in 2024. Easy enough, I thought.

I will NOT be on social media except for professional reasons.

I will NOT drink alcohol since COVID has ruined it for me (one glass of chardonnay makes me feel like crap the next morning).

I will NOT dump aspartame into cold brew.

I will NOT eat processed sugar except in lemonade seltzer mocktails.

I will NOT say “sorry” before or after saying “no.”

I practiced this last resolution on my husband. His cousins were scheduled to stay with us. My husband asked if they could have unlimited access to my office during that time. My office is where the extra bed is.

“No,” I said.

“No?”

“No is a complete sentence.”

“I don’t think you came up with that yourself,” my husband said.

“No,” I said. “I didn’t.”

We agreed the cousins could stay in my office early morning and evening. A few days later, my mother emailed, “Is there any hope of taking your stuff from the garage?” I had left piles of boxes in her house after we sold our house and moved into an apartment.

“No,” I said. “I have nowhere to put it.”

Granted, saying “no” to my mother and husband without adding “sorry” was small potatoes.

I decided to see what others were planning NOT to do in 2024. Some responses were predictable and reasonable, some were harrowing and poetic.

“I plan, or hope, to not sacrifice taking care of my body whenever I experience depression. While the easiest thing is to stay in bed, un-showered, unfed and uncared for, the strongest act of love is not abandoning myself during hard times. I am really happy that I manifested my dream of living outside New York this year. Living a couple of months in Mexico and immersing myself in a beautiful culture has strengthened my confidence to navigate difficult moments in life.” — Amany, 32, visual designer.

“In 2024, I plan on not giving my energy to negative people or activities that do not fill my soul and make me feel appreciated, strong and loved. In 2023, I began to travel again. I took big trips out West to the mountains and weekend trips to the ocean. I reconnected with old friends, created new relationships and saw the country.” — Jodi, 47, sales manager.

“One of the best steps I took a couple of years ago was to not work on Shabbat unless it was an emergency. This wasn’t because I’m religious, but because I needed to set aside time to not check and respond to emails or get work tasks done. This was surprisingly difficult to do, but it has been wonderful for my mental health. What I will stop doing in 2024 is feel like I need to monitor and respond to messages I receive after 6 p.m. since that’s time I should be spending with my family. What I’m glad I started doing in 2023: Expand my interest in and time allocated to art. I’m painting on a regular basis for the first time since high school. I took my daughter to art museums and galleries, and she enjoyed it, so we will do more outings like that.” — Lorien, 46, executive director.

“What I will not do in 2024 is continue to place myself in the tight conscription of boxes both meant and not meant for me. The box of motherhood. I failed to check it. The box of career, so hard driving, that I did not check that box either. The box of the linear lockstep frog march from boyfriend to serious boyfriend to husband to misery. Another box left unchecked. (Side note: Buy stock now. That’s an ongoing pursuit of mine in 2024. Up or down, the market is where America’s true and unassailable wealth is made. A woman on her own must have means of her own.) For all the boxes in 2024 I have not and will not check, there are many I look forward to checking. The first is — I feel like moving to the beach. So, I’m moving to the beach. I feel like watching squalls and racers storm the shoreline from my floor-to-ceiling windows. I feel like finishing the novel I’m writing and finding the seriousness and the gravity of the writer’s chair again. I feel like paring down. I feel like swimming. What I won’t do is live on anyone else’s terms. More specifically, I will not follow a man. I have followed men to Jakarta, Indonesia, and Utrecht, Holland, and it has never worked out. After I finally got married in 2019 and beaten up by 2022 by that man and slammed into a domestic violence shelter and a divorce that continues to this day, I’m done. Life on my terms or nothing at all!” — Caroline, 46, writer.

“I will not over-focus on my weight or try to meet my soulmate. As a divorced woman, I always dreamed of meeting my future husband and based my self-worth on my success or lack thereof. In 2023, I changed my career, leaving a job I loved that had a glass ceiling for advancement, without knowing where I would land. I was extremely fortunate to take on a new role as CEO of a Jewish women’s organization, aligning my passion and values with my work life.” — Melanie, 59, CEO.

“What I’m not going to do is eat lousy, mediocre bread. I’m only going to eat delicious, sumptuous bread! One thing I have committed to doing more of in 2024 is hearing live music. I have connected to the part of myself that loves the communal experience of enjoying music and singing together. I lost that part of myself while I was raising my children. A secondary addition is that when I work out, I am only listening to disco!” — Anonymous, 50-something therapist.

“To say ‘no’ not followed by an excuse, apology or guilt. In Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ podcast ‘Wiser Than Me,’ Jane Fonda shared that one of the best pieces of advice she received was from Anne Lamott, who said that ‘no’ can be used as a complete sentence without explanation. In 2023, I said ‘no’ to things I did not enjoy and began to resent. I needed to end them for my peace of mind.” — Stefanie, 54, yoga instructor.

“In 2024, I plan to not look at Facebook more than once a day. I am glad that in 2023, I started swimming at least three times a week.” — Elaine, 76, retired product manager.

“In 2024, I plan not to let my aches and pains prevent me from leading as active a lifestyle as possible in my retirement community, which has so much to offer. In 2023, I was glad I exercised, attended lectures and performances, and participated in activities despite my arthritis and other physical limitations.” — Dorothy, 82, retired administrative assistant.

 
What's a habit you DON'T plan to take with you into 2024? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle