resolving new years resolutions

What does it take to finally make a resolution stick?

How far into the New Year do you progress before you stop greeting people with “Happy New Year”? Is it two weeks? The end of January? Valentine’s Day?

I like the practice. We’re all here together, at the threshold of the year that will be. It’s like we’re all co-owners of this new house called 2024, and we’re saying “Welcome!” to one another. How will we furnish it in the months ahead?

Some of us are a week into our New Year’s resolutions, perhaps already congratulating ourselves for sticking to whatever it is we resolved. I’m of two minds about resolutions. I like the idea of declaring an intention to make a change. I deplore the idea of setting myself up to fail.

My policy on New Year’s resolutions is that they shouldn’t be too punishing and they shouldn’t be too grand. We often use a resolution as a cudgel, as a method to get ourselves back in line, a means of eradicating the parts of ourselves we don’t like. David Sedaris has written about how, every New Year’s Eve, he had watched his mother scribbling furiously on a bunch of index cards. After her death, he discovered that she’d written the same thing on each one: “Be good.”

That’s a good encapsulation of all resolutions, isn’t it? Be good. Resolutions tend to be freighted with the implication that the way you are now is not good, or at least not good enough. My resolutions are typically of this variety: self-criticism disguised as self-improvement. Get in shape; stop your profligate spending; be nicer; work harder. If your resolution seems architected by someone who doesn’t like you, there’s still time to reconsider it.

My resolution this year is to, whenever possible, shop in person instead of online. I like this resolution because it lines up with other objectives I have concerning my finances, community, sustainability, simplicity. And it’s not totally about me, so it feels a little less dreary and narcissistic than typical resolution fare. It’s also less ambitious, which I hope means that I’m less likely to abandon it.

A friend recently reminded me that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. I’ve built in the “whenever possible” clause with this in mind. I’m going to do my best to buy things in brick-and-mortar shops (or, as Sedaris edited his mother’s resolution to read: “Try to think about maybe being good.”) But when I, inevitably, waver and, say, overnight a bucket of Tide Pods in a moment of desperation, I hope to be able to offer myself some grace.

Jodie Foster and Kali Reis star in the upcoming season of “True Detective.”Michele K. Short/HBO
  • Jodie Foster will star in Season 4 of HBO’s “True Detective,” which premieres next Sunday. It has a new showrunner — and presents a decidedly more female perspective.

  • Taylor Swift has now spent 68 weeks atop the Billboard 200 album chart, surpassing Elvis Presley’s record for the most weeks at No. 1 as a solo artist.

  • Jelly Roll, the face-tattooed country singer who’s become known as much for emotional openness as for hit songs, talked about the Grammys and his rap past.

  • Ian Wardropper, the director of the Frick Collection, plans to retire after completing a controversial renovation of the museum’s Gilded Age mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

  • The Detroit Opera has become a haven for ambitious and experimental art. That transformation would have been impossible without Wayne Brown, its longtime president, who retired at the end of last year.

  • Baldur’s Gate 3 was widely hailed as the best video game of the year. It has succeeded by creating a world, based on Dungeons & Dragons, that lets players do nearly anything they could imagine.

  • Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto star in a new thriller, “He Went That Way,” now in theaters. Our critic wasn’t impressed: “Few things in this laboriously quirky picture mesh at all,” Glenn Kenny writes.

  • A woman accused the rapper T.I. and his wife Tiny, also a musician, of drugging and raping her around 2005.

  • Joseph Lelyveld started at The Times as a copy boy and rose to become its executive editor, overseeing an era of growth and ushering in the digital age. He died at 86.

President Biden spoke in Blue Bell, Pa., yesterday.Pete Marovich for The New York Times

🎬 The Book of Clarence (Friday): This biblical comedy-drama from Jeymes Samuel, director of the 2021 Black western “The Harder They Fall,” is set in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. LaKeith Stanfield plays Clarence, a weed dealer — and twin brother of Thomas, of doubting fame — who pretends to be a new messiah to make some money. Unfortunately, it’s a politically heady time, Romans-persecuting-messiahs-wise. “It’s an ambitious project that manages to be both casually sacrilegious and utterly earnest about its ultimate message of faith,” Wendy Ide writes in Screen Daily.

🎬 The Beekeeper (Friday): When I first saw the trailer for this movie it felt slightly surreal, like one of those fake movies-within-a-movie. Here’s why: Action movie stalwart Jason Statham plays a beekeeper and shadowy organization member on a mission to avenge his friend, a kindly older woman played by Phylicia Rashad, who dies by suicide after losing money in a scam. It seems like action at its most improbable.

Kelly Marshall for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Roscoe Betsill. Prop Stylist: Maeve Sheridan.

January, the icy heart of soup season, is an ideal time to dive deep. Now is exactly the moment to explore soup in all its iterations, from the thick and stewlike to the effervescent and light. And on the lighter side, don’t miss Yewande Komolafe’s spicy, brothy Thai curry with silken tofu and herbs. A fragrant mix of jarred red curry paste enriched with coconut milk and clouds of tofu, it comes together quickly, and it’s easily adaptable. The notes reveal cooks adding more vegetables (bok choy, spinach, mushrooms); substituting green curry paste; even bulking things up with noodles, rice or ground pork. Simmer a potful this weekend, and don’t be shy about making it your own.

Dizzy Gillespie in 1955.Carl Van Vechten Collection/Getty Images

Jazz incubator: The tree-lined streets of Queens gave pioneering Black musicians a home.

Renovating a kitchen? Don’t forget the most crucial thing: light.

What you get for $825,000: An island retreat in Charleston County, S.C.; a midcentury- modern home in Portland; or an early 19th-century rowhouse in Philadelphia.

Too rich: Last year just 16 percent of homes for sale were affordable to people earning the median income in their areas, according to a study.

The hunt: A single father sold his family home in Westchester to start over in Manhattan for $900,000, with his college-age son in tow. Which house did he choose? Play our game.

Bliss Katherine

Megacakes: The new trend at wedding receptions (and on Instagram) — extremely long, table-length cakes.

Tanner Leatherstein: A leather craftsman has attracted a cult following online by burning and slashing luxury items.

Seven tips: Forget hyperbaric chambers and infrared light. Here is evidence-backed advice on aging well.

Debunked: Experts told us the fitness misconceptions that ​drive them crazy, including the myth that running is bad for your knees.

If your dishwasher detergent is an afterthought, consider this: Upgrading it is a simple step that can help even not-so-great dishwashers deliver spotless dishes. You may need to try a few different detergents to find the best one for your dishwasher, but we recommend starting with our top pick. Wirecutter tested 24 different kinds of detergent on dishes smeared with everything from baked-on egg to burned-on casserole to day-old oatmeal, and our pick cleared every stubborn stain that came its way, no pre-rinsing required. — Andrea Barnes

Michael Penix Jr.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Washington vs. Michigan, college football championship: Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. appeared unstoppable in his semifinal win over Texas, throwing into impossibly small openings and hitting receivers in stride deep down the field. In Michigan’s semifinal, its defensive front seemed to break through Alabama’s offensive line with ease, notching 10 tackles for losses, including six sacks. Michigan hasn’t faced a quarterback as good as Penix; Washington hasn’t faced a defense as good as Michigan’s. Monday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN

Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was likelihood.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.


Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

P.S. María Jesús Contreras, the artist who creates the illustrations atop this newsletter every Saturday, has made a video highlighting her work for The Morning over the past year. It’s a delight.

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