Hey, we’re only human. Whatever your zodiac sign, bad habits come for us all, similar to death and taxes (unless you are super wealthy, in which case: congrats!). I know most people set new year’s resolutions as a way to confront and counter their vices and shortcomings, and later give up on them entirely. I feel that. Long-term planning can only be so wise, before reality sets in and we all just want to melt into flatness on our preferred comfortable furniture.
But hey—it’s a new year, a new decade, and I have officially finished my first ever start-to-finish Chapstick at the ripe and nubile age of 27. I’m locked and loaded for 2020, babies. Regardless of how you feel about your sign’s worst habits, I think we can all agree that are some small, meaningful changes we could partake in to make our lives more joyful.
I think it’s funny that as a general rule—humans hate rules. We bristle up like steel wool the minute we feel that our liberties or choices are limited by some omniscient parent on high, telling us that it’s time for bed, no arguments. And yet!!! We also like being told what to do—just look around you. For the most part, people of the same age/culture tend to dress eerily similar. We get our humor in a feedback loop from TikTok and copy the speech patterns of people we admire.
We lament when dating that everyone is too similar, and then complain when someone acts outside of those reliable, somewhat-boring behaviors. We call those people weird. We want the results of hard labor without actually, you know—doing it.
So that’s why I like resolutions, even if we fail at ’em. Partly because I’m contrary, and everybody hates them—and partly because a good many are doomed to failure by design. And failure, I’m learning—is really effing good for me.
Failure is an opportunity to be nicer to myself, to make my own safety-net of patterns and behaviors that don’t make me emotionally spin out and hate my life. Failure is inevitable, and resolutions are a low-stakes way to get comfortable with it. It makes it easier for me to try new things, and move on when they don’t pan out the way I expected them to.
Working on your worst tendencies isn’t about perfection or hitting the high score. At least, not for me. It’s about adapting to my circumstances, making tough decisions. Like, is it worth it to workout if I’m sick and haven’t eaten and would rather just call my mother? Sometimes, no.
Humans are not machines, and failure is, at least a little bit, in our DNA. But it’s also what makes us compassionate, strong, and creative. It’s what gives us drive to do better, and try again in more interesting and resilient ways. All these habits below? I’ve failed at each of them spectacularly, over and over.
So let’s kind be kind to ourselves and others, and wear our failure until it’s as comfortable as yoga pants.
Aries – Still beats themself up over what happened in 2019
Engaging in more positive self-talk is hugely important and also—it’s almost impossible. At least, when you’re just starting out. Because our thoughts are sneaky. While we can start each day fresh and positive, it’s shockingly easy to fall back into old patterns of our minds chanting: not good enough! not good enough! Thinking about changing your thought patterns is a lot like meditation. It takes daily practice, and really, I always learn more from yanking myself out of a negative thought-spiral than executing a perfect ‘ommm’ after a zen-like trance.
Taurus – Not eating a healthy meal five times a week and letting guilt consume them
It’s like Pinterest—the idea of eating “clean” is fine in isolation, but ultimately, it serves to remind me what an undomestic goddess I am and how deeply unfair society’s expectations of a Renaissance woman run. Cooking is great, eating healthy is great, etc. But if you eat a bagel or fall short of your (possibly unrealistic) food goals, just make a better plan for next time. Because guilt does not burn calories, and neither does regret.
Gemini – Quitting the 30-Day yoga challenge
I’m allowed to talk shit about Gemini’s because I am one, first of all. Second—doing ANYTHING other than basic needs for 30 days in a row is basically an Olympic challenge. At least, it is for flighty Gemini who is very much an air sign and quickly loses interest in things. My best advice is to go ahead and keep trying, even when you miss days. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. You can settle for ‘good enough’ here, it is plenty.
Cancer – Still entertaining that long-term toxic friendship
Friendship can be a deeply moving emotional connection to another being—or it can be gritted-teeth coffee dates and forced socializing that makes you cry alllll the way home and reenact what you WISHED you would’ve said during a passive-aggressive conversation that skirted around all your worst insecurities! Listen, losing long-term friends can be gutting. Ending a friendship (or relationship of any kind, really) is not a one-time decision. It’s one you have to make over and over, with the same and new people. Forgive yourself your missteps, and stay strong.
Leo – Setting a Screen Time reminder, then ignoring it every.single.time.
You know, for someone who doesn’t have social media—I sure do manage to waste entire eons on my phone doing god-knows-what. Phones (and devices) have turned into our emotional security blankets, ensuring that we never have to sit in a waiting room and face our own reckoning. It’s really hard to abstain from mindless scrolling when it’s become so ingrained in our reflexes. But! We all have an obligation to do so, to protect our sanity and our deteriorating neck muscles.
Virgo – Saying ‘yes’ to obligations and engagements that make you want to scream into the void for eternity
Ah, my nemesis. The knee-jerk YES that shoots out of my mouth when all I want to do is moo a long and mournful ‘noooooooooooooooooo’ until they slowly back away, forever scarred. This fear of saying no can be really prevalent with Virgos, who set high standards for themselves. While it’s possible that this may remain a life-long struggle, you absolutely can train yourself to say no without guilt or shame. It’s just uncomfortable, and the first few times can be anxiety-inducing. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes. Make this your mantra: Can I get back to you on that?
Libra – Opting for animal videos instead of reading every night before bed
Books are one of the best things humanity has done for the world, yet instead of reading we look at pictures of small animals and fall asleep feeling like we swallowed battery acid and loneliness. Lame! But reading every night isn’t sustainable if you have any type of job or obligation. If you want to read more this year, my advice is to find books that you really like, not what’s on the bestseller list or sounds important and literary. The right book demands attention, while the wrong one can feel like a slog through spoiled milk. Make reading enjoyable, and you’ll do more of it.
Scorpio – Hitting da snooze
If I watch one more YouTube video where they wake up at 5 a.m. and then do an exhaustive list of self-care activities, I will bury my body so far underground that no one will find me for one hundred years. Jesus. I get that it works for some people, but honestly, if waking up earlier just causes you stress and guilt (like it does with me!)—then forget it. Yes, you have to make it to work/school on time. But find what works for you. If waking up is super hard, then maybe just get everything ready the night before and reap similar benefits of being prepared for the day. Waking up early is not a sign of superiority, and our bodies/brains work differently.
Sagittarius – Skipping the 10-step skincare routine
Half the stuff you put on your face doesn’t do much of anything, amirite? For healthy skin, you need a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. If you wanna get nuts, you can use retinol products or undergo cosmetic procedures. But everything else? Serums and face masks and creams and snail goop and whatever? It’s just time and money, sweet Sagittarius. Of course, if you like it—carry on. But otherwise, let yourself be free of the tyranny that is exhaustive skincare.
Capricorn – Failing to go zero waste
I love the idea of zero waste. And I think there’s so much that we, as consumers, can do to reduce waste and ecological harm to our planet! But! It’s not all on us. Corporations and the legislature need to do their part, too. Do the best you can, and try not to burn yourself out. Build up habits over time, and be encouraging and forgiving to yourself and others as we all try a little harder to be kind to our world. (Also: reusable coffee filters mold like a mother. So gross, do NOT recommend.)
Aquarius – Blowing their budget
This topic is incredibly loaded. And with so many people struggling, a budget can be incredibly difficult (read: impossible) to stick to. Case in point: car repairs, health issues—you know, all of those things that we can’t really plan for, and that seem to come at the worst times. For a budget to be successful, an emergency fund is crucial. So is a healthy dose of realism, and having attainable goals (ie: I will pay off X amount of debt by January 2021, etc.) All I can say is, you’re not alone. Budgeting and financial literacy are always hard to get into, but once you do, it will really change your life.
Pisces – Cheating on a Paleo/ketogenic/some radically different and/or strict diet
Look, different diets and lifestyles work for different folks. But it follows common sense that the more restrictions and rules you have for yourself and eating, the harder it is to maintain. That’s just basic human psychology. All I’m saying is that you don’t have to choose a hard life. You can eat healthily, and find what works. These diets will (most likely) not save your life, or finally make you happy. They will not heal your relationships, make you nicer or more photogenic, or somehow whiten your teeth. Being ten pounds skinnier won’t make you ten points happier. It’ll just mean you gotta buy new pants. So fail a little, eat the cookies, and lean into 2020.