I don’t know what it is about New Years resolutions, but I’ve always thought they were a bit like Juicy Fruit gum. The second you get a taste you want more, but the appeal is short-lived. You quickly lose the flavor and need something new to fill its place.

The first few weeks of January humorously act like clockwork every year. It’s like everyone has been in a cave for the past twelve months and suddenly emerge as if it’s the end of hibernation. People flock to the gyms, the streets are filled with runners and bikers, and even the grocery store produce department seems a little under-stocked.

It’s clear the beginning of the year signifies a fresh start–a clean slate. It marks an instant “re-do” of anything that has happened in the past twelve months. The number one has the remarkable ability to force mass quantities of people to simultaneously sit down and re-evaluate their lives. Fairly powerful number, if you ask me.

As we enter into this early January short-lived craze and begin to ponder the existential question of what–after all these years–we really want to do with our lives, we can go in either one of two directions. We can either tell ourselves we actually want to lose 30 pounds in three weeks on a lemon water and carrot diet (I mean really, who comes up with these things???), or we can think about what we really do want to do…what (I know, this is shocking) really makes us happy.

Now this word “happy” is a funny one. We often confuse what we think will make us happy and what actually does make us happy. As I was home over break I finished reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, the one that was made into a movie with Julia Roberts). Guys, I know what you’re thinking…that’s a chick book. Well, okay. It might appeal more to a girl, yes. But I think the book offers some important insights that I think would appeal to everyone–guy, girl, young, or old.

In her book, Gilbert compiles three ideas  of what she thinks can fulfill someone with happiness: eating, praying, and loving. Now I’ve never been a religious person myself, so I was a bit wary of the middle part. But Gilbert presents her points in a way that is neither overbearing or invasive. Instead, the book reads much like a conversation, as simple observations that take on a “take it or leave it” attitude.

Gilbert very much cuts to the heart of this New Years dilemma we face every year–what we think makes us happy versus what actually does. Seems simple enough, but it’s funny how often we can trick ourselves into thinking otherwise.

So for all you guys and girls out there with the NYRD (New Years Resolution dilemma), I recommend a simple task: pick up “Eat, Pray, Love” and read it. Whether it takes you two days or all twelve months, I think you’ll get something out of it.

As for me, I think I’ll go fill up my happy cup with a glass a wine and a good book. Maybe throw some dark chocolate into the mix too…just for good measure.

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