2018: You say you want a resolution?

Published January 01 2018

Don’t you just love making New Year’s resolutions?

Me neither.

Mine always relate to getting more of something (money) or less of something (weight), and whatever the goal, it’s always out of reach. No wonder we all hate February – it’s more than the cold that’s bringing us down. It’s the iron weight of failure.

I’ve learned that I’m happier when I set a goal that I know I’ll meet, so the year I had a contract to sell my house, my resolution was “Move out.” Nailed it.

At a website called (I kid you not) happynewyear-2018.org, you can find a slew of suggested resolutions, everything from “Start a meditation practice” and “Learn a new language” to “Forget the past” and “Enjoy the little things.” My favorites are “Dress more like my style” and “Tame your monkey mind.” I had to look that last one up.

By the time you read this, it will probably be too late to redirect you for the moment the ball drops in Times Square, but put this suggestion under your hat for future reference: Set a reasonable goal for something that will benefit others, as well as yourself. Or as my mom always said, “Stop thinking about yourself so much.”

And it’s true. All this resolution-making can get a little narcissistic. I just finished reading John Arnst’s story about scientists and students in Puerto Rico coping after Hurricane Maria (see page 24). These folks have lived without electricity, telephones and drinking water, but they still manage to focus on their research. Kind of makes a goal like “Watch less TV” seem pretty small.

So, by all means, think about helping someone else. Me, for example. (Send donations to Puerto Rico first, of course; then help me.)

I’m picturing a sort-of reciprocal resolution arrangement here. You resolve to send us your thoughts about this magazine — what you like, what could be better, what you don’t see that you want to see — and we’ll resolve to do our best to bring you what you want.

For example, many of you seem to want more career advice, but what exactly would be most helpful? Whose perspectives do you want to read? What science should we be writing about? Are we missing trends in academia or industry? The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a broad membership, and that doesn’t even include all our wonderful online readers. We may not be able to give you everything you want, but we may be able to give you more of what you want.

So feel free to drop me a line and let me know how we can do better. Once we have your feedback, we can focus like a laser on making it happen. And I won’t have to worry about my untamed monkey mind.

Comfort Dorn Comfort Dorn is the managing editor of ASBMB Today.