I’ve never completely understood why January 1st is the culturally-designated time to start making changes in your life. Cold weather, lack of sunlight, and dealing with seasonal depression can make winter a really difficult time for a lot of people (like myself) — and the added pressure of sticking to New Year's resolutions doesn't always help with that. I used to really enjoy choosing New Year’s Resolutions for myself, though. Whether it’s been to drink more water, finally block an ex on Facebook, or give up New Year’s Resolutions forever, I think it’s safe to say most of us know how good it feels when you actively decide to work toward a happier, healthier version of yourself.
But you almost never hear of people choosing New Year’s resolutions for others, and I think that’s really weird. It actually makes a lot of sense to have people who care about you choose your resolutions — sometimes, the people who love us have a better idea of how we could improve our lives than we do. So I asked women to choose New Year’s resolutions for men.
Perhaps because the concept of women choosing New Year’s resolutions for men is inherently “bossy" — and perhaps also because our culture literally penalizes women for being assertive — I didn’t get many responses at first. Then, when I did start getting responses, they were all about how women could change themselves for their men. It was a real bummer, but it made me that much more excited to write this.
After conducting more than a dozen one-on-one interviews via text and Facebook messenger, I've got 15 New Year's resolutions that women want men to make for themselves.
Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.
"Be aware of male privilege and take steps to minimize and alter it. Don't think male privilege doesn't exist; acknowledge it and work to empower women. Be more environmentally friendly, make the best choice possible. Work to be healthier. Exercise, eat less meat, and make the best choice possible."
"My resolution for men: start advocating for men's issues... outside of the context of women's issues! It is true that there are many things in society that are harmful to men. Men suffer sexual and domestic abuse, too. I want to see them stand up for each other, not just mention these things to shut down feminists."
"It's hard for me to think of a New Year's Resolution for men, but I think this is applicable to the men in my life or men in relationships: Learn your significant other's 'love language' and speak it. Even if it's a foreign language for you."
"Same resolution I'd give myself — be your best self. Love, protect, value yourself and within that framework; live generously toward others."
"If I was so inclined to have a New Year's resolution for a man, it would have to be for him to know himself, to have a healthy love for himself (none of this narcissistic bullshit). A real deep knowing of who he is, why he is here on this planet, and a love for helping others. Granted, I realize these things that I have mentioned are lifetime journeys, so all I would like to know is that he has AT LEAST a self-awareness of these attributes and is hopefully working towards something like it."
"Make doctor appointments for check-ups and actually go to them."
"My New Year's resolution for guys would be to not tell a young female professional photographer — who is being paid to shoot the wedding you're attending — that you're willing to let her use your 'good lenses.' Like, who's being paid to do this job? Oh, yeah. Me. I'm probably good, thanks."
"I just want my man to stay the same ridiculous, annoying, sarcastic, random asshole I fell in love with. I want him to continue treating me like a queen, continue spoiling me. I want him to continue loving me the way he always has. If he changes, I want the changes to be for the better, and I want them to occur because HE wants to change — because to me, he's perfect the way he is."
"To always be the husband I want my son-in-law to be."
"Men should resolve to stop making sexist jokes. Like the 'make me a sandwich' joke or 'you can't drive or grill or etc.' joke. Like, even though I know you're not serious, it is still annoying as f*ck. And if I don't laugh along, then I'm a bitch who can't take a joke."
"I think it would be: make some friends you can confide in, other than your primary partner."
"It would be nice if men would make a resolution to be better at planning. Like, being helpful at actually planning things."
"My New Year's resolution for men is for them to stop stereotyping feminists as ...women who protest naked and hate men. Those are a minority. They should know that a stay-at-home mom can be a feminist, too; she is not a Mary Sue from 1955...Stop generalizing and judging women by the way they dress or look."
"I'd want men to truly listen to their partner and not be afraid of a commitment. A commitment like marriage doesn't have to change everything. Honestly, after I got married, it didn't feel that much different. Just...stronger! And better. And Mike has said the same thing. So...resolve not to be afraid of commitment, to listen to their partners, and try putting a little faith into the person you love. If you really love them, there's no reason to be afraid of the next step."
"I feel the term 'rape' is used quite often in jest. For example, a few weeks ago in class, two of my young men students were joking around and one of them yelled out 'rape' to make his friend stop. I explained that even though they were laughing and making a joke, that it is never funny to joke about rape.
Rape is a horrific event in which the victim is left helpless/ defenseless, and a piece of themselves is unwillingly taken from them. To help prevent rape and shed light on the actual event itself, I believe all Americans (men, women, and children) should speak about how awful it is. As a New Year's resolution, I would ask men to continue talking about rape, while focusing on the negative effects for the victim and shaming the actions of the perpetrator. By talking about rape, more people will understand its horrible nature."
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.