At the start of every year, I make the same new year’s resolutions: get in shape (not going to happen); keep in touch with friends and family (not going to happen); and work/study harder (definitely not going to happen). This year, I’m keeping those same resolutions, but I’m also resolving to make some resolutions that I can actually fulfill. Saying “I’m going to start the day with sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks” is a far more concrete goal than “getting in shape,” for example.

I’m applying the same principle to my pop cultural resolutions this year. Usually, I simply say that I want to watch “more” movies and “less” TV, or something of the sort. But this year, I’ve decided to lay out some clear, attainable goals. I doubt that I’ll achieve them all, but at least I’ll feel a sense of accomplishment at having achieved some of them by year’s end.

The guiding principle behind my pop cultural new year’s resolutions is simple: I can’t experience everything. There’s just too much stuff out there. I can’t listen to every album, I can’t watch every movie, I can’t read every book, and I can’t play every video game. It’s impossible. What I can do, however, is to resolve to broaden my horizons. With that in mind, here are my pop cultural resolutions for 2012:

  • Let go of TV shows that I just don’t enjoy anymore. There’s no good reason for me to keep watching Castle, Hawaii Five-0, Bones, 30 Rock, Pan Am, White Collar, or Once Upon a Time. It should be easy for me to abandon most of them. Doing this will make room for me to check out more interesting midseason shows and will also free up more of my time to be wasted in other ways.
  • Play the video games that I’ve always wanted to play. I’m getting a new computer soon. That means Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Alpha Protocol, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution will get played.
  • Stop worrying about not keeping up with movies. I don’t enjoy most movies anyway. What’s the point in worrying? I don’t intend to write off the medium entirely, however; watching movies in theatres with friends and/or family can be fun, if only for its social value.
  • Dig into the back catalogues of musicians whose work I enjoy. On my list for 2012: Red Hot Chili Peppers; Rush; and Barenaked Ladies.
  • Finish reading Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America. I picked this up back when in dropped in October or November of last year, but I’ve only made it through a quarter of the book. As a fan of Parks and Recreation, I’m kind of ashamed that I just haven’t made the time to read it. I’m sure that Leslie Knope would be ashamed too.
  • See at least a couple of live performances. These could be jazz, comedy, Shakespeare, classical – anything really. The point is to get out there and to engage with pop culture somewhere other than in front of my computer screen.
  • Stop worrying about keeping up with popular music. I might miss a few gems like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” but at the risk of sounding like a snob, I really don’t need to hear the latest Lady Gaga or Katy Perry tune.
  • Read some novels that I’ve wanted to read for a long time. When I was younger, I used to read about four or five novels a month. Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve read maybe one novel every six months. That’s partly because I’ve become busier, but also because I’ve started reading more nonfiction. While reading the works of Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz is all well and good, I want get back into reading fiction. I’m going to have some downtime during the summer, which will be the perfect opportunity for me to read some of the novels that I’ve wanted to read for a while. These include: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood; and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Can you believe that I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code yet? Neither can I.
  • Avoid pop culture overload. If I find myself staring at the same dumb Internet meme for twenty minutes, it’s probably time to go to bed.

Those are my pop cultural resolutions for 2012. I probably won’t fulfill all of them in their entirety, but if I get even halfway there, I’ll feel as if I accomplished a lot. What are your pop cultural new year’s resolutions? Feel free to share in the comments.