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Resolve to Try

If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that planning leads to disappointment and inflexibility is a luxury none can afford. Amid the ongoing global pandemic, even thinking that things can improve this year can feel a little like a jinx.

And “resolution” is a daunting word, isn’t it? Still, a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, a clean(er?) slate and the attendant new experiences that we hope — or pray or beg — will usher in happier days ahead.

Perhaps it’s time to try that beginner swim lesson you’ve been putting off for months, or cooking at home more, as the comedians Cole Escola andBashir Salahuddin told us they hope to do.

Anthony Roth Costanzo, an opera singer in Manhattan, said that he plans to join TikTok this year because he’s “attracted and drawn to the kind of spontaneity that seems like it’s required” to use the app, which is a departure from the discipline that comes with his job.

We asked the three of them — and five others — about the new things they plan to try in 2022. Their responses below, which have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity, can be used as inspiration. Or enjoyment. Or both.


Become an Expert on Prince

Credit…Ross Marino/Getty Images

“I want to dedicate this year to becoming a Prince EXPERT. I’m not an expert in literally anything and if I had to pick ONE thing to know a LOT about, I’ve decided that thing is going to be Prince. I’m a lifelong Prince fan, but am only super familiar with his stuff from the ’70s and ’80s and completely fell off with his weirder work from the 2000s. I want to listen to every bootleg European live show recording and every secret rehearsal jam session, watch all the ‘unreleased’ short films/videos that leaked out, read/listen to/watch everything I can get my hands on. This is an open call to anyone who used to follow him around on tour to send me links. I’m open to it all and I’m getting a new hard drive for Prince stuff and Prince stuff ALONE!!” — Sarah Sherman, 28, comedian, actress and “Saturday Night Live” cast member

Tickle the Keys

“I like to do things with my hands. I’ve wanted to take piano lessons for years, but something edible always gets in the way, like that one time I spent months, and an unmentionable amount of rice flour, on creating the perfect gluten-free biscuit. While there’s no way to ever learn all there is to know in the culinary world, I certainly don’t see why food and music can’t make acquaintances. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d love to keep my hands busy with something my mouth can’t eat but my ears can.” — Sophia Roe, 33, chef, writer and Emmy-nominated TV host

Cook What You Can

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“One thing I’m dying to try is cooking the food that’s already in my fridge. I don’t need it to become a habit. I just want to try it. Just once. Just once in my stupid, pointless life I’d like to skip the takeout and say to myself, ‘OK you self-righteous, needy, two-faced, unfunny, lecherous baritone, eat your groceries.’ That might sound small, but I believe in being gentle with myself.” — Cole Escola, 35, comedian and actor

Finally Join TikTok

“I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions and how everyone wants to be fit and look great and also feel young. And the one thing I’d like to try that I’ve never done that will help me feel young in some ways is TikTok. Opera is in a constant state of emergency and TikTok has a thinly-veiled chaos. So I think there’s some similarities, but to be an opera singer, you have to live this very disciplined life. And I’m attracted and drawn to the kind of spontaneity that seems like it’s required for TikTok. And I’m always trying to get insight into what different communities and different generations are thinking and try to find bridges between that and this kind of seemingly foreboding world of classical music.” — Anthony Roth Costanzo, 39, Grammy-nominated opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera and artist-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic

Learn to Drive

“I think 2022 is maybe going to be the year that I learn how to drive. I never learned how to drive. My wife and I bought a car during the first pandemic summer, and I have been insisting to her ever since that I would learn how to drive it. And I think as much as I love being driven, I think it’s finally time that I need to learn how to contribute my weight.” — Mars Hobrecker, 28, tattoo artist

Make Perfect Toast

“I want to learn how to cook. I think as a 45-year-old man, it’s embarrassing that I don’t know how to cook. Because right now, if society collapses, all I could do is tell jokes, and I don’t know if that’s going to get the job done. I want to have something tangible to offer. Right now I can make scrambled eggs, and I used to be able to make spaghetti really good. Oh yeah, and toast. People underestimate the technique involved to make the perfect toast, and I am not one of those people. I take it very seriously: The thing about toast is you want to put the dial between 2 and 3, and then you want to push it down, but you cannot let it pop out. You have to look at it. And just when you see a little bit of brown on there, that’s when you pop it up. You want it to be firm and yet soft in the middle, so then you could put that butter on there.” — Bashir Salahuddin, 45, writer, comedian and co-creator and star of “South Side” on HBO Max

Swim Laps in the Ocean

Credit…Jean Claude Mallinjod/INA via Getty Images

“Having just moved to the seaside in southeastern England, I plan to do my laps in the ocean. I’d been convinced this would involve a wet suit, but I now see that’s not the done thing and everyone around here just braves the cold water. There were a bunch of Christmas Day swimmers (they dashed in then huddled under blankets), and I didn’t join, so not a great start. I may also (or instead) devote time to the local refugee community group, who aid those who arrive at this shore in search of safety and a new start.” — Jeremy Atherton Lin, 47, author of “Gay Bar”

Attempt a Combat Sport

“This year I would like to learn a martial art or combat sport. Certainly for fitness and more bodily control, but also as a new way of relating to and being inside of the body. Currently deciding between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. I think that combat sports are great for most people, even for a new mind-body experience. I write every day, and a large portion of each day is centered in stillness, so I would love something very present and exhilarating in a completely different way!” — Yrsa Daley-Ward, 37, author of “Bone,” “The Terrible” and “The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself”

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