12/31/2015 04:07 pm ET | Updated Dec 31, 2016

A Year of Experiments: My 2016 Resolution

I've realized recently that my happiness has come to depend too much on external validation. And I mean that in almost all aspects of my life -- physically, romantically, professionally, and creatively. So my resolution for 2016 is to alleviate that by turning my focus inward and concentrating on how my own behaviors and thought processes affect my moods and feelings of self-worth.

So I'm going to do some experiments. On myself. And I'm going to write about it.

I'm not usually a devotee of self-help phenomena, partly because I'm a skeptical (and sometimes cynical) person, and partly because I lack the self-discipline to do most of these fads to any real effect. But I have always done well with meeting other people's expectations of me (see my problem above) so why not exploit my flaw to actually make myself a healthier, happier person?

For 2016, I'm going to do 12 different self-experiments -- one per month -- to see what kind of changes, if any, I experience and to learn more about the things I need to do to make me my best self, both physically and emotionally.

I'm planning to experiment with both alterations to my physical self (diet and exercise regimens) and to my mental ecosystem (meditation, social changes). I won't be following or paying for any specific diets, nutritional systems, fitness programs, or religious or para-religious experiences. These changes will all be things I can do for free and build into my current lifestyle -- not looking to move to an ashram and become a yogi or run an Iron Man marathon or anything like that.

I'm hoping that at the end of 12 months, I have a greater awareness of how I live my life and what I do that makes me happy or unhappy. Some things will stick. Some most certainly will not. And hopefully some of this will be at least funny and at best interesting or useful.

So on January 1, 2016, I'll be starting my first monthly experiment: No alcohol. (Sigh.)

I'll check back in two weeks. Until then, have a happy new year!