It’s that time of year again. For some reason I’m always compelled by the ebb and flow of the New Year’s Frenzy to make at least one or two goals and stick to them. With less than two weeks until the end of good ol’ aught-six, most people of course have their brains firmly planted in Christmas-mode (or Hanukkah-mode) until this week passes. Heck, we’re on the one-handed countdown for the Festivus Feats of Strength as I write this very post.
Yes, we all buy into the holidays and yes, I’m one of them. That said, however, the new Duo Core 2 (TM) Processor I installed in my brain is efficiently helping me multi-task as the holidays approach and making a few neurons in my brain available for other little jobs such as breathing in-and-out, walking without falling over, chewing with my mouth closed, and of course thinking up more ways to torture myself through the relentless pursuit of self-improvement called New Years Resolutions.
Now, I know many of you are doing this in secret. Resolving, I mean. You know you do, tucking those thoughts away in the back of your mind and willfully trying to stick them out for a few weeks into January before conceding that, perhaps, they just weren’t worth the effort. But let me just say this: if there was one thing that my public coffee-fast taught me was that everyone — EVERYONE — who knows about your masochistic plan will also take evil joy in holding you accountable to see it through, laughing or not, until it hurts. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
Last year, Karin and I resolved to be better at planning dinners. It worked. Our efforts turned into a software project of that, oddly enough when the holidays are not interfering with our eating and grocery buying habits, we make regular use.
The year previously, I wearing my morally-high-grounded hippy-gear and snobbing modern commercialism after reading a few scathing reports on how they treated suppliers, vowed to avoid Walmart. Vote with your wallet, I said. And did. Believe it or not it has been two years since I’ve been in so much as the parking lot of North America’s largest retailer. Now it’s just a habit.
What I’m saying it this: confess your drunken promises to the world and you shall be held accountable by all. That’s right, by going public you can’t quietly neglect your resolutions and they will haunt you until this time next year. Ha!
I’ve compiled a short list of aids to help you in preparing one or two resolutions for two-thousand and seven:
- Set only one (or at most two) goal(s) for the year. Anything more and you just can’t keep track and some are bound to slip off the radar.
- Keep things simple. Don’t do a 180 degree turn on your life. Baby steps are the answer. Tweak only, don’t slash and hack.
- Go incremental. You don’t need to change on January 1, 2007. You need to have a goal for December 31, 2007.
- Don’t deny. Add something positive to your life. Or at least put a positive spin on it. You know, don’t “avoid sugar” rather “experiment with healthier food.”
- Rewards are fine, but mostly they don’t work. Rather, just reward yourself with the change or build the reward into the change. Oh, and bragging rights. Those are always pretty sweet.
Myself, of course I’ve been plotting this for a few meandering moments in the back of my brain (Duo Core 2 (TM) Processor, remember?) and with two successful years of resolving experience under my thirty-year-old belt, I’ve decided to go for broke with two — that’s right, TWO, resolutions this year. They are:
- Five minutes per month. I’ve been getting pretty lax about my mornings, lately. Sleeping in past a couple slams of the alarm, lounging when I should be doing other more important things. Starting January 2nd (not the 1st, too soon) the new wakeup call will be 5:55 AM. Early, yes, but a mere FIVE minutes earlier than I SHOULD be getting up. Every month thereafter, five minutes more tick off the clock. By December, I should be getting up around 5 AM. Very early, yes, but an extra hour in the morning to do a workout, walk the dog (poor Sparkle), or get some writing done. Which brings me to my second resolution….
- Three Sixty Five for Three Sixty Five. Knowing full well that 2006 was a bad year for my creative self, I’ve decided to set the goal of a very simple and reasonable 365 words per day. Not much. Just a short page with a medium sized font. That works out to about 2,555 words a week and nearly 135,000 in a year. A solid length of a first draft of a novel. The trick: this is accountable on Sunday night before bed, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t write a word the other six days (though that would be stupid) on Sunday night, the word-budget comes due.
So, as we move into the countdown to Christmas, and with only a week following to New Years, jump on the bandwagon. Don’t vow to loose weight (you don’t need to) or learn to write haiku in the original Japanese (unless you already speak Japanese) or even something, ahem, concrete like “be a better person” (whatever that means, uh). But find something unique to stick to, and help me feel like a wee bit less of a tool for hanging it all out there everyday for you to torture me with.
Sigh. Here we go again.