"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's What?

Ah, resolutions. Those silly New Year's promises we make on January 1st and break on January 2nd. My relationship with resolutions has run the gamut of setting earnest goals that I sadly break, setting silly goals I know I can keep (turns out I can resolve not to watch Robocop ever again), and setting no goals at all, having declared the whole thing a stupid idea.

But this year, I'm trying something different.

I think each milestone comes with a chance to look at what you're doing and see if you can improve. This can be a new year, or a birthday, or even a new day. So I gave myself the once-over and saw some areas I'd like to make better. But instead of writing down vague, "I resolve to lose weight/ exercise/ read/ contact friends more," sentences, I got down to business, as they say.

1. I made specific goals. I avoided the weight loss trap, but I quantified my health goals. And my reading goals. And even my getting-together-with-friends goals.

2. For each resolution, I wrote how I was going to do this, and why. Reading keeps me informed about what else is out there, and beautiful prose keeps my writing palette filled with words. Good health is going to keep me alive, with any luck.

3. I also wrote what I thought would be my triggers for failure. For example, I did set some goals in eating healthier. One of my triggers for failure is that I like to reward myself with unhealthy food (specifically, Panera Bread's mini-carrot cake).

4. Once I figured out what might stop me, I thought of possible solutions to the problem. What could I offer myself instead of carrot cake? How can I surmount the "I'm too busy" excuse when it comes to being with friends? 

I only wrote three resolutions, and I called them "Goals" instead. There's a good chance I might keep some pieces of some of them, or all the pieces of one of them, or some combination.

Did you make any resolutions that you'd like to share?

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