Those pesky resolutions.

I’d resolved not to do a resolution post.  Then I re-resolved that if I did one, it’d feature this image:

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My resolutions have been the same for years and they are basically the same as everyone else’s New Year’s resolutions, so I’m not sure I see the point of this exercise anymore.  I suppose it’s nice as an auto-reset button, like how the switch between semesters functions as a chance to rethink choices and routines.  Too, it feels like an expected personal-blog cliche.  Then again, who doesn’t enjoy the schadenfreude of watching someone berate themselves for poor life choices?  (Halfway through the list I will inevitably devolve into second-person so as to better berate myself.)  Goals for the new year:

  1. Daily writing routine.  I did pretty well this year, but I wish I’d learned Excel sooner and started logging words that way.  I really think quantification is key (and bless Rahul Kanakia and Annie Bellet, the examples who first started me down this path.  Their stats blogposts still blow my mind).  I wrote much more frequently when I was tracking daily wordcount, and the writing dropped off when I didn’t.  It’s strange how merely tracking something can make you want to do it more often.
  2. Exercise.  This has gone fabulously since I got serious in May, but I want to purchase some real spin shoes, since they’re supposed to make a big difference.  Also I’ve added running back in, and I want to keep it. My kid brother gave me a bunch of dubstep, and it’s absurd how much longer I can run against repetitive untzing. Untz untz untz.
  3. Diet.  Eat less over-processed speed dreck.  Perhaps try that two-week vegan challenge? Living with James has cut my drinking down to less than half (a combination of him not being much of a drinker and me being generally happier). I usually bullet-point a “drink less” resolution, but this year drinking less would equal not drinking, and I like the occasional alcohol, so forget that.
  4. Spend less.  Again, quantifying made all the difference this year:  Tracking expenditures on a spreadsheet made me not want to spend money because anything I bought I’d have to enter.  I worry a bit about the diet changeover—switching to less processed food will likely increase our expenses.  Probably a worthwhile trade-off in the long run, though.
  5. Log everything.  Files I keep: New Words and their definitions; a Book Log of everything I read; Bizarre Concepts I stumble across on the ‘net, etc.  Lists are things of beauty.  I’m sure I’m reading more because I log every book I read.  I’d like to blog those books as a retention aid but I’m not sure in what format.  Kanakia’s Blotter Paper and Siskonen’s Unfinished Book Reviews are terrific formats; I want something low-stress like that, something I’d keep up for the joy of it.
  6. No more lazy revision or procrastinatory blogging.  Revising (or blogging) over my morning coffee would be a useful habit to cultivate.  Then work out, then write new stuff.  After that I can return to revising if need be, but: new words every day really needs to take precedence.  I tend to fall into revision holes for weeks at a time, which is pure procrastination.
  7. Submissions.  Fifty rejections in 2012, which means I’m submitting much more than I used to.  Keep subbing, even (especially) when the rejections try to break you.
  8. Draft your dissertation, dahling.
  9. Detachment.  If I could make one resolution to bind them all, it’d be this:  To do whatever I’m going to do without agonizing, without anxiety, detached from outcome.  To care only about the work (or the exercise or the diet or the relationship) for its own sake, because it is valuable for me in this present moment.  (Not because other people have expectations.  Certainly not because 16-year-old me had tyrannical ambition.)  To read well because I want to read well, not to complete an assignment or prove myself a serious scholar.  To write the best work I can, not because I want it to sell, but because I want to make something beautiful.  For me at least, high word count is not an intrinsic good, nor is maximizing submissions if it means subbing work I don’t believe in.  I will commit to writing as daily practice, and let go the rest (and yes, that includes future rounds of WotF, and even the !@#$ing Campbell).  If I do nothing else this year, I will do this.
  10.  Indeed, I aspire to be the person this cartoon is shaming. I probably shouldn’t do resolution posts.
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5 thoughts on “Those pesky resolutions.

  1. I’m a little embarrassed about my new year changes as well. I frequently end up doing things different in January, but not because I *want* to make a resolution. I just see other people changing things, and then a few days into January, I start wanting to incorporate some of the changes into my own life. And that is why I have so many FB posts about green smoothies within the past two days.

    Also, nothing works for me like detachment from end goals and focusing only on process-oriented goals. And with that, I have a goal of immersing myself in the library databases today, so I’ll talk to you later!

  2. It’s terrible peer pressure, this whole “remake your life every January” thing. I buckle every year. Bizarrely, I’ve been doing green smoothies, too: kale/apple/cucumber/ginger/vanilla almond milk, at mo. Things I’ve learned from your FB: I have got to add to some pineapple!

  3. You had me at “schadenfreude.” It may be a cliche, but I think resolutions are helpful for shaming yourself into doing what you’ve been putting off. And having a goal is kind of nice, even if I don’t accomplish it.

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