New Year’s motivation

December 12th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

I used to look at new year goals as a quick fix to my broken self. “These goals enumerated here,” I would say to myself, “will make me a better person, and I am going to do them right now.” Well, that’s obviously unrealistic, but that’s what young people do, I guess. I have a different outlook on such things now, and it’s not the road of pessimism. Giving up on the notion of a setting goals is foolish, and in any event, I yearn for ritual. The better question to ask than what sort of person I want to be is, what sort of person am I becoming? Because it’s one thing to want to change to some ideal, but another to try to change without taking into account the distance that you need to cover. I suspect that this is the reason so many of my new year resolutions stuttered and stopped–I was trying to lift more than my carrying capacity.

But I have done a number of things in the last couple years that I didn’t think I was capable of. I wrote one novel and most of a second. I brewed beer for my friend’s wedding. I got into grad school. These all tell me that I am heading in the direction I want to be going. I am becoming someone dedicated to education, to science, to writing, to craftsmanship. And there are areas I want to make strides into–I want to document more of my life in pictures, and to be timely about doing so. I have taken scads of them over the last year, but I never seem to make the time to publish them. There are easy avenues to do so, such as facebook, but that has ethical baggage that I’m not willing to take on. Facebook deserves the bare minimum of my personal life. I feel the need to be a self-published person. That’s the whole point behind this blog, my wiki, and my eventual self-hosted site. As Rob Carlson said to me: “Guard your inputs, maximize your output.”

The other side of that, the inputs, is harder. I’m a terrible news junkie. It’s easy to say what you will do, but it’s much more difficult to say what you won’t do. Breaking habits is….non-trivial. (It took me nearly 20 years to kick my nail-biting.) But I think the secret to kicking habits is to supplant them with healthier ones. I changed nail-biting into nail-trimming by carrying around a nail clipper on my person, and every time I started to put my fingers in my mouth I would try to remember to use the nail clipper. So it must go with my Internet habit. I need to supplant the Web site hopping with something more productive. That is what I’ll be chewing on for the next week or so.

So without further ado, here are my discrete goals for the coming year:

  • write, edit, and submit one novel OR three short stories
  • read 25 new books (that’s two books a month–slow pace, but one must crawl before walking)
  • brew 12 distinct styles of beer on my stove
  • find paying work in the teaching/tutoring field
  • volunteer 50 hours in the local community
  • write 50 letters (actual, printed and/or hand-written correspondence)

These are all things I can do and have done severally, but I have never tried to do them as a whole or in such quantity. But I feel I am at the tipping point, and so I must push myself to reach them. It’s not going to be easy, but I have a wiki to keep track of them :)

What are you thinking about for the coming year?

No comments yet.