Goals, Resolutions, and Pendantry

Happy New Year. For many of you, this is when it really starts. You're back to work. The kids are in school. This is where the rubber hits the road.

I might be a bit late, but for me, the new year doesn't really begin until school starts again. Until then, it is a multi-state, multi-family trek that is as wonderful as it is exhausting. We got home Saturday. Yesterday was a recovery day. The most adventurous thing I did was to clean our the fruit bowl that had turned into a fruit fly farm in our absence. Thanks El Niño!

How are the resolutions going? Or are you one of the pedants who spend this time of year pouring cold water on us naive and overly optimistic resolution makers? If you are, there's a special kind of irony in your stance. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you most of the year. If someone isn't happy with their weight, relationships, education level, or whatever in March, June, or November, there's absolutely no reason they should wait for some arbitrary date to start to make a change.

The irony comes in because we only hear from the pedants during resolution season. The best time to resolve to be a better person is always now. Yes it's silly to insist there's something magical about January 1, but where were you back in June? Let's not harsh on everyone's new found resolve just because their timing is too convenient.

So what are my resolutions? I'll get to that, but let's talk about goals first. Goals are things I want to accomplish. I'll almost certainly not get to them all, but that's not failure. That's just having a vision that's too grand for reality. Here they are:

  • Get in the best shape of my life.
  • Make regular posts on this blog.
  • Hit "publish" on my non-fiction book (working title: "Daddy - What's a Job?")
  • Have a first draft of my fiction series (working title: "Alpha Beta Gamma.")
  • reboot the YouTube series "Petes to the End"
  • Be in full production of my second science demo/comedy series (working title: "CSCSSDS - Crepy Snarlke's Community Service Science Demo Show".
  • Have the house and yard in a state that doesn't embarrass me when people come over.
  • Have people come over.

That's a big list. Like I said, I'm not going to get to all of them. It's nice to think that I might, and I'm definitely going to try. Even if I fail, hopefully I'll have made enough progress to carry into the next year with a sense of accomplishment.

Those aren't resolutions, though. There's a lot of stuff I don't have control over that might get in the way. For resolutions to be successful, they need to be procedural and incremental; a change that you can make and stick with. Here are mine:

  • I'm going to set up a moderate excercise routine and stick to it. When I don't stick to it, I'll make note of what made me fall off the wagon, try to figure out how to avoid it, and then get back on. None of this "Oh well, that resolution didn't last long." You will always fall off the wagon sooner or later. The trick is not using it as an excuse to stay off.
  • I'm going to become more protective of my creative time. Just because Mrs `Struction makes a sidelong comment about the state of the house doesn't mean that I need to drop everything and spend the day sorting, sweeping and mopping. If I do, it's not her fault for making the comment. It's mine for letting it get to me and then using it as an excuse to not do my job. My job is writing and creating. No one with a real job ever calls their boss to say "I can't come in today. My spouse thinks I'm falling behind on housework."
  • I'm going to compartmentalize my time more. When you have lot's of time for a project, it's easy to let it spread. "I'll really buckle down on this later." Instead, I'm setting a specific creative times during the morning. When that time's up, tough. If I haven't reached my daily quota, there's no stealing from my other projects in the afternoon to make up for it. The dream of the creative lifestyle has always been that you can do your job anywhere at any time. It doesn't work that way, at least for me. If I don't have a time indelibly marked "work time," I'm going to start frittering. I'll jump from task to task under the illusion that I'm making substantial progress on all of them, when I'm not making significant progress on any.
  • I'm going to file monthly progress reports on this blog to keep me honest. If anything, it'll be good exercise for me excuse-making muscles.

What are your resolutions? Are they really resolutions, or are they goals in disguise?