I always say that I’m not going to succumb to the allure of new year’s resolutions.
There’s a false sense productivity that surrounds starting a new year, comparable to the feeling of buying a new notebook or organiser. You know the feeling. You tell yourself that this new organiser is the missing link, the one you've always been searching for, the bridge to your more productive self. Admittedly, I feel this on a minor scale most Sundays – this idea that “next week I will get things done like never before.” I know that it’s not real, and yet somehow I always believe it. Regardless of inevitably finding myself making excuses and failing at having perfect weeks, I convince myself time and again.
Is this a good thing? Is this kind of unending faith in your own ability to be better from a designated point helping or hurting your real-world productivity levels? I have yet to make a decision on that.
In any case, the biggest event on the procrastinator’s calendar is, without a doubt, January. A fresh year, a fresh start. We all tell ourselves that the past year wore us down, and we lost track of what is really important. We lost motivation. This year, we tell ourselves, is an opportunity. This year, I will finally do all of the things that I have always wanted to do. I will be the best version of myself. I will go to bed earlier and wake up fresher. I will eat better, hydrate more, exercise. I will go out more but drink less. I will make time, earn respect, and save money. I will make less excuses. I will live.
My resolutions are generally some expansion on this model. To my own credit, I have tried in recent years to give myself more specific challenges, as vague statements tend to be entirely demotivating. “See friends more” is unquantifiable, and therefore unachievable, whereas “Go out with friends at least one night a week” is tangible. That’s something that you can track. “Eat meat less” is so vague that you can convince yourself you’re succeeding no matter what, whereas “Eat meat only once every ten days” has no wiggle room. Sidenote: this is actually how I cut meat out entirely.
Now, resolutions are inherently problematic. Giving yourself too many changes to make, and practices to introduce, pretty much ensures your failure. And when you fail at one, you drop them all – because in your mind they are associated. This being said, I do genuinely believe that true changes can be made. I’ve finally started to make some in my own life, and I’m really proud of myself for my progress. I know, therefore, that changes cannot and should not be attempted in bulk, on a whim, for the wrong reasons, or on a deadline. I know that change is most successful when it is made steadily, and one thing at a time. True change is incremental, natural, and really, really hard.
I know these things, but that doesn't stop me.
Here are my resolutions.
one post every two weeks, to be precise
one short story every six weeks is the aim
fix my teeth
including wisdom teeth extraction and cavity filling, to be completed by April
take up a sport
kickboxing is the frontrunner at the moment (and I am open to friends joining me!)
more water, less diet coke
I did this successfully for a while this year, but fell off the wagon
'trade in' clothes
the concept here is, for every new item I purchase, I have to donate/discard an old one
So there you have it; my six resolutions.
I do have more plans for the year, and more ways that I want to improve, but these are the quantifiable ones. This is my list. Will making one make me a better person? Probably not, but it certainly won't make me a worse one!
I hope you're feeling sufficiently empowered, and perhaps inspired to create your own list of self-improvement plans. Who cares if it's doomed? It's the thought that counts... right!?
Here's to a happy and healthy 2016!