Mid-Year Resolutions

July 13, 2009

It’s time for me to start kicking my own ass.

Therefore, I’ve decided to post my mid-year resolutions so that nonpretentious readers can call me out if I start to fail.

Please feel free to add to my list if you think there’s something that I need to change.

In addition, please feel free to leave your own mid-year resolutions in the comments.

Before I tell you my resolutions, I’m going to tell you my process for making my resolutions.  This way, you can copy me.  No, seriously.  This way, later on, I can see what worked and what didn’t.

Step One:  Keeping it Real

To save face and to keep myself sane, I’m keeping my mid-year resolutions humble and doable.  I refuse to assert lofty promises that I’ll never make good on.

So, let me be honest.  Here are few examples of (drastic!) mid-year resolutions that sound lovely but have no place on my list:

    1. Go to the gym everyday;
    2. Fold and put away my clothes as soon as they’re out of the dryer;
    3. Clean my apartment once per week;
    4. Eat three well-balanced meals per day.

These are the types of things that I would do in Perfect World (…if/when Perfect World becomes a video game).

And, damn does it feel good to write those lofty goals like that in list form!  I love doing that!!

Now that that’s out of my system, let’s move on.

Speaking of Lists…

When compiling my mid-year resolutions, I’m actually doing away with the whole checklist thing.  While it may be helpful for grocery shopping (um, if you’re an OCD serial killer like Dexter, maybe¹), this format simply doesn’t inspire me to improve my life.

My body, mind, and spirit need to be behind any decision to change my habits, especially my bad ones.  I’m hoping to get the attention of each and every one of my molecules by turning the process of creating my resolution into a thought-provoking exercise (read: pain-in-the-ass).

The Framing of Resolutions

For each resolution, I must fill-in-the-blanks:

Goal:  [What I want to achieve]

Action step(s): [Step(s) I'm taking to achieve this goal]

Why:  [Brief explanations of how I think the action step(s) relate(s) to the goal]

Unlike lists – which are so pretty! so easy to add to! so easy to forget! – this format allows me to keep my priorities straight.  First-and-foremost, I must remind myself of what I’m trying to achieve end-game.

(The reality is that I probably wouldn’t need to be making resolutions if I thought about the big picture more often.)

With my goals right there in front of me, I can think about my action steps more clearly. What am I realistically willing to do to reach my goals?

(Because, if you think about it “action-steps” is really just a euphemism for doing stuff that I don’t want to do.  Otherwise, I’d be doing it.)

Finally, the why, forces me to analyze what I think I can gain from whatever action step(s) I’ve chosen.  To me, this is sort of the cheerleader factor.   By reminding myself – again – how this action step will help me meet my dreams, I’m hoping to motivate myself into completing said action step.  (E.g., See how easy it is?  If you just do this little action step, you’ll soar!!!)

Oh yeah.  By completing this exercise, you – dear nonpretentious readers/innocent bystanders/judges and jury  – will know what I’m trying to achieve, how I’m trying to achieve it, and why I think it will work.  Not only will you be able to tell me how disappointed you are if I fail, you’ll also be able to rub my dreams and my poor judgment in my face.

No, for serious.  You’ll be able to give me feedback from the get-go.  For example, do you think my action-step puts me in a better position to complete my goal?  Are there other steps I should be taking?  Things I haven’t considered?  Alternatives?  You get the point.

Spit ‘em out already?  Will do.

revisingproust’s mid-year resolutions 2009

Goal: To be a writer.

Action step:  Write – at least – 1,000 words per day.

Why:  The hardest part of writing is actually doing it.  By keeping a word count in mind, I’ll first get things on paper, then decide what’s good or bad.  While I may not publish all 1,000 words, I’m forming a habit.  I’m flexing my writing muscle.

Goal:  To help writers find their voice.

Action step:  Market my skills as an editor.

Action step (a):  Add copy to nonpretentious offering to read stories, papers, articles and explain what type of feedback I can give.  Highlight my experience editing papers, short stories, and admissions essays/personal statements as well as my experience as writing TA.  Sum up what writers can expect.

Action step (b):  Write – at least – two or three in depth articles per month focused on writing topics.

Why:  In addition to being a writer, I’m a reader.  I’d much prefer to enhance writers as a community than to focus only on getting published myself.

OK.  Those are my two main goals.  See?  Realistic.  Not too flashy.

Most likely I’ll return to them before the year is over.  Because revising is how I do.

Thanks for sticking with me through this “thought-provoking” exercise.  And, really, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

¹ See: Dexter: The Complete Third Season for reference.

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One Response to “ Mid-Year Resolutions ”

  1. Prince Gerhardt on July 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    There's no step two.

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