Jonathan and I have the same argument about New Year’s resolutions every year. It goes like this:
Me: It’s New Year’s! Hey, I have an idea…let’s make resolutions!
Jonathan: No! I can make resolutions any day I want!
Me: Then why not make them the day *I* want, a.k.a. New Year’s?
Jonathan: Because I’m a stubborn New Year’s Grinch. Humbug.
Me: We’re never going to change anything about anything. Overreaction. Tears. Doom.
THIS YEAR, I finally acknowledged the obvious truth that we can easily handle our plans for the new year individually (I acknowledged this after one last failed attempt at the Annual Argument…it’s hard to give up traditions). So, after spending the past few days trying to choose among five million ideas for my resolutions, I rashly decided that everything boils down to these two things:
- Avoid wasting time.
- Prove to myself that I can do some of the things I’ve failed at doing before.
I like these because they’re meaningful yet non-specific, allowing variety in their pursuit and preventing monotony and boredom. However, given their amorphous nature, I need to make some concrete plans about how to fulfill them. Here’s what I have so far:
- Maintain a list of things I care about doing. This list will inherently contain some things I’ve failed at doing before (e.g. organizing the garage. And my life).
- Pick a project from the list each month (or week…depends on what the list ends up containing).
- Write down why I care about completing that project.
- Analyze roadblocks to completing the project.
- Create intermediate goals, as necessary, to complete said project.
- Complete intermediate goals.
- Earn prizes (no, I never moved past valuing extrinsic motivation, but I have ideas about how some of my prizes can serve intrinsic double-duty).
I’d like to think that I’ll be at least a little successful with this for a couple of reasons. First, I’m excited about the two-prong approach to motivation: understanding why I care about doing something (step 3) and rewarding myself with cheap earrings (step 7) just in case the “why” isn’t tangible every single day. Last, I’m hopeful that analyzing problems (step 4) will confirm that “having more willpower and discipline” isn’t the only way to win the resolution game. I know that those qualities are helpful, but I suspect that improving things and life and stuff is a little more complex. It’s easy to feel weak and a little ridiculous if you have to make yourself an action plan for hanging up laundry or going to the grocery store (aren’t these skills that come free with adulthood?). However, maybe thinking more analytically about what’s impeding those goals might reveal that I’m not just a lazy person. We’ll see :)
Yes, it’s January 4, and I haven’t published any of the above information for my January project, but I’ve been working on it (rather successfully, I might add) nonetheless. It’s not terribly exciting, but I’ll write more about it soon. Also, I think I’ll add my project list as one of the pages at the top of this thing. But not tonight.
Oh, and there’s at least one big project that will have to span multiple months, but I think it can follow the same outline.
Anyway, let the records show that this is what I’m doing in 2014, and it will be fun while it lasts ;)
Now back to our irregularly scheduled baby posts.