Resolutions (finally)

6 01 2011

I finally wrote all of my resolutions down this morning, obviously a few days late. It’s looking pretty ambitious. I went from having 21 goals for 2010, and I achieved easily more than half of those, to 31 for this year, divided into 10 different categories. To give a little example:

  • Family and marriage goals include taking the kids out at least once a week to something educational, keeping a standing Saturday night date with the wife, etc.
  • Health goals include making it to the gym (on about the same schedule I currently am on, so it should be an easy one), to cutting down on the number of “cheat” meals per week
  • Writing goals to include setting aside time to work on professional freelancing, fiction writing and regular dissertation time, plus one anti-goal: “Do NOT participate in NaNoWriMo.”
  • Reading goals including dramatically increasing the number of books I’ll read this year and keeping better track of them. I’m going to add a sidebar on this page, for example.
  • Personal and Spiritual goals like setting aside time to just think and plan (i.e., planning to plan) and to volunteer my time more often.

To which I have also a number of other goals that I’ll keep private, such as our financial plans for the year.

It’s probably too ambitious, but I figure if I hit half of them, I’ll be doing really great, though all of them are good goals to have. I should also plan time to sleep while I accomplish all of this, but alas one must make cuts somewhere. As far as this blog is concerned, writing and reading will be the big focus and it’s one I’m particularly looking forward to. I will, however, be trying to get a minimum of 4 entries per week up, which is sometimes more of a challenge. I’m tempted to share the short fiction that I write, as other really impressive writers on the internet do, but I’m just too guarded about it and keep it pretty close to my chest. Maybe, if something really strikes me as ready for the public eye. We’ll see.

Anyway, it’s a good morning, very little to do right now and I’ve had a successful week. It should be smooth sailing until Sunday when I really kick things off. I’m looking forward to it.

Post-Christmas Monday, Here Comes New Year’s

27 12 2010

I had a talk with Kerigan the other day about my blogging having dissipated to nothingness and in a way, I’m glad that it hadn’t gone completely unnoticed. Makes me feel good to know that some people do check this via their RSS or various other means, so I do think I should apologize for the unannounced hiatus. My normal discipline tanked when I quit NaNoWriMo. I’ve made the point before that I’m a hyper-organized person. I make calendars, to-do lists, I document everything I can, and I try to maintain a pretty systematic routine in how I live my life. It gives me comfort.

NaNo was one of those things that was going to take an additional few hours a day that I was just going to wedge in between doing other things that I needed to do and I, like most other people, feel like I have too many balls in the air already. Still, I was pretty excited about it and I wanted to do it. It just didn’t work out the way I had planned and became more and more difficult, particularly with the distractions.

So, my theory is that when I dropped it and created this big hole in my daily schedule, the rest of the structure around it more or less collapsed. It doesn’t mean that I just sat there doing nothing, but I can safely say this is the first thing I’ve sat down and written since I stopped NaNo. I haven’t put aside any time for writing, or even for reading for that matter, and have just coasted and let time do with me what it will. In reflection, I’m amazed by people who can do that and subject themselves just to whim and what’s immediately available and still accomplish anything. I am not that kind of guy. I need a plan as evidenced by the fact that my accomplishments for the past 2 months amount to jack shit.

It’s like this. The way my brain works, there are basically two forces at work: The Planner and The Do-er.

The Planner is awesome. He comes up with long-term goals, breaks them down into manageable chunks and routines, and finds the time to do them. The Do-er’s a bit of a flake, but he’ll take orders and mostly at least grudgingly do as he’s told provided that the planning brain has already laid everything out.

If the Planner takes a nap, though, or otherwise drops the ball, Do-er is all “ooh, shiney!” and just does stupid, pointless crap without rhyme or reason. Not that it isn’t fun. It can be, for sure. But I find that time just spent having fun isn’t as efficient and fun-filled as time set aside to enjoy fun activities (and not to mention the guilt factor). That’s why I normally plan ahead when I’m going to play a game or do something just for kicks. I feel good about spending that time recharging the batteries and I’m able to put aside all the other little nagging things and focus on that enjoyment.

Seriously, it’s not that hard a concept: 1) Make a goal or figure out what you want, 2) Figure out what you have to do to get there, 3) Find the time to do it and 4) Profit. Not rocket surgery. Want to lose weight? Plan out some exercise and diet and put aside time to go to the gym and shop and cook. Want to read more? Make a list of what to read and set aside a little time each day to do it. One of the best lessons I learned from reading all of those time-management self-help books was that a to-do list that doesn’t actually set aside a specific time to do anything is completely pointless.

So, the Planner was pretty relieved about stopping NaNo and was quite content with the approaching holiday around Thanksgiving to just take himself a little nap. I didn’t even look at my Google Calendar for a month. Oh sure, I had a general plan in the back of my  head that I followed sometimes more closely and sometimes less depending on the day, but nothing like the scheduling I normally keep for myself. There were no goals being set, no time being put aside to do them and let me tell you, when the Cataclysm hit in Warcraft and he had lots of new shiny crap to chase after, the Do-er was one ecstatic son-of-a-bitch.

Christmas being out of the way and looking forward to New Year’s is a bit like coming up for air. I’m awake now, making plans and New Year’s is and always has been one of my favorite holidays. Lots of people hate making resolutions and worry about keeping them. I live for having a fresh start and after the year 2010 has given me, chances are good that 2011 will be an improvement. If the Planner has anything to saying, it’ll be the best year ever. I’m also already starting to think about what I want to accomplish. There’s a lot. Some of it will be easy, some really hard and some probably impossible but worth trying anyway.