I’ve never done New Years resolutions. I’ve always thought it unrealistic to set up some lofty goals that I should accomplish for the year just because I was feeling new and determined and positive for one day. I knew that setting those goals would just be setting myself up for failure because I’d start off with good intentions, then inevitably give up. I’d fall into depression or I’d get preoccupied with the day job or just become cynical and negative about everything (this may or may not be the same as one of my depression spells.)
I also don’t buy into the “make a resolution because it’s the new year” thing. The desire for self-improvement should be a constant thing. That said, I can understand now—in my old age—why it doesn’t hurt to do this on Jan 1. It’s easier to measure. I don’t pick up a ruler and pick an arbitrary starting point. I measure from the zero. Okay, fine. It’s not like I’ve been succeeding with the perpetual self-improvement anyway.
I realize that the reason I fail is because of my own attitude. I know there are people out there who are go-getters, goal conquerers, organized and motivated superheroes. They can have resolutions and accomplish them. They can give their resolutions a serious go and not accomplish them and be completely okay with that. They can suck an egg. Just kidding! Haha!
I’m too negative about myself, too hard on myself. I know this, and I have to change this. So this year, I’ve decided to actually give myself some goals. Goal 1: stop being terrified of setting goals. I’ve been pondering this since Jan 1, and now that we’re halfway through the month, I’m ready do something.
Goal 2: stop procrastinating?
I’m actually better with the whole procrastination problem. I’m not awesome, but I’m better. I use Habitica to turn my life into a game. I can track tasks, start good habits and break bad ones, and manage a to-do list. I lose HP when I don’t complete tasks, I level up when I’m consistent. I’m part of a party (a mage if you must know), going on quests to defeat monsters. You can even set up your own rewards system. As a gamer, it’s been a huge motivator.
Goal 3: use the tools. Habitica is a great tool for keeping myself on track. What else should I be using to become more disciplined? I have no idea yet, but I think something to track my exercise would be good.
That brings me to Goal 4: exercise. I’ve already started this, and I’m determined not to be hard on myself in this regard either. I’m not overweight, but I have terrible self-image. My thought is that exercise will make me feel better about myself, and I just want to stay active. My husband Mark and I hiked the Fairy Pools in Scotland this past October. I had been exercising sporadically, so the hike didn’t kill me, but it was tough. We attempted the Old Man of Storr hike, and I could only make it 1/3 of the way up. It was so beautiful, and I wanted to keep going, but my body simply would not go on, and there was still the return hike back to the car. When Mark and I return to St. Barth’s this year for our 10th anniversary, I want to be able to hike to the hidden beach. We didn’t get to do this on our honeymoon because we didn’t pack proper shoes.
Goals need to be measurable. I need to see that I’m making progress. If I don’t see progress, I give up. Last year, I set a goal on Goodreads to finish 12 books in 2016. That should have been a super easy goal. I barely got my 12 books in, finishing the 12th book at the end of December. I was ashamed of myself. Sure, I was busy trying to get my own book published, but that’s a terrible excuse. Writers read. It’s the best, most entertaining way to improve your craft. Embarrassing. Maybe I was too easy on myself? A book a month? It’s not like I had taken on the task of reading George R.R. Martin’s complete works in a year. Goal 5: read 20 books in 2017. This is giving myself a small challenge. Maybe I should have done 24, but that’s okay. Today is Jan 15, and I have completed 4 books. Great start, and I’m using Goodreads to track. (That’s right, using Goal 3 as well here!)
Finally, Goal 6: keep writing. I love to write. It’s when I feel happiest. Yet, there are times I refuse to because I manage to convince myself that I’m terrible at it. I really need to get over this. How am I going to measure? I’m going to finish the first draft of Book 2 of Aren’s story by this summer. I’m going to clean up and put out the two short stories I wrote last year. How about I update this blog more often? HAHAHA! (No, I seriously should!)
We all get bogged down by life and our own self-doubts. Here’s hoping you’re able to reach your stars in 2017.