… Not to take resolutions too seriously
By Jeff Salter
I don’t think much about ‘new years’ resolutions, frankly. At least I didn’t until this week when I’ve read three columns (so far) here on our group blog.
And they’ve gotten me to thinking: How ‘resolved’ am I?
Here’s what I wrote on Jillian’s post Tuesday:
I probably do more ‘resolving’ than I actually realize, but it seldom corresponds with the New Year. I’ll be puttering around — no particular month or season — and realize I need to do THIS more or do THAT less … and I will ‘resolve’ to make a correction. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. More likely: I’ll make that correction for a brief period and then lapse back to status quo.
That was true, as far as it went, but it’s a bit more complicated.
When I’m introspective (which is more often than I assume many folks are), I tend to focus on my shortcomings … my failings. And I think I should be doing better.
Some are rather broad: I sometimes think I should be kinder to strangers.
Which strangers? Well, not the murderers or terrorists. Just the ‘regular’ strangers … some of whom are down-and-out. But how do you tell bad strangers from the ‘regular’ ones? Hmm. Need some criteria here. Plus: How kind should I be? Not certain, because I’m already pretty decent to strangers. How much more decent should I be? Don’t know. Just more. So how do I make that into a ‘resolution’? Not sure. For one thing, it rarely enters my consciousness on Dec. 31st.
I have an illustration for this example [can you do that without breaking the laws of Freshman Composition?] Many years ago, I used to commute significant distances, often and regularly. On those highways and interstates, I’d often see hitchhikers. And I gave rides to a lot of them. Why? Partly because my Dad did a lot of hitching when he was a young man and I wanted to ‘pay-back’ some of that karma, if you will. I guess I should admit it may also have been partly because my vehicle had no radio and a long commute needs a little bit of conversation with someone who doesn’t reply in your own voice.
Unfortunately, you can’t really tell much about a hitchhiker until you’re right up on him. And if you wait that long, then you’re half a mile down the pike before you can come to a safe stop. So you basically have to decide before you reach him: “Am I going to give a ride to that individual or not?” BEFORE you’re able to get a very good look. Risky? Perhaps, but you can’t tell much by looks anyhow.
Disclaimers: (1) I should note that times were simpler – and seemed more innocent – in the late-1960s through mid-1970s. (2) I never stopped for a hitch-hiker when my family was in the car … so they were never in potential jeopardy if I made a bad choice. (3) And I never picked-up any females … because that’s triple-the-trouble potential.
Other examples (we’re back to resolutions) are pretty specific: I want to waste LESS time on Facebook. Ha. With my FB friend list growing and me joining new ‘groups’ which operate on FB’s framework, it’s not likely I can manage any reduction. [Au contraire]
“But it kills so much time,” my logical self tells my procrastinating self, “and you should be WRITING.”
“Maybe so,” my procrastinating self tells my logical self, “but posting trivial messages on FB is writing too! Kinda.”
This debate rages on … perhaps you’ve heard sound bites in your own head.
If I decided to make a resolution for 2012, perhaps it should be to be more succinct. LOL.
What resolutions have you made for this new year?
I’m going to up the ante on my writing career. Write more, find more readers, and a few other things up my sleeves.
Tonya, while I commend your new goals, I have to ask: How can you squeeze 30 hours a day into the time-space-continuium?
I mean, you’re already going 90 mph about 23 hrs. a day.
But you’re doing great! So I’ll shut up.
I’ve been treating my writing like it is a job, as we all should. But since I’ve got small children, I’ve treated it like a job with flexible hours. The last few months of 2011 had me realizing that just wasn’t going to work. I need more stringent “working” hours. So for 2012, my goal is to find and maintain my job hours for better productivity.
Great blog, Jeff!
Jenn, that’s a great resolution — seriously.
I started with something along those lines when I retired and moved here. But many other developments have occurred.
And … FB really IS a time-killer! LOL
I was going to quit procrastiinating, but I never got around to it.
Susan, that tickles my funny bone. It’s exactly how I feel a lot of the time.
What a great blog and yes it sounds like several sound bites from my own head!!
I don’t make resolutions at the beginning of the year either. They come and go depending on what’s happening in my life. I find I’m fueled by guilt a lot of the time. It’s a great motivator, but weighs heavy on my mind. I feel guilty if I’m not writing, I feel guilty if I’m not doing all the things I should be doing since I can stay at home, I feel guilty if I eat a brownie, etc. etc. etc. Sigh. I feel guilty feeling guilty because I know it strips away the joy of my life that God has blessed me with.
I better stop now- I think the hormones are making me crazy!!! Ha!
Yeah, guilt can drag you way down.
I’m bothered when I realize I’ve missed opportunities to do something (or say something) that would have benefitted someone. Either that other individual or myself. Maybe both. So, at such moments, I vow to be more bold.
Doesn’t usually last. Ha.
OMGosh, there have been a LOT of blogs about resolutions this week,. my own included. Yikes! I only have a couple vague resolutions (live healthier, be financially prudent, that sort of thing). I’ve found I don’t do well with annual goals. I do better with weekly ones. I have a couple writer friends and every Sunday we email goals for the week (both writing and personal). So basically, Sunday morning, I’m busy catching up on my goals. lol Happpy New Year, Jeff!
Weekly goals sounds a lot more manageable.
And having accountability partners is also a great idea.
Thanks for visiting again, Laurie.
How funny, Jeff. My dad (he was no longer married to my mom) used to pick up hitchhikers back in the 70s, and they were ALWAYS cute young women! I think he was trying to feel cool because he was driving a black Corvette back then. Times were more innocent though.
I don’t usually make resolutions at the start of the year, because every day I’m chastising myself for not doing something anyway, and resolutions only set me up for failure, so I think I need to learn how to APPRECIATE more what I have accomplished, rather than always looking at how much more I need to do.
And now that you mention it, the entire web is a huge waste of time. I do have to restrict the time I spend procrastinating on it!
Tiffany, you’re absolutely correct: we need to learn how to better appreciate what we’ve accomplished. And not only the tangible things which can be enumerated. We accomplish a LOT through our interactions with others.
No time to waste–I’m off to the gym!
Good luck at the gym, Chris. I went Monday, since it was closed on Sunday afternoon. I should’ve gone yesterday, but had to take my mom to the grocery.
I am absolutely going to work on my writing career, but that isn’t so much a resolution as it is a fact. *grin* My ongoing “resolution” is to work on patience. That, and organization. I homeschool four different grades (8th, 6th, 3rd, and K) and come summer when they all move up, a fifth kiddo will start K. And a toddler underfoot (six kids in all). I think I’d find hours every week if I didn’t have to look for stuff. (Or find new places to hide).
What I like most about January is the clean slate – the fresh new page on the calendar. I hope, if nothing else, to find the joy in each of those days because I know I’ll never get them back. (And on a particularly bad day, it’s that last point at which I can be most grateful, LOL.)
Yes, Sarah, writing is a fact of life … not a goal. Though we certainly can set specific benchmarks if we wish. When I’m hot-n-heavy in a first draft, my goal is to average 2000 words a day and to write EVERY day until I finish that draft. Sometimes it’s not possible. When it’s not, I don’t beat myself bloody over it … but I try to write 3000 wds the next available day.
Finding the joy is very important. I spent several decades finding very little joy. Since I’ve retired, I’ve begun searching again. And I realize it’s usually not very far away!
Great post- I think you’re on to something- be nice- just don’t endanger yourself. Succinct? you? Never!!
Remember the famous line in “Road House” (with Patrick Swayze)?
He keeps telling the trainee-bouncers to “be nice”.
But when the unruly customer reaches a certain point, stop being nice.
Hi Jeff! I don’t really have any resolutions…just want to keep plugging along. Great blog post! 🙂
Thanks for visiting again, Rebecca.
“Plugging along” is pretty much my motto as well. LOL.
Enjoyed this, you old Hound! Good Karma is a grand thing. Sorry I’m late reading it. But I still consider it officially Thursday b/c I haven’t gone to sleep yet! lol Hope you’ll cut me some slack.
I don’t think you can call my decisions ‘resolutions’ as much as ‘desperations’. As in the stinkin’ dryer is shrinking my clothes again. Particularly my pants. Now I know that shrinking clothing thing doesn’t play well with sitting in the chair longer to write more. So I have a plan; and have employed it for the entire year. (Wow! That sounds so impressive. As long as you don’t say today’s date.) If I want to write an extra hour, I have to use the treadmill for at least 15 minutes prior, and at a pace that requires good breathing technique. (Yeah, read that as huff like an old freight train.) AND I can’t write more than two hours without getting up and using the treadmill. So there’s a mix of activity and inactivity. With no substitutions. Sprints chasing the dogs down don’t count, jogged trips to the mailbox don’t count (80 yards one way), skiing behind the horse as she refuses to go back into her field doesn’t count, and hoofing it after g-kids or running from their four wheelers doesn’t count. It has to be the treadmill.
You know what? I just realized I hope I survive 2012!
Skiing behind the horse? Post a video clip! Your life is so interesting — and humorous to someone who watches from a safe distance — that nobody could penalize you for being a few hours ‘late’. Besides, the Hound Day blog is always ‘open fer bidness’.
Our mailbox is about 120-130 yards (as the crow flies) and I used to hoof it more often. Lately (esp. in cold weather), I’m more likely to hop in the truck and drive it.
I think your treadmill formula has a lot of merit. Plus, it might be just the ticket for getting you past any plot hurdles or dialog freezes. LOL
I have five resolutions this year: three revolve around Florida, one revolves around publishing, and one revolves around a cute little dress to wear to my cousin’s baby shower. And I have a feeling that this is the year to accomplish every goal on my list. I hope everyone else feels the same way. XOXO
Ha, well, now you’ll have to post a pix of you in the cute little dress.
Thanks for visiting again, Katharine.
Oh those pesky resolutions! I’ve seen a lot of discussion about them this week, but I like the fact that they’re kind of like the best remnant of my childhood…Do-overs! Doesn’t “do-over” sound more fun than resolution? You had a bad hit in a game of stickball in the middle of the street? Just call for a do-over. It’s not like we had enough kids for one whole team, much less two. So work with what you got. My first week of January hasn’t gone as well as I’d like in some areas, so I’m calling for a do-over next week!
A do-over for me, too, Micki.
I’ve lost way too much time this week on other obligations and haven’t done a thing for my writing.
for the last few years I have not even bothered with resolutions as I don’t keep them very well at all, but decided this year that I needed to work on a few things. I want to attempt to help Ronny and I get healthier by trying to exercise at the YMCA on a regular basis, plus eat a little better. I have also resolved to write more letters to special people in my life. These letters might take the path of being an email or an actual letter that has a stamp on it and picked up by the postman. I have already started on that resolve as I wrote 3 long letters to friends – one was an email and the others went by snail mail. My last resolve is to make an effort to meet more people in this area. I have started on that resolution by agreeing to join a non-profit organization’s board with Autumn for the Community Strings Project. Autumn is helping me with this resolution by volunteering me for a number of things that need to be done for the organization. She has also found a church for us to attend.
All three of those resolutions sound excellent, Sug. Plus: all three will be directly beneficial to you … as well as to those you’re in contact with. Win-win.
Thanks for joining us again here.
Nothing. I have resolved nothing for the New Year. I don’t do that bc it doesn’t last too long,or I forget, or something. But! I did set a goal on January 2 to lose 5 inches off my waist by June 2. I didn’t set a goal about my writing bc I already decided,in September (my RWA chapter year’s beginning) that this year will be a GOOD Year for me! As long as it’s not a New Year’s resolution, then I know it has a better chance to ‘lhappen!
Thanks for visiting again, Janette.
The ‘lose 5 inches’ goal sounds very positive and attainable. Exercise and nutrition. And, if you feel up to it, get that DVD program of Jillian’s (from the Biggest Loser show).
As far as 2012 being a great year for authors — I agree. I have a good feeling myself.
Pingback: Another New Year Already? | fourfoxesonehound
Pingback: Another Year… Already? | fourfoxesonehound
Pingback: Goals for a New Year | Four Foxes, One Hound