John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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New New New New New Year

New Year's Resolutions are one of those things that many people just do it wrong, IMO, especially the cliché "I'm gonna EXERCISE EVERY DAY and CUT OUT ALL SUGAR and [fill in the blank here]!" followed up by a couple of days of dedicated killing of oneself, missing it once, declaring "Guess I failed that!" and going back to whatever it was you were doing before.

First off, a new year's resolution is just a goal you're setting for yourself; it's not some magical standard that you'll go to heaven for upholding or go to hell for failing. A NYR should simply be a signpost for yourself when making decisions. If you find yourself resenting your NYR, or feeling like it's some nagging voice in your head, it's probably worth spending some time trying to figure out why you feel this way. A NYR should be something you want to achieve and are willing to take the necessary steps to do.

If you don't really want it, or don't actually want it badly enough to do the work to do it, then don't make it a resolution. Just decide you can live without it and carry on. Why torture yourself? A lot of NYR are things we pick up because we have this idea that it would be admirable to do X. "I resolve to run a marathon this year, because everybody should run a marathon!" Bullshit. The only people who should run marathons are people who actually like running marathons.

Second, resolutions are not binary. Sticking with the handy cliché, if your NYR is to "eat healthy" and you pig out one night, that doesn't mean you've failed to uphold your resolution and might as well give up. You can still choose to eat healthy at your next meal and the one after it and so on.

The binary "I've blown it once, so I've failed and don't need to try any more" is a deliberately self-defeating copout. If you find yourself subscribing to it, you're avoiding the real issue underlying whatever it is that your resolution was about. If your goal is "eat healthy" and you just end up pigging out over and over again, what you need to do is figure out what is leading you to make that decision. Because it is a decision.

The answer may very well be "I can't bring myself to choose long-term rewards over short-term rewards." Lots and lots of people are in that same boat. But there are strategies to get around this problem! I recommend starting with The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

In the case of health-relation resolutions, you have a clear choice. Follow the resolution and be healthy, or don't follow the resolution and don't be surprised when your health fails. That said, it is entirely possible to not want to be healthy badly enough to do the work for it. I know a lot of people in this category. At 5:30 a.m., when my choice is "Gym or sleep!" I fall into that category myself sometimes. But if you are in this category you really do need to see what your choice is. At 5:30 a.m., when I don't want to go to the gym, I think about the friends and family I've lost because they didn't exercise, and remember that it was a goal I made for myself. I don't want to be winded from walking across the room. I don't want to think that a simple bag of groceries is too heavy to carry. The only way to avoid these things is to get my butt up out of the bed and go.

You may also have the problem of "I just don't think about my NYR unless prompted." This is another one that hits lots of people, and again is fairly easy to fix: write out your NYR and tack them up somewhere you'll see them a lot-- particularly somewhere you'll be making the relevant choice. For instance, one of my resolutions this year is to floss my teeth daily, instead of my current two-or-three-times-a-week pattern. But I just don't think about flossing my teeth. It's not a habit I developed growing up. So it would probably be a good idea to write on a notecard "You resolved to floss your teeth" and tape that to the bathroom mirror where I'll see it at just the crucial time-- as in, flossing time.

Last Year's Resolutions

So! All this said! What were my resolutions last year, how did I do, and what about next year?

Arclight Adventures went pfft, alas. I hope to salvage bits of it, and I have ideas to that end, but they're not ready for the world to see. Honestly, I just wasn't ready for a new project yet, and I think I knew that on some level at the time, but was hoping I could fake it until I was ready. However, I learned a lot from the experience, so it wasn't totally wasted.

Writing was plagued by a lot of the same problems that torpedoed Arclight. I lacked focus this past year, largely as a result of depression, anxiety, and grief (and no small amount of running around like the proverbial beheaded chicken). I'm really, really hoping that these things are out of the way, because I'd a do-over on the whole writing thing.

Gaming wasn't really a resolution, just an observation of the state of things at the time. Obviously, rumors of my GM career's death were exaggerated.

Silly Pony Art was done. A lot. :)

Conventions/Getting More Social Generally both happened to some extent. I went to BroNYCon and Midwest Furfest, both of which are rarities for me, and hung out with a lot of new people. It hasn't quite been the building of a whole new social network, but at least I'm not feeling quite as isolated as I was.

Next Year's Resolutions

Reading I used to be a voracious (if not obsessive) reader; that's fallen off somewhat in the past couple of years for a few reasons, not the least of which is once I start on a book, I have a real hard time putting it down until I'm done with it-- so I've been reluctant to start any because I don't want to be up at 3:00 a.m. cursing myself for reading instead of sleeping.

Unfortunately, my current lack of reading is starting to bug me. To be a creator of literature, you almost have to be a consumer of literature, and the best way to generate new ideas of your own is by feeding on the ideas of other people. To that end, I'm going to set myself a goal of reading a novel a month in 2013. What the novels are doesn't matter so much-- it could be the worst junk out there, as long as it's junk I enjoy. Or it could be rereading an old favorite, or whatever. The point is, not reading is probably bad for me. So, I want to read.

Writing kinda got sidetracked this past year, so I want to pick it up again this year, starting with a submission to the next Roar anthology. And doing something with comics. I can't let that new copy of Manga Studio go to waste, can I?

Flossing My Damn Teeth I hate everything about brushing/flossing my teeth. It's disgusting, nauseating, and barbaric in the worst possible sense-- whenever I do it, I think of Dr. McCoy ranting about primitive 20th century medicine. However, until we actually come up with a proper dental rinse, brushing and flossing are required to keep your teeth. And I want to keep my teeth. I'm usually pretty good about brushing, but flossing is a lot easier to skip than it is to do. -.- But I need to floss more regularly. Preferably every day.

Getting More Regular With the Gym I am pleased to say that since starting up the gym again this past summer, laurie_robey and I have been going pretty much at least once a week, and often two or three times a week, and it's had tangible benefits! Between the gym and the dietary changes I've lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 lbs. this year. However, I've still got a long way to go, both in terms of weight loss and in building up endurance. To that end, I want to get the gym trips up to a reliable 2x/week, with the ideal of 3x/week hit fairly regularly.

Refresh the Wardrobe ...not really a resolution so much as a to-do item. The closet needs a good pruning and several items need newer iterations. Gotta keep up with the whole dapper gent thing, after all!

Sharpening Those Workplace Skills This is a matter of survival. ColdFusion will be going the way of the dodo, and that's where most of my strongest technical skills are. This year I need to put some emphasis on getting more current with my skillset, as the landscape is changing around me and I don't want to become outdated.

Tidy Up Around the House More My cluttery/packrat heritage has been coming on strong lately. Time to fix that.

...That's all I can think of, at the moment. I'm open to suggestions, if anyone has them!

-The Gneech
Tags: deep thoughts, moments
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