…And I hate being sick during the holidays.
For a week now, I’ve felt like the crusty floor of a NYC taxi cab, sometime after the ball has already dropped.
My sinuses feel like Mardi Gras after the beads ran out.
So, to distract myself from this sorry state, thought I’d offer a suggestion for how to handle the dreaded resolutions this year.
(In previous years I have suggested not making any. If you’re happy where you are, I recommend sticking to that plan. If it ain’t broke…)
So, being a depressive and prone to rumination, on New Years past I have often found myself lamenting on all the things I didn’t do in the previous year, well, all the things I had planned and not accomplished. And, at some point – not around the dawning of the year – I had a different thought about it:
Was there a way I could handle this situation in a positive way? Some way that didn’t make me feel like the dried pond scum I’d convinced myself I so obviously was?
Well, as it turns out, yes, there is.
I started implementing this series of ideas, ad hoc, over the last 8 months or so.
(Yes, a bunch of these are cobbled together from other ideas out there. I don’t claim credit for them, but I’m also not listing a bibliography. Let’s face it, if you really wanted to know, you wouldn’t be getting your information from me. Suffice it to say, all of this information is out there, available for free, if you find your interest piqued. )
Don’t waste time thinking about the things you didn’t do.
(Seriously, don’t. I know it’s attractive, but resist. Beating yourself up over the nebulous things you didn’t get done is just another form of procrastination. It sucks, but it’s a reliable way to put off doing what you’re afraid to do, which, incidentally, is probably what you actually most want to do: that thing you’re afraid of. Desire’s like that sometimes, learn to roll with it. So, no pining for lost opportunities, and no self castigation. Really. If you can’t do this, right now, then learning how should be your only resolution this year.)
Find a quiet spot with some paper and a pen.
(You’re going to want to write this down. It helps cement the memory, and the physical action gives it weight in reality.)
Ask yourself: if I look back from this time next year, what things/ actions would have made 2018 awesome?
(Really, imagine yourself in the future, looking back on what you thought was supper cool about the year. Make these things you can control/ actions you can take. Don’t base the ideas on anyone else or on chance. What did you do, for you, that made 2018 fekkin’ amazing? Jot down as many things as you can think of – doesn’t matter if they’re small or large. Just mind-vomit them onto the paper.)
Take a break.
(Walk away from your list. Get something to eat. Watch some TV. Do laundry. Have a wank, whatever. Just put it out of your mind for a while – at least 15 minutes.)
Read your list. Pick out the 4 things on it that really set your spark.
(This is the hardest part, frankly. No other advice.)
Plan how to achieve these goals.
(Ok, this requires more explanation. Limit your goals to one per quarter, if they’re big goals. If they’re really big, maybe knock the list down to 1-2 goals. Some things can take a whole year, building a business, significant weight loss, etc.. But, if the 4 are reasonable sized, plan to try to get one done every three months.
Break each goal down into the smallest performable action. The absolute easiest, least energy expensive step you can take. We’re looking for the tiniest barrier to entry here. If you want to be successful, start small. The universe started small, look how that’s turning out.
Make a plan for how to implement the next step, and the step after that. At this point, the excitement of making the plan will probably take hold. So, while writing down your plan, make sure to write yourself a note: remind yourself to take things as they come and not to rush. You’re trying to do this well, the time portion of it is just to help you lay out the specifics.
Important here: be super specific.
Be specific about your goals and about what steps you will take to achieve them. Vagary is your enemy. Being vague will let your mind over inflate certain things and underemphasize others. Be specific and you get around this mental pitfall.
Be reasonable. Dreams are great, but you’re supposed to be planning things you can do. Dreams can get big, but start small and be reasonable. If you don’t know yourself well enough to be reasonable about what you can and can’t attain, then I suggest you make getting to know yourself a priority in this coming year. Hell, make it your only priority. It will be worth it.
Make a list of your plans and each step you’re going to take to achieve the particular goal. Again, write it down!
Pick a start date for each plan. And – you guessed it – WRITE. IT. DOWN!
Also, while you’re at it, plan how you will celebrate each achievement. )
Seventh Thing: (last, I promise)
Display the list of goals, and the plans for them, somewhere you will see it daily.
(It’s like a design for a tattoo. You want to be reminded of it regularly.)
Last, Last Thing:
Go relax. Seriously. Go enjoy your New Year’s Eve without regret or recriminations. Don’t spend any time thinking about the future. Be there, wherever there is for you, and be as fully in the moment as you can. Tomorrow will be there when you wake up. No use in rushing it. Not like you can anyway.
That’s it. Fairly simple, but just about everybody knows by now that simple don’t mean easy.
These are the steps I took this year to finish my novel and start working on a new one.
This is what I did when my weight loss stalled.
This is how I’ve planned my next year.
I’ll adjust the plan as the terrain changes, but that’s to be expected.
I actually have 5 things on my list, but one of them is only going to take about 2 days, and then lots of waiting.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you experiment and come up with modifications.
I hope your New Year’s Eve is as awesome as you want it to be.
Have fun. Don’t drink and drive. Kiss someone that makes you weak in the knees.
Until next year.
(Although, given the infrequency of my posts, that’s not nearly as kitschy as it sounds.)