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A Word on New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve written this post before, but January never seems to stop coming around, so here we are again. In about three weeks many people will begin gritting their teeth and preparing to force themselves into New Year’s resolutions that most won’t keep.  There’s very much an all-or-nothing mentality here.

I’m going to cut ALL sugar out of my diet

I’m going to lose 200 LBS!

I’m going to write my first–no, my first, second, and third novels!

I’m going to have a PERFECT life. 

And then of course, when none of that happens, it’s back to business as usual.  Daily toil, drudgery, and some disappointment.  This is a cop out.  When you set yourself a near-impossible standard, and you manage to tie that standard into an arbitrary date on a calendar, it’s not surprising when things don’t change.

Most real change isn’t fast.  It takes time, effort, and way more than the classic and trite “positive mindset.” This is why, while I’m obviously in favor of improving ourselves, most of the self improvement industry disgusts me.  It makes it way easier than it actually is and promises things it can’t possibly deliver to you quickly.

It’s been a few years since I’ve actually made a New Year’s Resolution.  I’m always working on something.  I know where I want to go and what I want to have, and I can work on these goals without needing the permission of a calendar.  Perhaps more importantly, they are goals that I want to work on.  I don’t have to eye the calendar with dread as 01/01 creeps every closer and I’ll have to submit to a few weeks of token obedience to a goal I don’t even want to chase.

Here’s what I’m currently working on:

  • Writing my second book
  • promoting my first book
  • playing with my son for a minimum of two hours each day
  • making my wife laugh every day
  • get stronger in various lifts (I won’t bore you with details)
  • lose 3% of my bodyfat
  • reading four books each week (I don’t sleep much)
  • becoming fluent in French and capable of reading German
  • play a Peppino D’agostino song perfectly on my guitar

It’s all simple, and it’s all made of small steps. Nothing overwhelming.  The point is that they’re my goals, and I can say they matter to me more than anything.  These aren’t all stock resolutions that could apply to anyone.  They’re they things I truly care about that make my life better.

None of us are ever going to get everything we want.  None of our lives will ever be perfect.  But they can always be better, and the best way I know to make a life better, is to take small, consistent actions that lead you somewhere you want to go.  You can always do something. 

So then, if any of this sounds familiar, I’d encourage you to go into the New Year with a couple of weeks of momentum already behind you.

Decide what your goals are.  Break them up into small parts.  Start marching, and do it today! There’s no reason to wait, and if you choose goals that matter to you, you won’t want to wait.

If you’d like to share what you’ll be working on, please do.

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gustavo December 7, 2012, 2:16 pm

    You read four books a week? Wow! (I read 1/month).
    Say… since you read that much, can you read mine, please, please?
    I know you are famous for being a heartless merciless critic sometimes but I really would appreciate your opinion.
    By the way, my new year’s resolution is to loose 35 LBS and I am sure I will make it this time.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 7, 2012, 3:30 pm

      I’m not heartless or merciless, you madman! I try not to review anything I don’t like, or at least to keep it between the author and myself. I’d be happy to read your book. Have you sent it to me?

      • Gustavo December 7, 2012, 3:51 pm

        No but I will put it on promo (free) in Amazon next week so you can download it to your kindle. I will keep you posted.

  • Ara Bedrossian December 10, 2012, 1:13 pm

    I agree, four books a week sounds overwhelming!
    I do monthly resolutions and tune them as I see how well I’m meeting them. I myself have resolved to finish writing my 2 books by spring and moving out of my home state, to the mountains or the coast. Your family goals are commendable.
    Good luck!

  • Casey B December 10, 2012, 1:31 pm

    I like your only review things you like policy. I don’t need to know about more things that aren’t good, but would like to know about things that are.

    • Spencer December 11, 2012, 1:14 pm

      I try to (mostly) only review things I like. Life is too short/too many other good things to read.

      My resolution is to actually finish my book proposal. Now it’s in print, so I have to do it.