We’re six days into the year. The new car smell of 2018 is still there but slowly fading away. Now’s as good a time as any to talk about new year’s resolutions.
Between the two extremes of “NEW YEAR, NEW ME!” and “Ew, new year’s resolutions are dumb,” I think there’s a happy medium for everyone. Sure, the fact that January 1st is the day where one year turns into another is somewhat arbitrary. On the other hand, there’s something I’ve always liked about trying to plant the seeds of change in the depths of winter so that they’re in full bloom by the time spring rolls around.
(Never mind that it’s a humid and sprinkly 65 degrees in San Jose as I write this while the East Coast deals with Snowpocalypse 2018—it gets too dark too early and that’s what I mean when I use embellished purple prose like “the depths of winter.”)
The two kinds of resolutions
Here’s a hot take for you. All new year’s resolutions fall into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. I want to lose 20 pounds, I want to read 52 books, I want to post twice a week—those are all based on quantity and those are all the kinds of resolutions I’ve tried to fulfill only to eventually fail at them.
And if it’s one thing I hate, it’s failure. Failure makes me quit.
So, to set myself up for success this year. I’ve decided to stick with resolutions that will improve my quality of life. Since there are no numbers involved, these aren’t pass/fail. I can grade my attempts at self-improvement on a curve.
Resolution #1: Do fewer things, better
I have a habit of doing things not necessarily because I want to, but because someone has to do them and I feel like everyone’s looking at me. (Or worse, I think no one will be as good at it as me.) But when I look back at the things I enjoyed doing most last year, they were the center of my attention and I was giving them my all.
The easiest example I can bring up is quidditch, because this is me we’re talking about here. Last summer, I loved managing the Argonauts and I can’t wait to do it again this summer.
Is it because I loved giving the best team NorCal’s ever put together the ability to just play while I did all the dirty work? Yes. So much yes. But it’s also because I’m not half-assed managing one team while half-assed coaching another and eating my heart out when they play one another, as I have been this fall with the Skrewts and SJSU.
But it’s not just nerd sports. I was writing more, better quality blog posts when I wasn’t trying to juggle writing with two jobs, two teams, and a personal life.
I made commitments in 2017 that intend on seeing through into 2018, but as they expire, I have to take a hard look at what I’m spending my time on and make some cuts. I don’t know what those cuts will be just yet, but they will be happening as the year goes on.
Resolution #2: Keep a regular workout schedule
I couldn’t tell you how much I weigh because I don’t keep a scale at home. However, I know by the way that my clothes fit and how tired I feel that the answer is too much.
I’ve tried setting quantitative goals before. Lose 20 pounds, work out 3x a week, etc. As soon as I slip and my scale creeps up or I miss a trip to the gym because I’m traveling, it gets really easy to quit because I’ve failed.
So not only am I not setting a weight goal, I’m not even setting a hard schedule. 3x a week would be ideal, but sometimes it’ll be 2x. Just so long as I’m making a habit of working out, that will be an improvement. I want to build the habit more than I want to hit a number on the scale or the waistband of my jeans.
(Related: right now I’m doing a lot of cardio, but if any of you out there have tips on easing into lifting heavy things while in possession of bad knees, let me know!)
Resolution #3: Try to focus on the positive
I already know that this will be the hardest one for me. Hell, this will be hard for my blog, considering that my most popular post ever was a massive rant. Seeing the negative in the world and pointing it out is part of my shtick.
On the other hand, this resolution will also be the best for my mental health. Looking back at the failed resolutions of the past, they weren’t complete failures. One of my biggest struggles is that when I set a goal and only make it part of the way there, I beat myself up about what I didn’t do that I don’t look back and appreciate what I did manage to accomplish.
I failed at blogging 2x a week last year… but I did average about 1.6x a week while holding down several writing-intensive jobs and that is far more writing for myself that I’ve done for years. That’s a success that got lost because I focused on that .4 failure.
Whether you’ve made a laundry list of resolutions or you think resolutions are silly, here’s to hoping your 2018 and mine is better than the year before.