But they are more fun when you go out for a "Resolution Forging Coffee Klatch" with Mady Virgona and Mike Lorenson! Thanks to them both for some good planning and loads of laughs!
Below is an abbreviated but public record of my resolutions for 2012, so that this time next year, we can all sit back and chuckle uproariously at them.
- The inevitable "lose weight" resolution goes here. For modesty's sake, I won't say how much I plan to lose, but it is an accomplishable goal. I know, because I accomplished it a couple of times last year. I just kept putting the weight back on. And then Christmas happened and I discovered the joys of cooking foods with yeast in it. Mmm...bread...
- Go to the gym 2x a week (or more).
- During the spring/summer months, go play tennis at least one week with Mike and Mady.
- Write 500 words daily. While it doesn't seem like a challenge to someone who can write 60,000 words in a weekend, it is more of a challenge than you'd think. It's the "daily" part that will be the problem. I'm like the whippet of the writing world: a 50-mph couch potato. Once I actually get off my butt and do something, I do it fast and relatively well; but the problem is that I spend more time goofing off than creating something. Which brings me to the next two resolutions.
- Zero Facebook games in 2012. I'm well on my way, actually - I haven't played any in the last three weeks. YAY ME.
- As with last year, no more than 1 hour of TV or movies daily. Hours can be banked, though, which means I can watch a whole movie in one sitting, if I haven't watched any TV the day before. Because nothing says LOSER like leaving the theatre after an hour.
- Read two books a month, and post a *brief* review after. I'm going to try and split my reading into 50% fiction, and 50% non-fiction, because I have such a backlog of research to do...If I do more than that, I can read more fiction! Especially the classics. I love the classics. But reading is a real challenge for me, because I do have a short attention sp - ooh! Squirrel!
- Bake more. Buy no store-bought bread. My bread's better anyhow, and comes free with a sense of self-satisfaction. Self-satisfaction burns calories.
- Paint one picture. I used to do that all the time, back when I had no floor space and nothing but carpets. Now that I have space and hard wood floors, I should be painting more!
- Learn sign language! If I can find a good (and cheap) course, I can claim it as research for Mummer. Barring that, I have ASL dictionaries at home, and I can always access that fabulous repository of all common experience: YouTube!
- Volunteer 1-2 hours a week as a literacy and/or ESL tutor. A) I have to get out of the apartment from time to time, and B) since I can't donate as much, financially, as I used to, I'll donate more time instead. I'll see if I can volunteer through the YWCA.
- Submit more short stories and novels for publication. That means a focus on critical editing, synopses and proposals. This is more of a business and self-discipline thing, and less of a creative thing.
Now, I've made resolutions pretty much every year, with varying degrees of success. But I have discovered there are five keys to increasing your chance of success.
1. Make them SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). "Be kinder," does not qualify as a SMART goal. "Volunteer for 1-2 hours weekly at a YWCA literacy program starting the third week of January" is a SMART goal. Lose weight does not count as a SMART goal. "Lose 15 pounds by June 15th" is SMART, as is "go to the gym twice or more per week".
2. Make them known. Doesn't have to be public, but do discuss them with friends and/or family. Don't just state your resolutions, but make it clear - to them and to yourself - why these resolutions are important and attainable.
3. Have a resolution partner (or two) - preferably someone else who has also made resolutions and is determined to keep them for the whole year. Be accountable to someone for your success, because if they ask you "Have you been writing 500 words a day like you wanted?" you're forced to account for why you haven't been upholding your resolutions.
4. Review your resolutions and success with your resolution partners in a regular and structured way, throughout the entire year. If you don't, by March you'll have forgotten all but one or two of your resolutions. Besides, it helps you, it helps your partners, and it's a great excuse to get out for more coffee with friends. More importantly, it helps you to stop, reflect and digest your year so far, and it allows you to re-track if you've been derailed.
5. State your bad excuses out loud, then keep your resolutions anyhow. I'll bet you buckets of money, if you were to make a list of excuses, "Too tired," "Too busy" and "Too broke" are going to hit the top of the list. Structure your resolutions - and your year - accordingly. If you know well in advance that you're going to counter your resolutions with one excuse or another, then you can either change the goal or ignore the excuses.
I already have two resolution partners, but if you're interested, drop me a line in the comments below, and I'll check up on you, too! You don't have to list all your resolutions in the comments field, not unless you want to make your resolutions public. But don't forget to make them SMART goals, first.
Thus concludes the 2011 series of blog posts, and I'll leave you with one simple New Year's Wish:
Your new year may not be an easy one, but here's hoping the laughs outnumber the tears. You have control over that much, at least.