One of the commenters at Lifehacker had a good idea I hadn’t heard before: instead of making a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions that you’ll either forget by the end of the year, or give up on because they all seem so daunting, make a series of New Month’s Resolutions. A month is usually a good chunk of time to see if a lifestyle change will “take” or not, and it’s easier not to get discouraged if you mess up, but just pledge to tackle it again the next month.
So here are the things I’d like to do in 2007, not necessarily in order. Mostly predictable ones. And realistically, they’re not all going to get accomplished, but it’s a good round set:
- Stop smoking. People are often surprised when I tell them (honestly) that I “only” smoke a half a pack a day. In addiction terms, that’s small potatoes, except for a) it’s 2007, well past the time to give such a stupid habit any slack at all; and 2) the fact it’s surprising I smoke so “little” is exactly the reason I need to quit. I’ve got such an overwhelming dependence on it; it’s become such a habit that I get really anxious when I break it.
I’m a little bit encouraged by the fact that I’m off caffeine now, something I never would’ve imagined possible a year ago — I used to think I’d never be able to go a day without a Coke, and now I don’t even like the taste of them.
- Lose weight. Even though I gave up Coke, I’ve still got a soda dependency, and the Spritegut to show for it. Weening myself off sugar water will take some time and effort, but it should be possible. The rest should just be a matter of paying attention to what I eat, instead of skipping meals and then over-doing it for dinner, along with eating less crap that’s quick-and-easy (whoever came up with Smores-flavored Pop Tarts deserves a severe ass-kicking from me and a bunch of other lazy chubby guys). I can’t remember the last time I weighed under 200 pounds, so that’s my basic goal; if I do better, great.
- Exercise more. Which is to say, some. I’ve always managed to rationalize putting this off by saying that I need to wait until I’ve quit smoking. I’m having a harder time convincing myself of that.
There’s realistically no way I’m going to be able to start jogging or riding a bike, without having to stop and lie down and wheeze for a few minutes. But I’ve got no excuse not to walk more. Especially since they opened up a new Best Buy within walking distance of my apartment, almost like God arranged a built-in exercise/reward system by working through retail.
- Take Japanese classes. Two times I started a class in Japantown, and had to drop it both times, because I didn’t have time for it. Now that I’m in the city and will most likely be working from home for at least a majority of the year, I don’t have any excuse not to try it again.
A while ago, I saw one of those before-the-movie trivia slides that said Edward Norton was fluent in Japanese. For some inexplicable reason, that bothered the hell out of me — I’ve got to be at least a smart as that guy, right? Also, twice in the past year, I’ve caught myself spouting off as if I were some kind of expert on the culture and language, to somebody who was far more fluent and knowledgeable than I am, but who didn’t make such a damn production out of it.
- Draw regularly. There’ve been dozens of projects I’ve abandoned before putting any effort into, because I knew they would be art-intensive and I don’t have the drawing talent to make it look as good as I’d like. I think this resolution I could handle, now that I’ve lowered my expectations — the point isn’t to create master-works, the point is to practice and build confidence. I’d feel better about keeping up with it if I had a quantifiable project to work on, though.
- Learn to play the banjo. I bought the damn thing, and it just stands there mocking me for giving up on another hobby. Again, I don’t want to aim for mastery, maybe just be able to play one song. Just for yuks, I’ll now claim my target goal is the difficulty selection screen of Monkey Island 3. If I enjoy it, I can decide to take it further.
- Finish NaNoWriMo. I didn’t even bother with it in 2006, which at least shows that I’m getting better at reining in the unfounded optimism. At this point, the goal isn’t even to come up with something I like, just to finish.
- Write a game. I’ve had at least four or five ideas bouncing around in my head for years now, but I never get any traction with them, either because of my work schedule, or my short attention span/laziness, or frustration at my lack of drawing skillz. But if I can just get something ugly working, there’s a slight chance one of the many obscenely talented artists I’ve been able to meet after working in games for 10 years would be able to come in and take up the slack. At the moment, all I’ve got is talk.
- Write an OS X app. This will probably get done first, since I’ve had the idea for a year now, and I actually really need to use the app I have in mind.
- Manage my time better. Obviously, that’s essential for all the other ones, and it’s too nebulous to cover in a month. But clearly something has to change if I’m going to get anything done this year.
So if I’ve counted right, that’s ten. Which gives me two months to goof off and procrastinate. And presumably: get a job, do good work at said job, get out of the apartment and socialize more, read more books and less blogs, meet somebody, fall in love, and start a family, come up with a way to make this blog more interesting and less long-winded diary entries, etc…
Happy New Year, everybody!