Resolutions as currently established sound like a failure formula. The system seems good – to “improve’ yourself – but when you look closely, it’s really another system of self-punishment that often winds up preventing the very behaviors that you want to instill. The self-forgiving approach – and let’s face it, the prospect of my ass strapped in an international flight seat for seven hours – got me to get better about my gym habit, and now it’s firmly established. I don’t feel right unless I’ve been to the Y at least 4 days a week. I also did not attach results to the goals. I want to have the habit, and I want to detach from results.
So, in 2012, these are the habits I want to establish:
- Getting up at 6 am, ideally daily. This will take practice, fail a few times, and take some self-persuasion that getting up early can be fun. I never really slept past 8 am as a teenager or in college, and the late sleeping now is a combination of making up for years of much needed sleep deprivation, meds (most of which I no longer need/take as I get a better handle on my allergies) and possibly just making up for lost childhood by sleeping through an awesome adulthood. Even 7 am would be OK. This does mean enforcing upon myself a 10 pm bedtime at least 3 times a week. This is mostly about keeping up with my writing and blogging schedule, including the Artist’s Way work. This is the year I really need to start producing articles for anthologies, annuals and the like.
- Going dancing every other week. No drinking, especially if I’m by myself. I can go back to DDPP, sure, but I also may go to one or two bars with dance floors where I feel comfortable safe. Several times through my twenties I took a look around at my life and thought resentfully, “I thought there’d be dancing.” The best way for me to get that is to just go, go alone, and not let the usual social entrapment (well intended, not conscious, or founded in insecurities I don’t share) snare me from it.
- Use my museum memberships to their fullest capacity. I’m a member of the Walker and MIA this year. I’m going to really make it a point to be more involved in both. This means lots of artist’s dates, which is good, because I’ll need them with the work I’m doing.
- Be more visual. Share more photos of my life and experiences; I still take the photos, but I realize I rarely share them. You may not see immediate results of this – I do need to tag the daylights out of flickr, but thanks to changes on the site the greasemonkey scripts that made this easy to do in less than a decade sometimes just don’t work anymore. With this photo sharing, I also need to use more words about why I took the photo.
- Get face to face time with friends once a week, if not more. This will take some work and planning, but I know I can do it. I need to respond to the question about whether my introversion goes in phases. It does, and it’s complex enough to merit a blog post since I’m exactly halfway between an introvert and an extrovert.
- Cut down email/Facebook/Twitter to no more than twice a day. (OK, probably a little more checking for Twitter.) I can corral most stuff to Tweetdeck, which allows me to backtrack on Facebook and LinkedIn; and learning to ignore fresh email as I work through my Google tasks will be tough for me. I’d love it if Google had an “email closed” version that could a)save and email and b)work outside of my browser. It would really help me focus better, since I do like adding tasks directly from my email. Chat messages do go straight to my phone now, so any chat you send me is essentially the same as calling me, but probably faster.
- Also, TV on weekends only. That’s my best way of keeping up with the work I have at hand, and allows me to feel productive at a relaxed pace. Oddly, I can sense my stress levels increasing when I’m on a regular TV diet – but in concentrated bursts, it’s relaxing, rather than stressful.
I recently read in the Happiness Project about the statement “You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want.” I’m not sure I’m willing to believe that – but is that denial, or does it just offend my somewhat childlike sense that all things are possible? I do know I can’t do everything all at once – but I’m hoping that these changes, making sure I expend energy on what I do want, will make it possible for me to do one hell of a lot.