Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Am Resolute! (New Year's Resolutions and All That Rot)

Photo by:  husin.sani
Whilst we engaged in our New Year's Eve camaraderie, my friends were laughing about the arbitrary nature of celebrating the first day of the year just because some guy a long time ago said, “this is when we’ll say the year starts, and here’s where it ends.”  I argued that there's still value in it.  Lots of our celebrations are arbitrary, but it doesn't take away their value.

Some people get oddly cynical when it comes to holidays.  Using their logic, there would be no reason to celebrate anything on any day.

“Yeah, Valentine’s Day is nice, but I'll buy my wife things when I want to…not when the Man tells me to.”

“Yeah, Christmas is nice and all, but I’ll show compassion to my fellow man when I feel like it, not when society dictates.”

"Yeah, St. Patrick's Day is nice, but I'll get pants-shittingly drunk and vomit on a child's shoes when I dictate, not when the greeting card companies tell me I can."

I think that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are not intended to be days that we wait around for to enact change. The idea, if you’re doing it right, is to take stock in who you are, look at where you need to improve yourself–because everybody most assuredly does–and then work to do so. New Year’s Eve/Day just serves as a convenient reminder. “Ding. Level up. 2013. How are my stats? Okay, I did pretty good with Charisma, but I may want to add some points to Dex this year.”

Birthdays, at least for me, function in much the same way. As does my marriage anniversary.

With that in mind, I have the obligatory list of resolutions and goals that I'll be shooting for in 2013.  These are not all of my goals, as some of those are personal.  However, this should give you a sense for what I'm expecting with 2013.

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1. Get back to counting calories to reach my goal weight--incidentally, that's 200 lbs. I had quite a bit of success with using MyFitnessPal and switching to sugar free options where available, as well as generally trying to eat smaller portions and the like. I fell off that a little bit in the latter part of the year (mostly, unsurprisingly, when the holidays reared their ugly head like Cookie Monster pushing his toxic wares, "C'MON PAL, TAKE A BIT, FIRST ONE'S FREE"), and I would like to get back to it.  Once I'm down to 200, I'll see how I feel and decide whether I want to continue to go lower or maintain my weight there.

2. Related to the previous resolution, I need to start trying to work in more exercise. Rather than slam myself into a high discipline life style, I'm going to start by trying to walk 30 minutes a day, beginning once a week and trying to build up from there.

3. I'd like to make more time to read. I've been keeping track of how much I read per year for a while.  2012 saw a higher amount than 2011, but not as high as 2010--which had extenuating circumstances as I had a lot of down time. Therefore, my goal is to try to read an hour a day, and to try to fit in 25 books in 2013.

4. In addition to the amount that I want to read, I also have goals for the type of reading I want to do. I want to branch out into different genres than I currently read. I'm no genre snob, but having a wide pallet for fiction is good for a writer. In addition, I want to start working in more nonfiction books--history, political science, biographies, science, etc. I'm also going to work more to read books by and about females, another thing that I don't necessarily slouch at, but I'd like to see what females are doing in the science-fiction/fantasy/horror genres.

5. I would like to start getting to bed at a decent hour. Burning the midnight oil leaves me drained.  I had success with this when I was on vacation this summer, but when I went back to work, my schedule got warped and I never got it back on track.

Photo by:  spaceamoeba
6. I will try to write 1000 words a day on fiction, three times a week.  This will not count the stuff that I do for the blog.  The blog will be extra bits, but those 1000 words aren't negotiable.  I've been far too lax with my fiction writing. I have plans to extend that to 1000 words every day, but I want to build into it, rather than start out sprinting and hit a wall.

7. In addition to the 1000 words a day, I will try to write two to three blog posts a week. This is just to keep me writing and keeping me thinking. The fiction stuff is nice, but the blog is where I can play with lots of other stuff and write about whatever.  This will probably be stuff I do over the weekend and schedule to go up throughout the week.

8. It's not really a resolution so much an idea we're toying with, but my wife and I are considering taking one weekend a month and disconnecting from the Internet entirely. No Facebook, no Twitter, no G+, no e-mail. We'll watch Netflix, Hulu, etc, because we don't have cable or satellite, and it's not really the same as getting on Twitter and burning an hour or more reading tweets.  We got the idea from Joe Hill, who mentioned it as a thing he'll be trying this year. We liked the idea. We (as in society) have become so plugged in, it's difficult to experience things anymore. The time away from the wires will probably do us some good and give us time to relax and refresh.

That's my list of goals. What resolutions or goals do you guys have for 2013?