Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Requisite Start of New Year Post


I don’t do resolutions.

As Mark Twain said:  “New Years Eve.  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

It’s not that I’m indifferent.  I have goals.  I have character traits that require ongoing commitment to achieve betterment.  It just seems that resolutions set up a negative relationship with my goals.

Too often these goals are set and then recited ad nauseum to all who will listen.  “I’m going to commit to a healthy lifestyle!” and “I’m going to stop *insert irritating habit here*.”  Even “This will be the year I finish my MS/get an agent/a contract.”  The public shame is supposed to act as a motivator.  If everyone’s watching, you’ll be embarrassed if you fail.

This works for lots of people, I think.  If so, by all means.  Throw your dreams into the figurative city square and let others scrutinize.  Do whatever motivates you.  But I bet there are some out there like me.  Shame isn’t my motivator.  In fact, it freezes me up.

I’m not immune to the New Year.  It’s a huge beginning.  The calendar is how we all mark time.  It’s our basis for its passage, our way of keeping track of events.  Every year I look at what’s come before and I think about what could come.  But I don’t set my goals up on some finite schedule (“I will lose X amount of weight by” or “I will tackle said monumental list of horrible DIY projects”) and give myself a deadline to feel shame if they aren’t accomplished.  Because the world doesn’t favor timelines, in my experience.  The universe has its own timeframe to accomplish tasks and I’ve found the universe (or whatever greater power you favor) knows what it’s doing better than I do.

Instead, I revisit my dreams.  They aren’t usually new dreams.  In fact, I’m pathetically predictable.  I SHOULD eat healthier.  I SHOULD try to be the best mom/wife/relative/friend/writer I can be.  I WANT to get an agent/contract.  But I don’t need a finite calendar; I need a positive attitude.  I need excitement to hack away at these goals with renewed vigor.

After all, it’s a new beginning.  I get another year (thank you, greater power) to try to be the best I can be.  What a gift this life is.

How are you approaching the New Year?  Are you a resolutions, need-a-deadline sort?  If so, have you made resolutions and how's it going? Or are you more like me, with a need to reaffirm a positive attitude?  Anyone feel like sharing their year goals (either met last year or set this year)?

Wishing you all everything you need this year.



2nd Chance said...

Well, other than working on bucking the establishment... I'm looking at 2012 as a bit of a do-again w/a better end of year attitude. I want to stay focused on what went well last year and move that forward in a brand new way into the new year.

I always start the year out focused on the first big convention of the year. At least that has been my focus for the last five years, since almost dying.

Before that, I tended to look toward the big vacation and set my fitness and weight loss goals toward those items. Now, I look toward the cons...with fitness and weight loss goals.

And all the other things I need to do to get ready for cons anymore...

I did well last year, set some contract goals and exceeded them. I did well with what was in my control. It was the stuff out of my control that soured my attitude so much at the end of the year, so I'm looking to do better with this year!

Quantum said...

As a contrarian I hate to follow the crowd.
Each year I resolve to make no New Year resolutions, but then opportunities appear and I set myself new goals.

I think this is the year when Europe may split asunder. The Euro will probably survive but Greece, Spain, Portugal and Hungary may split from the Euro-zone. My goal is to profit from the ensuing chaos. I am already preparing my cash mountain, ready to invest.

Hey. I might be a millionaire next year .... but will the pound be worth anything ..... I could still be a pauper! LOL

More seriously I want to start figuring how to illustrate my Children's stories. Kids love pictures in their story books, so if I'm to be the new Roal Dahl I must master this aspect, and quickly. Anyone know some good software for creating cartoon type pictures?

Wishing you all beautiful dreams :)

Marnee said...

Chance- I think focusing on what you can control and trying not to worry on the things you can't is a great attitude for the new year.

I saw your pics from the steamcon. It *does* look like a lot of work to put that all together. The outfits alone must take so much planning. (They were all really cool, BTW.)

Do Again with a Better Attitude sounds like a great goal, Chance. :) And you've got a book out here really soon. That's always a good start too. :)

Marnee said...

Q - I've been reading some about the situation across the ocean, thinking of you all. I hope that you and Mrs. Q aren't too negatively impacted. There's a lot of financial woe in the world these days.

As to your children's books... I don't know of any drawing software, but I *MIGHT* know of someone who does know about software. I could drop her an email if you're interested. She's a graphic designer. Not sure that's what you're looking for but maybe she can direct you.

Donna Cummings said...

Great post, Marn. I quit doing resolutions many years ago, once I realized they were basically punitive things, designed to make people feel bad for enjoying themselves at the holidays. :)

Plus, time seems to go so fast anymore. It seems more important to enjoy what I'm doing, and what I've done, and see what I can do to accomplish more of those things that will make me happy. There's just not enough time in that schedule for shame or punishment. LOL

Bosun said...

I did go into the new year with a list of stuff I want to accomplish in 2012, but then I start every week that same way. And every weekend. "This weekend I will do ALL the laundry!" These things don't work any better on my weekends than they do for the year. LOL!

Oddly enough, I don't remember setting big goals back before I started writing. I'm sure I did, but I don't remember them. There's just something attractive about having a clean slate. We can pretend the mess we slapped on the canvas last year is gone and we get a do over. Like Chance says.

Maybe we should look at it more like expanding on the good stuff we've done before the new Jan 1. Prolonging the good attitude. Keeping up the good work health-wise. And you can never go wrong resolving to go into each day with a positive attitude, choosing to be happy.

Marnee said...

Donna - It seems more important to enjoy what I’m doing, and what I’ve done, and see what I can do to accomplish more of those things that will make me happy.

Now this is a great attitude. It focuses on the positive, on doing what's good and fosters happiness. Personally, I think all success comes from those feelings. When we look at what we want and focus there, trying to siphon off what brings us down, then we put energy where it can be productive. That's good stuff.

Bo'sun - And every weekend. “This weekend I will do ALL the laundry!” These things don’t work any better on my weekends than they do for the year.

LOL! I do this too! "This weekend I will clean out all the closets." Luckily, when I fall short of a big goal, I don't get bogged down in the glass half empty part of it and I usually can look at what I DID accomplish.

Just last night I was looking at the next phase of my revisions and getting overwhelmed in the largeness of the task. When I stepped back and realized that I don't have to do it all at once, my anxiety lifted a little. LOL

And you can never go wrong resolving to go into each day with a positive attitude, choosing to be happy.


Hellion said...

I don't like deadlines. I don't even like deadlines at work, where I'm paid to follow them. But I know my attitude has gotten poorer and poorer over the last number of years. I'm not as perky as I could be about this journey. I find myself bitterly asking, "Are we there yet?" with less and less enthusiasm, even though I'm well aware we're on the side of the road going nowhere fast. *LOL*

But I do believe what we put out in the Universe we get back in spades. Hence why I'd trying to adopt a more positive attitude and goals.

Though I'm doing WW again (more for a vanity trip than a health one, mind you, but hey, it's working and I'm happier when it is), the tips for success are the same as when writing. They certainly aren't saying I can lose 50 pounds in a week, or that losing this weight will suddenly change my life or change me in the ways I think. If I don't work on my emotional aspects, I'll still be a mess, so it's good to work on your inner self as you're working on the outer self.

Writing is the same. I'm not going to write a book in a week (or a day); and publishing a book isn't suddenly going to make me uber confident and popular. Those things are mutually exclusive.

Goals in WW are more...manageable. Instead of saying you'll lose 2 pounds this weeks, which you can't control necessarily, you can control what you do and do not eat, how much water you drink, or if you exercise. Those things DO contribute to the overall weightloss goal.

So we all have the goal to be published. But that isn't necessarily within our control. So the resolution isn't to be published this year--since we can't control that--it's to do the things we can control. Write everyday--or do something writing wise everyday. Think positive. Don't quit. Be kind.

I've stopped even requiring 2 pages minimum everyday because the minute I don't write those 2 pages, I slack off indefinitely. I'm starting smaller. Write something. Anything. Think about your story; discover a new plot twist, or read a book that you wish you'd written and figure out how they did it.

I'm looking for something more attainable...and less guilty-inducing.

Marnee said...

Hells - I like the idea of working on the things we can control. And doing something writerly every day. I agree, it's so tempting, when you don't meet a goal, to just say, "Oh well, I didn't make it." I think weight loss is like that for me. I think, well, I didn't lose any weight this week, I'm a slacker. Then I get down on myself and instead of just thinking that every day is new and that I can rededicate every day, I just stop. I don't know why I do that.

Go you with WW. And I really like the less guilt-inducing goals.

Janga said...

I'm borrowing Jenny Crusie's language. I'm not making resolutions but plans, and plans are subject to change. :)

I plan to eat healthy, to walk every day, to write something--blog, article, poem, pages for WIP--every day, to avoid self-pity parties, and to be more grateful for what I have. I've done well so far with everything but the walking. I fell Saturday, and walking will have to wait a bit.

I like Ter's idea of choosing to be happy. I think for me the first step in making that choice is to focus on the good in my life instead of numbers like age, pages produced, cost of living--all of which I find seriously depressing.

2nd Chance said...

I have a real problem with the word, goal, to begin with. But I do know that having a destination in mind will at least get one off the couch...and picking a general compass point will give me a first step...and right now, that's all I'm working toward. That first step. With good attitude!

P. Kirby said...

I don't do resolutions because, ultimately, they have no real consequences. I mean, even if I post here, or blog, FB and elsewhere, that I'm gonna [insert great plan here], in the long run, it's not like anyone, come Dec 31, is going to call me on my failure. Even my mom, or my husband, probably won't do more than make a passing comment. "So, did you ever finish the book you were writing?" I'll hunch up my shoulders, grumble, "No," and that'll be it. The matter will be forgotten.

Actual deadlines sometimes do work, as much as I'm loathed to admit it. I mean, if something has to get done, it must get done or I might get fired. Or the publisher might cancel my contract. So, yeah, deadlines are powerful are motivation. Unfortunately, they are also a reason to procrastinate. "Aw, I don't have to work on that NOW. It's not due till Friday..."

My husband and I do have a loosely defined goal of just relaxing and having more fun this year. 2011 was incredibly stressful.

2nd Chance said...

Oh, yeah! The costumes are the easy part of conventions! As long as there are no wings... Wings are a bitch...

Pat, sounds like a really good resolution to have. Relax and have more fun...

Bosun said...

I meant to suggest Q check with Pat on the animation stuff. I mean, she did draw that little avatar and he looks right out of a picture book.

Janga - I hope you're feeling better!

Marnee said...

Janga - to avoid self-pity parties, and to be more grateful for what I have.

I think this voices what I had planned for the year too. And the write every day thing. I agree with Hells above too, that it doesn't have to be in pages produced. I think sometimes my most important writerly time spent is when I'm just ruminating on something. Then, I have one of those, "AH HA!" moments. I usually say it outloud, even, in a time when someone sees me. Then I have to explain, "You see... he has wanderlust! Of course he does!" and I smack my forehead or something similar. And whoever's witnessed this bit of insanity gives me that smile.... you know, like they think I'm schizophrenic.

I digress.

Don't focus on the numbers. I think that's a great plan.

Pat - I think having an actual deadline would work for me. I think I work better when I can plan out my time like that. It always worked when I had a time sensitive job, anyway. I manage my time better like that.

But I'm sorry you had a stressful 2011. I hope this one is full of more fun and relaxation.

CHance - Wings are a bitch

*Blinking* Wings? You lost me at wings.

2nd Chance said...

Costumes with wings are a bitch to travel with, make the wings for...and get around a crowded room with. At RT, they have a fairy ball every year and watching the servers trying to manuever around wings to set plates on a table? A mess! This year they are suggesting people not do wings...

For costuming, most of what I wear is actually adapted daily wear. I have a gift for finding costumes when I shop, from everyday shops.

Bosun said...

I actually have a set of wings on the back of my couch. Which is totally unlike me. We bought them for kiddo to be a lady bug for Halloween then she decided NOT to be a lady bug. *sigh* But we have the wings!

Marnee said...

I can't imagine making a costume, let alone trying to make wings for said costume. I'm the most un-crafty person in the world. (Disclaimer, I crochet. But I'm only good at that because I follow directions well. If I have to improvise, forget it.)

Wonder if you could do sort of gossamer or something, chiffon that hands down. I'd imagine wire enhanced wings are a PITA.

Chance, if I ever need a costume, I'm calling you first.

Ter, stop. You know you wear wings around the house to clean and whatnot every chance you get. Doesn't everyone? *blinks innocently*

Marnee said...

Hangs down. Not hands down. Sheesh, clearly I don't type much.

Bosun said...

Sorry, Marn, but *I and the most un-crafty person in the world. Did I ever tell you about the time I had to iron our last name on the back of kiddo's softball jersey? I ironed the "B" on backwards. They were iron on and I still messed up!

I bought the wings. No way in hell would I make some. LOL! And I don't wear the wings to clean, Marn, but the tiara is always in place. Sometimes crooked, but it's there.

Marnee said...

I need to get a tiara to clean in. *Adds to grocery list*

I would probably mess up iron-on stuff too. Probably because the iron and I aren't on speaking terms right now. (thank you, wash and wear fabrics)

2nd Chance said...

Ladybug wings would probably not be hard to travel with. If they are realistic ladybug wings!


The problem with wires and gossamer anything is still...they protrude behind you and can drag through other people's space. Like big pirate feathers...but people tend to enjoy that!

I like to wear my big pirate boots when I clean, and stomp around the house...

Okay, I'm lying. I seldom clean...

Scapegoat said...

Hi! Sorry I've been MIA but they've let 2 people in a remote office go last Friday and guess who got picked to pick up the work load of both of them????

Come on, you can guess....

Sigh. And no, this time I didn't even get the chance to say no. I'm so incredibly thankful to have a job, but I hate how company's are taking advantage of the economy right now. Really, 3 jobs can be condensed into 1 person? And no talk of a raise for taking it on either.

Okay - rant over!

So goals - hmmm. I'm a huge goal-setter but more in the way of Plans the way that Janga put it. I have lots of Plans...and not a lot of accomplishing those plans.

I'll pull on the big girl pants and say my writing plans for 2012 are:

Finish & Revise my 1st WIP!
Hopefully Finish & Revise Before Nationals so I can go!
Begin New Book Using Fast Draft Book in a Month Techniques
Find My Voice. Or at least really figure out what genre I feel like is most natural for me.

Bosun said...

Scape! I know of 2 other writers who could use a 3rd roommate at Nationals. We...uhm...they would love to have you! (Now you have to go.)

That sucks about the job. Been there, doing that. LOL! And the no raise parts really chaps my ass. I'm tired of being cheap labor!

Marnee said...

Chance - LOL!! I think RT sounds like a blast. Where is it this year?

Scape, I think it's not just your company. It feels like the entire country is dealing with employers who are capitalizing on everyone's fear that if they don't do whatever these employers ask, they'll get fired and won't be able to find another job. It's awful.

But... these sound like great plans! :) Go you! Write write write!!

Bosun said...

And these are technically butterfly wings. They were on sale at JoAnns so they were going to have to do. Which kind of works out so if I ever do have to do the fairy thing, I have pretty black wings with red glitter. And they aren't too big either.

Sin said...

Are we sticking with writing goals because I always set those and I break them.

My big girl writing goals this year-

Compete in NaNo 2012
Stage and Complete Awrpawrimo (April Writing Month)
Finish and clean up my NaNo 2010 and NaNo 2011 stories.

I'm dieting right now and cut out soda. Right now I just want to burn everything down and go on a very Godzilla like rampage. I can't focus on goals. Focus on one day at a time.

Scapegoat said...

Love it Sin! Godzilla like rampage - give me a warning before you come my way! I think your writing goals sound doable and I for one and going to start asking you for updates on them. :) Get ready for some goal heckling!

Thanks Bo'Sun - I can't believe you'd still want me after the last time I stayed with you. I really appreciate it. We'll see if I can make it - I HAVE to finish the WIP first. :)

Quantum said...

Marnee: I *MIGHT* know of someone who does know about software. I could drop her an email if you’re interested. She’s a graphic designer. Not sure that’s what you’re looking for but maybe she can direct you.

Thanks Marnee, I would appreciate that but don't go to any trouble. I have found a program called 'Real-Draw Pro' which has a free version that I might try, but a recomendation from an expert might save me a lot of time, expense and anguish!

2nd Chance said...

Man, been there, done that...seen the husband do three jobs and see no raise, etc. Paid with stock that was worthless... Man, when this worm turns we are gonna demand the big bucks!

Demi Spawn said...

I’m dieting right now and cut out soda. Right now I just want to burn everything down and go on a very Godzilla like rampage. I can’t focus on goals. Focus on one day at a time.

So SIN, I guess you‘re saying that you hated my story LORD OF THE spRINGS! The heart warming hip ( spreading? ) tale of a mini chocolate chip ala orange cheese cake?
Don‘t work about setting goals cuz you‘ll be Doommed, DOOMED I say! Actually bette Davis said it. Kinda.

“I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds. It is endless. “
Bleeck. Who wants to deal with seeds? Really. Almost as annoying as … me. : )

Demi Spawn said...

Q, I was just discussing the Euro/Europian/Greek-etc situation with my son. I presented a theory that explained reasons behind the actions & consequent reactions to those actions. Under my theory the pound is indeed safer than that "other" currency . But thats just my opinion. And what do I know ... What I do know about is how creativity, presentation, and salesmanship work together.

"I make no claim to be an authority on writing or illustrating for children."
Hugh Lofting

"The fact that I have been successful merely means that I can write and illustrate in my own way. "
Hugh Lofting

Be your charming , witty self, Q. and you will be successful. IMO.

Demi Spawn said...

Terri? GET a Bigger WASHER! More laundry in less loads. Just saying.

Demi Spawn said...

Well, other than working on bucking the establishment…
Chance is My Hero!

Whenever I tryyyy bucking the establishment I get a phone call ...
Usually from some person who is trying to pretend that they just happened to call just because.

Demi Spawn said...

'and to be more grateful for what I have. I’ve done well so far with everything but the walking. I fell Saturday, and walking will have to wait a bit....
Poor Janga! Hugs, If it makes you feel better I'm not walking either at the moment. And I used to walk an hour a day befor a stupid broken mummble toes whatever cannot get a shoe on yet. BUT I can wear flipflops sooo I was thinking about trying to drive in those. But its only 8 degrees out. I am not happy. Nor am I very pleasant to be around. A pity party actually kinda sounds nice , But a greatful for hands party sounds even better . I'll bring cheese cake. And hot tea. And soup.

Demi Spawn said...

But I know my attitude has gotten poorer and poorer over the last number of years.
Hellion, you need hot soup too ... and lots of W W rum and lots of hot sex. Sex is zero points so ...

Demi Spawn said...

2011 was incredibly stressful around here too. Which isn’t to say that it was a Bad year. It was just very exhausting. Exhausting but cathartic. You asked about goals and resolutions. The truth is, for the first time in a very long time, I don’t have a resolution because I don’t need a Resolution. Why? Because 2011 was a year full of resolutions . This was the year that brought a resolution to events that had been Unresolved for as many years as I’ve been blogging on the net. Hell, 2011 brought a resolution to the very reasons that brought me to the net in the first place.
Its odd. To not have A Reason anymore. I feel a bit adrift. But its kind of nice too …
After all these years, I have closure because the people I care about have closure. I watched it all unfold … the good and the bad and the ugliness of it. I reacted when I could. Listened. Gave advice when it was appropriate. But by far the most difficult thing was to stand back. Watching, trusting when trust had not been earned.
When I finally saw the truth … or part of it at least … aired on tv? Things started to fall into place. For me. Not for everyone but for some. This is where the ’trust” comes in. I trust. I trust that they … those other women … will get their resolutions too.
So I don’t need a resolution.
But I want one. There is a difference.
This year? My resolution is ….
“If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.”
Cyril Cusack

That is what I am going to spend this year doing. Getting reacquainted that quiet Inner voice that I, like many women mothers wives , tell to hush so that we can “take care of” those who are important to us.
I am going to find “me”. Find some old posts. Dig up some old stories. Probably write a few new ones. Perhaps I’ll write my memoirs. Not that they will ever see the light of day because ….
This is for me.
This is my year. For me. I make no apologies. I paid my dues. Heck, I even think that I have a medal sitting around somewhere to prove it.
And no. I’m not proud. I learned my lesson. The last time I told someone that they should be proud? They said “I’m not …… proud ………….. I lost four men today.”

Demi Spawn said...

But that is another story ....