So...I was looking at last year's goals, and they all seemed reasonable. I just pretty much failed to accomplish them. Some of them were a bit open-ended, which is fine, but mostly there should have been a clear success/failure line involved, and I just never really...uh...made it across that line, I suppose. I realized that part of that (although probably a small part), was that I wrote down all those things and then, with only a few exceptions, I think, I basically never went back to look at the post and see how I was doing. So this year I hope to at least keep a little better track, if not actually become more active in my own life, trying to reach goals and do better for myself and so on.
I keep thinking about what I want to do this year (or in general), and I feel like I'm having trouble settling on a list. I look at last year, and things there seem so big, somehow...even big and vague. Which...in a sense is appropriate, I think. Like...this should be a time to think about big, vague improvement, I think. In trying to get my head into this post, I kept thinking, "Well, sure, there are things I want to do, but that doesn't necessarily mean they belong in a New Year's post." So I started thinking about that, about what belongs on this list and what doesn't. I realized that I couldn't readily draw any hard and fast lines, so...I guess I'm going to just have to wing it a bit.
Part of the problem is scope. Like...I want to have things that I can look back on at the end of 2007 and say, "Yeah, I did that." On the other hand, I'm not so sure this should be a list of things I can just cross off; a checklist. I mean, those things have their place, and I think they're generally a good idea (I'm thinking mostly of that "101 Things in 1,001 Days" thing that cacophonesque was talking about a couple months ago), but I'm not sure they're what I want for New Year's. I think I'm looking more for nebulous progress than concrete steps. But what's difficult about that is being able to look back over an entire year and know how I've been doing.
So between that and the thing about not coming back to my list often enough, I'm thinking that it might be appropriate to come back periodically and check in, maybe monthly or something like that, to take stock, maybe revise, and generally just remind myself that I'm trying to get stuff done. So maybe that's a good place to start, and I'll try and let the rest flow from that.
After some consideration, it seems that a lot of what I want to work on is actually how I work on things. So...I'll call these "meta-goals."
I will remember my goals and work toward them.
I want to check back here, let's say every month, and see how I'm doing. I won't shy away from this task because of embarrassment at what I might find, and I will by honest with myself (and by extension, you folks) about how I'm doing. And here's the big deal: if I am not satisfied with the results, I will do something about it. Duh.
I will keep a to-do list, refer to it, and cross things off it
This is somewhat related to the above, I guess, but this is the catch-all for smaller goals, the things I don't think necessarily belong in the New Year's post. I keep a lot of "Someday" files and junk like that...things I'll get around to "someday." I'd like to start making sense of it all, if at all possible, and make someday come along sooner rather than later. I want to decide what I want to do with things, solidify those decisions, and then do something about them. This also brings me to a related point...
I want to not be so hesitant to get rid of stuff.
I have accumulated a lot of cruft in my time. The vast majority of it has been packed into boxes and carted around with me, untouched, for the past several years. At this point in time, the only purpose these boxes serve in my life is to take up space, make it harder to move around, and sit around waiting to be unpacked. I haven't done anything about this state of affairs because, frankly, I'm afraid to. The thought of getting rid of my hard-earned stuff just pains me. I want to start addressing this issue. It may well be that I lack the emotional fortitude to deal with this, but I should at least be able to face that, rather than living in this weird limbo. I either need that stuff or I don't. That should be figured out. This should also apply to queues and lists and junk like that, though. If I find I've been hanging on to something in a "Someday" file, and I don't think I'm ever going to get to it, I should junk it. It frees up room for the important stuff.
I will stop losing so much time.
I feel like I lose a lot of time. Like...I'll reach the end of the day, and I'll realize that I spent the whole day pretty much doing nothing, even if I had started out wanting to get certain things done that day. Probably the number one cause for this is television. Goofing around on the 'Net would take a close second, I imagine. Otherwise...who knows where the time goes. All I know is I'm sick of it. I want to know where my days are going. Now, I want to be clear here that I see no real problem with wasting time, or spending time unproductively, as long as I know what I'm doing. I recognize that there are just times when you don't want to do anything; you just want to zone out or chill or whatever. Believe me, I'm a big fan, and I don't want to give that up. But I want to have said beforehand, "I'm just going to waste time today." I don't want to start out the day ready to get things done, and then end up going to bed having only put a dent in the couch and rewatched another 15 episodes of Law & Order, see what I'm saying?
Okay, so that's all overarching changes I'm looking to work toward. What about the practical stuff? Some of this will be the same as last year, no doubt, but...well, there ya go.
I will get a job.
Concise, clear, necessary, and top of the list. Simple enough.
I will make a budget, and I will stick to it.
Way, way back, I learned I was bad at budgeting. I actually thought I had brought this under control, but in retrospect, actually I was just afforded more room to make mistakes by having a decent-paying job. So I'm going to pay close attention to finances this year, and I'm going to make sure I don't screw myself over like I've been doing for the past few years.
I will make actual progress toward getting out of debt.
This is sort of a sub-goal to the previous one, but it's important enough to be noted on its own. I'm not going to get out of debt this year; I've come to accept that. It's going to be a long, drawn-out process, in fact, trying to get out of debt. But I have to start working on it, and the sooner the better. This is something that must be addressed.
I will move out of my Mom's spare room.
Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure where to prioritize this, as it more or less conflicts with the whole budgeting thing, but I generally think it would be good for me overall.
I will continue to not smoke.
So far, so good.
I will eat healthier.
This probably includes several mini-goals. Overall, I think I'd like to get back into a dietary space like the one I inhabited in San Francisco. Off the top of my head, I think this means: more fresh fruit and vegetables, less meat (basically that whole "cutting down on the flesh of the land beast" thing did me some good), and generally less food at a sitting. Also I avoided fast food then, something I've really been bad about this past year. I've generally been of soda and that junk pretty well for a while, but I probably drink too much coffee. I've also drastically increased my sugar intake since living at home; Momz likes to make cakes and stuff like that. So: more fresh fruit and vegetables, less meat, no fast food, less desserts (and junk food in general), smaller meals.
I will exercise more.
I don't get enough exercise. I just don't. I should at least find a way to move around a little every day, like take a long walk or something. In addition, though, I need actual exercise, like working up a sweat, you know? Maybe two or three times a week. I really don't like gyms, so even if I did have the money, I doubt I'd go for something like that. What I should really do is get a bike. Until I have the money for that, though, I should at least take up running again or something. Something. The goals here are to hopefully get in better shape, possibly lose some weight, and mostly have a reason to stay of the damn cigarettes. Also perhaps it will help my lungs recover from the damage already done. Whatever the reasons, though, it's just all-around better for me to get exercise.
I will watch less TV.
I have to admit, this is going to be really tough while still living at Mom's. The TV is a big deal in this household. Even so, I don't like how much time it takes out of my life, and I don't like how it makes me feel afterward, like I just blew another opportunity to do something worthwhile. So...I think less TV would be better for me. It's pretty much the nature of this household, though, that I can't avoid the TV very effectively, so until I move out, I basically just want to be doing something else, something more productive, while watching TV. I think that should mitigate things enough.
I will read more.
It came to me at some point (or at several points, perhaps) during the year that I just don't read much any more. Like...reading for the enjoyment of it. I guess somewhere along the way I kind of lost interest, so it's been good to get recs from friends that put me back in a reading mood. And it's not so much that I find reading to be that much more productive than, say, watching TV, but it's more convenient, quieter, and generally doesn't make me feel like my brain is slowly disintegrating. The flip side is that I can't really do anything else while reading, so I have to set aside time for it and everything, but I think that would be a worthwhile pursuit. Books are keen.
I will write more.
I rarely write any more. I think it's been my habit to say something like, "I never get the chance," but it might be more accurate to say something more like, "I never give myself the chance." It's like anything else; I'll have to make time for it, or it will never happen. I'm not setting any particular goals this time, at least not yet, but I at least want to recognize that, while my environment and situation are certainly factors in my lack of writing these days, no one can be held more responsible for this than myself. So, yeah...if I can do something about it, I should. More writing.
I will resurrect the Crack Den.
Yeah, that's lifted straight out of last year. Hope I at least make some progress on it this time around.
I need more gaming in my life.
At this point, I really can't see how I'm going to swing getting more RPG action in my life; I just know that I'm jonesing for it. I really want to see if I can do anything about this. I don't know exactly what that's going to mean, really...finding people local to me? Periodic trips to New York? Boston? Something online? Don't know. But I need something, man. I mean, really.
I will keep making progress.
Here's the thing...I've never been an ambitious guy. Like...ever. And in the long view, I never really wanted much. I think, vaguely, in the back of my mind, what I really expected was that someday I'd reach some kind of plateau...some kind of self-sustaining and basically static mode of existence where I could just keep living, do my thing, and not have to worry too much about shit. Well...I think now that that's kind of bullshit. There's always something else...something else to do or learn or say or whatever. Quite frankly, I'm not geared for this kind of thinking just yet. If I ponder too hard the long road of life ahead, I get pretty damn tired. But I'm starting to try and cast things in a new light now...I'm trying to look forward to the journey instead of putting it off and hoping I die before it gets too rough. Life is here for the living, right? I've tried many times to kind of...stop, I guess, and stay where I am, hoping the world would accomodate me. Well, that appears to not be working. So, I'll do what I can to keep moving, then. Maybe I need to try more new things. Maybe I need to not shy away from new goals. I need to be less afraid of newness, failure, and experience. I need a more dynamic attitude, I think. And by that I don't mean energetic, but...changing. A little more flexibility, a little less worry; a little less sitting around, and a little more walking around. See what I'm saying here? Less thinking, more doing. It's like in The Shawshank Redemption, you make a choice: get busy living, or get busy dying. I'm not going to get drastic about this...you don't have to grab life by the throat or anything, you know? But you at least have to walk up, shake his hand, and look him in the eye.
I will eventually end this post.
So...that seems like a good starting point, yeah? The long and short of it is that there are just things I want to do, and I'm not doing them. So...I should like to. If more things occur to me that I want to do, I should do those, too. If I'm not going to do something, then I should just...not do it, and move on. This year I want to try and ramp up the effort. The attempt if nothing else. There's just so much I leave unfinished, possibly even unstarted, unaddressed, unregarded...just lying in a corner somewhere gathering dust. Well, enough of that.
So I'll just take this opportunity, then, to wish you all a happy 2007. May this next year of life be one we can look back on with pride and happiness. Onward!