Hope you had a fabulous New Year’s Eve and that 2010 is shaping up to be a stellar year for you all!
As we all know, around this time every year the phrase New Year’s resolution (or some variation thereof), tends to be bandied around. And inevitably, a flurry of old resolutions get dusted off and given a new lease of life, and a bunch of shiny brand new resolutions (which people invariably wish they’d thought of first) are publicly aired.
Just quietly, I don’t much like this whole “resolution” thing. Smacks too much of “resolute”, which is just another way of saying that you’re being firm, unyielding, staunch, stubborn, unbending, unwavering, determined…. Sheesh. Sooo not fun. Resolution? Sounds more like a chore, a really hard slog, a thankless task that you’ve been stuck with and you’d rather have a tooth pulled without the benefit of anesthetic than force yourself to undertake.
And maybe that’s why whenever I have gotten round to making a New Year’s resolution, it never works. I never seem to stick at it for long enough for it to, well, stick and become habitual.
So this year, I’m deliberately not making any resolutions. Instead, if anyone asks I’m telling them that I’m trying something new: namely, just getting on with it. Just doing whatever I have to do.
For example, for a while now I’ve known that I would really like to lose 5kg. To that end, last year I finally joined a gym. I tried to be good and not goof off. I averaged 3 weights sessions a week but I didn’t lose the weight because truthfully, I haven’t been doing enough cardio to actually lose weight and hence, I’ve just been maintaining my current weight. I guess it doesn’t help that I loathe jogging with a passion because unless I wear a beanie or use earplugs, I get really really bad earache when I jog outside. And I gotta admit, the earache excuse has served me really well thus far.
So out of the blue, instead of making excuses about why I don’t want to go for a run, why I can’t go for a run, why I’ll suffer for hours afterward if I do go for a run, I just decided to do it anyway. And on New Year’s Eve, when DH and the kids decided to go for a run, instead of staying home like I usually do, I shocked the whole family — and myself! — because I donned the beanie, plugged up my ears, and went along, too.
I mean, me? Voluntarily going jogging? Outside? In public? Wearing a beanie in the height of summer? Un-freaking-believable, if I don’t say so myself!
And yes, I got some funny looks. Yes, it was hard going and frankly, not at all fun, and I knew I’d be sore as all heck the next day, but I managed twenty minutes. And, after a day off to recover from the being sore as all heck and barely able to walk without groaning, I dragged DH off for another run before breakfast. And tomorrow I’ll go again… provided it’s not raining like it was this morning, because I do have my limits, LOL.
Don’t get me wrong, I still loathe jogging — don’t think that’s ever gonna change in a million years! — but I’m just gonna get off my bum and do it. Because I know that I’m more likely to push myself to run that little bit faster, or that little bit further, if I’m running to an actual place — in this case, to the local yacht club and back without stopping — rather than running on a treadmill in the gym.
So as far as goals go, I’m not making it my goal to go jogging X times per week, or get to the gym X times per week, because that hasn’t worked for me in the past. Nope, instead I’m just going to get out there and do it.
And speaking of goals: One of my friends asked me what my goals were for 2010. I guess he thought that being an author, I must be really good at writing down my goals and such. Boy, was he nonplussed when I admitted that I don’t have any concrete goals.
I explained that I’ve never been one of those people who notes down their goals and then, a year later, drags out that notebook or scrap of paper and ticks off every goal that’s been achieved over the course of the previous twelve months. In fact, our lovely RWNZ chapter convenor always gives us a “goals” notebook on the first meeting of each new year so that we can record our goals and aspirations, and my notebook always ends up being blank. Or used as a phone message notebook, or a shopping list notebook — anything except what it’s actually supposed to be used for.
I don’t know why I’m not that goals-oriented person, especially because I have a sneaking suspicion that it would be really great to be that person. I mean, how amazing would it be to note down all your goals for the coming year and then twelve months later be able to look at them and say, “Yep, I’ve achieved this, this, this and this — go me!” I really do envy those people who can do that.
Maybe it’s tied up with the same character trait that makes me a “pantser”, someone who writes her stories by the seat of her pants, rather than a “plotter”, who outlines her stories first.
I can do it both ways, mind you. I can outline, or write a synopsis first, or even plot out an entire manuscript chapter by chapter, but for me, doing so sucks some of the joy out of my writing process so I try to avoid it. Instead, my usual process is that I’ll have the concept of a hero and heroine, I’ll have the beginning scenes mapped in my mind, I’ll envision the ending, or where I want the hero and heroine to end up, and then I’ll just go for it.
Maybe I’m superstitious — secretly worried that if I actually write down or state what I want to achieve in life, I’ll jinx it. I can just see Madam Fate smacking me upside the head and laughing uproariously as she throws me a curve-ball I can’t possibly hope to hit.
Maybe I’m too scared to categorically state what it is that I want to achieve, because then if I don‘t achieve it, I am categorically a failure.
Who the heck knows?
What I do know, is that yet again, when it comes to my goals for the next twelve months, I’ll end up doing whatever I feel I need to do at the time — whether that happens to be adhering to my daily writing schedule no matter what, doing my utmost to reach my self-imposed daily word-counts, setting self-imposed writing deadlines. I’ll keep on querying, entering contests, taking rejections and judges’ comments on the chin, getting my name out there, and as my granddad used to say, trying my darndest to be the best that I can be right now.
So I can only apologize for the lack of amazing and inspirational personal and career-related goals for you to take away and maybe use to help you get through whatever 2010 has in store for you.
Instead, I’ll leave you with these:
As the Nike slogan goes: “Just Do It“.
As Yoda said: “Do, or do not… there is no try.”
From the coaster on my desk: “Never, never, never give up.”
And finally, a quote from Richard M. Devos: “The only thing that stands between a woman and what she wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.”