Sunday, January 10, 2010

Irresolute


There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make New Year's resolutions, and those who don't.

I've never been a fan of the New Year, that big transition that's supposed to herald a fresh start. First, it's January — grey and cold, the air thick with resolutions made in the glow of holiday champagne, but now hanging low and heavy, like over-burdened winter clouds waiting to bury us in a blizzard of good intentions.

"I myself am made entirely of flaws 
stitched together with good intentions."
Augusten Burroughs, Magical Thinking

Most of us who don't make public resolves still formulate them in our secret thoughts, telling ourselves that the guilt won't come if no one else knows. Pure folly, of course, because each New Year's resolution, whether publicly proclaimed or silently sworn, comes prepackaged with it's own, ready-made guilt. One little slip, and the guilt is unleashed.

The trick to a truly successful New Year's resolution is to make one that can be accomplished in the short term — in that burst of energy and resolve that seems to accompany new beginnings. (If you happen to find my burst of energy and resolve, please return it to me promptly. I seem to have mislaid it.)

Cleaning your office, for example, is a reasonable New Year's resolution. Ending world hunger, while a laudable goal, is not exactly something you are likely to do on your own before New Year's Eve 2010 rolls around (unless you play a lot of FreeRice).

It's the long-term goals that will get you. These resolutions are layered with guilt, shellacked anew each January first when we promise, again and again, to:
  • lose weight
  • exercise every day
  • be a better ______ (son, communicator, parent … you fill in the blank)
  • stop _______ (smoking, overeating, swearing … you fill in the blank)
  • finish your _______ (novel, graduate degree, last will and testament … you fill in the blank)
Nope, this year I have resolved to avoid these resolutions at all costs. Instead, I am sticking to simple, doable, short-term goals. And along those lines, I am happy to report that I have already, just 10 days into the New Year, had some success.

First, and this will seem to contradict my previous paragraph, I have started a new blog. It's a creative writing blog along the lines of Anne Lamott's famous shitty first draft (SFD). It's a blog for free writing, a kind of on-line journal, where I can explore writing prompts and inspirations in 10-minute bursts of uncensored creativity. Or, to be more precise, in a shitty first draft. My first inclination was to keep it private, like a real journal, but since it's a resolution, I decided that making it public would make me accountable. Even if no one reads it, I know someone could — and that will keep me honest.

For the month of January, I am lucky to be receiving daily writing prompts in my email box from Lisa Romeo, who writes my favorite blog on writing (so much great information and inspiration). Once January is over, I will turn to another wonderful blog, Sandy Ackers' Strangling My Muse, for further prompts. Feel free to leave your own writing-prompt ideas in a comment here, and if you're interested or want to see if I'm keeping up with my resolution, this is the link to SFD @ 2KoP).

My second resolution is more along the lines of that whole short-term burst of energy concept I mentioned earlier. For years now, I have been wanting to create a Website to promote my freelance work, and I have finally developed enough skills to put it all together. I'm so excited to announce the launch of my writing site, www.bearman.us. You can see my little logo at the top of this page on the sidebar to the right. Check it out and let me know what you think. Pass it on if you know anyone in need of my services. Thanks.

Now, about your resolutions. Of course, I look forward to hearing what you have resolved to resolve this year. Just click here to leave it in a comment. I have also created, just for you, a special short-term, fun and easy New Year's resolution in the form of my 2KoP writing contest. Read all about it here, then enter — you could win a guest post on this very blog AND a 2KoP baseball/golf cap. Hey, there's an idea for you — there are two kinds of people in the world: those who wear baseball caps and those who wear golf caps. See, it's not so hard. Enter today to win!

Finally, thank you to Angela for Friday noons, which I have concluded are not resolutions, just further inspiration.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nope, don't do NY's resolutions, too moo cow for me!
Marce

Ciss B said...

I too do not do NY's resolutions. I have instead tried to make the changes as things come to me. The weight loss one is not an easy one for me! :-)

Your idea of a blog à la Anne Lamott is a grand idea too! Resolution is a great idea, but most of us (me included!) they simply don't work unless we have some major help. Doing little steps helps for me and I've given up on that old NY resolution!

Sandy Ackers said...

Thanks for the plug, Susan!

I'm also not a fan of New Year's resolutions. I don't think I've ever made one in my life. I do tend to set goals for myself throughout the year -- some I meet, some I don't.

Good luck with your new blog!

Anonymous said...

You made my day! When my eyes fell on the quotation (I myself am made entirely...) it was love at first glance. Thanks.


(Said an old man who stumbled on your site)

Susan Bearman said...

Dear Anonymous — so happy to have made your day. I hope you stumble upon Two Kinds of People again soon.