It’s a common practice to make resolutions. Lose weight. Get a new job. Travel to that destination you always talk about. Hook up with Kate Upton. Weight loss and fitness are the most common, and if you belong to a gym, the most amusing to watch. On January 2, the line for a treadmill or weights is five deep. By Valentine’s Day, it’s crowded, but tolerable. By the first day of spring, the gym is nearly deserted on off days.
The resolution is doomed to failure because it’s tied to New Year’s Day, when a new year still has that new year smell. Within a week, all those grandiose plans we make start collapsing because we seldom factor in real life. Yes, you still have to work 40+ hours a week. You have no clue if/when you or someone in your family will get sick. Your house, your car, electronic gizmos all can crash and burn without warning, and nature might decide to blow a big wind your way.
I don’t do resolutions anymore. Sure, weight loss is on the menu, and last year, I pulled it off before letting it all creep back up on me. So I need to rethink that. Usually, though, I fail to plan goals around the rest of my life. It takes a lot of time to write, and that has to compete with fitness (not an option to drop), school (also not optional), and work.
One of the dumbest goals I had two years ago was to read 100 books in a year. That is an enormous time suck. If all I did was work and write, that would be awesome. I could probably do 200 books. I reached that 100-book goal, but I can barely remember half the books I read or listened to that year.
What it’s only taken me over half a lifetime to figure out is that you can really only plan four big goals for a year. You can always achieve more, but you risk not achieving anything if you put too much on your plate. So, what am I doing this year?
- Enter at least three races this year. I want to do the Flying Pig Marathon in 2016, and this is part of the lead up. I’m aware you can train for a marathon in six months. I also know if I attempted to do it that way, I’d be doomed to failure. All this carries along other goals around health, putting certain conditions into remission while eliminating others altogether. Small steps.
- Shop Holland Bay. I let this thing sit too long before getting back to it last year. I want to get this to an agent. “But you’re an independent writer, Jim.” Yes. And getting published traditionally still carries a lot more credibility. It also is an enormous boost to an independent writer’s career.
- Finish the science fiction novel. As “Dick Bachman.” No, I’m not telling you who that is. Eventually, it’ll be revealed, but I have my reasons for keeping the two separate. The fact is I used to be into science fiction. It’s time to get back to my roots.
- Finances. ‘Nuff said.