These days, it seems like it’s fashionable to simply not make New Year’s resolutions. Why, just today one of my Facebook friends declared that 2010 was so awesome that she wasn’t going to make any resolutions for 2011, just try to top 2010. To which I say, Bah. I was not making resolutions before not making resolutions was cool.
For awhile I avoided making New Year’s resolutions just because I thought January 1 was a very arbitrary date to make a significant change in your life. I figured any date would do, so I chose March 25 as my “resolution” date. Then I decided that resolutions in general were kind of silly. Why should one choose to change a single behavior or habit when what everyone really needed was a complete personality overhaul (I was pretty cynical when I was in college). Finally I just decided to give up on resolutions, New Year’s or otherwise, and just sort of go on with my life.
Then a couple of years ago I decided that what I would do is take the new year as an opportunity to revisit my personal priorities and set some goals. I guess that’s the same thing as a resolution, though, isn’t it?
At any rate, here are the priorities I’m setting for 2011. They’re not listed in any sort of priority, so each of these priorities has more or less equal… uh, priority. And I’m putting them online so that you all can help me stay honest.
Health: I’ve tried — oh, how I’ve tried — to make my physical health a priority over the years. Making my health a priority means not just exercising (taking advantage of the gym membership that Jennifer and I purchased back in October) and eating right, but also sleeping regular hours and, heck, even brushing my teeth and flossing regularly. So let’s see if 2011 is the year when I take my health seriously.
Writing: I do take my writing pretty seriously, but this year I want to take my commitment to the next level. “But what in the world does that mean?” I hear you cry. It means making a concerted effort to market myself as a writer in ways that I haven’t done so in the past (and this will actually mean doing some research first to figure out how to do this), and to simply making more time to actually write. Also, keeping five active submissions going at all times. Yeah, that last one’s going to have to start in February, after I get some manuscripts ready to go. Also, I want to make this blog a higher priority.
Faith: I won’t talk about this one too much, simply because it’s very personal to me. Suffice to say, I plan on going to church more often. And on volunteering with some local charities.
Relationships: …by which I mean my relationships with various people in my life: family, friends, co-workers, and so on. I have this horrible tendency to let my friends drop off the radar when they’re not in my immediate vicinity for too long. Thus, I have friends in different parts of the country that I haven’t kept in touch with, and that I haven’t even talked to for months. Facebook has helped with this, but it’s certainly no replacement for phone calls or even just plain old fashioned email. Same with family, which is a shame. So I want to make maintaining my relationships (and building new ones) a priority for this coming year.
Work: Not much needs to be said about this, and I don’t think I need to work on this one very much. I have a good, secure job that I enjoy. Basically I don’t need to increase my focus on this priority, but I can’t really let it slip either.
Geekery: Isn’t that a great word? But what do I mean by saying that I want to focus on “Geekery” as a priority for the coming year? At first I thought this meant just being more of a nerd, and engaging in nerd culture. I mean, if someone can resolve to engage in their own national or ethnic culture over the coming year, then why couldn’t I focus on the culture I belong to? But then I thought about it some more and decided that what this really means is ongoing learning and engaging. I plan on learning new programming languages, learning more about history, engaging in more local cultural events, and so on. Geekery — in my mind, at least — means getting involved with the world around you and ongoing learning. Oh, and spending more time interacting with fellow geeks.
And in addition to these priorities, I have a couple of core values that I plan on working in to my life: namely, integrity and creativity. So, as I approach each priority, I plan on doing so with those values in mind.
What’s really fun is that I can find ways of working on goals that meet more than one of these priorities. For example, my goal of writing a web-based Manuscript Submission Tracking tool in Python for myself falls under both Writing and Geekery, while a goal of exercising more with my friends is both a Health goal and a Relationships goal. And a goal to get involved with, say, the social committee at work is both a Work goal and a Relationships goal. Pretty snazzy, right?
Now that I’ve got all that written down, it seems like a lot. But I don’t think it really is. Most of these priorities are repeats from last year, and it’s easy to keep them in mind anyway. The big part for me comes when I review my priorities and set goals on a regular basis. I’ve already set a few — weight loss, software to write, manuscripts to revise and finish, and so on.
Anyway. Thanks for reading this far, those of you who did. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’m wide open to hearing them.