I get excited about goals and self improvement–I make a ton of resolutions every year and I actually keep most of them…or at least I keep trying to reach them. I also have a bucket list I made a decade ago and I keep track of progress towards each item; most of my resolutions come from that (alas, I’ve only finished six of them). It’s helpful to publish goals and create more accountability, so here are some plans for 2017.
Infinite, permanent “cold turkey” resolutions are rarely successful, so I’m starting off with a couple of one-month goals: no french fries, soda, or Netflix in January. I’ve done these before, and the short-term aspect works really well. Sometimes I renew goals like these, sometimes not. I’ve gone months without soda several times over the years, but I always end up going back. I’m okay with that, though.
I try to start new goal projects before New Year’s–I find that that helps, too. Less artificial pressure. I’ve already started those above, plus this one: only check Facebook and Twitter twice a day. Clearly, I’m trying to reduce time wasting. It’s weird that I feel boredom so often pulling me to these habits, but that just means that refraining is important.
I said that I make a ton of resolutions, but they don’t all start at the same time, nor are they equal. A list might be sequential throughout the year. Other items are small enough that they can be worked on in tandem. These are to be done in order: Update 72 hour kits, type 50 words/minute, work through a college algebra textbook.
Some goals are big and open-ended; therefore, poorly-defined. “Learn to juggle” and “learn to whistle loudly” are like that–I need to break them down and be clear about how to get from here to there, and how I know I’m done.
Some items from my bucket list are actually pretty close, so they’re getting front-loaded, like finishing all temple work for the last five generations of my family. That could easily be done during 2017.
By far the biggest part of my resolutions in any given year is my reading list. Every year includes classics (2017: Gulliver’s Travels, Swann’s Way, To the Lighthouse, finish the Divine Comedy and Finnegans Wake) among others (2017: Blood Meridian, From Dawn to Decadence, Rough Stone Rolling, and too many more).
Last year I asked left-leaning folks I know what the most important or influential book was in forming their philosophy, and the most popular answer was Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, so that’s on the to-read list this year.
But certainly the most important thing on my list for 2017 is one that will make my kids happy: I’m finally going to read the Harry Potter series.