New Year’s Resolutions – Who, Me?

As I write this on New Year’s Eve, I think of all my friends and writing buddies setting resolutions.  Some are big, some are small, and many of them are just way too … many.  Just consider:

Measureable Goals (my thoughts in italics)

  • Lose 5/10/50 pounds.
  • Exercise 2/5/15 times a week.
  • Read ten books this year.  (10 a month – at least!)
  • Cook more meals at home.  (Eat out at least once a week.)
  • Go on a cruise.  (Bask on the pond in a rowboat.)
  • Learn to speak French/Russian/Chinese.  (Remember a smidge of the French I used to know.)
  • Organize the house.  (Organize a closet.)
  • Put all the kids’ pictures in scrapbooks.  (Find the boxes that the pictures are in.)
  • Learn to use Excel/Scrivener/Photoshop well. (I’d settle for just one.)

Writing Goals

  • Write X number of words/hours each day.
  • Revise X number of chapters each week.
  • Send X number of queries each week/month.
  • Research X number of agents each week.
  • Write X number of blog posts each week.
  • Comment on X number of blogs each week.
  • Create more fully developed characters.
  • Develop more compelling plots.
  • Use more figurative language.

That’s enough to make any sane person (or me) run away.  So let’s turn to some Unmeasurable Lifestyle-type Goals:

  • Be kind.
  • Be grateful.
  • Be more loving to my spouse.
  • Be more appreciative to my family.
  • Be more faithful to God.
  • Take time for friends.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Serve others.
  • Get healthy.
  • Eat more unprocessed foods.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep.
  • Go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and be more productive. (*snort*)
  • Keep the house clean. (double *snort*)
  • Call my far-flung family more often.
  • Learn to spell better (evidently “unmeasurable” isn’t a word).

Any or all of these are worthy New Year’s Resolutions, but can you see where I’m going?  Can you say O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-I-N-G?

All of these could easily be on my list, but I’m learning NOT to make lists like this.  First, while I love New Year’s Resolutions for the sense of starting fresh, I’m easily motivated and I could make lists like this every few months.  Actually, I do make lists like this every few months. *sigh*

So while I quit making actual New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago, this year … hmm … the new year intersects with my get-your-head-screwed-on-straight-between-semesters time.  So with great will power, I’m still refraining from the long list, and I’m trying to focus on only a few things:

  1. I must put a priority not getting overwhelmed again.  To mis-quote a favorite movie, “some things in this room don’t react well to stress.“  (I think the actual quote is “bullets,” not “stress.”  Extra points if you can name the movie.)
  2. I need more focus on my physical health.  My back, my neck and my weight have all suffered from this last year of stress, and it’s time to get back on track.  I have my schedule of workout classes in front of me and the candy is heading out the door. (*gasp*)
  3. I would like more social time with friends, which would also help with #1 above.  I get wrapped up in my world and don’t reach out enough other than routine church activities, work, or whatever.  Not to mention that it’s ridiculous to send Christmas cards to friends I don’t see much when they only live 15 miles away.  So, weekly social time, whether it’s lunch, shopping or a long phone call.

It took a day to finish this blog, but that’s what taking the pressure off is all about, right?

And that’s it.  College assignments will get done because they have to.  Writing will happen because I have a critique group expecting things.  Blogging will happen when I have something to say.  But if I can’t some weeks, then I can’t.

And the housecleaning will happen because . . . hmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

What about you? What goals are you setting for the new year?  And how do you keep them manageable? 

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8 Responses to New Year’s Resolutions – Who, Me?

  1. Emma Burcart says:

    This is exactly how I feel about resolutions! This is actually the first year I am making one. Because I didn’t make goals at the start of the school year like I normally do. (Because I was busy looking for a job.) And I am only making one. I gave up on worrying about house cleaning a long time ago. I just try to keep things picked up as I go and when I have a guest I can sweep the kitchen floor and clean the toilet. Until then, I’m going to spend my time on what’s important. Happy New Year!
    Emma Burcart recently posted..It’s Not Worth The FightMy Profile

  2. Hi Jennifer! I’d ask how you’re doing, but I can tell by your post that your overwhelmed. 🙂 Hey, it’s hard to strike a balance. Life happens for everybody and things get away from us. We can’t always be in control of it all. I totally get where you’re coming from Jennifer. I think we all struggle with similiar things, don’t you? So I tend to make small goals so that when I achieve them, I actually feel like I accomplished something. But I’m still working to finish my first novel and that’s been a huge job. I’m getting there. Great to see you Jen! 🙂

    • I like the idea of small, reachable goals. Definitely a moral/energy booster to achieve something and mark it off the list.
      Elizabeth Linehan recently posted..Homophobia (or “Warning – Label May Be Misleading”)My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hi, Karen – good to “see” you again! Actually, I’m not too stressed right now, but 2012 was quite a year. I also like celebrating the small achievements, as long as my list isn’t so long that even when I cross a few things off, it’s still too much.

      There’s nothing like seeing the fruits of your labors, whether it’s a few rows of canned tomatoes or another chapter done. So chapter by chapter, revision by revision, we’ll both get our books done, right?

  3. 1. Hunt for Red October (spoken by Sir Sean Connery *sigh*)

    Personally, I reduce stress by making lists/goals/etc. It gives me a measure of control over an otherwise chaotic existence. It quantifies my needs and puts them in a form I can work with. I’m a great believer in Brother Covey’s 7 (8) Habits, especially numbers two “Begin with the end in mind” and three “Put first things first.” I also love how he showed to prioritize by Urgent / Important / Both / Neither. (hey – if I consider obtaining a bag of M&Ms both urgent and important, that’s MY decision!)

    So, while I don’t set “resolutions” any more, I definitely use the new year as an opportunity to set up or reexamine my goals. I find it a great time to regroup and recommit.

    Now, on to the M&Ms. 🙂

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hey, you get ten extra points worth . . . um, a virtual pat on the back?

      I like Steven Covey’s priorities, but I got too locked into rigid schedules when I tried to plan my days like that. But count me in for some M&Ms, OK?

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