January 3, 2010

Resolution Retrospective (or, Five Years of Abject Failure)

I foolishly believed I would be able to flit back through the last five Januaries worth of blog entries and see a record of my resolutions. Because isn’t that what a blog is for? Keeping a record of the important goals and moments and decisions that make up your life? Hint: No. A blog is for a) whining and b)cataloging the amusing antics of pets, especially if they have a gas problem.

My plan was to do some spooky statistic-y Math---but I would call it something else to keep from scaring myself off, like ary-Scay ath-May, or Word Based Fact Analysis or Non-Numbery Guestimationlike Activity. The point was to see exactly how many resolutions I made each year and how successful I was historically about keeping them.

My hypothesis:

Due to my competitive nature I would have succeeded in keeping at least one or two resolutions in the long term.

Due to my extremely short attention span, I would have kept the vast majority of my resolutions for a brief time before failishly forgetting they existed.

Due to my mercurial temperament, I would have EPICLY failed at least one or two by doing the exact opposite of what I had resolved, probably within forty-eight hours, probably also publicly and at the top of my lungs.

I decided my success rate might be 8 - 10%. A big fat F, no matter how you do the Ma--- Non-Numbery Guestimationlike Activity.

What I discovered----ALAS!---was even more fail-tastic than THAT:

In 2004-2005, I posted no resolutions, opting instead to post a giddy resolution meme in which I answered a series of year-in-review questions without taking more than three of them remotely seriously. The few I did take seriously...well nothing has changed. For example, here are two of the questions and my answers:

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Approve of things.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Had they been asked yesterday, and I had I been in a truthsome mood, these queries would have been answered in the exact same way THIS year. *Sigh* On the other hand, I never resolved to CHANGE those behaviors, just cataloged them, and so it is no small wonder that I am still indulging in delicious disapproval tinged with pride-n-snide and engaging in moderate to heavy sulking.

I should have resolved to approve more and sulk less...but instead I made no resolutions at ALL. The closest I came, Best Beloveds, was telling you that everyone ELSE should resolve “to NEVER remove any extra fat cells they might have hanging around and pump them into their LIPS.” I stand by this sound recommendation, but having posted NO resolutions, my score for that year is pretty much zero.

2005-2006: I did post resolutions. They were HUGE and AMBITIOUS and LIFE CHANGING. I was going to 1) clean out my office and 2) fix the V key on my laptop.

Looking at the office NOW, it is obvious that I never QUITE got around to #1. At this very moment, my office is a pornographic filth-wonderland where wildly mating dust bunnies cavort shamelessly behind, in front of, and on top of towering piles of toys and trashes and kiddy art projects and junk mail and printed drafts and, of course, books----some read, some half-read, some unread, and ALL of them filthy. Not filthy in the good way. Just like, chocolate smeared pages, ripped covers, fine patinas of dusts on the ones I finished months ago. I can well believe that not only did this slough of despond not get cleaned out in 2006, it has not been cleaned SINCE. Fail.

Also, I never did anything to fix the V key, unless you count turning the laptop upside down and banging it to dislodge a HOST of muffin crumbs.” Which I do not, because even after the muffin crumb-ectomy, the V stuck like a booger until it stopped working entirely and I gave the laptop to my brother. My brother? Had the V key working within 2 days through the novel approach of “taking it to be fixed.” Faaaaail. Score: Zero.

In both 2006 – 2007 AND 2007 - 2008: I do not even mention the concept of resolutions in any entry I can find. It is as if I am living blissfully unaware that NOW is the time to Become a Better Person Forever. Score: Zero.

Finally 2008-2009: all I said on the subject was, "I resolve to have no resolutions....Oh. Oops."
I even failed at not having any. Immediately. Which I think brings my zero down to a negative ten.

I am a tragic creature. I resolve to do better this year---in some ways I already have because Five Full Plates kicked in January first so THAT times out as if I had planned subconsciously for it to be a resolution all along. I resolve to believe I meant to do that. I ALSO resolve to have more, harder, longer, loftier goals (without the use of Candian Pharmecueticals) and to post them here so I can see, when 2010 ends, if I have kept ary a one of ‘em.

I will invent and post MINE this week. What are yours? You have to tell me, because by “invent’ I suspect I actually meant “plagiarize yours.”

Posted by joshilyn at January 3, 2010 12:57 PM

My New Year's Resolution is to become more comfortable with conflict - by which I mean pick more fights with my boss who I find to be wrong most of the time. I mean really, she continues to be wrong most of the time, ticking off her superiors on a regular basis and she's still around (to annoy me on a regular basis). So what are the chances that I will get fired if I pick a fight once in a while? And if I do get fired, then I'll actually have time to finish what I started with Nanowrimo and become a wildly popular best-selling author. A win-win situation. My other resolution is to finish what I started with Nanowrimo. I better get going on getting fired.

Posted by: Kitty at January 3, 2010 1:29 PM

1. Spend less time reading for entertainment. (This does not include your blog or books. It includes multiple overly wordy redundant verbose writers to whom I have somehow attached myself.)
2. Spend more time being active for entertainment.
3. Grow spiritually, by...
4. Spend(ing) more time with a fellowship group and being open but not overly dramatic about my life.
5. Graduate with my Master's degree.
6. Pass the boards.
7. Get a job.
8. Begin to repay my student loans.
9. Set up a savings account so that when I am 50 or 55 I can take the summer to see the world.
10. Clean my room.

Posted by: elizabeth at January 3, 2010 1:32 PM

I can't help you; I have not one resolution. Sure, I'd like to be slim and fit, but I don't want to set myself up for a resolution fail, so...

Posted by: pendy at January 3, 2010 2:35 PM

Here are some of mine:

Assign work a more reasonable percentage of life.
Write letters/cards to grandparents at least monthly.
Find joy in the movement of my body.
Say yes.
Quit smoking.
Decrease screen-time and increase face-time.
Love some more.

Posted by: Rachel at January 3, 2010 3:19 PM

My ultimate resolution is to run a marathon this year. I made the half last year, this year I am going for the whole she-bang!

Posted by: julie o at January 3, 2010 3:21 PM

1. Do it anyway.
2. Listen, and be very very very slow to speak.
3. Remember to wonder.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 3, 2010 3:23 PM


Posted by: Jen A at January 3, 2010 3:27 PM

I haven't formalized them yet. They are bouncing around in my head, I think I am weighing the easiness of each one. I'd like to have some success this year.

Posted by: pam at January 3, 2010 3:39 PM

I am thinking about resolving to do everything FlyLady tells me to do for a year.

I am worried that this might send me shrieking down the street in about ten days' time, flinging lace-up shoes behind me as I run away from my computer.

Posted by: Jamie at January 3, 2010 5:42 PM

My NY Resolution is to stick with my weight loss plan, cause I am within 5 pounds of my top weight from 3 and a half years ago. Oh noes!!

I also plan on keeping up with my food blog this year and spending less time on the internet. Those two might not go together, but I'm not going to worry about it.

But I have to say that my most favoritest resolution I ever made (and the only one I can assure you I kept) was to Have More Fun! It was a great resolution. I tried new things, spent more time with people I loved, and didn't give myself grief when I did things like spend an entire day reading a book, because that's FUN!

Posted by: Courtney Leigh at January 3, 2010 7:25 PM

I want us to be healthier and more fit this year. I also want to reconnect with the creative spark I've let slide over the last year (damn you, World of Warcraft!). I've joined a couple of Project 365 groups which means it's my intent to take a picture every day for all of 2010. this is going to improve my photography and assist me in connecting in a meaningful way with other photographers. I cant' wait!

Posted by: raine at January 3, 2010 7:28 PM

a few years ago I resolved to accept compliments more gracefully. I think it's time I revisited that, as I find I'm back in the habit of disbelief and redirection instead of polite gratitude.

Posted by: Dianna at January 3, 2010 7:45 PM

I'm not going to have resolutions. I'm going to have goals and I'm going to systematically work my way to them. The two most interesting? Bellydance and Appalachian clogging classes :)

Posted by: Debra at January 3, 2010 9:08 PM

I am resolving to live my life "on purpose." I'm the type to let life slide right on past me, while I wave to it from my couch with my bowl of popcorn thinking "isn't that nice." I don't set goals. I don't keep a calendar. I don't plan, so life always seems to be sneaking up on me. Enough! So my goal this year is to get my proverbial act together. I'm going to live more intentionally, and Jamie that includes the Flylady. You may see me running down the street after you throwing my lace-up shoes in the air, crying "purple puddles." GAH! I hate the cutesy stuff she uses on her site, but I seriously need her help.

Posted by: Lori B. at January 3, 2010 10:05 PM

I joined the Vegan Kickstart. Yep, gave up cheese. Wish me luck. ;)

Posted by: PattiH at January 3, 2010 11:03 PM

Uh... to floss daily, as opposed to when I think about it/feel like it/have a dentist appointment/have popcorn in my teeth. I am the underachiever of resolution-setting, but I figure the odds of success are fairly decent. I mean, floss daily. If I can't pull that one off I give up.

Posted by: Kristin at January 4, 2010 12:04 AM

I have resolved to:
1. ask myself often "what is the worst that could happen?" and if the worst thing does not result in being destitute and living in a van down by the river OR being dead, I should just go ahead and jump in, because the worrying about things happening is really holding me back.
2. take a picture every day. I get paid to be a photographer, maybe I should have some pictures of MY OWN DAMN LIFE.
3. use condoms. this is something I am not admitting out loud to anyone but the internet. so you can thank me later - but seriously, I need to stop being all "oh, it's okay just this one time" because that's just NOT SAFE OUT THERE.

I think of the above, #3 is probably the most important, but #1 is the one I am most excited about.

Posted by: wendy at January 4, 2010 12:16 AM

Oh, did a new year start?

I NEVER ask myself what's the worst that can happen, because my imagination spirals out of control to far worse things than living in a van down by the river, or your common, everyday dead-ness. ;-)

I'm doing my resolutions this fall when my kid starts first grade: get my old Nordic Trak back from my MIL and start using it again on a regular basis; start catching up on the last 17 years of photos I have lying around in various piles.

Posted by: Brigitte at January 4, 2010 7:50 AM

Perhaps five or six years of NY resolutions are not a record of success or failure but rather something like a map; something that shows where life and history is pulling us into shape. A shape that may or may not be comfortable, a shape that is the record of things acting on us as the river acts on its banks. What if the task is not to resolve to change who and what we are but instead to live who we are?

Posted by: Steve at January 4, 2010 7:56 AM

Start saving to take a really great trip (TBD) in the summer of 2011, which will be my 10th anniversary and my 40th birthday.

Posted by: liz at January 4, 2010 8:29 AM

My resolution this year is to learn to say "No," more often. I have the weird problem of volunteering my time TOO much, to the detriment of my personal time and/or sanity.

And of course, because I'm a classic Type A personality, I have to try to fix everything, and I drive myself crazy trying to do so, and that's part two of my resolution: to realize that I can't. So, I guess my resolution is to say "no," more, detach a bit, and while I will still help out as much as I can, I must realize that I have limits.

Posted by: Lindsey ed i at January 4, 2010 11:30 AM

I have always Epic Failed at resolutions, so I just. . .try. To do better. To be nicer. To visualize good things.

I'm going to try not to let my blood pressure go through the roof when I talk to folks about what it's like to be gay and they insist I can change if I want to. No promises though.

And, may I just say, I'm envious that your brother got them to fix the V key! I took my laptop in with a sticky N key and ended up with a new laptop, which would be nice if it had had all my documents and stuff on it, which it didn't.

Posted by: Fran at January 4, 2010 1:32 PM

I only make fun resolutions, so my list for 2010 includes things like learn to shuck oysters, go to pub trivia more often, wear perfume every day and finally get to Ellis Island.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 4, 2010 1:38 PM

I'm right there with Pendy. I have no resolutions. None. Whatsoever. Can't keep them, don't do them.

Posted by: Kathy at January 4, 2010 1:43 PM

Just wanted to let you know I got TGWSS for Christmas (finally!) and I read it yesterday in two sittings. I loved loved loved it, just as much as I loved gods, and I'm going to have to read it again pretty soon (I was so excited I plowed through it to see what happened. Now I'm going to savor it). And then I'm going to have to loan it to all my friends and pray I get it back. And read it again.

Posted by: Saskia at January 5, 2010 2:12 AM

I don't usually make hard and fast resolutions, but here are some things I'd like to try to do more often:
1. Get to work on time. I'm really bad at that. And it's not going to happen today because it's 8:27 and it takes me 10 minutes to get to work and I haven't even showered yet. And I'm supposed to be at work at 9:00.
2. Embrace failure. I am good at everything I do, because I only do things I'm good at. Gotta stop that. I need to do things that scare me.
3. Like me before trying to change me.
4. Breathe.

Posted by: Sandi at January 5, 2010 9:29 AM

My resolutions:

1. Work out at least five days a week (I was doing this, but the holidays derailed me a bit. Back on track!)
2. Eat less junk and more healthy food.
3. Try not to sweat the small stuff.
4. Control my (godawful) temper.
5. Sell a screenplay and quit my day job. The selling part might be pretty close to reality, actually, but I don't think it'll be enough to quit the day job. Still, a girl can dream.
6. Be nicer.

Posted by: Aimee at January 5, 2010 11:37 AM

1. Try to blog every weekday.
2. Overcome my natural inertia and DO stuff. Including, erm, my husband.

Posted by: Erin at January 7, 2010 12:41 PM