Got Resolve? A New Year's Beginning


Last year around this time, I wrote a post entitled, "Not So New Resolutions For The New Year." The post wasn't so much about my own resolutions for the year as much as talking about resolutions in general. I don't plan on repeating any of that in this post, so you're better off reading or rereading it. It could serve to make this post all the richer. Or, not.

This year, I wondered if I should write about habits I want to break or make. It would be goals of a certain stripe, not everything I hope to accomplish. There are some goals too personal for this blog, and some of those are my financial goals and adjustments that I make each year. When it comes to projects and hobbies, I kind of already tackle those goals and their progress throughout the year with my blog feature, The R&D Workshop. And since a year is 365 days strong, things change and goals may need to be rethought somewhere down the calendar, or maybe new ones need to be put into place. December and January are only two months and the thoughts had within them shouldn't be the only ones to have.

What I'm left with are some goals that may not seem like much. In the bigger picture, they are potentially the baby steps I need to break into some habits that I've been wanting to have. And, in turn, those habits can bring me tiny successes that lead to the bigger successes in what I ultimately want to accomplish in my life.

We are the results of our thoughts and habits. If you want different results, you must change the input. Keeping an open mind about exercise is great, but unless you take action, nothing will change. Excuses are easy. Most things in life that are worth doing are hard, not easy. Sure, I-you-anyone can fail. It would be much easier for me to not write this blog. I choose to do the work. I take the risk of failing. But, I'm better off for trying. That goes with anything in life.

I feel like I've become a better writer after starting up my blog again in 2016. With every song or album I finish, I feel like I've steadily gained a better understanding of the craft of songwriting, recording/engineering etc, and really, just sound in general. Since I bought my house in 2013, I feel more handy and knowledgeable about being a homeowner. Even though I am no doubt screwing up my kids, they have made me a better person and continue to challenge every bit of my everything. Fortunate for me, I may have found one of the few people who had the power to compel me to change so much, so quickly, and for the better; I owe my wife a lot. I'm pretty sure I've done the same for her.

Thoughts and habits change. They do so all of the time, and sometimes, they are effortless, painless. We don't realize it until afterward. Still, other times, we grow stubborn, afraid, uncaring, or weak, and we hold onto habits that we don't really want to have. Sometimes, we don't know how to change. Sometimes, we don't like the answers. Perhaps, there's a bit of ignorance thrown in the pot for flavor. Unfortunately, we are the results of our thoughts and habits. Fortunately, we are the results of our thoughts and habits.

Being grateful is a good thought to have, and practicing gratitude is a good habit. I've talked of this plenty in past posts, perhaps, too much. However, is this thought and habit enough? I can be grateful that you didn't punch me in the eye and instead punched me in the shoulder. Shouldn't I still be upset about the shoulder and tell you that it isn't okay? Blind gratitude isn't enough, in and of itself, though it is a great start, but one must live beyond mere gratitude. Thoughts and habits should be tested, made better over time, if the outcome you desire is a better you and a better life. You earn only what you are willing to work for—with money, with anything.

So, if you've made it this far into the post and you're thinking that none of this is rocket science and that I'm just babbling on and saying things said many times before by other people, then you are probably correct. I believe the "secrets" in life are out there hiding in plain sight, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. The funny thing about truth is that it rarely, if ever, changes. Sometimes, we just don't like the truth, so we come up with something else. We all KNOW that we should be eating mountains of vegetables, but how many of us eat at least ONE serving a day? It's not like we're going to discover that candy bars were the real panacea of a healthy lifestyle. I'm hopeful, though.

*ENOUGH! WHEN ARE YOU GETTING TO THESE LIFE-CHANGING RESOLUTIONS, YOU MORON!*

Yes, thanks for the cue. You could have been kinder?

As I stated earlier in this post, taking baby steps is exactly what the plan is—small, deliberate actions. These actions will be an adjustment, but shouldn't be very painful. The painful part is what makes us run away from change with our tail firmly curled around and under our buttocks. This is exactly what I'm attempting to avoid. Keep in mind that this isn't something I thought up in a vacuum (referencing the vacuum of space, not an actual vacuum used to clean carpet). Rather, I'm taking bits and pieces of information from outside of my brain that I've accumulated and processed within my brain and am producing an idea, a solution to what I see as a problem. Human brains are wired to problem solve.  Most humans actually try to use their brain to do that. But, we are more complex than 1+1, and we need help. We need to be reminded. We need to be motivated (or remember why we should be motivated).

*Well, if we wanted to do something, wouldn't we just do it?*

No. The path of least resistance is the path often taken. Why? Because, it's easy. It's not painful. It can be a bit of a time saver, too. It's not always bad. But, if you want different, better, you have to choose a different path. The hardest things to do in life are often the most impactful. Even simple things can be hard to do. If you REALLY don't want to do something, chances are you won't. But, if you think hard about what you want in life, I'll bet that you find at least one little thing that you want to change, something that's actually pretty easy to do, but you still haven't conquered it.

And with all of that said, here's what I hope to accomplish. (What I'm telling you, at least.) But first, let me say that changes can only be made with actionable words. "I want to be a better spouse" is a lousy goal. Think about what you can actually DO to be a better spouse. And, feel free to steal this from me. The smartest people in the world steal all of the time.

My Daily Goals
5 Minutes of Exercise
5 Minutes of Stretching
5 Minutes of Karate
5 Minutes of Drumming
15 Minutes of Writing
30 Minutes of Reading
48 Ounces of Water

You may have questions, and I may have answers. The plan right now is to publish a post in the near future that goes into those goals with some more depth. Why did I choose what I chose? What is the thinking that went into the details? What are any rules I am or am not putting on myself? Karate? All shall be revealed.

I do plan on failing, though.

*What?! What, then, is the POINT?!*

The main point is to try. To DO something about simple areas in my life I want to move forward in. I WILL fail. But, the failing will either make me more determined to succeed or quit. There really isn't another option. When I fail, if I try again, I will be wiser and stronger the second time, and so forth. I will figure out what works and what doesn't and what a better way forward may look like. The problem with some people (and sometimes myself) is that they see failure as the end, not another beginning that is hopefully wiser than the last. If nothing has been learned, we are at fault for missing the lesson.

Maybe failure should be the end to something, but wouldn't it be lovely if we could decide that for ourselves and not have someone else decide that for us? Shouldn't we have the option to make that failure turn into something else just as beautiful and unique? Even taking a break is doing something. You are preparing yourself for "the doing." You are preventing yourself from crashing with "the burnout." And, once again, did you learn something? To me, one of life's greatest gifts is that there will always be something new to learn. Always.

Whether I try to avoid failure or just let failure rain down on me with its salty bitterness, I will have to navigate the "landscape of objectives" going forward. One of the reasons why I don't already do these Daily Goals is because I'm already doing something else. Sometimes, achieving these goals may be as simple as not looking at social media. Other times, it will be harder, because spending time with my wife and kids is a priority. And yet, at other times still, I am not independently wealthy and have to trade my time for money, doing things that aren't necessarily at the top of my "want to do list." There are plenty of legitimate excuses but not all of them are. Besides, I DO actually do these things that I've made goals out of, so we aren't talking about me getting to the moon and back within the year.

So, what will I subtract?

I've recently heard that if you want to add something to your life, you must subtract something else. It was something to that effect. I had never really thought much about that in the past, it seems legit, but that concept resonates with me much more nowadays considering time is a resource that has never been more precious. I don't have an answer, yet. But, I hope to figure this out as I go. I don't think I have much of a choice, if the point is to add. My wish is to subtract some of the less focused or worthy activities in my life. They're all important, no doubt, but what are my highest priorities? How important are these self-described, life-altering resolutions?

I'm hoping it's more like a puzzle, where I'm still using the same amount of pieces, but I just need to figure out how they all fit together to make that picture of adorable puppies.

If I were to be so strict that not following this program to the proverbial "T" would mean failure, and therefore grounds for quitting, then I would already have enough excuse to quit. I understand the circumstances that the start to the year have put me under: I'm currently working a lot of days in a row, there are other priorities, and these resolutions are changing how I approach the day in a big way, albeit with baby steps. It will take time, and over time, I plan to succeed, even if some of that success comes through failure.

In closing,

I veered off the path a bit more than I had planned in this post. I tend to do that. Consider it me getting into my 'flow state' and running with it. Hopefully, you found a nugget of something in there that resonated with you—good or bad. Or, in the least, you got a good laugh out of it. We don't laugh enough, do we? I hope I have helped you with that deficiency.

And finally,

A Happy New Year to you, reader, whoever you are, wherever you live, in whatever year it is that you read this. Do better. Be better. You deserve it.


Minnesota, New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Winter



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