As 2017 begins unfurling at my feet, I am sitting in a gelateria eating two heaping scoops of vanilla and coffee gelato at 5:30 in the evening. I have not eaten dinner yet and do not feel the least bit guilty about my actions. 2017 is apparently not the year I resolve to *not* eat ice cream for dinner. I will not apologize for this, but I will accept ice cream date invitations. As the old adage explains, everyone, indeed, screams for ice cream.
While having generally accepted meals at generally accepted times of the day is not one of my new year's resolutions this year, I think I will actually tackle this widely held tradition and fashion a few of my own resolutions for the year. Every new year that passes I find myself increasingly appreciative of the idea of organized self-improvement (possibly because I've had more and more time to discover my own multitude of shortcomings). The idea of new year's resolutions used to trouble me. I always felt that if there was something you wanted to fix you should just set about fixing it. Why must we wait for our spinning, carbon-based home, to complete its annual journey before we take the time to reflect on what we need to do to improve?
I also always struggled with the lack of oversight. One year is a REALLY long time to maintain the resolutions set at the beginning of the year, and there is no penalty for falling off the wagon. Stop going to the gym; who is going to scold you? Slip back into the habit of procrastinating until the very last minute; haven't I read somewhere that creatives swear by the pressure of a deadline? I'm just going to toss that resolution out. I can be a very steadfast person, and I've formed and kept some good habits in my life, but I struggle as much as anyone with forming new good habits, and the idea of not checking back in on my progress for an entire year was always discouraging.
My beef was somewhat unfounded. When you are younger, the idea of resetting, does not seem nearly as complicated. I grew up with toys that literally had reset buttons. Screen suddenly get super pixelated and freeze? Hit the reset button. If only life were so simple. No amount of shaking, blowing, or punching of a reset button will fix real life problems.
This year, I'm going to play the game. I'm going to make some resolutions, but I'm going to do it my way. Will my way make my resolutions any more likely to succeed than anyone else's? Probably not, but it will hopefully be an enriching exercise none-the-less.
MY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
1. On the first day of each new month I'm going to make "mini" resolutions that will be reevaluated at the beginning of the next month. Some resolutions may end up spanning many months, others may not.
I am not the most disciplined human being. As I said earlier, the fact that resolutions come with no oversight and are not widely reevaluated until the following year has discouraged my participation in years past (oh how the world has missed out on my glorious resolutions). This year, however, I resolve to make new resolutions every month, a period of time that feels the simplest to manage.
New Years is such an apt time for reevaluation in more than that it is the start of a new year. It is also a time when the majority of humanity is granted a public holiday, and actually has some down time to go through a reevaluation process that may not exist throughout the rest of the year. 2016 was the year that I was finally able to stop working side jobs and completely dedicate myself to being a professional athlete/motivational speaker. I am, thusly, self-employed, and I can grant myself the time on the 1st of each month for reevaluation. I would be a fool not to take advantage of this. (Editors Note: after writing this Josh took a five minute break to jot down a note on the 1st of each month in his calendar to re-evaluate resolutions)
2. My girlfriend and I are going to catalogue happy moments throughout the year on scraps of paper and fill (hopefully) a jar with them.
This idea is one that I stole off of Instagram, but it is one that I have heard variations of many times before. When I was in college, one of my favorite basketball players was also an avid blogger (and overall character... then he brought guns into the locker room, started threatening a certain teammate, before swiftly finding his way out of the league while hampering my favorite team with a massive contractual burden!). I remember one January he discussed how his resolution was to simply have a good year, but the trouble lay in how you measured whether your year was good or not. For him, he decided to mark in a calendar whether his day was good or not. At the end of the year he would count up all the good days and see if they outweighed the bad.
I liked this idea and I like the idea of writing down little snippets even better. My memory is horrible. It sounds incredibly rewarding to have a jar of happy memories waiting for me at the end of 2017, and maybe it will paint the year in a different perspective than it may otherwise feel.
3. I'm going to categorize resolutions as things that are not necessarily measurable. They are separate from goals. I set goals. Lots of them. They are categorically measurable. My resolutions, however, will allow me to be free and fanciful, and trust that I will know whether I've achieved the desired affect by simply feeling like a better human being, or by the amount of times people comment on how much less of a doofus I am than I used to be (wouldn't that be nice!?!).
With that, I wish everyone a happy and successful new year. Take the time to reevaluate and reflect. Self-improvement is a process that we all grow comfortable with in our own ways. This year, I'll give this resolution thing a shot. I'll let you know how it goes.
- Philosophical: Stop comparing myself to others. In this I will attempt to be much better at accepting the news of others' success with joy towards them without attempting to compare it to my own success (or feeling of lack of success).
- Practical: During the "work week" I will refrain from falling into the pit of streaming video services until around 5:30 in the evening. No more "just one episode while I eat breakfast," that quickly devolves into half a day of rotting brain cells and zero productivity.
- Fun/lifestyle: Find one new podcast offering valuable and enjoyable life lessons to listen to. Last month I began listening to "How I built this," which is incredible and I absolutely recommend it, but I've pretty much burnt through my backlog of episodes. Time to add another one.