December 31, 2001
Goals


Last month, a group of Internet journalers got together and made a public pledge to update their journals every single day during the month of December.

I wanted to sign up for the project -- I thought it sounded like fun, I enjoy a lot of the journals involved, I felt especially drawn to the idea of working together to achieve a common creative goal -- but in the end I decided against it. I was feeling shy, for one thing. I figured there wasn't a prayer of me being able to actually pull it off, for another thing. I was dispirited and grumpy about the upcoming holidays.  Plus, I worried that I wouldn't have the vast reserves of free time necessary to maintain that kind of writing committment.  So at the last second I chickened out.  What if I joined the group, made the public pledge to update daily, got halfway through the month ... and then missed a day?

How stoopid would *I* feel?

Instead, I decided to do the next best thing: I would quietly try and update every single day in December, like the rest of the journalers were doing  ...  just to see if I could do it  ...  only I wouldn't tell a soul what I was up to. That way, only *I* would know if I was making progress.

And only *I* would know if (or when) I fudked up.

There were a couple of days when I almost blew it. Yesterday was one: I have been flat on my back in bed with The Steamroller Flu since Saturday afternoon -- this is the sickest I've been all year, basically -- and it took every *determination molecule* I possess to crawl off my sickbed, prop myself up in a chair and remain vertical long enough yesterday to compose a tiny entry, about our lunch with Carolyn & Bear. Monday the 17th was another day when I almost dropped the ball. Work was insane that day, I had no chance to write during my lunch hour, it was practically bedtime by the time we got home that night, etc. etc. etc. I wound up posting our "Christmas card" instead -- about a week earlier than planned -- and calling that my 'journal entry' for the day.

But in the end: I did it. 

I met my goal. I successfully managed to post something new here on *FootNotes* every single day in December. True, not every entry was gold. (Hell ... some of them weren't even .925 Vermeil.) And true, this isn't exactly like I won a book contract or qualified for the Olympics or invented the cure for adult acne. As "goals" go, this one is barely a blip on the radar screen of goals.

Still,  it was MY goal, and I met it, and I'm happy about that.

Keeping my goals as simple as possible seems to be the key to success for me. Mind you: "simple" doesn't necessarily mean no-brainer, like setting a "goal" to breathe air every day. "Simple" means that you choose one or two very specific areas of your life that could use some gentle tweakage, and you concentrate on those areas for a while, instead of trying to change everything in every area all at once. This is something I've only figured out recently, and I'm finding that it applies to all sorts of stuff: lifestyle overhauls, career choices, personal relationships, Internet journaling ... and New Years Resolutions.

New Years Resolutions have always been a pretty big deal with me. The other day, for instance, I ran across my list of resolutions for 1994: six neatly handwritten pages, altogether, divided into key areas -- Family, Job, Housework, Weight Loss, etc.  --   totalling more than two hundred resolutions altogether. I don't remember making that list. I imagine that I probably spent a lot of time and ink composing it. Still, as I look through this massive (and fudking scary) list of goals -- Lose twenty pounds by Easter! Organize the attic! New kitchen wallpaper! Refinish bookcase! Fix brakes on car! Talk to boss about Lotus 123 training! -- I am hard-pressed to remember if I kept a single one of them.

I suspect I didn't.

On the other hand, my one and only New Years Resolution for 2001 was Get through our wedding in one piece. Actually, I had two resolutions -- Get through Jaymi's wedding in the other piece was the second resolution -- but Jaymi and Joel have decided to postpone taking the plunge for a while. So I only had one wedding to survive this year.  I think it's safe to say that I kept this resolution.

Yep. Keeping my goals simple is one key to success. And now, thanks to The Great Top-Secret *Posting Every Day In December* Experiment!,  I know that keeping my goals private also seems to help improve their chances of actually seeing the light of reality.  So with that in mind,  I've decided that I'm not going to disclose my one and only New Years Resolution this year. I'm not going to post it here on *FootNotes.* I'm not going to tell David or Jaymi or my mom or Cranky Denver Lady. I'm not even going to confide in my personal astrologer.  (She probably knows about it already anyway.

All I will say is this: in 2002 I'm going to take a few teeny-tiny baby steps toward realizing a lifelong dream.

I want you to do the same thing.

I want you to think of at least one personal goal today -- something simple, something achievable, something you've been wanting to do but just haven't gotten around to -- and I want you to make that your private resolution for 2002. Even if you're going public with other resolutions -- quitting smoking, losing weight, quitting your crappy job before it sucks all of the *joy molecules* right out of you -- try to come up with at least one additional resolution that nobody else knows about. Don't tell your spouse or your Significant Other or your children. Don't write about it on your website. Don't confide in your friends or your co-workers. Don't tell me what it is. Write your resolution down on a scrap of paper, if you have to, and hide it someplace where it will never be found. (Try sticking it inside that Weight Watchers Cookbook.)  We can all meet back here, one year from today, and compare notes. The person who comes closest to achieving his or her goal will win a fabulous prize or something. I don't know what sort of fabulous prize, yet ... but I'll come up with something. (How do you feel about used Polaroid cameras?) The rest of us can sit around and poke fun at each other.

Deal?

In the meantime, Happy New Year, everybody. Thanks a lot for sharing December -- and the rest of 2001 -- with me. Let's do it again next year.






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off my soapbox and back to my sickbed now ...