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Writer's Block: Resolved

A lot of resolutions, from the mundane to the truly ambitious, are being made today. What are your New Year's resolutions? Do you think you're likely to stick to them past the month of January?

Actually yes. I have only one: Submit at least one pro novel during 2009. I'll do it of course. Here are some suggested resolutions for others though:

1. Enjoy Your Chocolate (or flavor of choice).

2. Exercise Less.

3. Spend more time socializing online.

4. Buy things you'll actually use and enjoy.

5. Drink more coffee (or tea, your call).

6. Spend less time cleaning up.

7. Spend less time working hard.

8. Stop punishing yourself annually for having fun and making promises you don't want to keep. Promise things you do want to keep and then find practical ways to do them.

Before you think I'm advising you to sit still and become a fat pimpled couch potato drooling at the screen, ask yourself if you really are a fat pimpled couch potato drooling at the screen -- or if you just feel like one every time the first of the year rolls around. It's too easy to wind up making the socially acceptable resolutions that usually involve self denial, deprivation and a grim Puritanical course of Self Improvement intended to impress that faceless Greek Chorus of Society as implied in all the scare articles about cholesterol-as-sin.

Wouldn't you rather be one of those annoying skinny people downing a triple chocolate monstrosity with extra fudge? Especially when that's in the middle of a Monday morning while everyone else is working hard?

Get off the treadmill. Don't make yourself do things the hard way. If you want to become healthier and have more strength, then take up something physical that is fun and a joy to do every time you think about it. Pick up your favorite sport again and find other people who like it so that you're getting out to play basketball like Obama instead of just grimly doing calisthenics. Unless of course you really enjoy calisthenics -- some people do.

If you always wanted to be a body builder and have great muscles and all the guys in the bar drool at you when you work out -- more power to you. Indulge, buy the weight set, drink protein powder and make "Gain Weight" a resolution. Muscle weighs more than flab.

Put your Dream in first place on resolutions and then prioritize to make it a reality. Put the thing you always wanted to do at the top of the list, not the thing your least pleasant relations always nag you to do. If you don't like cleaning your room then don't put "Keep my room cleaner" on the list. Figure out ways of keeping your room so that cleaning it takes less time and work. Find a good tradeoff so that you can get your housemates to do it while you do something you enjoy more, like cooking for the gang.

If you only buy things you will actually use and enjoy, it is far less likely to outstrip your budget than buying things that you get prompted to want by ads and then find out you have no real interest in. Don't buy anything you don't actually like. Don't get it if it's the wrong color or the wrong style or the wrong one -- just put it off till you can get the right one. Get choosy and eliminate anything that's all about doing what other people do or what's expected of you other than following dress codes if that's necessary for survival. Save up and reward yourself for savings with things that don't cost as much but are worth a lot more in terms of how much you love them.

My reward every month for savings is to get a new Terry Pratchett book. Sometimes I budget tight and it's a used Terry Pratchett book, but Sir Terry Pratchett is rich enough it probably doesn't hurt him that in my buying his entire backlist someday I'm getting some used ones. I know they'll wear out anyway and he'll get paid when I replace them. Yes, he just got knighted, couldn't happen to a better author. He's deserved that for years just like Sam Vimes. England got back at him at last, hehehe.

Total up the amount of time you spend punishing yourself for enjoying yourself and then think of the time and energy you'd have for enjoying yourself if you blew right past all that and abandoned Puritanical Consumerism. This is where you work hard all the time and drive yourself into the ground to keep up appearances, waste all your leisure time doing socially appropriate calisthenics and paying to be publically humiliated in weight-loss groups, so that you can earn a lot of money and never enjoy a dime of it without being ashamed.

It's irrational. It's full of Catch-22's -- you can be shamed for being Not Sexy Enough while someone who naturally looks good gets shamed for being Too Good Looking. There's enough vicious personal criticism floating around for everyone to have about ten people's share, so just reject all of that and make your decisions on what YOU need, like and want.

You never can satisfy all of the people all of the time. But you can ruin your life trying to please them all and put yourself last -- a pointless sacrifice since none of them actually respect or appreciate the results of that sacrifice anyway. They just look at you bitterly for succeeding in weight loss or whatever and dislike you because they're more ashamed of themselves for not doing what you just did.

So don't do jack for them.

Set resolutions this year to do what you want and then as you keep them, they'll become self sustaining.

If you have a real health problem with obesity, then learn to enjoy chocolate more -- trade off entire guilty bags of Snickers for savoring one Godiva truffle. And adjust your life accordingly so that you're not starving yourself periodically to convince your body it needs to store any calorie that comes in reach because the food will vanish.

Living well tends to create healthy habits. That thing you slob off doing could actually hold the potential for an occupation that'd be more satisfying than the job you hate. So don't waste your time, your money and your emotion on the things that make you feel bad and produce nothing. Pour that all into the things that matter to you personally and prioritize in ways that make sense.

As for less time working hard -- stop and think about the last time you did something you really enjoyed, really like doing. Were you working hard all the time you were rafting down the Colorado? Your muscles thought so. You didn't, you were whooping and getting a kick out of it. Were you working hard as a little kid constructing that model plane? Naw, you were goofing off -- but your concentration was unparalleled compared to a cubicle slave. When I say quit working hard, I mean quit forcing yourself to do things you loathe doing without a very good reason to do them.

Make no unnecessary sacrifices. If you want something bad enough to work hard for it, that's admirable and well worth doing. But if you're doing it just because you're supposed to or afraid that everything will collapse if you stop, then you can't sustain that peak effort indefinitely without driving everyone around you batty because you already are -- and there has to be a better way to earn a living.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Resolute - or not
I'm not going to share my New Year's resolutions this year. Maybe I'll accomplish them if I don't talk about them!
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: Resolute - or not
There's a possibility. They're your goals after all.

I just got very hot under the collar this year about it -- for once it all came together what it was that bugged me about New Years Resolutions. Sorry about putting the long long rant into my comment, it's just boiled over in 2009 and mostly because I was on that treadmill of setting up unrealistic goals and then breaking the resolutions before January had double digit days.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


2013 Nano Winner
Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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