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    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    I've never made New Year's resolutions but I'm toying with the idea now. I dunno, I make many promises to myself but never follow through. What I need is discipline. But I read Woody Guthrie's "New Year's Rulin's" and the idea finally made a little bit of sense. Though, I guess, only a little bit.

    How do people turn resolutions into more of a plan and less than a vague wish? How is structure ever applied? Where are the consequences for failure?

    (An old friend commented on facebook where I first opened this line of questioning that he should look into a business venture he would hire himself out as a resolution enforcer, offering packages of consequences scaled to mild, moderate and catastrophic.)

    But anyway... Resolutions aren't exactly something my people do, for whatever value of my people you want to figure, I encountered them first in movies and then after college. I don't get how they're supposed to actually work.

    My people...we're more likely to do things as a Lenten sacrifice (priests have tried to get us to take on extra actions rather than give things up but...old habits...) Maybe I should think of this as a sacrifice to myself? It would require giving myself some authority as well as respect.

    How do you make a good resolution? How do you keep to it so it's not just an idea you had this one time? 12 months is a really long time to go without fucking up, how do you check in/keep yourself on the right track?

    Got any good resolutions to share?
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    @ razrangel:Good one.In all honesty this will be the first time in my life i'm going to make serious New Year's resolutions.I will let other people jump in first,though.I could write a book to answer all the questions you pose.

    I love what you say about giving yourself authority and respect.
  1.  (10414.3)
    How do you make a good resolution?
    -Usually they're something that you want to change about yourself (or your Self). Some people try to get rid of unhealthy habits (or start a healthy habit) such as quitting smoking, jogging 3 times a week, going to the gym, etc. Some people decide they want to try to watch less T.V., cuss less, learn a new talent, etc, etc, etc.

    How do you keep to it so it's not just an idea you had this one time?
    -And herein lies the main problem. Most people I know that make a resolution have forgotten about it by the end of January. Resolutions are something that, if you want to maintain them, they have to be something that you really want to change / get into the habit of doing. When you see an psychologist (or some such person) talking about making resolutions like quitting smoking they generally suggest starting it at the end of January or some other random time because people tend to give up on what they consider a resolution because, well, we all know that people almost never keep them anyways so it doesn't seem as important to hold yourself to them.

    12 months is a really long time to go without fucking up, how do you check in/keep yourself on the right track?
    -Again, it usually depends on what you want to change. If you're "never going to swear again" then you're likely to fail a just give up after a little while. If, however, you're "not going to swear as much as you usually do" it's easier to stick to it because if you swear sometimes it's okay because, so long as you're swearing less, you're sticking to what you wanted to do and if you stick to it long enough you'll find yourself swearing less and less. (I use swearing as an example because it's an easy habit that I think a lot of people can identify with.)

    But that's just my thoughts on the topic. Others might have completely different ideas.
    PS: I plan on learning how to play the guitar.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    I should probably commit to completing a writing project w/in a month or two. Puclicly announcing this might spur me to action.
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    New years resolutions generally fail I think because of the immense promises made, usually under drunken duress, and not being in any kind of shape the next morning to remember what exactly led you to believe that they were a good idea the previous night during what was otherwise an orgy of bad decision making.

    That being said, you don't need a new year as an excuse, any day will do to start something. I recommend writing it down and referring back to it to keep yourself honest and also writing to yourself WHY you wanted to do these things in the first place. We would all like to do so much more with ourselves but it is important to recognize it as part of a larger process of self-realization and progress by having an understanding of your own motivations, aspirations, and the like. Seeing it as part of something larger than just wishing for it.

    I for one cannot wait for this nightmarish category 5 shitstorm of a year to end and the next to begin. It has been one of the most difficult and yet the most productive years of my life to date. Largely this is due to a resolution made more than a year ago to write 3 pages every morning on waking up in order to be more conscious of my own desires, thoughts, failings, and successes. That discipline has seeped into every aspect of my life by forcing me to be more attentive to what I am doing and how large the gap is between ambition and action.

    I bought a fucking guitar a couple of weeks back just because I got tired of promising myself that I would do it 'someday' and I have been teaching myself a little bit every day. I still suck but I suck considerably less than a few weeks ago. I hope to suck far less in 6 months time and if I keep at it I will not only have taught my self something that i do strictly for the sheer enjoyment of it but I will be that much further down the line of re-wiring my brain and keeping it nice and plastic. Every new thing you do physically alters your brain and creates new neural pathways which force you to think differently and in ways previously unimaginable.

    My resolutions are to continue to do more, work harder, create ever better things, love deeper, be smarter and more foolish at the same time, fuck up in new and astonishingly novel ways, and learn from it all. Both the good and bad. I plan on scaring the shit out of myself as frequently as possible. If I fuck up on a particular resolution it doesn't mean I cannot just start again. It is only failure when you stop trying. Fuck 2011, bring on 2012!
  2.  (10414.6)
    I've been thinking about this Jung quote: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

    When I first read it a few months ago, I thought it was stupid. I thought of how the brain develops lifelong associations and scars from an early age, of the crippling fear and issues that build upon one another to form a personality, and ailments that make brain function erratic. I'd even driven myself to tears when I was trying to change my twitter name, because I couldn't think of anything that wasn't either my name, or something that referenced one of my illnesses.

    But then... recently... I've started to realize that I am more than a sum of my ailments and horror stories. The idea that someone might enjoy my company and find me interesting without knowing about my wonky eyes, crooked spine, brain of abnormality, and the darkly amusing life of unfortunate happenings is... fucking astounding to me. I forgot that there's some me underneath it all.

    So, my New Years Resolution is to try and fully internalize the idea that: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become or what I always was all along, but forgot. Which, if you want to take it to an Eastern philosophic frame of mind, means I've got to try and remember that I'm god underneath all this broken flesh, and that I can still find the god in others. Which I rather dig, from an abstract and non-religious standpoint.

    (time to go and listen to some Alan Watts lectures)
  3.  (10414.7)
    I shortcircuited the whole thing about 5 years back by making a new years resolution that I'd never make another new year's resolution. It's the only one I've ever successfully kept :)
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    Aye, what Bankara said regarding resolutions seeming to be giant things that are incredibly hard to keep due to the sheer magnitude. And as well, I am a big big proponent of the planning.

    There's such a special balance between knowing what you're going to do & plotting out all your benchmarks to see that it gets done combined with Just Fucking Do It-ness. Because I feel like the thing to do is spend time up until New Year's thinking about what you want to see happen (within reason) and then making a plan and then hit the ground running as soon as you feel ready. Whether this is on Dec 25th or Feb 27th doesn't really matter so long as you know what you're doing and just get right down to it. And again, as I've mentioned in the past, being patient with yourself & not stressing out that it isn't happening fast enough for you. Because most people base their timelines on wunderkinds or people with way more money or connections and feel that if they haven't put out a best selling novel in 6 months then they're a failure. And that's just ridiculous & doesn't account for SO MUCH.

    So yea, sort something out, get a plan, forgive yourself if you're slightly undisciplined and just fucking do it.

    My resolution is the same as my every year resolution, which is to do the things I want to do until they get done.
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2011
    I'm resolving to start off the new year by at least writing either 500 words or a page of comic script a day, and working up from there.
  4.  (10414.10)
    I intend to draw more comics than I did in 2011.

    In fact, I think it's about time to challenge my 2008 "hi-score" of 129 pages.

    I even have the right project to do that. Right now I'm writing out bits and pieces of lore, bridging chunks of previously written scripts, figuring out the characters and locations and "looking for useful visual reference"* that will help me draw better noses, eyes, mouths (faces in general).

    *translation: looking through mine and my friends' comics collections for artists whose nose-drawing and eye-simplifying skills I can appropriate and mold into part of my style, heh
  5.  (10414.11)
    My New Year's manifesto for this year was half a success. I was determined to finish my novel (done), write two short stories (wrote one and a half) and complete two interactive fiction games (I have several projects unfinished). All in all - close enough for jazz. I'm especially happy with the novel, since it was quite a thing to squeeze out after years of writer's block and related creative constipation.

    My manifesto for next year:

    1) Rewrite the novel according to the feedback and start whoring it around to publishers.
    2) Finish at least one damn IF game project.
    3) Pick up the exercise regimen which the mental fatigue and financial shit destroyed in the end of this year.
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    @Glukkake, I had a good conversation about this a few days ago about viewing plans for the coming year as milestones and not goals in themselves. Hitting those milestones as a means to accomplishing larger goals and just keeping on rolling towards bigger/better. I totally agree that having a plan is essential though if any of it is going to happen. Your resolution is the distilled version of what I would like to say for myself.

    @Rachael, all of what you are saying sounds dead on to me. I believe that we are nothing less than the invention of ourselves and so that chestnut from Jung is cheesy, yes, but true. Everything true sounds trite until you discover it for yourself. Allen Watts is a good one to listen to for thinking about eastern philosophy without all of the attendant dogma. I also always come back to Bill Hicks, the unlikeliest of philosophers, and his bit about how we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively in millions of different parts.

    You cannot escape being a product of your past but you can transcend it and become something greater than the just the sum of its parts. What Glu said. think about it, don't overthink it, and just do something.

    Now I am going to the Central Park Zoo with my friend and his two year old daughter to take pictures and relive my own childhood before this year gets underway.

    TL;DR: They got filthy monkeys there!
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    For 2011 my resolution was to write a blog every month at least. I managed that one. In 2010 it was to make an autobiographical comic once each month. I managed that as well.

    For me, it is necessary to have something specific in a specific time frame. If I were to try an abstract resolution like "exercise more" or "eat better" or "stop swearing" I would fail. My resolutions are assignments for myself, and I either pass or I fail. I do well as a student, so having my personal goals mimic homework is helpful. I also don't do anything too big or that seems impossible. Just things like making blogs about my art or doing a comic diary. Those resolutions helped me to feel better about the work I'm producing and to more easily find ideas to work with, which helped my mental health at least. I probably should resolve to eat better, but I don't really know how I'd go about it.

    My resolution for 2012 is to draw something every single day.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    I think I'll just resolve to write something tangible daily. There are too many days when I don't.
  6.  (10414.15)
    I also made a resolution a few years back not to make any more, and I've kept that going for six years, but now I think I'm going to break that one too.

    For Xmas I asked family to send me books on the Primal Diet, including a cook-book and an "easy meals" book, and I'm gonna learn this stuff and apply it. Because what I've read of it already makes a good bit of sense to me.

    So, if I'm 50 pounds lighter this time next year, we'll know I succeeded, and if not, we'll know I blew another one.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    Ahh you guys are giving me ideas in spades. Thanks! I know where I want to work on myself and I don't need no stinkin resolutions to do it. But for once it might be good to conceptualize a year around my efforts. Call it an experiment. What's the worst that could go wrong? };> (*dodges falling anvils*)

    I dunno...I never think about things that I can't over think so maybe that's my problem. But 2011 has been the year where I realized I'm becoming me. Not necessarily the person I've always wanted to be, but ME. I've evolved this far and so long as I'm not dead the evolution shall continue. I've also realized this year that the only way to do something _wrong_ is to give up trying to do it. So, Bankara, Rachael, totally with you.

    Glukkake - patience. Hm. I need some more of that. Not sure how to resolve to find it. But I remember you advising staying busy while the cake sets, so to speak. I think if I'm honest about what I'm doing every day I'll be so friggin busy I won't have any choice but to fail to notice I'm getting to exactly where I want to be. I am darned good at MAKING plans... it's KEEPING them where I fall apart. So let's see if I can keep to my benchmarks.

    Areas to work (still hammering out the details)
    1. personal fitness, focus on eating habits 2. voice: more auditions & daily practice 3. read more books 4. writing 5. practice Japanese
  7.  (10414.17)
    Oh, and something else that I do every year:
    -Make sure that I let go of any lingering grudges / resentments. I don't forget about them, but I give people a fresh start.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    I am resolving to be a kinder asshole.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2011
    I usually keep mine. One year I resolved to read instrucions for new stuff I get (software, tech etc) instead of blindly poking it with a stick. The next year I got blind drunk and for some reason I thought it was funny to resolve to increase my muscle mass, that was a pain in the neck.. This year I am going to learn how to speak German.
  8.  (10414.20)
    My partner's trying to make it a family tradition of making them all together, after reviewing the previous year's. Out of my last year's five, I did reasonably well... all partly achieved if not fully.

    This year's key ones will be:

    1) Lose two stone (I lost one last year, know I can do it now, once I've stopped gorging on Christmas cheese)
    2) Play the guitar at least three times a week (logistically hard, as they're down in the shed and I need to rearrange some domestic things to make that happen, but I'm so out of practice now that something needs to be done)
    3) Sort my head out (at least, stick to the CBT stuff, which was helping me until I fucked it all up)
    4) Sell some photography (need to get my act together on that, been meaning to for bloody years)
    5) Be sociable

    Possibly 'stop beating myself up' could be one as well... maybe that one should be a meta-resolution that sits above all the others.

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