This January, I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do and made fifteen vague, unkeepable New Year’s resolutions. I wasn’t going to post them here but I’m trying to post every month and that’s about all I’ve got at the moment: throwing myself into this whole self-improvement thing. Instead of waiting for motivation to strike, I’ve started actively forcing myself to do things that I know are good for me even when I really don’t feel like it. Maybe that was the trick all along.
My New Year’s Self-Improvement To-Do List (in no particular order)
1. Get up on time. Or at least sort of almost on time.
2. Re-prioritize my mental to-do list. It dawned on me recently that part of my problem is that I don’t prioritize AT ALL. I have a running list of all of the things I want or need to do, and I just pick whichever one strikes my fancy in that moment. It isn’t the most effective way to accomplish things—I throw myself into the most trivial projects with enthusiasm while procrastinating on important life stuff.
3. Exercise every morning.
4. Yoga/swimming/biking once a week.
5. No more Facebook at work, and only once per day at home.
6. Message people back when they message me, without putting it off.
7. Do something about my chocoholism, which is getting out of hand (i.e., eating half a bag of M&M’s before bed).
8. Aim for bed at 12, and don’t go to bed any later than 2.
9. Journal more than once a week.
10. MAYBE institute a general computer ban when I am home, with exceptions for email, guitar chords, Windows Media Player, Grooveshark, and getting directions.
11. Rededicate myself to resisting consumerism. I’m starting to worry about the level of satisfaction I gain from acquiring goods. Retail therapy is NOT a real thing, and any satisfaction I gain from acquisitiveness is empty, a substitute for actually accomplishing something worthwhile, a way to distract me from what’s real and important and good, and even more so from what’s wrong; it’s a way to placate the masses who would otherwise realize how dissatisfied they are with what society’s dealing them and might even take action to change it. So fuck shopping.
12. Try to be more understanding and less judgmental of random people. I usually like people once I get to know them, so why not assume I’ll like them from the get-go?
13. Remember that I am a soldier and that I need to keep fighting the good fight with every breath I take. There is a lot of anger out there, and a lot of hate, jealousy, stress, frustration, hurt, confusion, and unhappiness, and it can manifest in people in ugly ways. I need to accept that this will happen, let it roll off me as easily as possible, and do what I can to mitigate it, to make sure the negative energy stops with me.
14. Start facing my fears and stop making excuses. I rationalize my failings far too fucking much. I need to gather up some courage and start taking responsibility for myself and truly living with integrity.
15. Give love even when sacrificing my own pride, without expectation of anything in return. Or: Embrace vulnerability even at the risk of shame. Or: Love selflessly and shamelessly.
Happy to report that I’ve made progress on all of these, and January has been the least existentially angsty month I’ve had in a long time.