On New Year Resolutions

By the time you read this, my New Year resolutions for 2018 will probably be dead.

But let’s, for the sake of a blog post, presume that this is still happening.

At the start of the year, I put together a to-do list for the whole year. Things that, by the end of December 2018, I hoped to accomplish. Of that list, only three would count as actual, traditional resolutions:

  1. Do 20 minutes of exercise a day.
  2. Write 200 words a day (not emails, text messages, or anything to do with my day job).
  3. Learn how to make proper meat gravy.

Blog posts totally count for my 200 words/day, so today can call itself pretty much done. Well done me!

To help with my resolutions, I have made the following purchases:

  1. An exercise bike ($99)
  2. A journal to log page counts and exercise durations as well as for writing to-do lists ($10)
  3. A cookbook ($40)

In my head, you see, investing financially in a resolution makes me more likely to carry it through. This has not ever been the case in the past. Not ever. See, for example, my how-to-screenwrite books (in total, $hundreds); my guide to the US writers market ($50 a year); and any number of gadgets, the only one that’s really been anywhere near successful was the Bluetooth keyboard that makes my iPad into a tiny laptop.

You can certainly exercise without equipment; you can track your writing progress any number of ways that don’t require buying a journal (or I could use one of the journals I’ve bought in previous years for a similar purpose but never used…); and there must be thousands of gravy recipes online, so a cookbook is almost a novelty at this point. But it’s verging on a superstition for me now; it’s the door I have to walk through to begin. It’s proof, to myself, that I Am Taking This Seriously.

However, as you may have intuited, I (not-so) secretly feel like I’m destined to fail, just like the other years. Yes, I do indeed know what a self-fulfilling prophesy is. Recently, I took stock of my writing projects and I have 40 – forty – that I have begun and not even finished a first draft. Already, by January 4, I’ve completed (as a first draft) one short story. So, if I don’t do anything else this year, I’ve finished something. That feels good. Hopefully, I can plow on with screenplays, comic book scripts, short stories – and maybe find interest in an actual novel – as the months go by. History tells me probably not…but I’ve started. I’ve taken the first step on my imagined journey. And this post – at 471 words – is proof that the effort is working, at least for now.

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