|Posted by Michele Zurlo on December 31, 2011 at 11:55 PM|
Ringing In the New Year with D.H. Starr
I experience a mixture of emotions when I think of that word. On the one hand, I think it’s great there’s a time of year when people reflect on themselves and think about what they can do to improve their lives in some way. On the other hand, it seems like a limiting event which can lead to disappointment. Why is it only at the beginning of a new year that a mass process of goal setting takes place? Why aren’t we actively attempting to improve our lives and setting benchmarks along the way to measure our progress?
When I talk to people or read their resolutions on Facebook and other places, I notice a trend of highly specific or overly general goals. The more specific ones, like quitting a bad habit, are usually tied to an underlying condition which is leading to the behavior. If that underlying condition isn’t dealt with, most people don’t achieve their resolution. On the flip side, general goals like treating others nicely or being a better person are so vague they can easily be pushed aside because there’s nothing tangible to grab onto as a measure of growth and progress.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the top 10 New Year’s resolutions and here is what I found.
1) Spend more time with friends and family
2) Work out
3) Lose weight
4) Quit smoking
5) Enjoy life more
6) Quit drinking
7) Get out of debt
Learn something new
9) Help others
10) Get organized.
Of these resolutions, the first is the only one which seems to be specific enough to concretely measure, but broad enough to be incorporated into several steps along the way. For instance, you may create a calendar for yourself and begin to reach out to friends and plan various events. Maybe you like to cook, so you work in a dinner party. Maybe you like the theater and invite a friend to purchase tickets with you. Maybe you do something even more involved like set up a weekly family night. The point is, you can track how much time you are spending with family and friends, but you can also take several steps along the way toward achieving that goal so it becomes a natural part of your “lifestyle.”
When reflecting on my own life, I believe I don’t have a good balance between attending to my personal and professional goals. Specifically, I am so focused on the professional that I have allowed it to hamper my social life in ways that leave me feeling unsatisfied and a bit lonely. I could say I’d like to find a boyfriend or add going to the gym to my routine. Perhaps I could carve out regular time for my writing. On the flipside, I could simply say I want to have a better balance in my life. That is what I want, but it’s so general that I wouldn’t know where to start and would probably give up right away. While each idea is a step in the right direction, none of them, on their own, seem to address the overarching issue which has continually popped into my head…I’m not paying attention to the whole me.
So how can I find the right combination of broad and specific? What are the patterns in my life which have become too comfortable and easy? For me, it comes down to thinking about where I am, where I want to be, prioritizing, and mapping out a plan. Right now my career is taking up the majority of my life and I’m so tired and spent by the end of the day that I don’t have the energy to work out or write. I’m single and while I have great family and friends. I don’t want to build a “life” with them the way I want to build a life with a partner. So by New Year’s Eve 2012, I want to see that I’ve worked time into my life routines for working out, dating, attending to hobbies like cooking, and making sure I honor my characters and readers by writing every day. So for me, it’s about listing what I have and what I want, ordering them from most to least important, and planning steps along the way so my patterns change.
As you think about your resolutions and goals, try to see if they are too specific and daunting or too vague and elusive. Look at where you want to be in the coming year, and plan steps you know you can achieve. Celebrate small successes and know that we are all struggling with bettering ourselves so you’re not alone.
I wish you the greatest of luck and please check in with me to give me a nudge and encouragement on reaching my goals this coming year. I’ll be thinking of you too!
Check out Feed, Prey, Love at http://ai-press.net/
DH Starr is an author of gay erotic romance and LGBT young adult fiction. A hopeful romantic at heart, he thrives on creating characters who struggle and suffer as they work their way towards self-discovery and happiness. He’s been told by some readers that his tendency to torture his characters makes them want to kill him while reading, but they are relieved and happy by the end. You can learn more about DH Starr and his books by visiting his website at www.dhstarr.com or on his blog, www.dhstarr.blogspot.com.
What are your resolutions for the New Year?