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Happy New Year!
Unless of course you celebrate Chinese New Year, in which case you should come back next month instead…

Coming next month!

Coming next month!

So I thought in honor of the new year I might give my thoughts on the ever- popular New Years Resolution. Specifically, why I think they are a load of shit.  Of course, through the course of the day (it’s the first as I edit this) I’ve read a LOT of posts about resolutions and how awesome they are and how they can change your life and how to stick to yours this year and blah, blah, blah.  I’m not saying they’re crap, I just have a different opinion.

Full disclaimer: I make annual goals. These are related to writing and are basically a timeline to keep my projects in some sort of order. I did not make my goal this year, but I was pretty damn close. That’s good enough for me.  They’re different enough from a resolution for me to point this out.

I’m sure a good many of you make resolutions every year. I suspect some of you may actually give them a try. I seriously doubt many (if any) of you actually follow through. This is not a flaw on your part, at least as far as I’m concerned. I think what’s flawed is the whole notion of “resolving” to “fix” something.

Sadly, the good people at Webster’s are of little help.

So in a nutshell, a resolution is something that we have decided.  Clear with that? Me neither. In theory, this decision has been made by you in an effort to change some form of behavior that may or may not make you unhappy. In my opinion, this is not only next to impossible but a bad idea.

We are who we are.  I think most resolutions are our way of making an effort to fit in. Why is this? Why must we be unhappy with ourselves?  We are flawed, sure.  So what.  Perfection is a lie and I’m not falling for it.  If we were a little bit happier with ourselves we might…wait a minute, I felt a soapbox moment coming on.  Sorry.

Back to my annual goals for a second. My goals were written out in a timeline format and allowed for (among other things) a few shorts that have been hanging around, the novella that’s currently in beta, and the current novel in progress (which I had hoped to have a first draft done by the end of the year). By that account, I missed my goal. The new novel is not there yet. What is my opinion of this? So what.

A goal is a target, not a deadline.

You don't have to hit a bullseye every time to be on target...

You don’t have to hit a bullseye every time to be on target…

A resolution is something much bigger, more lofty, and hence generally unrealistic.  Goals are items you wish to complete with (hopefully) an associated timeline. A resolution is something that you think: wow, I should totally do this. A goal is something you write down and follow. A resolution is something that sounds like a good idea until you wake up on January first with a hangover and think: no way am I doing that…maybe tomorrow (meaning never). A goal is something that is still written down no matter how much you had to drink the night before, and it will still be there the next day when your head stops spinning.

We've all been there...

We’ve all been there…

Long soapbox speech made short: a goal is something realistic, a resolution in all likelihood is not.  I’m not suggesting you not look towards this year without something in mind, but I am suggesting that you make this something you can follow through. Want to know my goals for this year?  Stop back next week and I’ll tell you.

Happy New Year, and here’s to many more.