If you are among the handful of people who have read my book, The Truth (currently being re-edited, my apologies and thanks to the early comers), then you know that the first chapter takes place on New Year’s Day with a discussion on the merits of making resolutions. I like making New Year’s resolutions, if for no other reason than to assess where my shortcomings lie and what I should try to improve upon. While naysayers may think this is a waste of time, why not take one day each year and focus on self-improvement?
I’m not going to dwell upon last year’s resolutions because—in the words of the Great Prophet Pumbaa—my behind is in the past. And if you read regularly, you know what comes next (i.e. “without further ado” and a list!). My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013:
As an independent contractor generally struggling to make ends meet (more on this, below), I rarely have the same schedule day-in, day-out. Add to this the fact that neither of my kids has the same schedule, and perhaps it’s no wonder why I feel that my life is terribly disorganized sometimes. I’m generally punctual and meet my deadlines, but even something as simple as eating breakfast can be delayed by hours (meaning it’s more like eating dinner).
I have several ambitious plans for 2013, including writing a new book. I’m stretched for time as it is, so I really must be more systematic in how I plot my days. That means improving on organizing everything from my (multiple) calendar(s) to keeping up with this blog. On a similar note, I need to curb distraction in my life (never easy with kids, not to mention Facebook!). Simply focusing on the task at hand will probably go a long way toward getting more done in my overly crowded life.
Blah blah… blah blah blah blah.
Since this is on everyone’s New Year’s list, it hardly begs an introduction. Yes, diet and exercise are on my resolution list. However, I’m less concerned with my weight than I am with my overall health. I haven’t been practicing my yoga pretty much since moving to Brooklyn. This is largely due to the fact that I have no space in my apartment to do yoga. I literally must do it in the kitchen. That’s not particularly conducive to a namaste moment. However, going on 18 months without my practice has really caught up to me (and if you doubt the efficacy of a yoga practice, note that it took an 18-month hiatus before no yoga caught up with me). I feel it in my knees and back; I’m also losing skin tone. Yoga will correct all those aging processes. I just have to do it daily. Fortunately, my son has expressed an interest in joining in (how we’ll both fit in the kitchen, I’ve no idea), so I hope having a yoga buddy will help me recapture my practice.
I’ve been wanting to learn Spanish for awhile now. It’s a combination of so many people speaking a language I don’t understand and a desire to travel via WWOOF. I’m guessing that down the road Spanish will come in handy for all Americans. Regardless of how much we’d like to claim English as our native language, the Hispanic/Latino community is here to stay. We can either learn a new language (which is good for memory, etc.) or be content not knowing what half the population is talking about. Plus, it’s a lot easier than Russian, and I mastered that (no pun intended) once upon a time.
As a writer, the written word is my livelihood and passion. However, when it comes to “down time,” I’m more likely to work a Sudoku puzzle. When I do read, it’s typically a magazine or article online. I want to read more books in 2013. Thus, starting tomorrow, I plan on making my first-of-month blog post about a book I’m reading. And then I’m going to read it. At the very least, I’ll have read 12 books in the coming year, which is less than I should but more than I have been reading (I think I read four books cover-to-cover in 2012, assuming I don’t count my own book!).
Make more money.
This probably sounds like a typical New Year’s resolution, along with diet/exercise, but I’ve never been money-driven. Which is probably why I almost never have money to spare! I’m not suffering (I do complain about the expense of living in NYC, but I’m not homeless or starving), but I really need to make more money. In 2011, I did a gazillion e-books that netted me pennies per word; I stopped doing this work in 2012 and I managed to finish my novel instead. In 2012, I did some low-paying work that wasn’t advancing my goals to monetize my writing. Odd bartending gig aside, I’m hoping to quit all those side jobs and focus on getting more paid writing work (at a reasonable pay rate) or even an adjunct teaching gig.
Pitch a story/article per month.
Along with making more money, I need to work harder at getting my work published in a major publication. I pitched a handful of projects this year that ended up in a blog (i.e. for little to no pay). I know my writing is worthy of print (I’ve been in print before), but getting those coveted slots is harder than finding a job with benefits! However, I also know I’m not writing enough for money, and monetizing what I do write is a priority for 2013.
Do the dishes nightly.
I joke that I make my bed every day so that I can know I accomplished one thing over the course of the day. I have a bad habit of not doing the dishes at night, hoping the “dish fairy” will come along and do them. Inevitably, this means I awaken to a sink (or counter) of dirty dishes. I hate doing the dishes almost as much as I hate doing the laundry; these are the never-ending chores. However, since I’m going to be stuck doing the dishes regardless, I might as well end my day with them than start the day with them. Leaves more time for making my bed. And I will have accomplished two things each day.
No longer date sociopaths.
I have such bad luck with men. Even the ones that seem sincere turn out to be sociopaths (or narcissists and sociopaths). With the exception of never dating again, I have no idea how I’ll accomplish this resolution. However, I’m going to try to use better judgement and seek out a friend who isn’t completely devoid of empathy.
Be less angry.
I think that as we grow older, we become less tolerant. Oftentimes, this devolves into anger and despair. I cannot change the injustices of life (I have enough trouble struggling with the daily grind in my own life). However, I can work on reducing my reaction to these injustices. After a stressful day, I can endeavor to detox in a method that doesn’t involve alcohol (my craft beer life aside, it’s much easier for me to wind down with a drink than it is to relax via meditation). If I want to bring peace and positivity into my life, I need to rid anger from my heart. Whenever and wherever I can. I figure it’s like a muscle; I’ll have to exercise to become less prone to (emotional) injury.
This one’s for my sister.
Who read this and said, “You only have nine resolutions. You need 10.” Number 10 is to meditate daily. This is harder than it seems for me, simply because being calm and still in a maelstrom of a city is damn near impossible. Plus, I don’t really do calm and still; my mind wanders, even when I’m doing yoga. I’m always thinking about what I have to do next, like go switch out the laundry and finish the soup in the slow cooker. Which is what I’m gonna do right now.
Good luck on your resolutions for 2013. Feel free to contribute in the comments section. And happy new year!