So now that the smoke has cleared and most of the attention given New Year’s Resolutions has faded, I feel it’s an opportune time for me to jump into the discussion (always fashionably late). Actually, I’m being a bit disingenuous. I had a blog post ready to go last week centered around the word “Resolute” but I felt it was a bit too preachy for me. After all, who am I to lecture people on New Year’s Resolutions? My most successful resolution of last year was to start a blog and write 25 posts (achieved + 40), but I failed on most every other goal I set. In fact, my most important resolution of 2013 was such a complete failure, my daughters recently asked me why I hadn’t tried out for “The Biggest Loser.” Those girls… they cut deep.
In preparation for a BIG 2014, I spent the last week or two reading countless articles/blogs about resolutions. In doing so, my thinking shifted. Some blogs made a compelling case against them, as my blogger friend Nicole did with her blog Resolving Your Need for Resolution (warning for my Baptist-y friends – adult language). Some argued that you should make them, but not share them, as the amazing Donald Miller mentioned in his blog Don’t Share your Resolutions. Both of these pro bloggers make valid and interesting points, and made me think a lot about my need to make resolutions. Maybe I should just be content with who I am, as Nicole argues. Maybe I should keep my goals a secret, as Donald mentions, to avoid the pitfall of getting too much reward for the act of sharing and not enough for the act of doing. Maybe I should do what I always do – make a big list, shoot for the stars, share them with everyone so I can hold myself accountable, and then fall short but be farther along than I was.
Maybe I should do all three.
Yes, that sounds like a good way to start my 2014. Much better than the way I planned to start it last week, at least.
First off, I am going to set less resolutions for myself this year. I need to. I’m always opening up on too many fronts, which draws me away from the truly important areas of life. It’s time to let go of some of the goals I’ve been holding on to – some of which were from my old life and don’t even apply anymore.
But I wouldn’t be me without setting at least a few resolutions. That’s just not how I roll. But I think that for the most part, I will try to keep this year’s goals under wraps. I know that I have been guilty in the past of sharing my biggest goals with my peeps and feeling great about all the encouragement, only to have that excitement fizzle out along with my effort (that might be part of the reason why I still weigh close to 1/8 of a ton). So I will make fewer resolutions this year, but they will be more focused and I will be working on them behind the scenes.
But what about the whole idea of sharing your resolutions so people can help you be accountable? That’s where I think this year, I am going to use the blog to conduct a little experiment. Let me start by giving a little background. Every year, I make a New Year’s Resolution to read more. In fact, its probably my most consistent New Year’s Resolution, even more so than weight loss. Given how spectacularly I have failed at weight loss, I suppose I can consider my reading goal a moderate success – I actually read books last year, whereas I finished the year at about the same weight I started it at (though there was a 9 pound spike upward mid-year). But my goal was to read a book a week, and I ended up reading a about 25 books for the year. Again, more than I would have without the resolution, but a lot less than my target.
I think this is a fairly common resolution, and not one that people get a great deal of satisfaction by beating their chest over. I know not everyone is a big reader, but we all recognize the value of expanding our knowledge and understanding of the world, or just to have fun. Spiritual living, health, humor, science, literature, fantasy, romance, technical information, self-help – these all can help make our lives better.
So here is my thought. We’ll use this post as a springboard for all of us who would like to take part in a reading goal for this year. Don’t worry – I’m not going to ask you for your specific goals for the year just yet. But if you would like to take part in the Furry Bard’s 2014 Reading Challenge, simply let me know that you are interested in the comments section here on the blog, or on the Furry Bard page on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thefurrybard, or send me a private message. I have a rough idea of how it will all work, but I would like to see the level of interest before I make a few of the decisions on the mechanics of it.
We all know we should read more than we do – if you’re game, let’s make it fun. Don’t worry that you’re on the hook for something you won’t accomplish – together, we’ll just do a heck of a lot more reading this year than last. Fair?
I look forward to hearing from you!
You clearly do not have to have the same goals as me, but I am going to shoot for 47 books this year. That gives me some leeway in case I tackle a really long book and need extra time, or life gets in the way (I start working on a master’s in April – maybe textbooks will count). I also plan to do a lot more blog reading, but I haven’t put specifics to that yet.
First Book of the year – The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail, But Some Don’t by Nate Silver. Review coming soon.