Monday, September 19, 2011

Classic 40k for the New Professional: New Year's Resolutions

"New Year's Resolutions"

Well... Sorry I've been kinda out of action here lately... Between family time (in Ohio or at Hilton Head), gf time (she leaves for 6 months in 9 days) and me time (got me a Kindle and been reading like a madman, lol), I haven't put in as much blog time as I'd like. So, yeah, Happy New Years. It's a bit late, but I suppose that's better than never, right?

Anyways, the time spent away from the blog will hopefully make for benefits to the blog. As anyone who has met me might know, the little cogs in my brain turn all the time. The more time they get to turn, the better articles I typically pop out for your perusal. Today, I have some ideas about New Year's Resolutions.

When I was young, I thought they were a dumb idea. Why the hell would you make some kind of pledge for the New Year? Especially given the fact that nobody ever actually accomplished their goals. When I got a bit older, I tried to make them work for me. I'd set myself some goals in my Resolutions and try real hard to accomplish them for about... maybe a month. Now that I'm a little less naive than either of those times, I think I have a way to make New Year's Resolutions work for you.

The trick is to use this tradition not as a way to set yourself up for failure but as a way to set yourself up for success. The way we all typically do Resolutions sets us up with lots of grandiose, life-changing thoughts that we can in no way accomplish. Human beings are resistant to change, so if you want to improve, you gotta take it slow and constantly reinforce your will. If all of this seems as clear as mud, well... I can only hope a numbered list will help make it better.

Now, I'm tying quite a few of these to 40k, but I have some other things I'm not gonna share on this blog. Well, not just yet, at least ;)

Step 1: Make some goals that you're already going to actually do.

Blam. Here's my big secret with these things. If you have some very clear goals that you are already set out to accomplish, why not add them to your list of Resolutions? Sure, you're not making up something new to herald in the new year, but you are giving yourself some Resolutions that you already think you can handle. Everyone I know always sets goals that are too high for their Resolutions. Why not set a few too low? If you accomplish them, you can keep that positive outlook going and hit the harder ones.

For me, I've decided that 2 of my New Year's Resolutions are: 1) Paint my Tyranid army and 2) Assemble 1500 points of Dark Eldar. I know I can paint an army, I did 2 whole armies last year, and I definitely didn't even push myself that hard. 1500 points of assembled Dark Eldar won't be a problem either. But, if I manage to actually do these things, I'm setting myself up to tackle the harder stuff. I'm reinforcing myself with positive energy from finishing tasks that I've set for myself.

Step 2: Set some more difficult, yet attainable goals.

Think of it like step ladder training. I start with the easy stuff and then move on up after I've built up my endurance. Each further step takes it farther from where you start. It's only way I've found that can help you get anything done. So, here, you're thinking of goals that you know you can do but you also know are a real challenge.

My attainable yet challenging goals are: 1) Do a minimum of 10 real blog posts a month and 2) lose 20 pounds. I know that I can do these things, but I also know that they're gonna require some real self-discipline and hard work. If I can get the other things done, I'm gonna carry the positivity that comes from those tasks over to these. That positive feeling will help keep me motivated to push myself on these ones.

Step 3: Set the aspirational goals.

In keeping with the theme here, this is a step up further in difficulty. However, I like to frame these goals as aspirational so I know that there is a chance I might not do them. Most of the time, that thought combined with the good feelings from completing the previous steps can keep me pushing forward until I get as far as I go. Because the goals are aspirational, I'm not worried if I can't get them done immediately. I know that getting started and pushing forward is what's important.

My aspirational goals are: 1) get a job that I like and 2) finish a novel. The job goal requires my graduation and bar passage, which makes it harder than it seems. I've been working on several novels for a while now, but I've been trying to focus on one so I can get it done and start trying to shop it around. I've been thinking of starting a separate blog devoted to publishing an unfinished (as in unpolished and full of typos and errors) chapter per week or so. Regardless, those are my goals.

Well, I know this is a bit short, but I hope that I can inspire one person to make useful New Year's Resolutions. I'd love to hear any that you might have made or make because of this.

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