The beginning of the year should feel like standing at the base of a mountain in Alaska, squinting up at its rocky face, planning your route - avoid that part with the overhang (too risky), scale that other steep part (GO BIG OR GO HOME OR WHATEVER), rest on that rock and eat a sandwich, etc. To me, it instead feels like standing at the top of the mountain, trying to figure out how you’re going to barrel roll down the whole damned thing without hitting any big rocks or trees, wondering if you remembered to pack a helmet this time. Honestly, 2015 will be at its end before we feel like we really got to know it, and we’ll either be there, too, or we will have our heads smashed against a tree somewhere in the middle.
But, yay! Happy New Year! Here are my goals:
Weigh Under 200 Pounds
Everyone’s goal every year is to lose weight or get fit or some other similar thing they tell people over champagne on New Year’s Eve. They awake, and panic-bile fills the back of their throat. "Oh, god! I told Martha that I was going to lose 10 pounds and run a marathon this year!"
Then, I go to the gym on January 2nd and the entire cast of extras from The Office is there, and I have to wait until Dwight 2 pulls a muscle to get any lifting in.
Seriously, though, I hope everyone sticks with the gym. I don’t really think any ill thoughts about the Resolutioners. I am disappointed that lifting is more difficult for me to do in a timely manner, but it’s good. You be healthy so I can enjoy your company more often, and for longer.
Anyway, I want to lose weight, again. I weigh 212 now (up from January last year). To attain this goal, I have started tracking my water intake. I intend to hit 85 ounces a day. I will be trying to avoid carbs (as soon as all the holiday candy and related items get the hell out of my house. Probably via my mouth, eventually modern indoor plumbing). I will also soon have a treadmill in the house, which I will use for jogging in the winter, and possibly for a bit of walking-while-I-work from time to time. Treadmill use will be in addition to my 2-3 weekly trips to the gym for lifting. I will measure my weight every single morning, primarily as a means for keeping this goal top of mind.
Read Ten Non-Fiction Books
I barely made this goal last year, but I did discover things about myself: I enjoy audiobooks, I am more likely to make it through a non-fiction book if listening than I am if I read, and listening to an audiobook when driving greatly reduces the stresses of driving for me.
In lieu of a full list, I will tell you a bit about what I wish to read: I am into the idea of writing more this year, so wish to read more about writing as a craft. I have had no real training as a writer, so I am relying on books. Well, and practice. I hope. I listened to Stein on Writing and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft last year, and mean to continue that theme. I will also listen to a book or two about ancient mythologies. What else should I read?
I will attain this goal by subscribing to Audible, or perhaps Downpour, likely starting in February. Last year, I was subscribed to audiobooks on eMusic. eMusic has its upsides (no DRM), but you have to be a member of its music service to be a member of its audiobook service. Not worth the extra cost.
Read Thirty Fiction Books
As I have mentioned before, Patrick Rothfuss recommended a list of books, and I intend to read them. Eventually.
In the meantime, I have a stack of Vonnegut books I bought but haven’t cracked open. I also inherited a bunch of books, and, thus, I am considering tackling some Dickens without it having been assigned by some old bird with a dainty gold chain keeping her glasses from falling off her person. (I also have a set of James Joyce, but I am convinced it will make me toss the books in a fire, and I like how they look on my shelf. Let’s save it for Goals for 2027.)
I recently subscribed to Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine, which might do interesting things to my reading time this year. We’ll see.
Write 5 Short Stories
I could do this in a long month. (February is like Kevin McAllister to the Wet Bandits: easy to miss or dismiss, but you’re gonna have a bad time.)
I want to feel good about these short stories. I want to do some heavy revising of them. I hear more time is spent revising a piece than writing it; I want to get some revision experience.
Hey, maybe I’ll do NaNoWriMo in November. (THIS IS NOT A GOAL. I WILL NOT BE HELD TO NANOWRIMO. FORGET I SAID ANYTHING.)
You know, I should warn you: I am probably going to post a few stories here on the blog. I’ll put a warning at the top, in case you dislike fiction, short stories, fantasy stories in particular, etc.
Use Phone Less Around Family
My wife mentioned that I am often looking at my phone while waiting my turn to read Roar of a Snore for the eleventy-first time before my kids climb in bed at night. I’m going to not do that anymore. I will pay attention to Curious George in the Snow, in which the monkey nearly ruins a skier’s career and invents snowboarding.
Despite the protesting, I truly do want to do this. In general, I need to leave the phone in my pocket more often.
Continue to Improve Patience
We always seek virtuousness. Patience is a virtue, and my weakest. (I don’t have independent confirmation of this, but I checked the list.) It’s a constant struggle, isn’t it?
More practically, I need continued vigilance on my patience around my children.
Miscellaneous Goal I Throw In Just Because
Last year it was "Record More Music". This year we’re going with "Finally Go Backpacking in the Hoosier National Forest Even if Just for One Freakin’ Night, You Phony". It’s a good goal. I already have the backpack, most of the necessary equipment. I haven’t really camped in years. I bought myself a bunch of stuff, thinking it would make me get out there. I was wrong.
This should be easy, right? I just have to pick a day. A weekend probably. Probably start midday on a Saturday. It’d be nice if it were warmer, so it won’t happen in the first quarter, nor will it happen in the last two months of the year. I don’t want to risk a cold rain, so April is out. I might be on vacation for a portion of May, so May is probably out. Both kids were born in June, so June might be sorta busy. July and August and the first half of September are SO HOT. Hey, can I get back to you?
I do picture standing at the top of a mountain at the beginning of the year, but not quite as morbidly as I described above. Maybe more of a giant slalom situation, complete with gates I will be penalized for missing. In this case, though, I strung ‘em up myself.