1/366 – One Blog Post A Day, And Setting Goals, Not Resolutions, For 2016
The first is reflection, a look back.
We reflect on the things we tried to do in the last year that we somehow made it through.
We reflect on the hardships we went through and the ways in which we dealt with difficulties.
We reflect on the choices we made, both the good ones (totally should have changed jobs, good work, self!) and the bad ones (totally shouldn’t have blown $100 bucks on that Steam games sale for games that rotted in my Library, wtf were you thinking, self?!).
Mostly, though, we reflect on how we chose to spend our previous 365 days and whether or not we made the best of it. The things I usually see on my feed are reactions like:
“You know, year x wasn’t good or bad, but it was a thing and I’m still here.”
“Holy shit, fuck those previous 365 days, I’m so glad it’s over. Gimme this New Year.”
Reflection is a good thing. It allows us to take a bit more of an objective look at the things you did after you’ve done them and after the pressure of making those choices in the moment has faded. It also allows us to learn lessons, no matter how well or how poorly what we did turned out for us. If we don’t reflect on what we did, take time to think about what led to it and how it turned out, it makes it pretty difficult to do the second of two things that a New Year does to us, and that’s setting goals.
Now you may wonder why I said setting goals instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions.
I feel like New Year’s Resolutions as a practice has taken on a bit of a stigma because of the frequency with which people totally and utterly ditch their resolutions. If it’s happened to you before (and no judgment from here if it has – after all I lasted a whole 3 days with resolving to give up coffee one year), it probably went something like how Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half described trying to be a responsible adult, which basically boils down to:
- Do ALL the things like a motherfuckin’ adult in a big short term burst of productivity.
- Be satisfied at your productivity enough that you allow yourself a little leeway.
- Get guilty that you gave yourself that leeway.
- Completely do NOT do ANY of the things like a motherfuckin’ adult and instead revert back to old habits.
In short, resolutions don’t really suck to make. They suck to maintain in any sort of sustained manner, mostly because they’re this big monolith of responsibility that they have to be done, because they’re Resolutions with a capital R. Many people, not surprisingly, crumble under this pressure, often times making the same resolutions over and over yet messing up on keeping them, until eventually they completely rebel and refuse to make them in the first place.
Goals, on the other hand, carry a little bit less of the stigma. When you set a goal, you’re usually thinking of what you did before (reflection, remember?) and what you want to do. If you’ve set a goal, you’re usually thinking about an end result, how you’re going to get there, and formulated at least a plan. Goals can also be set at any time – not just after you’ve taken your 20th buffalo wing on New Year’s Eve. Some of you may still think resolutions and goals are still pretty much the same, and they certainly can be – but take away the cynicism and somewhat humorous failure rate of the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions” and really, what you have is goals.
So it’s with that in mind that I’ll use myself as an example.
I’ve set a goal to make at least 1 blog post a day for 2016.
That means 366 days of posts, because this year is a leap year (thanks, February 29th, you’re making this 1/366th of a degree more difficult to achieve). Twitter has an obvious popular variant under the #Project365 tag of taking a photo a day, but since my pictures would turn out to be boring photos of amateur cooking and terrible weather shots, I figure a blog variant is doable.
Why have I decided to set such an insane and crazy goal? Well, upon reflecting about what I’ve done in 2015 (and prior), I realized that while I managed to do things in 2015 that I was proud of, I felt like my creativity had sort of taken a hit. Lots of things contributed to basically holding pat this past year, but in short, for someone who has put together two podcasts, uploaded a few videos here and there, run a community site for a game with 500k people on it and (used) to blog regularly, I just wasn’t meeting the bar. Oh sure, I’d tried to “revive” the good old blog on a couple occasions, but it pretty much ended the same way every time – with no particularly new entries and an inability to sustain myself through writing them. I’d resolved to blog more, but hadn’t actually set a goal with an actual result (366 blog posts in a year). Now that I have, I think I have a good chance of making it.
I’m not really sure how many people will read these posts, but honestly it doesn’t quite matter, since most of what I’m doing is for me, to shake off the writing and creative rust and get to work making things again. Having to come up with something to write about each day should help that along.
If you are along for the ride, here’s some expectations for what I’ll be blogging about:
Geek topics. From the beginning this blog has always been about the geek arts – tech, internet, games, sci-fi/fantasy. This isn’t really going to change, especially since most of those topics are in my wheelhouse. If I tried to make them about things that would get more hits but which I knew nothing about, I’d probably end up looking a little foolish.
(Usually and relatively) Short. I know, I know – some of you who are familiar with me might feel skeptical about this since I tend to wall a bunch of text together. But if I want to not exhaust myself and my readers, I have to make what I say fairly brief. I’m shooting for a classic five paragraphs per post, though there may be exceptions at times – like this post.
Casual and Fun. I’m not really out to change lives with these posts – especially since they’re meant to refine what is a pretty old muscle in terms of my writing. If I do, that’s great (if my blog post on making good Gingersnaps is an epiphany, so be it), but if not, that’s fine. I feel like my “voice” needs a little tuning and repeated practice making things sound conversational and fun should help.
I’m not sure if I can even achieve this goal, but I’m certainly going to try!
Oh, and for anyone else curious, here’s a few of my other goals, for when (or if) I meet post 366 and can look back at them:
- Create and look into sustained content on YouTube with at least 5 videos
- Start a project to help the Internet’s recent issue with online communication
- Refine my productivity system with new tools integrating with Evernote
- Learn to cook and bake at least 5 new things