Semi-Obligatory Self-Improvement Scheme

I doubt you’ve failed to notice it, but the first week of 2012 is over halfway gone.  That time of resolving to change oneself has begun – hopefully for most people it’s not over yet – and it’s begun more slowly for me than I’d wished.

Obviously the thing to do is write down the [dozen dozen] things I wish were different about myself or my life, and then select a couple to pursue with determination.  And this would be the place to have a sort of whimsical flight of all my fancies, the place to put “Learn to salsa dance” or “Build your own still” or “Read all the books you own” or whatever crazy thing pops into my head.  Or it would be the place to put down every semi-noble idea that’s ever crossed my mind; the list would then be something like “Find the nearest Helping Hands shelter and volunteer there” or “Clean the church” or “Give more to others more often.”

But to my chagrin, my character is much like that of Emma Woodhouse, in that I’ve schemed too many schemes to list here of what my life and actions should be.  Since I’m none too fond of Emma, a change seems to be in order.

Here’s my plan for 2012:  Finish what you started.

That’s a tall order enough, methinks.  That means finishing the 11 or so stories gestating in my head (goal for 2012: write out the endings of 2); the 5 scrapbooks in various states of composition (goal: finish the 2 for other people); yes, the list of books I own but haven’t read yet (goal: 6 of the books and 5 of Shakespeare’s plays I’ve not read ever).  That means finishing the 5K-running goal of 2011, so as to meet the June 2012 deadline of KMC’s wedding with a svelter and sprightlier self.  That means communicating unto an end rather than sending a single e-mail and forgetting to respond to its reply.  That means staying focused at work so that each task gets done instead of half-heartedly meandering through a workday.  It means keeping my finances in order, doing the same with all my piles of papers, and disposing of that which is worthless.

Some people who are quite obviously better at getting things done than I am have a) already written out posts about what their year will be like, thankyouverymuch, and b) decided what their strategies for success will be.  But lo, I am not without strategies!  Here are some that Thalia helped me to come upon:

Strengthen the will by doing small things with it every day.  I am working on Alarm Clock Attentiveness (because mornings begun at 6:30 rather than 7 are much less panicked), Facebook avoidance (admittedly my will is not that strong yet.  It’s like doing wrist curls with 5 pound weights: pretty pathetic when it’s exhausting), and Denser Evenings (wherein I try to keep my eye on the clock so that I’m going to bed earlier after accomplishing somewhat more than I was wont to do).

RotationAlso called by the unwieldy name of “If you can keep up a scheme, do it.  If you can’t, then be sure you’re doing something else.”  Since I know that reading, writing, and other projects are in the offing, it’s ridiculous to say “I just want to vedge out because I’m sick of working on Object Q.”

– Focus Snowball.  Here’s a little dialogue for the sake of context:
’Psichore:  It may sound perverse, but I keep thinking that if I got More Caught Up with workwork and homework, then I’d feel better focused for exercise or eating not-poorly…
Thalia: That is probably true, since it is easy to be overwhelmed if your life feels disastrous.
‘Psichore:  That sounds sort of legit. Bill Ramsey has his “debt snowball” idea where, if you get one thing paid off, then it feels easier and easier to pay off the other things because you can put more money into them.  So maybe I will start a focus snowball!

Basically I’m hoping to do the crunch work in January and February vis-à-vis budgeting and paper-sorting.  Then each will require some maintenance every few days or every week, but nothing like the work of getting to a solid starting point.

Celebrate victories when they happen, and forgive yourself when they aren’t.  Thalia and I love to celebrate the small victories so as to encourage ourselves and each other toward conquering the bigger mountainous Foreboding Things of the Future.

We’ll see how it goes.  Happy New Year!

"Focus snowball" gets better Google Image Search results than "New Year resolution"

It's utterly unrelated, but it came up when I Googled "focus snowball."


2 thoughts on “Semi-Obligatory Self-Improvement Scheme

  1. Pingback: Half-Review: Three Genres « Egotist's Club

  2. Pingback: Avoiding Caffeinated Squirrel Syndrome « Egotist's Club

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