At the risk of sounding like a cynic, if you've made a New Year's resolution in the past, you're likely familiar with the unlikelihood that you'll keep your resolution. I certainly am. As this NYT article clarifies, you certainly have plenty of company if you abandon your commitment.
I've made the stereotypical resolutions to get in better shape, lose weight or not read People magazine at the gym. I've tried more thematic approaches like "Let go of things that don't serve me", "Be more present," "Embrace new experiences," or "Focus on the things I can control." And, while I actually do think that the intent of these goals has some benefit, even if in the specific instance it fails (perhaps subscribing to the two steps forward, one step back approach to personal improvement?), I've always felt a bit disappointed in myself for a failure to fully live up these expectations or resolutions.
This year I've decided to take a slightly different approach. I considered abandoning resolutions altogether or cynically adopting the altogether achievable goal of "eat more, drink more, exercise less." But, in the end, I guess I'm just a sucker for the arguably artificial sentiment that the new year is a time for new beginnings. So, rather than focusing on the outcomes I'm looking for (fitter, smarter, better person, etc), I'm setting up a structure of activities, which I'm thinking of as my own count-down clocks to my goals.
Rather than focusing on the outcomes of these objectives (though obviously I've considered them), I'm trying to view these as the put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other approach to running a marathon. If I do these things, I have faith that I will be significantly closer to whatever finish line they correspond to.
So, without further ado....
I will do 200 yoga classes by 11/22/09 (I started this goal on 11/22/08 as this goal occurred to me as I allowed my mind to wander very non-yogically as I lay in savasana in yoga class that day.)
I will read 50 books this year. I'm trying to think of a good way to structure this as I want a balance of topics/types of books. (If anyone has must-read/life-changing book suggestions, please send them my way!)
I will write (and post!) one blog entry a week.
Obviously the second and third count-down here run the risk of pushing me towards less than impressive books/posts in the pursuit of the goal (e.g. it would be kind of hard to read books like Infinite Jest each week.) But I'm going to have faith that while crap will occasionally end up in the mix, I will generally hold myself to a higher standard.