I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions for a lot of reasons. One major reason is that I’m not much of a goal setter. I guess that’s not entirely true. I have things I want to accomplish, and when they become sufficiently urgent or interesting to me, I do them. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Setting actual goals requires a level of thought organization that I just don’t have. Like outlining a paper. Give me an outline, and I will fill it in like a construction worker with a backhoe. Give me a checklist and I will complete it like I’m a Russian playwright named Anton.* But ask me to compose either from scratch, and I’m going to stare at a blinking cursor, listening to crickets, for a very long time. Probably longer than accomplishing the actual stated goal would take.
Another reason is that they just aren’t that effective for me. I like the idea of starting over. And I really like the idea of starting something new at the beginning of the month. On the 1st day. But… I also know that I’m 35 years old, and I still struggle to make my bed every day. It takes 21 days to make a habit. It’s true for typicals and it’s true for ADHD. But did you know that for the person with ADHD, it takes exactly one day to destroy that habit? It’s true. That means I start at Day 1/21 a lot. I can make my bed for 118 days in a row, and then sleep somewhere else for a night, and when I return home, I’ve completely lost the bed-making habit. That makes habit-forming and goal-setting, and resolution-ing really frustrating. That’s a lot of ing-ings.
I used to be a lot harder on myself for my lack of stick-to-itiveness. Now I know better. I try not to set myself up for failure, and I try very hard to celebrate the wins, however small they may be.
A couple of years ago, I decided to just set resolutions after completion:
And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.
This year I am doing something different. This year I picked a mantra. My mantra is “Do Something.”
It was partly inspired by this Sylvia Duckworth cartoon that one of my awesome friends posted on Facebook:
As 2015 came to a close, I thought a lot about things done and things undone. I thought about all the blog posts I never finished. I thought about projects started and projects finished. I thought about life and the things that make me happy every day. And then I made a list of ways I could “Do Something” every day in 2016.
- Create Something
- Learn Something
- Read Something
- Write Something
- Play Something
- Clean Something
- Start Something
- Finish Something
- Move Something**
At first I loftily planned on checking something off for each category every single day. I mean, the topics are broad enough that I can define nearly anything to fit. But one of my biggest challenges in life is perfectionism and trying to do EVERYTHING, and then beating myself up when I fall short. I don’t want this year to be a “Do Everything” year; it’s a “Do Something” year. I’m not going to intentionally stop myself from doing something from each category, but it’s also not going to be a measure of my success this year. Something is quite good enough for me.
What are your plans this year? Do you have a mantra? If not, you can borrow mine.
*Chekhov. Get it? Check off. Never mind.
**This refers to moving my muscles in some manner.