For me, New Year’s Eve is a night to stay in and relax. I may watch one of the First Night countdowns on TV, but chances are better that you’ll find me tuning in to some educational marathon or a good movie. Many of my friends and relatives do the same. We’re not late-night party people. (Most of us prefer caffeine to alcohol!) But with 2019 starting in just a few hours, we are trying to set some goals and make plans for the new year.
Plenty of people choose New Year’s resolutions that involve quitting bad habits or trying to engage in new habits. There are numerous surveys and studies pointing out just how many people fail to follow through on these goals for more than a few weeks. I myself have set resolutions in the past that I have failed to meet, and I suspect that it’s simply because the goals have been large, long-term achievements. Procrastination killed some of them, while others died from life throwing unexpected curveballs at me month after month.
So this year, to avoid getting bogged down by long-term goals or trying to develop new habits and behaviors, I’m going to try and take 2019 one month at a time. Those of you following me on Twitter will have seen my run up to Christmas posting Supernatural convention photos. They’re hardly my typical photography subjects. Sharing photos of my more common subjects is a goal I can start easily enough without much effort to change my schedule or behavior. (And hopefully this will give me more motivation to take care of my editing backlog!)
Another of my short-term, easy goals is to do more sketching and painting. I’ve found these activities help me when I have writer’s block, giving me opportunity to spend time with my characters, settings, and other story elements when words just won’t cooperate. Sketching and painting can also allow me to explore imagery that interferes with my concentration on writing projects but doesn’t warrant an entire story itself. I hope to complete one art project per month in the new year, but if I do more or less than that, I won’t consider it a big deal. One of my Christmas presents, a custom, Amish-made chair to go with my mahogany writing desk, will open up more workspace for me, making it easier to engage in painting, sketching, and writing once I get it home.
I have a few other goals planned for 2019, but I don’t consider them New Year’s resolutions. There will be new conventions to attend and friends to meet up with whom I don’t get to see in person often. I want to knock off a few more titles from my to-be-read list, and continue to add old favorites to my music collection. But above all, I want to live 2019 for me and focus more on my own goals.
I hope with the new year, you will do the same and set goals that you know you can conquer. Don’t set yourself up to fail by trying to rework your entire routine. Work with your existing habits, not against them. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!