Thursday, January 03, 2013

thoughts on resolutions

Metapost side note: I've been away for a while for a number of reasons.  Here's a rambly set of ruminations on the most recent holiday.


I've never really done the new year's resolution thing.  Oh, I probably parroted a few lines occasionally out of a general feeling of social obligation, but it never really meant anything to me and I never really followed through on any resolutions I might have made.

Last year I started blogging, and made a few monthly resolutions, thinking they'd be more tractable than year-long projects.  I think I got as far as March.

On the one hand, the new year is undeniably a time of renewal, and the desire for a fresh start deserves to be honored.  Deciding to make a change in one's life is a big deal.  It usually involves seriously nontrivial amounts of work (or else why bother with the fanfare), potentially represents a significant improvement in some facet of life, and can be really hard to follow through with.  Not to mention that figuring out what change to implement in the first place can be a hell of a project unto itself.

But compressing this process in a one-line throwaway gesture that no one really expects to happen can be not only useless, but genuinely counterproductive.  Taking a really important personal mission and summing it up into a sound byte might be useful in clarifying the goal itself, but it also might trivialize a very real and relevant quest into a silly exercise in pointlessness and frustration.

So I'm not sure how I feel about all this.  Leo says that having no goals is awesome.  Scott says that defined goals are key to accomplishing really cool stuff, and he's a guy who knows all about accomplishing really cool stuff.  I suspect that the ultimate answer is intensely personal and individual.

I'm in the middle of what feels like a rather important period of change, even if it does seem to drift aimlessly sometimes.  For now, I think I'll spend January without any lofty goals or aspirations, and see where it takes me.