new year new plan · resolution

Be it resolved

If nothing else, being an academic allows one to indulge in New Year’s Resolutions at least twice a year–certainly, September brings about a strong desire to articulate new goals as surely as it prompts the purchase of new pencils with which to write them down, and January offers us a culturally sanctioned do-over if our resolve has wavered as the fall semester waned.

And so I find myself making all new resolutions, again. I don’t mind so much that I didn’t live up to all the plans and schemes and goals I hatched sometime around Labour Day. For me, the very impulse to even make resolutions is a cheering reminder of the fundamental optimism of the human spirit. What can be more life-affirming than an ever-renewing set of desires keyed toward self-improvement, even if these desires do not always lead us to the improvements we aim at. Isn’t is good for the soul to think that at least we want to … change? Improve? Optimize? In any case, it all feels very hopeful

My resolutions go as follows:

  • Lights out at 10:30
  • Get outside every day
  • Be kind to my family, but not at the cost of my own sense of self
  • Keep doing my yoga
  • Meditate more
  • More home cooked meals, featuring more green things
  • Clean up the kitchen before I go to bed
Mah kitchen! Tuesday night, 9:45 pm!
I’m basically trying to be healthy, right? For work, I’m thinking:
  • 20 minutes of writing on my book project every weekday
  • 20 minutes of reading on same
  • Remember the 30 minute miracle, and stop frittering time
  • Prepare in advance, but not too much
  • Answer my emails
  • Try to maintain the 40/40/20 balance of work
  • Respect deadlines
Which are all work-health goals. Clean living for everybody!
Probably the one thought I return to every New Year’s day is one my dear friend Lesley Peterson shared with me way back in grad school in Edmonton, to wit: “This is not a crisis. This is your life.” All my resolutions come back to this: each day brings what it brings, and I can approach it with grace, and humility, and a sense of being fully present. Or, I can run around like a chicken with my head cut off, utterly heedless and without agency. I prefer the former. It requires calendaring:
Is this not the cutest thing ever? My daughter’s agenda …
Have you made any fancy or prosaic goals for the new year? 

One thought on “Be it resolved

  1. My resolutions essentially boil down to “Be less timid” and “Be less overconfident.” Less timid in that I should pursue new projects with more vigor, and worry less about failure. But I shouldn't make the mistake of always pursuing them alone, rather than collaborating with partners and being guided by people who know the terrain better than me.


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