Happy New Years! Got resolution?
So let’s say you do, a shiny new goal. Something you’re going to do this year. Something that’s going to put all the other years before it in a box that you can donate to Goodwill, where someone can relive your gently used, hand me down piece of shit year, while pretending they’re not bothered by the weird stains.
That metaphor was clunky and unworkable, but, just like any undertaking, I committed to it through to the bloody end.
You have something new, something you can only get once a year, a whole new calendar year to make a change. Because no other arbitrary date followed by 365 consecutive days is recognized as a legitimate way to achieve a goal in our culture. That’s okay, you’re on the boat now! You’re going to be a better person! What are you going to do, learn a new language, eat more muffins, become president of Nanking?
Well, I have some bad news, you’ll probably fail.
The problem with new years resolutions, no matter what they are, is that there is no difference between who we were before the binge drinking and after. Once the hangover wears off, we still tend to be insecure, assholes we were last year, distracting ourselves in every way possible in hopes that we won’t actually have to do anything, and therefore, we’ll never fail. Why do we do this? I don’t know, but I bet someone in science has a study about it somewhere. Arguably it’s not the fear of failure, it’s the fear of change, because any major change, be it learning something new or changing you physical appearance for better or worse, is a change, and once you change, your circumstances must as well.
But maybe my cynicism hasn’t scared you off. So here’s what I know about resolutions.
There are only two pieces of advice to achieving any goal, making resolutions a reality: One is that you have to do it, the second is that you have to sacrifice something else.
The truth behind becoming, learning or doing anything is that you have to start doing it and continue. This piece of advice has been frustrating to many a travel-hungry college student who is jaded to the idea of massive student loans and losing prospective jobs because backpacking through Europe isn’t the greatest way to market yourself on LinkedIn. Often times when famous people are asked how they got where they are, it’s an ambiguous and unhelpful answer something to the effect of “I just did it.”
They are then sued by Nike for royalties.
Anyway, we usually chalk up other people’s success to knowing people. Because that’s the only way to get ahead in the world, is by knowing the right people. Because it’s bad, in our mind, to have to be socially adept in a field full of people passionate about the same thing you’re passionate about. That bizarre social anomaly aside, think of it this way; those ‘right people’ saw these successful people doing what they loved. They kept playing music, juggling swords, whatever, and they did it wherever they went. In doing so, they eventually came across people that enjoyed doing this too. By alienating people that have common interests because ‘knowing people is selling out’, you’ve doomed yourself to obscurity. But by learning from people who have the same interests and putting for the effort to meet other people, you might wind up as one of those fancy pants famous people.
The second part, which is probably why the first part is so difficult, is that you have to sacrifice something, usually a few things, in order to get your goal done. We love seeing polymaths on TV, people who speaking multiple languages with two degrees and a martial arts expertise, but the reality is, in order to master anything, you need to dedicate a lot of time. Time that you normally spend doing other things, walking your dog, having friends, eating muffins; that will all be filtered into the goal you created for yourself.
It’s not enough to just paint for a few minutes every day. You need to finish paintings every day. People will accuse you of being reclusive as you perfect your craft. Your circle of friends will change drastically as you slowly lose your ability to keep track of what’s happening on Game of Thrones because you’re still doing that same shit. Success is repetitive and requires more than a montage to pull off, so you’re required to put in more than the length of an 80s power ballad.
I’m not really sure why I’m shilling any advice by the way. I’m a pretty average person. I go to college and I work, pursue the things I think I enjoy and live relatively quietly. It makes sense for people like Rockerfeller to write books about fortune; but in this era I have an opinion and a domain name. Maybe my advice isn’t as well founded as someone with a PhD, but I am, for all intents and purposes, happy, and one thing that’s helped me accomplish that is a drive to finish things, like this article, even though I’m very sleepy, and I kind of half assed this because I really do want that muffin. We all have a piece of the puzzle, to grab a cliche from the basket that's supposed to have muffins in it, and maybe this wisdom of mine may help you. Who knows, maybe you have the muffins.
If you’re for some reason curious, writing this and hopefully other, better and insightful articles is one of my resolutions this year. That and to become more indifferent to muffins.
God Help me.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.