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Start Now

Posted on 4 January 2014

I’m pretty bad at coming up with New Year’s resolutions. Part of it is the timing of the whole thing: you’re so busy with Christmas and then bam!— you’re supposed to have re-evaluated your entire life. So New Year’s Eve comes along and someone asks about resolutions and I haven’t even considered them.

But that doesn’t matter. One thing I’ve realized, even if I haven’t fully put it into practice, is that the important thing with any change is to start now. This is not new or groundbreaking advice, I realize, but it took years of hearing it for it to sink in for me. Now that I’m converted I’m going to keep spreading the word.

If you decide you’re going to wait for optimal conditions to start doing something, odds are you aren’t going to start doing it. For example, I’ve had the vague notion that I would “get in better shape” for quite a while now. I never really acted on this conviction, though. I would have a false start here and there, and then let my routine slip. I would give myself excuses– I’m too tired, too busy, etc. But the fact is I’m rarely dealing with circumstances that are incredibly out of the ordinary. If I want to form a lifelong habit, it’s going to have to be something that fits into my life– which is now, which means I should start now, because these are the circumstances I’m going to be in for the forseeable future.

Missing New Year’s is another perfect excuse. “Oh, gee, it would have been great to have that resolution starting January 1, but I didn’t think of it. Going to have to wait for some other milestone.” That thought has slipped into my head at least a dozen times over the past few days as I hear about other people’s goals and changes.

So here’s my resolution: to make resolutions whenever I want, and to start them immediately. Here’s another resolution, and an example: yesterday, I saw that MG Siegler had decided to start writing more regularly, and in the tradition of Hemingway, will be doing so in the form of 500 words a day.

I’ve been thinking about giving myself a writing goal, as well, just to prompt myself into getting words onto paper (haha jk I don’t know how to use anything but keyboards). I’ll often find I have all these ideas but I don’t feel like I have the time to get them out. Then, when I finally throw something out there it’s like I’ve become mentally unblocked and I want to keep going. So I figure a goal of 500 a day is something to shoot for. I would have loved to start on January 1 but I didn’t so I’m starting now, on January 4– a day of no significance.

Sometimes these 500 words will turn into proper blog posts, or be edited to be proper blog posts. Probably a few I’ll keep to myself. But mostly I’m going to stick them on Tumblr where I don’t feel much pressure to create fully formed thoughts.

I see I’m at over 500 now (see, self? surprisingly easy!), so here’s a few other goals:

  1. floss daily
  2. exercise daily
  3. stretch daily
  4. keep a work journal
  5. more unstructured creativity (any form, preferably tactile)
  6. healthier snacks
  7. more/better sleep

And that’s where I’ll leave it today. Now that I’m mentally unblocked, there’s lots more I’d like to start writing about right away, but another great piece of Hemingway advice cautions me:

“You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.”

Until tomorrow.

Filed under: personal, writing

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