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From: PatOsmundsen

Date: 12/7/07

No, not that end ... just the year end.  You know, that time when folks make resolutions, and such.  I made a resolution, once, and I've actually kept it.  I made the resolution to make no more New Year's resolution ... and by golly, I've done it.  Years come and go with barely a nod and a wink from me.  Certainly no long lists of what I will or won't do in the following year.  (Unless, of course, I did make some resolutions, and then resolutely forgot I'd made them.  But my memory is fodder for another post, somewhere down the line.)

In past years, I made and failed to keep many a promise to myself.  Goals were not met, things were not done, vices (yes, I have some) remained intact.  Finally, I decided the whole idea of making lists of things to accomplish (or quit) in a new year was silly.  Hence my last resolution ... to make no more New Year's resolutions.  As 2007 draws down, however, I'm reconsidering my stance on this.  Maybe, if I kept them low in number, and at least somewhat realistic, a New Year's resolution or two would be a good thing.  Keep me focused and on my toes, so to speak.  I do it (in a smaller sense, all the time.  Set a goal, and a reward when the goal is met.  Hokey, but it works.)  Ah, but what to resolve?  And what to gift to myself should I keep the resolution?

There are a lot of things I sort of, kind of, maybe want to do or have ... but nothing really earth-shaking.  There are a few things I definitely want to happen, but I can't make them happen.  Too much rests on others.  (No matter how strong my resolve, I'll only get a book published when an agent/publisher/whomever wishes it.)  As for vices to curb ... well, I enjoy my few vices, dammit.  I'm not sure I want to give them up.  I probably should, but that's not really the point.  (Remember, I said realistic ... as in, something I might actually accomplish.)

Let's say -- for instance -- that I resolve to lose fifteen pounds, and exercise more.  (I can hear you now ... I resolve to lose fifteen pounds, blah blah blah.  Hush ... this isn't a Police Squad script.)  So okay, if I exercise more, I'd lose the weight ... and when I say exercise more, I mean at all.  Right now, my exercise consists of beating around the bush and jumping to conclusions.  But I digress.  Back to the weight loss/workout thing.  It's certainly an attainable goal ... heck, if I gave myself the year to do it, I'd need only drop a bit over one pound a month.  Wouldn't even have to cut back on the yummy stuff I like to eat ... all I need do is get my ass moving.  However (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) there's a catch.  What would be my reward?

I'm a reward type person, my friends.  A mercenary, grasping wench.  If I set myself a goal, I damn well want the carrot when I reach said goal.  If I were a fashion-conscious clothes horse, I'd promise myself a new wardrobe.  But heck ... if I've got comfy, faded jeans and some tee shirts in the closet, I'm happy.  So I don't really think that would work.  And food sort of defeats the whole losing weight scenario.

Well then, maybe my resolution for this year should be to think about resolutions.  Perhaps, instead of a yearly thing, I should incorporate into my daily life the goal/reward system I use to keep my writing on track.  I buy some new books that I really want to read ... and only allow myself to read them when I've reached whatever writing goal I've set.  (It might be to complete a first draft, or finish a revision, or start a new novel.  Or any combination thereof.  The whole thing may sound silly, but it works.  I do love to read, so a new book is a great reward.  And if it's sitting on my table, taunting me ... I'll work damn hard to allow myself to read it.  And oddly enough ... I don't cheat.  I may be a mercenary wench, but I keep my word, at least within this framework. 

So, would that work with other things?  It might ... if I can come up with rewards I really want.  I can't make every reward a new book ... I don't have enough shelves for that.  It's worth thinking about, anyway.  The whole goal/reward thing for all those need-to-do-but-really-hate-doing projects I keep putting off.

Okay, I've decided ... this year, I'll make a resolution.  I resolve to figure out a goal/reward system for myself that will work on things other than writing.  

Check in this time next year to find out if I succeed.  And in the meantime ... Happy Holidays, folks. 

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