Death of the New Year’s resolution

I bet you all think I’ve gone and disappeared again! But I’m still here, and I really mean to not disappear again!

For at least a month!

That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. And I’m rather impressed with myself for having one of those, seeing as I’ve been Cynical Cynthia (not having believed in resolutions) for the last, I don’t know, hundred years.

And why not?

Because I think New Year’s resolutions are an escape hatch.

Say you get tired of doing something, like yoga and eating rabbit food. So you tell yourself, oh never mind, the NEW YEAR is coming up; I will resolve to get back into yoga and rabbit food then, promise! (Never mind it’s only April.)

I didn’t want to be part of all that procrastination and denial. (Like I don’t already have enough of that in my life, haha.) Really, I thought, it’s do or do not. There is no faffing about waiting for the right time.

 

Do or do not?
Your subconscious knows best.

 

But some time last month, while not doing yoga, I had an epiphany. (Which goes to show you don’t need to be a yogi nor feed on cotton balls to have epiphanies.)

My epiphany was that not believing in NYRs was doing duck all for my goals.

People have a tendency to set their goals aside and, I don’t know, play a video game, instead.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked, lose focus, fall by the wayside, eat a whole pint of chocolate ice cream in one sitting.

 

Eating chocolate ice cream
Hey, let’s get some cookie dough ice cream next.

 

(If you’re one of those wack jobs who have earned a PhD, scaled Mount Everest twice, mastered five languages, invented a working time machine and published a hundred books by the time you’re 20 years old, go away. Just go away.)

I see now that NYRs, at least, remind us to refocus and get those bucket lists ticked off. It doesn’t matter if you keep getting sidetracked and have to keep renewing the same resolution every year. At least there’s a chance of succeeding one day.

(ADHD type people like me probably need a whole new strategy altogether, but I’m going to leave that problem for another time.)

By boycotting NYRs, I was basically allowing myself to be sidetracked for longer periods of time. I would enjoy the constant companionship of ennui while thinking, “I don’t need a new year to start doing that thing, I can just do it whenever, duh!”

But “whenever” comes rather infrequently, you’ll find.

 

Whenever - AKA why you never get anything done.
Whenever never comes.

 

Now, instead of thinking of NYRs as some dork invention, I’ve decided to think of them as a kind of parental discipline.

When you get to a certain age, you realise that parents are always right (the non-psycho ones, anyway). When they say DO YOUR HOMEWORK NOW, it is backed by all the wisdom of 14 billion years worth of universe. Meaning, disobey me and you will become a tramp, see if I care. (Actually, I do care, so go do your homework.)

Come 2016, I was determined to obey my figurative parents. My first resolution on the list was to be an early riser.

I’ve struggled my entire life to wake up early but have never quite succeeded. I have tried, honestly, about 3,482 times, despite being genetically predisposed to be an owl.

About 4 am to 12 pm would be my ideal sleeping time. But I want to be more in sync with the rest of the world (that is, pertaining to my familial and social circles).

 

Sync in progress. Do not disconnect.
Another way of saying behave like a normal human being, you crazy person.

 

So, on the first Monday of 2016, I made myself wake up at 7 am. I spent the whole day in a zombiefied state doing useful tasks I’d put off for years, such as opening mail that’s been sitting around since 2013 and filing them away neatly. It was a very successful day.

But my triumph wasn’t to last long. At 9 pm, my throat suddenly became quite sore.

At 10 pm, I started sneezing uncontrollably.

The next morning, I woke up with a bad cold and promptly went back to sleep. And that was the end of that resolution, may it rest in peace.

Well, there’s always next year.

 

 

Masterplan for managing my life: FAILED

Since I was a child, I’ve had to battle procrastination. My mind rejects the concept of time management. My greatest vice is the pursuit of instant gratification.

But, at the same time, I’ve also always felt a strong need to make every second of my life count by continually learning as much as humanly possible and improving every aspect of myself.

This cognitive dissonance totally screws up my sanity.

Early this year, I realised that acting jobs were going to be slow in coming, which meant that I was going to have many, many free days to spend however I liked. I knew that if I didn’t manage myself properly, I would end up parking myself in front of the computer 10 hours a day surfing the net aimlessly or playing WoW.

So I came up with a masterplan.

To motivate myself, I bought a nice notebook to make lists in. (I love pretty notebooks and making lists.)

I marked out several categories of “tasks” in my notebook. Under each category is a long list of relevant task items. For example:

Urgent Tasks
– reply john’s email
– pay credit card bill

Not So Urgent Tasks
– do nails
– call susan about collecting DVD

Daily Work
– blog
– work on new project

Self-Improvement
– read an acting book
– practice singing
– rehearse a monologue

Fun Activities
– play WoW
– watch an anime
– read a novel

Exercise
– go jogging
– work out at home

(The above is just a sample. Every category consists of many more items, of course.)

The idea was to make sure I balanced my activities so I wouldn’t neglect anything I felt was important for my personal growth and well-being.

So my plan was that, each day, I would first tackle urgent tasks, then spend my day fulfilling time quotas on each category:

– 5 hours for work
– 3 hours for self-improvement
– 3 hours for fun
– 1 hour for exercise

I would mix and match. Do some work first, then have some fun, then do some more work. However I did it, I would perform one or two tasks from each category, rotating daily so that every task will have received some attention by the end of the week.

I thought this idea was really cool when I first devised it. And I had a lot of fun making the lists. I couldn’t wait for the next day to come. I wanted to start on my plan already.

And then the next day came and the first thing I did was write a blog.

I posted my blog and then I got distracted by all the evil internetly distractions. Started surfing around aimlessly. I told myself I’d do it for just awhile. But awhile turned to six hours and then there wasn’t any more time in the day to do anything else.

This repeated itself the entire week.

I did manage to tick off some urgent tasks (but that category fills up at about the same rate as items get ticked off) and I blogged daily.

But that was all. I didn’t do anything else! Not even the fun stuff I knew I would enjoy doing! I usually even enjoy doing self-improvement activities, so I really had no reason to proscrastinte on those!

Whoever procrastinates having fun??!

So my masterplan was a total failure. Not a single day was spent as planned and my notebook rotted in a corner of my table, and I tried to pretend that it never existed. I turned into a slug.

And then my friend rang me up about doing that day job, so I gave up my brilliant masterplan and accepted the job offer.

I am so ashamed of myself!

But I’m giving myself a chance to redeem myself. The projects in my day job has dried up for now and there looks to be no work in March, which means I can attempt to carry out my masterplan once again.

I’m so excited about it.

I think I’m usually more excitable in the planning stage than in the execution stage. Which is the whole trouble.

But I just gotta force myself to do it no matter what.

Life is so crazy and there are so many things to do. I can never understand people who complain about being bored. There are so many things to do in life and not enough time as it is.

Wish me luck!