Breaking Resolutions

So, I made this fantastic goal for myself to write 24 blog entries this year. Two a month. The plan was around the 1st and 15th of each month. It’s not even that big a feat, considering how many people write multiple articles in a day or week. I had subjects prepared, partial drafts together. I wanted to do it, because I want to get into the habit of writing more, and on topics I care about. But I failed.

I should have posted another one by March 1st. But I was busy. I got back from a week-long trip to the East Coast. I returned home and was swamped with work that built up during the week I was gone. I got into a car accident. Someone else quoted me in a blog entry instead.

Most people don’t really know this about me, but I can get a bit self-defeatist at times. Not about life – I’ve got lots of hope and ideas and possibilities. But about things I try at and mess up on. It’s like I get a plan in my head and then I start on it, and the first time I fuck up, I go “shit, guess that wasn’t meant to be” and I throw out the entire thing.

I see it a lot in other friends too sometimes. New Years Resolutions are notorious for the feeling. Someone plans to diet, or exercise, or start a new hobby or routine. They’re good ten days in, they miss a day, or meal, or workout somewhere around the 20 day mark and suddenly they just give up. Suddenly they don’t just have to work out the next day to get on track, but they feel like they fucked it all up by not working out the previous day. Maybe they feel like they have to go at it twice as hard to catch up, and then suddenly the task seems so daunting and suddenly it’s out the window entirely. Plan abandoned.

I think about sobriety. I have a handful of friends who’re recovering from drugs or alcohol, and they count the number of days since they last had a drink. I’m not a fan of abstinence personally, I’d rather teach and practice moderation, but I realize for some it’s important and essential to their recovery process. Anyway – every day that they abstain from drugs or alcohol brings their number a little higher. It’s daunting because it only takes one drink to bring it back to zero. Fuckin’ pressure.

I think about a bill or car payment. I have a monthly amount to pay, and if I’m late or miss it, I have to catch up. I can’t just call and say “I couldn’t pay my electric bill this month, but I promise to do it next month!”. Nope, I have to pay it. Probably with a late fee. And pay next month’s. On it goes, not caring if you meant to pay it on time, just caring that the dollars are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be. Fuckin’ pressure.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be sobriety and they don’t have to be payments. Fuck, they don’t even have to be made on December 31st. They just have to be a commitment to yourself that you want to do something different. You want to eat less junk food, or do an hour of P90x a day, or write a 500+ word article in your blog at least once every two weeks.

There are a dozen reasons I didn’t get around to writing on March 1st. I could tell you I’ve been stewing over my next topic for literally six months and haven’t figured out exactly how to release it or finish editing it. I could tell you of all the craziness that happened the week after I returned home. Or I could just let go of that pressure that’s building up making me afraid to post again.

I’m posting this off-“schedule” to remind myself that it doesn’t matter that I messed up this time. It’s okay. This blog isn’t my job, it won’t fire me for breaking my own deadline. Sure, I’m mad at myself – but I live with me all the time. I can forgive myself. I can do better. I don’t have to throw away an entire plan because I got lazy or busy or forgot for a week that I had a commitment to myself.

I know so many people who break their commitments to themselves, their resolutions, and they throw the whole thing out because they build up all this pressure to “catch up” or “start over” and it feels like too much.

I thought about it this morning and I just decided to write. Now. Off my intended schedule, without a plan in mind, this isn’t a snippet of an entry I’ve been trying to get off my chest, this is just me sitting down for 30 minutes and trying to explain to the people outside my own head that I am disappointed with myself, but I’m neither “starting over” nor throwing out the plan, I’m just starting where I left off, and fuck if that’s not enough for my idealized self-defeating brain that just wants me to feel guilty or chalk it up to every time I’ve ever made a resolution and broken it.

This isn’t me saying “I’ll make my next deadline”, though I will. This is me saying “screw the deadlines, the point is to write. Here’s what’s in my head today.”

Just do better, self. Remember why you wanted to do something, and do it. Don’t beat yourself up over what you didn’t do, don’t tell yourself “I’m gonna…”. Just go do.

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