New Year, New Goals

Every year I feel pressured to make New Year’s Resolutions. I tell myself up until the last minute that I’m happy with who I am, that I don’t need an arbitrary new date on the calendar to make a lot of promises I’m not going to keep. And then, somewhere in the first week of January, I make one or two resolutions and then keep them for a few weeks–or days. We’ll not do a rollcall through the years, but I miss my mark on resolution keeping more often than not. And the ones I do make, it seems, are the ones that are required of me from others, such as hitting a deadline to get a book published.

I don’t know what my goals were for January 2012 because I didn’t write them down (silly me), but I know that I did revise my goals at the beginning of the summer, when the promise of warm weather made me think I was going to go outside more. And then I revised my goals again at the end of summer, when everybody was buying new notepads and pencils and I thought that I would become more scholarly too. That didn’t really happen.

I guess I’m just like everybody else.

This year I made my three resolutions a whole week ahead of time. I’ll talk about one of them below.

The thing with resolutions to become a better person is that you have to make them reasonable and have a plan on how to reach them. You can’t just say on December 31st, “I’m going to lose a bunch of weight next year!” and expect it magically to happen.

This year one of my goals is to read twenty-four books. As an editor and author, this is a pretty dismal number, I know. What’s even more sad is that I didn’t read that many in 2012. So I’m aiming higher for myself, but not too high. Maybe in 2014 I can get up to forty or fifty books, but for now, I still have two toddlers and a full-time job.

So how am I going to reach this goal? I am perfectly aware that I watch too much television. Since my daughter was born I got in the habit of snuggling with her over Netflix. We’d find a TV show we’d never seen and then watch the whole thing over the course of a few days or weeks. Then we’d move on to the next show.

As the kids got older, I told myself that it was easier to just keep the TV running while  I watched them than to have them trying to crawl up in my lap with a book. But now we all just sit on the couch and stare at a screen for an hour or more.

Something has to change.

This year, after dinner, instead of turning on the TV, I’m going to be turning on my Kindle. Yes, it’s going to be hard, and yes, my kids will want to sit in my lap and touch the screen. But I can always set my book aside for a few minutes to tickle them or chase them. I can read out loud, even though they’re not going to know what I’m talking about. The reading will go slowly, but that’s why I am only planning on getting through twenty-four books. Twenty-four is better than none.

My kids don’t know how to read yet, and they probably won’t learn for a couple more years. They don’t know that I’m an author, that my job is to make words written by other people better. But hopefully if they see me reading all the time they will understand that it’s important. Maybe someday they’ll even love reading as much as I do. I like the thought of setting a good example for them.

So what are your goals for 2013? How do you want to make yourself a better person? Are you going to focus on your family, your career, your personal development? How can you help others in the process of helping yourself?

We all have hopes that the next year is going to be the best one yet. Let’s make it so.

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