New Year’s Resolutions Waste My Time

New Years resolutions are always broken within a couple of days. Why? Because they are essentially negative in outlook. They focus solely on what you are not going to do rather than what you intend to do. There’s also no way to means your degree of success other than counting the number of times your fail to achieve them. So rather than breaking your resolutions for 2012, try setting goals to be achieved by 2013.

For strarters, think about what’s important to you. It may be family, career or your hobbies. These topics will form paths you’ll be following in 2012.

Stop right there. You’re picking the topics other people say should be important to you. Put all that aside and start again. What’s actually important to you?

Next, picture yourself at New Years Eve 2012 about to roll into 2013. What do you want to have achieved by the end of the year? What would you be disppointed by not achieving?

In the realm of historical fencing, for example, I would like to have developed a better understanding of some of the key treatises published around 1570 such as those of Joachim Meyer, Giovanni Dall’Agocchie and Henri de Sainct Didier. I’m keen on the transitional period between cutting-based technique and later thrusing-based fencing styles and these guys straddle the change from one to the other.

Now turn these into something a little more concrete by working out how much time you need or have to devote to these activities. This task may alter your list as you juggle things to fit the time you have available.

Using the example above, by the end of the year, I want to have studied to a sufficient degree those three fencing masters and practiced their key techniques in sparring. That gives me roughly four months per author. Actually, let’s say three months per author so I’ve got some time for whatever side projects crop up along the way. I’m already fairly familiar with Meyer so in his case I’ll concentrate on his dusack technique – which he claims is the basis of all single sword practice so should be worth studying. Alternatively, I could drop him altogether but I don’t want to do that.

Do this for each other topic you highlighted and you’ve got a whole list of things to look forward to and the do in the coming year.

Here’s a couple of things from my lists. By the end of 2012, I will:

  • have climbed Mt Warning again (to prove the knee is finally fixed or wreck it entirely),
  • have studied deep into the Club 1570 masters’ treatises and developed some skill in each of their techniques,
  • run a successful RPG campaign (most likely either Conspiracy X or Traveller),
  • developed a better understanding of the reign of Philip IV “le bel” of France (with associated Templar goodness),
  • found a simple way of maintaining my French that doesn’t require me to hang out with people I don’t like or spend excessive amounts of cash,
  • reached my goal weight of 100kg (admittedly this is a side effect rather than a goal as such but I’d be disappointed if I didn’t make it).

Of course, there’s a bunch of other items on the list … but you don’t need to know about them.