2015 is going to be a good year. We all hope so. We all hope that the next year will be better than the last (at least, the Counting Crows do). It’s the reason we make resolutions; it’s a way to ensure that the year will be better by making ourselves better. Quit smoking; drink less; exercise more; eat better; blah blah blah. By February most resolutions have been abandoned. The ones that hang on are either made people with stone resolves or were not that hard to begin with (eat salad once a month; give to charity, as in $1 to that panhandler at the corner by Walmart). My resolution is not to make resolutions. Instead, I am creating challenges for myself. I can easily drop a resolution by using the excuse that, really, it’s practically implied in our society that I will anyway.
This year, 2014, I quit smoking. I set a date and, for once, I did it. Honestly, it was one of few, but great, accomplishments that I made this year. I challenged myself, and I met my goal. I made a Gallon A Day challenge for myself to both increase my water/liquid intake and force myself to write about it every day. I’ve been successful on the whole. I have basically made myself accountable. It was a challenge, so I strove (strived? strove seems right) to meet it. Even when I fell short, I didn’t feel bad; I forgave myself.
So, my challenges for this year, so far. I will be coming up with new ones as I go along. Some are going to seem small, but they’re big to me. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t need to make it official.
1. Participate in Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. Part of the inspiration behind calling my resolutions (ugh, let’s ban that word) challenges, this project urges reader’s to complete 24 reading tasks such as a book by an African author, a book published pre-1850, etc. In doing my research and going through my to-be-read shelf, I’ve realized I won’t even have to make any big investments in order to accomplish most of these tasks. It’s really more a matter of being conscious of what I’m reading. To be honest, I didn’t read as much in 2014 as I used to. I need motivation to get back to the thing I love so much. Ive already started with my short story collection pick, BARK by Lorrie Moore. I will be documenting my reads on my long-neglected, if ever used, companion blog to Random Lines Working: Jillie’s Bookshelf. Regular progress updates/thoughts will happen here.
2 Yoga-A-Day/Yog-A-Day/Stretch A Day. Hell, who knows what I’ll call it, but after my water challenge wraps up, I’ll be doing 10 minutes a day of yoga and documenting it. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s way more than zero.
3. Continue drinking water. I won’t be as anal about it as I’ve been for my water challenge, but I like my results, and want to continue reaping the benefits.
4. Write more. It took drinking water to get me regularly posting to my blog. I’ve barely written anything since editing my manuscript, even though I’ve been very proud of the few things I’ve published this year. I want to make sure I stay in the habit of putting words down, no matter the subject… though, I won’t count grocery lists.
5. Publish more. I realize I have no control over the opinions of editors, but submitting more work, means my chances go up. I want to publish at least 6 book reviews. With three already in the works, I shouldn’t have too much trouble achieving this goal, but the other three, who knows? That’s why it’s a challenge. Not to mention I have to write more in order to have more to publish.
These are just the challenges I’m starting with. There’s always the possibility of NaPoWriMo, or a new 30-day challenge I haven’t come up with yet. There is room for editing, changing, evolving, growing bigger or smaller. That’s why they’re challenges and not resolutions. Don’t make promises to yourself that you might break. Don’t say you’re going to make these catastrophic, ridiculously huge changes. If you fail to follow through, you’ll end up feeling guilty, to say the least. I have millions of excuses why these challenges are too hard to meet. But the point is trying. The point is doing what I can to raise myself to a certain level and feeling good no matter what rung on the ladder I get to. Challenge yourself. And be proud of even attempting greatness.
Happy New Year, everyone!