I almost didn’t make any resolutions at all this year.
It was a big change from last year, when I declared that New Years’ Eve was my favorite holiday. I used to be super into goal-setting and productivity, but I started to re-think all of that after a year in Silicon Valley, the center of capitalistic crunch culture (I bet you can’t say that five times fast). After getting pretty burnt out, I began to associate everything regarding personal development with status-obsessed tech bros desperate to make money. Sure, I had things that I wanted to accomplish. Did I really want to write them out and make them such a big deal, though?
Two things happened to change my mind. First, I had a conversation with my partner that made me reconsider the importance of discipline and long-term planning. I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that people were making so many promises just because it was the first day of a new year. A year is a social construct; the date is arbitrary. Wouldn’t it be better to set goals whenever you needed to, and work on them at that time instead?
My partner explained that he really liked new years’ resolutions, even if the idea itself was a little silly. “It’s a good reason to think about the long term rather than the short term,” he explained. “People can barely plan for such a long period of time, and the celebration helps a lot. Usually people don’t think on April 19th about long term plans, what you can do with your life, or the big goals that you can achieve. They’re just living in the moment.”
That’s true, I thought. Even if the date is arbitrary and you don’t completely meet all of your goals, it’s nice to explicitly make long-term plans once a year.
The second thing was that I rated how I did on last year’s resolutions. To be honest, I hadn’t looked back on most of them since last January. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’d made significant progress in almost every area that I’d listed.
I thought that I’d have a shitty time assessing how I did in the past year, but doing so ended up making me feel better about myself than I have in a long time. I wasn’t always in the best headspace in 2019. Having a written document to look back on proved to me that I hadn’t spent the last year fucking around, doing absolutely nothing. The year I’d thought of as stagnant and painful had actually been a year of impressive growth.
So, despite the fact that I still think the new year is a dumb reason to set goals, I will be using the new year as a reason to set goals.
The two-tiered system, take two
I’m using the same system that I used last year:
- Work on a small, specific, self-contained project each month
- Have a set of large, ambiguous, big-picture goals that are meant to be worked on throughout the year
My main complaint about my 2019 resolutions was that my one month projects were too scattered. They didn’t fit into some overarching goal; this left me feeling like I’d wasted my time fucking around. This year, I’ll be focusing on blogging.
One month projects, blog-improvement style
If there’s one thing I want to accomplish this year, it’s to get Fake and Basic in a good place, audience-wise. I’ve spent the last four years figuring out what kind of content creator I am. This year, I want to pay more attention to the areas I’ve neglected, such as site optimization, networking with other bloggers, and creating a social media strategy that doesn’t feel totally pointless.
All of my one month projects this year will focus on blogging. I’ve got a list of specific things I want to work on, but I’ll be announcing them each month in order to leave plenty of room for course-correction.
This list seems really long, but it’s mostly things I have to keep in mind as I go about my days. I’m serious when I say that I’ll be writing these out and sticking them on my wall.
Make my actions align 100% with my principles
Get to know all sides of myself
Read and speak Russian fluently
Take singing lessons
Get rid of all of my unnecessary shit — dresses, photos, article drafts, etc.
Conquer my fear of heights
Support other artists
Be as serious about my hobbies as I am about my work
Be less afraid about being visible in the trans community / getting called fake by other trans people
Come up with a nice yet effective way of correcting others when they misgender me
Health and wellness
Be well-fed and well-rested
Keep all of my promises. If I’m not completely sure I can keep a promise, don’t make it in the first place.
Think critically about all the information I consume
Find an outlet for my love of drama (read, watch shows, etc. rather than creating it in real life)
See a therapist regularly
Trust my emotions and intuition
Take care of my physical health
Invest in relationships and actively seek out close friendships (non-sexual/non-romantic intimacy with others)
Build a life with my partner that works for both of us
Regularly reach out to people to see how they’re doing
Acknowledge the influence that others have had on me
Be present in all situations — try to use my phone only for necessary things such as contacting people, taking photos, navigation, alarm clock, etc.
Be a good son and brother — listen to my family more. Be more involved in their lives
Be comfortable setting boundaries
Keep all appointments. No more flaking.
Be early or on time at all times
Become more politically involved — use my skills and donate my time to movements I care about
Do the emotional labor when it comes to educating people
Read more queer theory
Work with someone who understands my vision for Fake and Basic
Find the balance between “serious” and “fluffy” content
Actually follow through on all of my blogging goals. Complete all one-month projects without half-assing them
Achievement, career, and goal-setting
Get back into a routine — practice healthy productivity
Produce good, solid work as an individual contributor at work
Take advantage of company resources for career and personal development
The 2020 travel list
• New York City, NY
• Nantucket, MA
• Philadelphia, PA
• Chicago, IL
• New Orleans, LA
• Charleston, SC
• Los Angeles, CA
• Slab City, CA
• Palm Springs, CA
• Las Vegas, NV
Happy 2020! I’m excited to see where this year takes me. ♚