Time once again to forget the year just finished and to set some kind of targets for the 12 months to come.
I struggle to write these types of things; brow-beaten by the dogma of SMART objectives in the workplace and tired of the superficial, self flagellation of dietary or behavioural changes people often pledge in life outside of the office, resolutions can be tough. Especially if you want to get them right.
Despite struggling with them, I do make them – and I often write about them on this blog, as in these instances last year, here and here. I try to make them interesting, slightly more culturally focussed objectives rather than strict behavioural changes. I know I should stop doing certain things: but how should I behave in the context of culture? What things will make me a better person, more acceptable or interesting to myself and others, rather than decisions that will just prolong my life or help me stay in slightly smaller trousers (things we know we should do).
Last year I said I wanted to do more contemplating; to remove myself from the constant distraction of technology and create space for myself to think; I said I wanted to make and do more, to stop prevaricating and procrastinating; I said I wanted to swear less.
I’ve not done badly against points one and two. But I could do better. Point three, cursing, has been a failure, to the point where it will be a resolution this year, too.
So, here are some aims for the year ahead. And, whilst I don’t like SMART objectives, I shall try to put a specific aim against each. This will let me measure (christ) how i’ve done this time next year.
What: Stop swearing so much: develop and cultivate a broader, more diverse vocabulary which can be deployed quicker and more accurately in real conversations.
How: Find and use two new words a week
What: Write more. A constant problem. How to find time to dedicate myself to spending time with this blog. Perhaps though, this should be broadened; to include writing both at work and at home. Less powerpoint. More prose.
How: One blog post or other long form piece (c.500 words +), per week on average for the year
What: Read more. My favourite past-time, but one that I’ve been singularly rubbish at this year. After the blowout of Atlas Shrugged in January and a few fairly pathetic attempts at reading important books, I need to get back into the habit. It’s nourishment for the mind.
How: A minimum of a book a month. Minimum. Aiming for two.
What: Send more letters. I began to do this earlier in the year. It had a profound effect on me. Take 10 minutes from your day. Substitute a tweet – a missive offered into the void of the internet – for a postcard; a note of similar length, but one that is physical and addressed directly to someone. In a world that is increasingly ephemeral, we need to cherish and preserve the physical.
How: Send a postcard a week