“What’s your resolution?” she asked.
“To not make any stupid resolutions I’m going to break in a week,” I answered. Everyone at the party agreed it was the best resolution anyone there had offered.
That was moments into 2004; seven years later, I offered the same reply to the same question, because it’s pretty much the correct one. (This is not unlike how I tend to answer questions that start with “Why” which I don’t want to answer with “Reasons.”)
I’m going into 2011 with no resolutions, just as I have every previous year for some time now; I’ve found that having no clearly stated goals leads to a greater degree of satisfaction with the things I’ve accomplished and less dissatisfaction with the things that I haven’t.
For example, finishing my book.
Even without any clearly stated resolutions for 2010, finishing my book was pretty clearly the big target for the year. I’m not there yet, but I’ve learned a lot along the way—Lesson #1: Buy people drinks after they read your first draft, not when you give it out—and as such, what’s ostensibly a failure feels more like a success. I’ve never had to heavily revise anything I’d written before, but I’ve begun to develop a process that works for me. I’ve learned a great degree about my friends—who I can rely on and who I can’t, for starters—and where and how I can and can’t be productive.
Of course, not all of 2010 was about the book. I went to three amazing music festivals; I lost ten pounds (then gained it all back), and I was significantly less bad at softball. My condo lost value, but my investments gained; after spending most of the year worried that my geek credentials were waning because I couldn’t find anything that interested me for my annual gadget purchase, I ended up buying an 11″ MacBook Air (on which I’m writing this) a week after it was announced. Halfway through the year, I decided my thing for 2010 was going to be not leaving Seattle—since I’d never not traveled in a year before—and considering everyone agrees that the Sasquatch Festival involves Seattle annexing the Gorge for a weekend, I pulled that off as well.
So, 2011. I don’t have resolutions. I do have goals, but I’m not going to share them. And if you ask me why, I’m just going to answer “Reasons.” This is my way of starting the year off in the objectively correct way.