This is not a New Year’s resolution

I made a New Year’s resolution over a decade ago that I would never have another New Year’s resolution.

I haven’t broken it since.

I know that New Year’s resolutions are more of a cultural, social thing – this is because I’m regularly told by Easterners that New Year’s resolutions are generally a Western thing. And this doesn’t mean that I’m against that – if people want to use New Year’s resolutions as a way to turn their lives around, then that’s great, and I encourage everyone to do so.

But there are two distinct problems with New Year’s resolutions in my eyes. The first (and more straightforward) one is that people just don’t really know how to properly use New Year’s resolutions. I recall seeing in a study somewhere that literally nearly 90% of people fail their New Year’s resolutions. Issues range anywhere from setting goals that are way too far beyond reach, not really keeping track of progress and forgetting about it, to just straight-up disregarding it and giving up. The impact of a big turning point, like a new calendar year, can be a strong psychological motivating factor … and people are just using this tool wrong.

The second reason I dislike New Year’s resolutions is because I’m a person who does things now. Need to exercise more often and eat healthier? What’s wrong with starting in April, instead of waiting for January of the following year? Want to break out of a bad habit? Why not start now instead of waiting until later? New Year’s resolutions have become nothing more than an excuse to procrastinate for some people. I’m very lenient in the use of the term “excuse,” in that I will generally accept things as a “reason” while other people snap to misuse the word “excuse.” But this… this is the epitome of an excuse.

Back in late August while I was visiting Illinois, I went to my old doctor for a wellness check-up, and he reminded me to go back to doing cardiovascular exercise. I used to practice martial arts and sweat almost every day, but since moving to California, I’ve been doing a whole lot of sitting around and working. Instead of waiting until 2018, I took that opportunity to immediately start exercising when I returned to California. I’ll be taking a two-week break starting from today, though… I don’t really like exercising when there are a lot of people around me, and I imagine the gym is going to be really crowded for a little while, so I’m going to wait it out for a bit until people go back to being their normal selves.

There’s something that I want to do. The timing of this makes it seem a whole lot like it’s a New Year’s resolution, but I swear, it’s not. (I still want to be part of that 10% of people who succeed in their New Year’s resolution—as a reminder, mine was to never to set a New Year’s resolution again, and to always act promptly and immediately.)

At least for the next full year, I’d like to create something everyday.

On some days, it might be a vlog; on other days, it might be an album of photos I shot at an event; on special days, it might even be collaborative projects with other people that end up getting published on their medium of choice. But, no matter what it is, I’d like to create something on a daily basis.

When I was younger, I prided myself in being a creator instead of a consumer. While other people were watching TV, I was running around with our family camcorder. While other people were reading books, I was writing short stories. While other people were browsing the web, I was learning how to script in PHP.

Lately, I’ve noticed that this has been trending in the opposite direction – I spend more and more time sitting around watching Twitch streams and YouTube videos. Even when I am working on something creative, I’m revising and editing someone else’s work instead of creating my own. Of course, part of my job at Tempo Storm involves being an editor, so that’s not going to stop, but I’d also like to start supplementing my editing with some more original creating.

I’m not going to fall into the same trap as everyone else and fail in just a few weeks. Here’s why this is a good definitely-not-a-resolution, as well as my execution plan.

  • Is it realistic?

    Creating one thing per day is very possible, and there are tons of people who already do it, daily vloggers being an example. We regularly hear of daily vloggers getting burnt out after a few years, though, which is why I’ve made some slight adjustments to my goal – instead of creating a vlog every single day, I’m just going to create something every single day. That level of flexibility should keep things fresh enough that I don’t im­me­diately get burnt out and want to give up.

  • Do I have the time for this?

    I’ve been noticing lately that I spend a scary amount of time sitting around watching other people’s content, thinking “I should try doing that” in the back of my mind but never actually doing it. I can easily cut back on a small portion of that time to actually go and do it, instead of just pondering about doing it.

    On top of that, my duties within Tempo Storm have recently shifted substantially. Over the past year, I was doing a lot of miscellaneous administrative and operative work outside of the production division, simply because we just needed someone to take care of things. Although it was a great learning experience, due to our recent growth and staff expansion, I can now be more hands-off on that kind of stuff and really focus in on my digital media production division, which naturally connects to creating more things.

  • How will I keep track of progress?

    I happen to have a handy tool called a blog where I can share my thoughts and projects. Every time I create something, I’ll be posting the results on my blog along with a bit of commentary about the creation process. If I end up deciding to create something private or personal on any given day (that doesn’t end up on my website), I’m also keeping track of my creations on Google Calendar, which I use multiple times a day.

  • What are my short-term rewards for success?

    I think successfully creating things is intrinsically rewarding to me.

    But, other than that, this one is a tough one, and I guess is the weakest facet of my plan. I personally don’t really feel satisfaction from receiving “rewards” unless those rewards are either money or some indication that I’ve changed the world or helped society advance – both things I just can’t really “give” myself.

And finally, touching on a few other common pitfalls – my goal is extremely specific, and any amount of ambiguity was intentionally added (and already addressed above); I plan on setting aside time to do this every afternoon after exercising if my daily creation is not event- or collaboration-related; I will keep going, even if I were to miss a day; and I’m telling the world so people can voluntarily keep me accountable.

So let’s see how this goes.