on Jan 1, 2017
The old joke, “My resolution for the new year is 1080p!” is about the closest I get to anyone talking about resolutions for the new year. As far as I can tell, new year resolutions are this thing that everyone talks about and nobody does.
I get how they’re supposed to work. New year is a time of reflecting on the past. While doing so, we realize there was a bunch of important stuff you meant to, but you put it off all year because it was difficult or scary. Finish that novel. Lose some weight. Clean out the junk-filled garage. Come out to the family. Restore that old car you bought 3 years ago. Push that one really destructive person out of your life. Really make some progress paying down that college loan. So then you make a resolution to change this. You don’t want to get to the end of another year and still not have this thing done. So you make a resolution. Maybe you tell people about it, hoping the social pressure will motivate you. Maybe you write it on the fridge to you don’t forget about it.
The problem is, these sorts of tasks are the kinds of things we wish were already done, but we don’t want to have to do them. So then sometime in February that sense of determination and purpose is gone. You start putting off the job for the same reason you put it off last year: It sucks, and you’d rather be happy now than have the difficult thing done later.
That’s the stereotypical scenario, anyway. The thing is… does anyone really do this? Is this still a thing? People joke about the process all the time, but I never see people participate in it. The people I know in real life don’t ever do this. Same goes for my Facebook friends. It’s a ritual everyone talks about and nobody participates in.
This is not to say I don’t have goals. I’d like to someday make a soundtrack for a popular indie game. But I can’t make that happen by making a resolution because the thing preventing it isn’t willpower. I put a few hours into music every week, and I’m getting gradually more knowledgeable. But going pro isn’t something you can force. I can’t MAKE people like my music. I just have to get better. The masses are a heartless critic. People might say nice things about my work to my face, but the play numbers on my Soundcloud page aren’t going to sugar-coat the truth to spare my feelings. I can see how often a track gets played and downloaded, and that’s the feedback that really counts. In this case Soundcloud is telling me, “Nice try, but keep at it. You’re not there yet.”
I have other similar goals regarding accomplishments. I think they’re good goals, but I can’t advance any of them my making resolutions.
But maybe my experience is unusual? How about you. Did you make any resolutions in 2016? How did they turn out? Did you make any for 2017?