I don’t have this peculiar, almost pathological hatred of New Year’s resolutions some people have. Maybe that’s because I haven’t made one since 1989, and so haven’t experienced the loathing that comes with breaking them.
Still, I do set goals. I’m not sure what the differences is, except that resolutions come with a party hat and a large cup of questionable liquid. Goals should never be made while under the influence of booze, parties, or trying to impress woman. (Or men.)
My first goal for 2016 is, in theory, an easy one: to get published at least twice. Since 2011 I’ve had seven books published, which works out to … um … well, less than two books a year. (Now that I think about it, my 1989 resolution was to get better at math.)
It’s an easy goal in theory, because I’m already shopping three completed novels to agents and editors. With two more almost done, I could switch to independent publishing and get two out this year. The problem comes with finding time to write more books. By my count, if I don’t produce more manuscripts, I’ll run out in … um … a few years. So the next goal is the hard one: complete at least the first drafts of two more books by 2017. It’s a good thing I dedicated myself to writing full time. It’s a bad thing I still have my day job, which I work at night.
My next goal is to lose 35 pounds by spring. I’m not doing this for me: I’m doing this because my doctor told me to and, more importantly, my wife found out my doctor told me to. So this is a selfless act, something I’m doing for them. You fans, stop sending chocolate and chips to my home. Send them to my workplace, care of me. My day job workplace.
My final goal is to declutter my life, which translates to decluttering my house. Like many people who grew up poor, I can’t stand to throw anything away. “This broken 8-track player could be repaired! Suppose I lost my job, and this was my only way to listen to music?”
There’s a certain irony that many lower middle class people have more stuff than rich people do. When something breaks for a rich person, they throw it away; when something breaks for a less than rich person, they put it in the garage “just in case”. I do this despite the fact that I have absolutely no ability to ever repair anything.
Here’s another way to put it: If you keep something because you might need it someday, but when you finally do need it you have so much stuff you can’t find it—keeping it was pointless.
So my goals for 2016 amount to more writing and less of everything else. See? I boiled it down to one sentence, and left the resolutions to the United Nations. You might say I decluttered already.