My plan to keep my New Year’s Resolutions, one day at a time

If you think about it, the whole idea of the New Year’s Resolution is pretty weird. “Based on this arbitrary calendar date, I hereby vow to be the human embodiment of perfection, starting right now! I shall shine my shoes daily, drink Metamucil with every meal, and become a champion yodeler!”

It seems like a lot of pressure to put on oneself. I mean, if you didn’t shine your shoes before, what’s to say you’ll do it now? Other than your solemn oath, of course. But if you have no plan of attack, you’ve pretty much doomed yourself to scruffy shoes, irregular bowels, and a burning sensation deep down in your heart every time a Ricola ad airs.

Personally, I have a page and a half’s worth of resolutions to keep. That’s a lot of resolutions, you say. Yes, it is. But for 2011 I’m going with a radically new approach, designed to keep me from failing, and the key to this approach is keeping a daily journal.

Now, keeping a journal is not a resolution. The journal is the mechanism to keep the resolutions. So, every night before I go to bed (no later than 10 pm, Resolution #1) I write down what I managed to get done, what I did not do, and how I feel about it. Then, and this is KEY, I forgive myself in writing for whatever shortcomings I experienced that day.

Why? Because I am totally one of those people for whom missing a sole gym trip means falling into a black-out shame binge. One might wake up days later in a strange hotel room, nostrils rimmed with neon orange “cheese” dust. Hershey’s syrup under the fingernails. Gummi bears smashed in the shoes.

One might. *coughs* AnyHOO.

I forgive myself my shortcomings, pledge to do better on the morrow, and before I close the journal I write something optimistic about the next day.

I’m going to keep this journal for one month. At the end of the month, I will analyze how successful I have been in my various endeavors, and determine if any adjustments need to be made. For example, if I am, say, having a hard time staying off time-waster websites (Resolution #10), I could install LeechBlock for Firefox on my machine and see if that helps.

Having analyzed any weaknesses and what I might do about them, I’ll then decide if I want to forge on to the next month. This way I can build a support system for myself, from month to month, without the pressure of being perfect NOW, and hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be a changed person.

Or at the least, a more self-aware person.