Reflections, Revelations, and Resolutions

4 01 2010

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2010.  (Ahem.  “Twenty-ten.”)  It sounds futuristic, doesn’t it?  Moreso than the “oughts,” which actually sounds like it comes out of the distant past.  Speaking of the future and the past, today, in the inevitable resolutions post, I want to talk about looking backwards and forwards, and taking stock of the now.

The end of anything prompts reflection.  It’s natural to look backwards at events that have transpired and consider their meaning on your life.  When you complete a difficult hike or backpacking trip, you ask yourself what went right and wrong, and figure out how to improve or replicate the good for next time. 

Part of this reflection, or this looking backwards, prompts taking stock of the present.  How have the past events affected your life?  Where are you now and how does where you are compare with where you want to be?  Speaking of that, where do you want to be?  Are you on the path there, or does the path need to change?  If you ask these questions and find answers, sometimes these are indeed revelations.

Of course, the reflection and the revelations logically lead to a hard look forward at what your goals are, and what concrete steps you need to take to achieve those goals.  Which leads to resolutions.

I give this primer mainly because resolutions have the reputation of being impossible to keep.  While I can’t pretend to have a definitive answer as to why, I can identify two kinds of resolutions that are guaranteed to be broken before President’s Day.

Problem resolution #1: Some resolutions aren’t concrete enough.  They are too vague or too conceptual, or really are more goals than resolutions.  An example: “to lose weight.”  That’s a nice, common resolution.  The trouble is that it doesn’t mean very much.  How much weight?  Is there a weight goal you’re trying to reach?  Are there other levels of fitness that matter, or just the number on the scale?  What are the steps you’re going to need to take to keep your resolution, such as going to the gym a certain number of days a week, embarking on a diet or just changing eating habits, setting money aside in your budget for a personal trainer?  Vague, conceptual resolutions are nobody’s friend.

Problem resolution #2: Some resolutions, on the other hand, are specific and concrete enough, but aren’t connected to anything meaningful, and therefore breaking them doesn’t mean much either.  An example: “to eat vegetables every day.”  That’s a fine, concrete resolution.  You should be eating veggies every day.  But if you aren’t already, then there’s some other problem…not liking vegetables, not having time to go to the grocery store, etc.  In order for the vegetable resolution to be meaningful, and increase the chance that the resolution isn’t broken, you should consider what the root problem is, determine what your larger goal is, and make a resolution that fits into that spectrum.

Reflection, revelation, and resolution.

With that in mind, here are my resolutions for 2010:

  1. Turn off the computer and the television when not in direct, singular use.  I love television.  And movies.  And surfing the internet.  So I spend too much time with the television on in the background, half watching, while I do other things, like surf the internet.  Or read a magazine.  I am the quintessential multi-tasker.  I check email every five minutes or whenever my iPhone bongs at me (which is sometimes more frequently than every five minutes).  That means I don’t focus my attention very well, and it’s getting worse.  To achieve the greater goal of improving focus and attention and getting more done and done well, it’s time to take the concrete step to have the television and computer on only when I’m using them.
  2. Try new things.  This might suffer from the vagueness problem above, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on it by giving it a frequency.  This is less of a resolution and more of a promise to myself to explore more of the world around me.  I’m doing pretty well so far, because in the first three days of the New Year I managed to cook a new vegetarian recipe and go snowshoeing for the first time (more on that later).
  3. Finish a novel.  I finished one a few years ago.  Nothing ever came of it.  Then I “got busy” and, of course, work on twelve things at once (see resolution number 1), and so don’t focus on projects enough to finish them.  Thus, this year, I’m going to pick a project (I haven’t selected one yet…I’m giving myself through the weekend to do so), set a schedule, and work on it until it’s done.  I’ll keep you posted.

That’s all for now.  Pardon me while I turn off the computer.

What about you?  What are your resolutions for 2010?  Reflections?  Revelations?

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010 (hey, look at that date!).

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2 responses

7 01 2010
Trish

I am extremely interested in hiking and one of my new years resolutions is to pursue a more active hiking agenda. As a college student, finding the time and money for extensive hiking is difficult. I worked at the Grand Canyon for a summer and I discovered this intense passion for hiking that has sadly only faded over time. Not only did I gain back the twenty pounds I lost from that summer, but I’ve almost forgotten the gratification and thrill of a good outdoor trek. I want to learn more about it though, because I do consider myself most definitely an amateur. I am excited about following your blog as motivation and research for my own goals! Keep it up!

7 01 2010
joanarc4

Trish,

Welcome to Her Side! It’s easy to get into the grind of daily life, business, responsibilities, etc., and “forget” why you love hiking. Once you start again, however, it comes back in a flash. That happened to me last spring…it’s a little like riding a bike. The passion doesn’t fade, it just hibernates until you awaken it again and then it is more ravenous than ever.

Remember, hiking doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Once you have the basics (shoes, water, first aid kit, etc.), hiking is a very inexpensive way to spend your time. I don’t know where you are at college, or your access to a car, but if you’re serious about getting back to hiking, start small: fit in an hour or two at a local park. Even if the trail is a little too well traveled and not difficult enough, it’ll serve as a good stepping stone.

Working at the Grand Canyon must have been wonderful…I’d love to hear about it!

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