January is the classic time to reflect, evaluate, and make goals. It is when many a person has resolved to lose weight, exercise, eat more healthily, et cetera. And many of those goals last a week or two. A few may make it to March. But I wonder how often resolutions transform into lifelong habits. One percent?
Last year I decided not to make goals that I wouldn’t keep. I aimed to eat lunch at every restaurant on Solano (that served lunch) and write about it on my blog. Which I did. But that wasn’t really so much a resolution as it was a project. After all, there was nothing difficult about lunching down Solano, nor was it a form of self-improvement. It was just fun.
But I did something else last year, which was to write down everything I did. I began by documenting how often I exercised and how much I wrote, which actually lasted until some time in April. But then I stopped keeping track of exercise because I realized it was a genuine habit that I’d cultivated. I didn’t need to write it down anymore because I did it. My record of writing was less successful. Although sometimes I wrote a lot, there were many times when I wrote nothing.
But as part of my documenting frenzy I kept a record of books I read, films I watched, plays I saw, conferences I attended, readings I went to, and more. That was pretty easy to do, and I enjoyed being able to look back at my year this way.
So here’s what I did in 2014:
- I saw 23 movies in a movie theater.
- I attended 52 plays and script readings.
- I read 16 books (not counting plays, picture books, and the ones I didn’t finish).
- I wrote and submitted four ten-minute plays, the text for one picture book, and one personal narrative.
- I participated in 3 play-writing workshops, 2 kid-lit workshops, and 1 two-day writing conference.
- I taught after-school creative writing to a total of 17 children from 3rd to 8th
- I went to 15 author readings.
- I went to 7 concerts, (and Chapel of the Chimes was really several)
- I ate lunch at every restaurant on Solano Avenue (52!) and wrote up a review for each one.
- I wrote 127 blog posts.
So I’ve decided to do that again. After all, I know I can do it because I did it in 2014.
As is my yearly tradition now, I bought two calendars at Pegasus Book’s annual calendar sale—a wall calendar with classic New Yorker covers to hang in the kitchen for the family and a journal-like calendar to keep track of all my events. I think it will also help me deal with my over-taxed memory.
So are resolutions passé? Probably. But there’s nothing wrong with a little self-analysis. Creating goals for oneself is a good way to try something new or maybe just do the same stuff a bit differently. As long as you don’t set yourself up for failure by promising the impossible, why not reach?
Therefore, I, Tanya Grove, resolve once again to record in my calendar all events that I attend in 2015. And I resolve to write every day, even if it’s just a sentence.