I’m not a big fan of New Years’ Resolutions. I’ve made a few over the years, but of course, I’ve kept even fewer. I’ve known too many people that will make demands on themselves that can’t possibly be fulfilled based on the sole reason that it’s time to go out and buy a new calendar.
…you don’t want to be caught doing something dumb like making New Year’s resolutions. You keep this stuff to yourself so don’t get caught out on a limb and then not do whatever it is you said you were going to do. (I once listed all the good things I did over the past year, and then turned them into resolution form and backdated them. That was a good feeling.)
It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It
I believe Mr. Fulghum to be quite wise and understanding of the daily world around us, and I fully agree with the above quote; as well as many others of his. For the past many years I would just reflect on what I accomplished in the past year and feel good about that. This year though, I’m actually going to make a New Year’s resolution; just one though.
I’m a procrastinator. I put off starting things. It’s easier that way…I think. I will be the first to admit that “I’ll start it later” is spewed from my mouth almost as often as carbon dioxide. If you need me to do something, I’m there for you. I will always respond to a friend in need and, if I’m capable, will accomplish what they ask of me. Just make sure I get a deadline.
An issue that would often come up at work had to do with starting tasks. I’d be given a task on a project and a deadline to complete it. No problem. If it’s due on the 30th it’ll be done on the 30th.
Project Manager: Have you completed xyz yet?
Me: No. It’s not due until the 30th.
PM: Well that’s only a week away!
Me: I know.
PM: Have you started it yet?
Me: The task has a date that it needs to be completed by. There is no start by date, and I know exactly how long it will take to complete. If you wanted it sooner you should have given me an earlier due date.
I believe that PMs didn’t like my logic.
But I digress.
PAST ATTEMPTS AT FAILURE
As I said, when I have a due date to complete something I’m excellent at completing it. But when I don’t have a due date, which is often the case for personal tasks, I will procrastinate for the longest time. Some examples that come to mind: the many draft posts that I barely started, usually just putting a title; cleaning off the pool table in the garage so I could actually…crazy thought here…play pool; practicing the bass; getting rid of the excess clothes I have but never wear; finishing the rewrite of my resume; to name just a few.
I tried to fix this once before by making a resolution to start things. I’ve used a daily organizer to track what tasks I need to start that day. I may even make a half-hearted attempt at starting. But it never worked out well.
I gave it a lot of though over the winter break. Referring to my kids’ break from school; not that I had a break from work. I don’t need to start things I want to complete; I need to complete them.
My resolution is to finish things, by a specific day and time. I’m not going to tell myself to start something. I’m going to force myself to finish it.
I know that I’m putting myself out on that limb and risking public failure, but I’m approaching this with a level of confidence that I hadn’t felt before.
The fact that you’re reading this post, here, on this site, is an example of one of the things that I finished. For a few months I wanted to move my blog to my own domain. This wasn’t something that mattered to anyone else, so “I’ll start it tomorrow” was easy to say. This Monday though I said that I would finish this task by Friday. My calendar says it’s Wednesday, and here we are.
It may be early in the day, but I think I’ll go finish something else now to congratulate myself; celebratory beer here I come.