Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.
A letter from Mark Twain to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, January 1863. ( via Exp.lore.com)
We are now reaching that point of the year where resolutions made have begun to fade, giving way to the ease and comfort of routines that accommodate for realities lived. In the past couple of weeks I've seen family, friends, colleagues, all intelligent and capable in their own ways, surrender to the shortcut for caring that is New Year's resolutions.
Making resolutions is a way of pretending, of fooling ourselves into thinking that we are taking steps towards becoming a better version of ourselves. Resolutions are a dream.
See that video up there? That is Australian-born Berlin-based designer and illustrator Rilla Alexander, at the 99u conference, brilliantly exemplifying the simple truth that without the doing, dreaming is useless.
We all have an idea we want to execute on and yet don't know how to begin. Take the time to figure out what that idea is. What do you really want? Really. Think it through. Pursue it.
What do you care about?
I don't mean what you tell yourself you care about, I mean what you actually care about. You know, that thing that takes the most of your time. Take a close look at your week, and whatever takes the most of your time, be it email, Facebook, Twitter, meetings, family, friends, working out, television, video games, work and so on, that is what you care about. That is what you are making a priority every day.
Is that time-consuming thing what you really want? If it is, then it is time to really focus on it and give it the attention it deserves. If it is not, then it is time to change.