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With 2015 eagerly looking forward to cashing its first social security check and allowing historians to begin ghost writing its memoirs, I've been thinking about my own year, and the future to come.
Granted, every blogger, vlogger, and Harry has throw up their own similar thoughts. It’s hard to avoid the “Best of 2015” posts that seem to be cluttering up everyone’s feeds, and I have to admit that I view these with a large amount of cynicism.
We all know that the demarcation between this year and next is entirely arbitrary, and hasn’t even been a historically consistent point.
And yes, the days after such a big holiday — with many of us still in denial over our retail and dietary extravagances — can often mean we’re not in the best position to be making plans for the next year. But…
2015 — The Year of Almost
This was a year where I almost got back on track. For a period of a few months, starting back in March of 2015, something started to really click. I was meditating daily; I was eating healthy and sleeping well; I was going for walks every day and losing weight at a pretty good clip.
None of those things are still true.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m still down a little bit of weight; I’m meditating occasionally; and I recently managed to walk from my apartment downtown up to 125th street along the East River of Manhattan, which was apparently about 12.5 miles.
As far as achievements go, I managed to go back to school and get my undergraduate degree; I wrote a book during November’s National Novel Writing Month; and I made my most successful video to date (and it’s not embarassing in retrospect!).
But if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I’ve been even more stressed and anxious than I have been in the past.
My nervous tics invade with more and more frequency, and it’s driven me to live a pretty isolated existence. There are plenty of videos and other personal projects that I didn’t set aside the time to make. And if I don’t turn my health around, I don’t know that I’ll get the chance to do a lot of those things.
So yeah, that’s frustrating.
I said I was cynical about all this “year in review” stuff, but I need to clarify a little bit: I think it’s great to step back and look at life from a broader perspective. We spend a ton of time with an acutely myopic viewpoint, and maybe the holidays are a good time for reflection. The new year may be arbitrary, but every day is an opportunity to call for a “blank slate”.
So what do we want our futures to look like? Off the top of my head, I can list a ton of pie-in-the-sky goals:
- Weigh less than 200 pounds
- Go to bed and wake up consistently
- Walk the entire coast of Manhattan
- Write two books
- Read 366 books by the end of 2016 (it’s a leap year!)
- Meditate every day, both in the morning and the evening
- Post to a blog weekly
- Make videos twice a week
- Make a podcast every week
There are secondary goals though. I have one, and only one goal for the next year.
2016 — The Year of Failure
It’s hard not to look back and wonder what my life would be like if I had stuck with my streak of good habits. Maybe I’d be incredibly happy and healthy, maybe not. But the feeling that I was making progress in my life was worthwhile, and it’s something I want back in the new year.
I’m faced with the reality that, somehow, I stopped. And when that happens, things start to cascade. I can’t sleep well because I’m out of shape. Or I eat too much because I’m stressed from not meditating. Or I don’t want to meditate because I’m too exhausted…
Ultimately, what I want this year to be about is failure. I want to get really good at it. I want to be able to screw up, and see it as a brief pause, rather than the end of a good streak. It’s far too easy for us to compartmentalize things, and I think it’s somehow easier to think about “that diet that I did a month ago” than “that diet plan I’ve been messing up for the last month.”
We’re much more comfortable thinking about that good thing that we used to do, than thinking about that good thing we failed to do recently.
So that’s my goal this year. I want to start thinking of myself as a healthy, sane person who occasionally fails at things. I’m tired of being a mediocre person who had occasional bursts of good behavior in his past.