Okay, we’re a month into the year, how are those resolutions going? In my little circle, it seemed like nobody made any, or if they did it was with a, “yeah right” attitude. “Gonna lose 25 pounds this year…” eye roll, “Yeah, right!”
It’s easy to get jaded, especially if you’re like me and you can’t even take care of the small stuff on a to-do list. Really, just found one that I wrote, oh, about a year and a half ago. I needed to do some lawn work, clean the garage, re-grout the tiles in the kid’s bathroom, and fix the car. Of those I think I mowed the lawn, and eventually fixed the car… well, didn’t really fix it, the head gasket blew and we had to get a different one. I mean, if you can’t find a couple hours in a year and a half to throw out a bunch of junk and sweep a garage floor, how are you going to sweat through the big stuff, like resolving to finish writing that book, or doubling your freelance client base?
As pitiful as I am with my own goals, I’m certainly a cheerleader for others. I really went after some musical goals that members of my family have had for Christmas presents. My 15-year-old wants to be Jerry Garcia; he got a guitar and a mandolin. My Mom heard about the mandolin and said, “OH, your father has wanted one for years!” So, guess what he got too? My brother has been talking about learning to play the fiddle for several years; he will now be learning on his Christmas present. And then there’s my sentimental favorite. My 13-year-old, who already plays drums and guitar, wants to record his music. For him, Santa Dad got one of those compact mixing boards, a condenser microphone and stand, and some multi-track recording software. Yes, my son now has the home studio I dreamed of before he was born. I told them all that I fully expect us to jam next Christmas, to be dutifully recorded by the budding Producer in the family.
There were a lot of smiles all around, and, “This is too much,” came up several times. But really, if I’m honest about it, those presents weren’t for them. Their goals only echoed those that I’ve had myself in the past, and maybe if they don’t live up to their resolutions to learn to play, I won’t feel so bad about breaking my own musical resolutions over the years… guilt loves company.
I guess I know why resolutions are so hard to hold on to. It’s easy to imagine moving forward towards a brighter tomorrow on the first day of the year, when you’re not working, the kids don’t have to be shuttled to school or swim practice, and you’re wearing those new socks your Mom got you for Christmas. Then comes that first day back to work… school is snow-delayed by an hour, spots have been running wrong all New Years weekend, 2 reps bring in clients unexpectedly to record their own spots, you barely get the kid to swim practice only to find that it’s been cancelled, and the dog greets you at the door with your freshly chewed new socks in his mouth. Just because you make resolutions to change your life doesn’t mean your old life magically disappears. It’s still there, ready to suck the energy and optimism out of you.
So, your old life has had a month to suck. Are the resolutions gone for good? It’s really your choice. Maybe you’ve been able to wade through the driftwood and still work towards your goals, good for you! But for the rest of us, there are choices to be made. Hang it up, try again next year, or find a way to make the resolutions work in the world you’re living in.
Last year a colleague of mine resolved that it was about time to really learn the audio program that he used every day. Since it was such an important part of his daily work, he rightly assumed that learning all the keyboard shortcuts would make him faster and more productive. After a month went by, he hadn’t learned a single one. “Every time I sit down with the list, somebody comes in with some crap that needs to be done ASAP, then more work comes in, and the next thing I know a week has gone by,” he said. I gave him the knowing look and asked if he was hanging it up. “Nope, got a plan,” he smiled. I wished him well, and forgot about it until I came across him in the Production room a month or so later. He was flying through his edits, utilizing shortcuts that I’d never seen before. When I asked about it, he told me that his plan worked. “When I first started on this, I thought I’d sit down with the list and learn them all in one or two sittings,” he explained. “Like I told you, that just wasn’t happening. So what I started to do was to start at the top of the list and learn one shortcut a day… I can always find a minute or two to do that. The next thing I knew I was through the list, and even learned how to make a few custom shortcuts of my own! The mistake I made at first was trying to cram it all in at one time… that just doesn’t work for me.”
Bottom line, resolutions to change your life have to become a part of your existing life, and it takes a lot of effort to not only change, but find the time to change. Maybe the best way to look at a resolution is not as a goal, but as part of the journey. Don’t let the dream die, just give it a little time, if only 5 minutes a day, and that resolution that seemed impossible to achieve, with patience, will happen. If it helps, Happy New Year, again.