And like that … (poof) … it’s gone.
2016 did its best Keyser Soze impression and disappeared a couple days ago and with it went the last seconds of my “great” resolution challenge. I put great in quotes because this challenge ended up being anything but. Then again, I didn’t forget about these resolutions completely like I did in 2015. I suppose that is a small, very small, victory. In fact, rather than forget them I obsessed over them for the entire year. Or more accurately, I obsessed over my failure to achieve them for the entire year. It wasn’t pretty. Or rewarding. Or beneficial. But it sure wasn’t surprising either.
This year I won’t be making resolutions. At least not ones I publish. I have some wishy washy goals in the back of my head that I’ll strive towards, but I won’t be repeating my 2016 disaster. That being said, I can’t put the past year to bed without writing one final report summarizing my success/failure in achieving these lofty goals I set for myself. So sit tight and enjoy an obituary of sorts as I lay out the final words on my 2016 Resolutions.
1a I will write a minimum of 1000 words every day, weekends, holidays, and sick days included.
As you well know by now, I gave up on this one back in March. I succeeded at it for two full months but soon realized it either wasn’t a valid resolution as written or I really just ain’t cut out to be a writer. Both are likely true.
Verdict – Fail … but with an asterisk.
1b I will write and submit a short story to a literary magazine by October 31st.
As the year approached its close, I realized something profound about this resolution. There was no way to prove I had or hadn’t done it. At least not yet. Had I submitted a story by my self-imposed deadline, even a best case scenario would have the story being published in 2017. The more likely response would be a rejection letter and even those take a great deal of time to arrive. I could outright lie about this and you’d have no evidence upon which to call my bluff.
Luckily I’m an honest man. Or I’ve come to terms with the reality that I suck at lying, anyway. Truth is, I didn’t achieve this goal. My lame excuse is that I was sick for most of the Fall, which is also true. Being healthy, though, likely wouldn’t have altered this result, which is sadly true. Whatever hack skills I may have, they are severely hampered by a lack of desire to become a writer. I’m not terribly proud of this, but it too, like this entire section, is very true.
Verdict – Fail
2 I will not eat a single morsel of chocolate until my birthday on March 1st.
One year ago I was valiantly resisting my desire to consume all the leftover Christmas chocolate in the house. Actually, I think I ate it all on the 31st. Regardless, this morning I had two Lindt chocolates with breakfast. So, yeah.
Ironically, this is the one resolution I actually achieved. I went that full two months without consuming a gram of delicious chocolate. The ten months after successfully reaching my goal was back to my retched binge-purge routine. Chocolate is my nicotine, only tastier. Does this count as a win? I accomplished a resolution and it made zero lasting impact. As we say in the oil biz; a technical success.
Verdict – Pass
3 I will cut our monthly grocery budget in half before year’s end.
Let’s get right to the point, I did not achieve this resolution. It was apparent I wouldn’t last January already. And yet, of all the resolutions, this one held my focus for the entire year and while I may not have succeeded in cutting my grocery spending in half, I did manage to make a significant dent in it. I consider that worthy of a pat on the back. In fact, I’m going to write an entirely separate blog post to share the final results of my quest to spend less on food. Look for it soon.
Verdict – Fail … but with a sparkling asterisk.
4 I will dedicate one full, uninterrupted hour each day to playing with my kids.
Did I mention I was sick most of the Fall? Well I was sick most of the Fall. It was ridiculous. Even got the flu thanks to my bronchitis preventing me from getting a flu shot. The wife and I slept in separate beds for over a month which turned out to be shockingly more enjoyable than either of us anticipated. So, yeah, lots of sick. And when I feel like crap, the last thing I want to do is play with kids who have more energy when they’re sick than I do when I’m healthy.
The kids also don’t need me to play with them so much anymore. This is especially true of my eldest who is approaching her first decade milestone. As I’ve elaborated upon in my previous reports, the kids are outgrowing the need to have Daddy play with them. They play so well together and with their school friends I really never felt comfortable imposing my presence for the sake of a resolution.
Still, our Christmas adventure back home in which we stayed at a hotel for ten days offered me the opportunity to spend an hour and half tossing them all around the swimming pool to much giggling and enthusiasm. I went out on a strong note, let’s say.
Verdict – Fail
5 I will refuse to look at Facebook between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.
In August, whilst grappling with the twin horrors of the flu and a Donald Trump election, I quit Facebook. Almost. I remain subscribed due to various volunteer commitments that require me to post information to members so I couldn’t leave Facebook completely. But I did eliminate all my “friends” and I deleted nearly every post I made over the past three years.
I quit Facebook once before. I enjoyed my time away. I only came back because of my blog and after three years it’s become apparent that my return was unnecessary. My blog has gone nowhere and my presence on Facebook has only caused me mental anguish. I didn’t need to know how horrible we all can be, something that has become all too regularly apparent.
I still struggle with this one. I wish I’d been better at just ignoring the grimy underbelly. I wish I’d been able to use it as a tool rather than a crutch. It remains a nauseating time suck and exposes a significant personal weakness when it comes to my willpower.
Verdict – Fail
6 I will lose 20 pounds by July 1st.
I obviously didn’t achieve this one by the imposed deadline. And either my pants all simultaneously shrunk in late December or I didn’t achieve it by year end either. Being chronically ill is a huge impediment to exercise and weight management. Being chronically susceptible to cravings and emotional eating makes it all the more difficult. Thank god my metabolism is extremely forgiving.
Verdict – Fail
Overall Verdict – I Suck!