The curious thing about New Year's resolutions is that this secular holiday is not new at all. If you are like me in thinking that resolutions to better yourself were something conjured up by your parents or maybe grandparents during decades of optimism in the 50s or free love of the 70s, you're off by about 2000 years.
Hurried History of New Year's Resolutions
Take it all the way back to BC in the days of Julius Caesar to the Roman god Janus, from whom the month of January takes its title. In 154 BC senators in Rome declared that January 1 was the New Year, rather than March 23 according to the Babylonians for 2000 years prior. For the month named for the two-faced Janus, with one face looking forward and one looking back, the New Year celebrated the past and the future. In accordance with the beginnings, endings and gateways of Janus, the act of creating resolutions for change in the New Year became the custom that we still celebrate today.
I've got a few resolutions for the New Year:
1. Get 8 solid hours of sleep
No more 4 hour nights and naps during the day; it's not working for me. I may not get in bed until 1 am but I will get those 8 hours unless there's an emergency situation or unreasonable deadline. So far, no fewer than 7 hours of consecutive sleep in a night.
2. Get my blog journal going
I'm here, aren't I? One post a week to start, with a goal of working up to 1 a day. When I have a sudden idea for a blog post, such as when I writing web content for a client, I'll post my thoughts using Yarny so they will be captured in my computer for flushing out later.
3. Write 750 minimum words a day using 750words
I'm doing this free writing first thing in the morning as I drink my first cup of coffee and before I start for work to have a morning brain dump. I'm 4 for 4 for days this month, and it feels great. Really!
4. Increase my earnings
I've set a minimum goal for the month, week and day, and I'm planning on stopping writing for extra clients via online sites once I meet my goal each month. The goal is far reaching so it will give me leeway for savings and for vacation days. Meeting my monthly goal will also give me savings to make up for dry months in freelancing and for emergencies.
5. Read 30 books, 10 of which are to be nonfiction on writing
Last year I read 26 books, 2 of which were nonfiction about writing. This year I want to focus more on the craft of writing. Also I will write a review of these books as I read them and post them on this blog under Writer's Toolbox.
Some of the books on my bookshelf, such as "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell, are nonfiction works ideal for writers because they focus on fictional elements, such as the archetypal hero of mythological stories as with the Thousand Faces tome. Other books, such as "Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do" by Meredith Maran, will focus more on inspiration and experience of authors. I'll also read and review books on writing focused more on the process and technical process, in time.
That's a lot for me! However, as they are interrelated with writing, I'm not concerned with the volume of resolutions. Truthfully these are all things I should be already doing in regards to my goals as a writer. I'm just putting the pressure on to turn these random practices into habits.
All the same, it's not the only things I will be doing this year. I'm also doing A Year of Living Without, thanks to Leo Babauta's inspiration on Zen Habits. More to come about A Year of Living Without in my next post. See you then!