Why Hello, 2010

I think it’s something inherent in us that craves a new start, a fresh slate. New Year’s Resolutions are like a chance to do-over a year except…not really, because the stream of time is flowing irrevocably forward, and there’s no way to paddle against it.

As a student, I have the luck of getting several fresh starts throughout the year, rather than just the first of January – each new semester and, since I usually get a substantial break between each, even between semesters all seem like fresh starts or new seasons (granted, my current break is six weeks, which is a rather short “season”, but I think you get what I mean). Granted, as mentioned earlier it’s never quite a do-over, since I’ll never get to re-do that linguistics class that I hated and avoided going to at all costs (not that I would WANT to re-do that), or have a second shot at that painting whose border I half-assed and thus only got a B on, or take another shot at that god-awful presentation I had to make in front of the course-link that I was just joining as well as a rather snarky relative.

Yet the first few weeks of a semester, or even a break, all tend to follow the some formulaic pattern to such an extent that it feels almost like I am getting a “re-do”, and I promise myself that I’ll break the bad habits that brought me down last semester – or to be more honest, for the last 5 semesters. Because then, without fail, I fall back into the bad habits and get stressed out and run into all of the other baggage that I promised myself I’d avoid.

With the new year coming on, I’ve read some of the influx of blog posts about productivity and goal setting. What I noticed after awhile was that a) I already knew a lot of what was being said from previous blog browsing, b) there seem to be an endless myriad of systems and techniques, many of which don’t seem to sync well with each other, and c) as catchy as the titles for some of these are (like Getting Things Done) most of the emphasis is on planning and organizing.

I’ve come to a realization that I probably should have noticed earlier: I can plan, organize, outline, mind-map, color-coordinate, schedule and categorize to my heart’s content, but at a certain point – and I would argue that for me, that point comes fairly quickly – I just need to go ahead and actually do it. I think I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling a greater than necessary sense of accomplishment for planning out how I’m going to do something, forgetting that scheduling it out isn’t actually doing it.

So for all of the resolution advice and goal-planning ideas that I’ve perused in the last several days, the piece of advice I think that will be the hardest for me to swallow, challenging to implement, and impossible to ignore is, plainly and simply:

Do the work.

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