Happy New Year! 2008 was a bit rubbish, though, wasn't it, on the whole? I feel like I spent most of the year hiding under a rock and being stressed. No more! 2009 is a year for being calm and sorted and efficient and productive.
Some people seem to see New Year's Resolutions as a big pressure on themselves, a thing to set yourself up to fail against. If they're not the right tool for you, don't use them: silly to use a screwdriver if what you really want to do is knock a nail in. But personally I see them as a way to clear out some of the little lists in my brain, a good starting-point to count from if I want to try something new (whether it's running, reading, or remembering the milk) for a fixed period of time (long enough to give it and myself a chance, but a fixed-length commitment rather than an open-ended thing which is more likely to fail or fizzle out). NYRs are, for me, the mental equivalent of a brisk walk to shake off the New Year's Eve hangover: the direction isn't really that important, but the sense of going somewhere and doing something and focusing on one thing gives my brain a bit of a kick in the metaphor.
I didn't begin this year with a hangover. I began it curled up on our friends' futon in a warm and welcoming house, after an evening of drinking (but not to ridiculous excess) and playing Singstar (probably to slight excess) and talking. I didn't manage the New Year's Day walk, either, but only because said friends had got us BIG PRESENTS so we had to get the bus. The bus turned up on time, and we were just in time to use the end of the 24-hour DayRider that had got us there the day before, so the year's spending started with a saving of about a fiver. Also, I'd put the laundry on and hung it out just before leaving the house for NYE festivities; in retrospect, I'd definitely recommend this: as soon as I woke up on New Year's Day I knew I'd already done the laundry
. I then spent most of the rest of NYD reading Ben Goldacre's Bad Science
, which is thoroughly excellent and I would recommend it to anybody reading this.
Can't put this off any longer by rambling... let's have a look at last year's resolutions
(I reiterate: this isn't really a question of "win" or "fail", it's more like "how did my predictions pan out, and did I end up going in the direction in which I thought I was going" -- more like planning a walk and then looking at the GPS reading afterwards): ( last year's troubles )
So! This year's resolutions:
• Reduce my/our carbon footprint
This is addedentry
too; like him, I've got a carbon account
(but unlike him I haven't patiently typed in the historical readings from the last year, so my figures are probably less accurate; so a sub-resolution is to fix this either by a) typing them all in by hand, or b) asking the people who do the Carbon Account about the possibility of a one-off import of historical data...)
On the other hand, we live a fairly low-carbon lifestyle anyway (we don't drive or fly, for a start), so I do rather feel as though I'm whittling away at something I can fix while other people are happily burning tyres on the deck of the Titanic. What I really want to do is try to do something to try to influence other people's behaviour as well, but preferably without making everybody hate me. On the other other hand... we are on a sinking ship. Time to worry about making everybody feel fluffy, or time to start bailing and building rafts?
So the related resolution is:
• Do something every month to contribute to the global campaign against climate change
Which is fairly vague, and which may well result in throwing money at campaigns because I am generally less cash-poor than time-poor, but if humanity survives for long enough for me to be telling my grandchildren anything, I'd like to be able to tell them that I didn't just carry on selfishly wasting resources and sticking my fingers in my ears while hoping that someone else would sort everything out. And even if there is
a Magic Bean made of Clever Science to get us out of the fix we're in, people need support (morale and money) in the process of looking
Right, heavy shit over. Back to your scheduled programme of fiddling while Rome burns -- apropos of which, a reinstated resolution from 2007: ( and the rest of this year's resolutions )
I suppose I ought to include one resolution that I'm pretty much guaranteed to keep, so the last one on the list is:
• Get married
In fact I don't expect any of these resolutions to start until after the honeymoon, so no nudging me about them until after January!
As a final this-year-is-going-to-be-better-really postscript I would like to note that I've managed to get the New Year's Resolutions post done while it's technically still Christmas
, which is probably a record (no, I can't be bothered to check either), and hopefully a good omen.
And to everybody who's reading this: good luck with achieving your aims (stated or unstated) for this year, or just pottering along happily doing whatever you're up to.