December 26, 2011

On the "New Year, New You" Experiment

Alright, so in the midst of my reader backlog (620 unread posts? Ye gods I need to go on a blog-diet) I somehow missed out on the awesomeness that is Deb's New Year, New You experiment. I have to admit, when I first read the title I was sort of expecting some kind of fuzzy post about new-year's resolutions, which, by the way, I'm absolutely allergic to. But instead, I found something that really spoke to me in an unexpected way.

You see, I have a problem with inertia. Not like "it's hard to get started" inertia, but "the harder you try, the deeper you sink" inertia, and I've only very recently started unraveling the mechanics behind it. I end up starting things with the best of intentions (like Jason's Strategic Sorcery course, which this blog was supposed to be about), diving in head-first, setting up a daily practice and generally getting along wickedly... until I don't. Maybe I need to leave town for a few days, or I get sick, or one of a million other things happens, and it screws up a very minor aspect of my practice. Like missing a note while playing the piano, the flow of things is interrupted, and one minor incident ripples outward until everything is an absolute mess.

Now, instead of just trying to power through and make the best of my "mistakes", the perfectionist in me racks up an emotional backlog of guilt for the things I was supposed to have done, but didn't get to. Eventually, after a few minor mistakes (or straight-up life circumstances), the emotional weight of feeling like you're somehow "failing" builds up to the point where every aspect of the Work feels like... well, work. It becomes an obligation, something I feel like I should be doing, rather than want to be doing, and this is where the perfectionist teams up with the procrastinator and starts saying things like "Oh, well you can't do X until you do Y, and you can't do Y for whatever bullshit reason, so you might as well just wait on this." Which, of course, starts the guilt-cycle again.

And you know what? Fuck that. I'm sick and tired of living every day of my life feeling like some cosmic mommy-figure is going to jump out and chastise me for all the work I've been putting off. It's like knowing you have a test that you haven't studied for, every goddamn day. And I'm done.

For 2012? Every time I think "I could/should/want-to do that", I'm doing it, no mater what it is, and I'm doing it now rather than later. The perfectionist in me is going to throw an absolute fit, but honestly? I don't care if half of everything I do ends in disaster, because I'll actually be doing something instead of agonizing about what I'm not doing, and that's the real victory. Everything else comes second, but here are some secondary victories that might crop up as side effects:
  • Finishing Jason's Strategic Sorcery course
  • Getting my tutoring business off the ground
  • Keeping up with my pharmacy studies and going into "panic mode" far less often
  • Finally getting involved with the local magical community
  • Losing the weight I've gained over the past two years
  • Reading for fun more often
  • Maintaining a sane sleep schedule
  • etc, etc, etc.
Light up your incense, boys; it's time to make 2012 your bitch.


  1. "Reading for fun more often."

    This is going to make me sound a bit insane but I actually can't remember how to do this. Everything has bled together so much that I start to wonder if I only THINK what I'm reading is for fun because I can't tell the difference anymore.

    Also because with "business reading" -for want of a better word- you can kinda tell right away if it's going to be of any value and if not then you just move along. Fiction shouldn't have to work that way so is this book actually really bad or am I not reading it right.

    And then I overthink it. And then I just put the book down.

    What I'm saying is I can totes relate to a lot of your goals. :)

  2. Kick ass! Let's make our lives rock. :)

    Speaking of the SS course, I'm batting around the idea of making a virtual Mastermind group. Ocean Delaon is up for it, you game?

  3. Great goals! Welcome to the Experiment :)

  4. @Jow: \m/

    @Gordon: Not at all, I actually get the same way with my obscene blogroll. After a while, I can't tell if I'm reading because I actually want to be, or because I feel like I should.

    I do notice a definite increase in the clarity of my day-to-day thoughts when I've been doing a lot of "fun" reading, though. Something about obligatory reading (read: textbooks) or not reading at all just gums up the works.

    @TUM: I'm definitely in. Shoot me an email.

    @Deb: Definitely glad to be here :)

  5. I just had a chance to read this and I had to chuckle because my perfectionist teams up with my procrastinator all the time. It's as if one sits on each shoulder and the results of their tag team nagging are just horrendous.

    Enjoy your "fun" reading more often. I've noticed this seems to block out their nagging rather well.

    Good luck! :)

  6. I read something about exercise a while back. Or maybe about abstinance. Not sure. It works both ways.

    A lot of people think about exercise as something you're doing until you stop. You make a resolution to exercise every day. Then you miss a day, and now you're not exercising every day anymore.

    Or maybe that was not cheating on your lover. Hard to recall. You can see how it works either way.

    The point is, that it helps if you think about exercise / not cheating as sobriety: That you're on the wagon, and you sometimes fall off, and what matters isn't that you fell off, it's how quickly you can get back to being sober. That, when you have a goal like "Complete this course" or "Practice magick every day," what matters isn't the handful of days where you don't do it, it's how quickly you get back to doing it.

    Because when I look back on this year, I don't recall the handful of weeks where work or video games got in the way of my studies, I see the weeks where I figured out something really cool that let me solve a problem.

    Good luck!

  7. My goals are very much like yours! Especially the uniting theme of DOING things ;) I wish you success! And shut up that perfectionist, I know it is hard but once you do it, it gets easier every time ;)