In 2012, I set a bunch of incredibly easy New Year’s Resolutions for myself. Somehow I still failed about half of them. So this past year, I tried something new. I came up with a handful of Resolutions, but I kept them almost entirely to myself. The idea was, if I am my own biggest critic, then if I mess up, then I will be harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be.
Well the year is over, so here are my goals from the past year and how I did.
1. Be Healthier
A long time ago, I noticed in his wedding pictures my dad was as rail-thin as I have been my whole life. Being pretty insensitive at the time, I asked him when it all went downhill. He restimated around 27. Ever since then, I’ve had that magical number in the back of my head as the time when my metabolism would take the proverbial dive. I’d have to stop being such a slob or deal with the consequences like most human beings.
This took the form of “Health Kick 2013” which got off to a roaring start. I bought better groceries, minimized junk food, and worked out six days out of the week for nearly five months. Once summer camp started, it was impractical to keep up the same regimen, but I chose the healthier foods from what was provided and got plenty of exercise from the every day rigors of the job. The crash came once summer ended.
It’s hard to say what keeps you ticking when you’re at summer camp. You can be wholly and utterly exhausted and somehow still get up for the next day, teaching and cheering and running and working until it’s time to sleep and then doing it all over again. But the moment your brain realizes there’s nothing to do the next day, it’s shut down time. It’s like it had its finger hovering over the big red self-destruct button, just waiting on the right moment to destroy everything. That’s what happened after summer.
In spite of the zero exercise that been done since then, the change of eating habits stuck. Eggs, almond milk, greek yogurt, and sweet potatoes have become staples of my diet. I’ve committed recipes with kale to memory. The vast majority of my sugar intake is from fruits or soy Starbucks. Fast food actually makes me feel sick. And I’ve started back on exercising every other day in December.
I give myself an B for this one.
2. Move to California
This hasn’t happened. But it’s not entirely my fault.
I had every intention of striking out west as soon as I was finished working at camp. The beginning of September was what I told people when asked. I figured if I was done in mid-August, that would give me plenty of time to get back to my house in Denton, finish up work that needed to be done, and then head out as soon as possible. Like most plans I make in my head, none of those things happened that way.
First of all, I didn’t even finish work until mid-September. Converting the 3D footage I shot back to 2D, as it turns out, takes a lot more than the few clicks of the button I anticipated and re-rendering them took even longer. Second, I hadn’t factored in that the contractors I hired to do major work beyond my skill-set would need several weeks, even months before they would be available to do those jobs. By the time they were finished, it was only a week until Christmas.
So I figured there wasn’t much sense in moving away until after the new year. The extra time would give me a chance to do a little extra work and spend the holidays with my family. And I really am leaving in the next few weeks.
I give myself a D on this. A little late, but enough to pass.
3. Write More
Last year I tried to make myself write something complete every week. Not only did I fail that one, I failed it miserably. The only time I wrote was a few journal entries and I hardly consider that writing. With the bar set pretty low, I couldn’t help but succeed in this vague venture, right? Well, not exactly.
For the majority of the year, it was more journal entries. It had nothing to do with being too busy either. I’ve spent countless hours stumbling through the Internet and cycling through the same pages over and over that I could’ve been writing new ideas in my head or at least re-writing a script to make it better. Instead I turned off my conscience and let myself be entertained by the magic of my index finger for hours on end.
But as you can read further down in my blog, at some point I let my other nine digits fly. Word by word I got back into the groove of stringing semi-coherent sentences together, eventually forming a real life blog post. After a few of those, I dug up an old screenplay and put a few days of remodeling into it. And finally I began giving a children’s book idea some serious thought and started putting it to pixelated paper (though I have no clue what to do with it after).
So while it was only a recent success, it was still a success with no signs of slowing down.
I give myself an A-.
4. Make a Movie
This one stings.
I had every intention of making a short film. I had the time, I had the resources, I had the material and the image in my head. All I had to do was make it. Well, I didn’t realize I was missing a crucial ingredient — initiative.
When I was in college, I had the benefit of a deadline dictating when I needed to film in time to edit so it would be ready for screening. Even when I had partners who did less than their fair share of the work, I at least had the benefit of knowing I’d need to give a little extra to have it done on time.
Not so with a film you’re doing on your own. With no real timeframe and nothing of tangible value at stake, I never did it. I told my principal actor all about it and gave him a general idea of when and where it would take place, I just never made those details concrete. One lazy weekend after another, the windows of opportunity shut until it was no longer possible.
Technically, I did make a movie: a counselor-only version of the summer camp video yearbook. It wasn’t part of my job, just something I did for the staff. But I’m not counting that on principal.
I give myself a big red F.
5. Get in a Fight
The goal here was not to be that dickhead who goes out to the bars just looking for an excuse to punch somebody. I’m a pretty passive person in general, and it takes a lot to get me the slightest bit angry. Even when someone does manage to push my buttons, my Hulk-mode is more of a Yoda-internalize. The object was to let myself get emotional and mad enough to bust some skulls or get mine busted. The opportunity just never arrived.
There was a moment when a guy who obviously was looking for a fight tried starting something. I was pub-crawling with friends when a joke fart had him puffed up and ready to defend his girlfriend’s honor. She didn’t seem to care and neither did the other couple they were with, but Hothead McSteamypants came storming after us with his arms spread wide like he wanted a group hug.
One of the very few times I’ve ever “fought” someone was in sixth grade when my friend at the time bit off more than he could chew and ended up getting rear-naked choked. I had every intention of letting him learn a lesson, but with a very loose grasp on human anatomy I didn’t understand I could’ve let him get a few shades darker. Once he turned beet red and the other kid showed no signs of letting go, I decided to intervene and smacked his head into the bleachers a few times. That did the trick.
It was only when this drunk guy bucked up to us that I remembered I’m actually more likely to fight someone who’s attacking a friend than me. I got a surge of adrenaline and balled up my fists in my jacket pockets, ready for whatever happened next. Luckily (or not, depending on how you look at it), two guys in our group were on top of it and cooler heads prevailed. The dude may have wanted a fight, but he didn’t want a 6-to-1 beatdown that might have ensued. Though I get the feeling another few drinks probably did him in later on.
I give myself a F+. But probably for the better.
So there you have it. Even with a new method and higher goals as a whole, I still only managed to half-succeed. I’m okay with that, though. I like being responsible for myself more than trying to depend on others’ expectation. Maybe if I set more goals this year I’ll end up accomplishing more. In which case, I’ll put “Date Anna Kendrick” down ten times so either way, I win.
Happy New Year, everybody.