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Stop With The Resolutions, Start With The Crack

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series New Year's Is Stoopid


It’s New Year’s again. And once again, I am here, my Utah-bred sense of moral superiority on full throttle (hookers and blow notwithstanding) to pour gallons of icy cold, sobering water on all the excitement.

New Year’s resolutions are great and all — they really are good; they come from “the right place”, people make them for good reasons. But as any AJATTeer knows, good reasons are bad. If what we needed were good reasons, there’d be no smokers and we’d all be nice to our mothers 😛 .

Perhaps I’m just an inveterate iconoclast. I haven’t always hated holidays, but I definitely started hating them young. And why? Well, because I got and get the sneaky feeling that other people are trying to tell uz when and how to be happy, when to feel good. Well, screw being happy 1 day a year, or even 2 days a week. Give me the other 5. Give me all 365. Monday morning is my cartoon and pyjamas time, beaches 😉 .

You don’t need New Year’s. You needn’t be bound by it. You’re bigger and better than some date system that some NAMBLA guys made a thousand years ago or whenever. Every day — or, at the very least, every month — can be your New Year’s.

As Dragon Ash taught us many New Years’ ago, life goes on. Your life included. Again, your life is even bigger and better than a year change. I want you to know that intuitively, to understand it in your bones, so that you can continue to have lots of good feelings and continue to make lots of good choices that don’t depend on it being early January, that continue long after the socially mandated 1/1 excitement has worn off.

But enough from me. Sometimes (OK, all the time, shaddup, I know), other people word things way better than me. Such is the case with “Making Yourself Happy: The Value of Setting Short-Term Goals“, an essay by Dr. Ted Sielaff, Emeritus Professor of Business at San Jose State University, of which the following is an excerpt:

Your expectations are too high.

New Year’s Resolutions are behaviorally unsound. In order to keep doing something, we need periodic reinforcement, like recognition or reward. That is lacking with New Year’s Resolutions. Usually New Year’s Resolutions are too grandiose, like: I’m going to get myself fit this year. Or, I’m going to finish my MBA this year. Too much for most of us.

In setting goals, you can be happy if the goal is doable — something, that is within your power to accomplish in a relatively short period of time

Make short term goals that are in harmony with some long term strategy you might have. Don’t make a resolution for a year. For example, suppose your long term strategy is to write a book. It does no good to say: “This year I intend to finish writing a book”.

I have found it better to set goals for just a month, like this: “I want to finish the first draft of the chapter of my book on “The People Living in Yosemite Park”. That would be a doable goal if I worked at it every day and had my research done. And, at the end of the month, I could check to see if I reached it.

In stating the short term goal, you should make it specific and measurable. Don’t say something like: “I intend to write every day”. That is too vague.

I have found that if I set short term goals for myself that are in harmony with a bigger strategy that I have I can be very happy. And, the interesting thing is that these short term goals often fit together in building a bigger picture.

Too many goals can frustrate you. So, keep the list short. Make it something where you will easily do everything and be victorious – be the winner.

So, my advice is get busy on goals. Forget the New Year’s Resolutions stuff. It’s not helpful. But, small goals that are in harmony with a bigger plan can make you a winner and will be fun.

And as if Dr. Ted’s sagacity weren’t enough for you, here’s a small piece of a medium-length piece by a big man, Juan Rivera of Samurai Mind Online, on the joys of crack…time:

I have discovered crack, and it is good.

I do crack whenever I have a moment. Well, a crack is actually a moment because the crack that I am using is cracks in time–little moments when I can do a little part of a dream.

Little chunks of time turn can turn everything you are trying to attempt into a little game.

And it works best when it feels like a game. If it starts feeling like work, play a new game or just space out.

I know there are going to be a lot of articles and promotions for how to achieve goals for the New Year. But just sit back, relax, and do crack.

↑Juan’s happens not only to be good advice but also one of the best translations and puns on a Japanese word (隙間) ever executed.

So…yeah…New Year’s…don’t make a big deal out of it: make a small deal out of it. Small, atomic actions. Take one tiny crack rock at a time, put it in your crack pipe, and smoke it like an enemy in an FPS game.

And if in doubt…just make more of the good choices you’re already making.

Series Navigation<< Don’t Think Of It As A New Year, Think Of It As A New Day…New Year’s: Get Over It >>

  10 comments for “Stop With The Resolutions, Start With The Crack

  1. Livonor
    January 6, 2013 at 17:43


  2. January 6, 2013 at 19:52

    新年あけましておめでとうございます。。。I hope every one gets on the cracks for the new year. Thank you for the mention and for all the mad scientist stuff you cook up.

  3. January 7, 2013 at 08:02

    Actually, this year is the first year in ages that I actually have made a “new years” resolution (see website field), but I did make sure to make it small and winnable, and frankly, the only reason it is a new years resolution, is because I held out for a few weeks so I could call it one :P. Setting out for a whole year was admittedly a bit presumptuous though; I’ll just have to prove myself right.

  4. Lane
    January 7, 2013 at 11:45

    This quote

    “In setting goals, you can be happy if the goal is doable — something, that is within your power to accomplish in a relatively short period of time.”

    makes something khatzu has been saying begin to resonate. The aforementioned grandiosity of typical New Year resolutions fails to provide any detail about how the resolution is meant to be accomplished. Mixing that with khatzu’s \’small goals\’ mantra gives you something like “Get fit this year.” => “Stand outside wearing trainers.”

    I think the idea of small goals makes two important points. It reduces the level of grandiosity to that makes the task feel less onerous and it provides a level of detail that is sufficient to get the shaping up started. Both of these qualities seem to me to make the goal feel more tangible if only at a subconscious level.

    This is also where the desirability of the process is important. The act of achieving a small goal leaves you in position to begin the fun activity that will inevitably result in the desired goal. The \’activation energy\’ of achieving the goal is thus reduced and, depending on the intensity of the desire to engage in the process, may even be negative. I think this is the point of “Starting with the crack”.

    So instead of resolving to do something, maybe we should consider where we’d like to be and let our environments take us there (of course implying that you’ve suitably prepared your environment). It seems more and more like this blog is a guide to responsible stewardship of our subconsciouses. We know what we like. We know what buttons to push. We just have to design our environments such that our buttons push themselves!

    Good on you, khatzu. I just had my little epiphany.

  5. January 9, 2013 at 13:51

    I can totally hook you up with a guy who’s been living in a cabin in Yosemite for a long time. He doesn’t know it’s not the 70’s, so the crack is surely still there. He likes people and is a nice guy. He helped us get into my car after hiking for a week and realizing on the last day that we’d left the car keys at the starting point. Just ask for Jake at the gate.

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