So, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but due to some technical difficulties that will be detailed in tomorrow's post, it's going up today. Let's just say I had a mixed start to the new year for now.  

So I had one of my late night writing sessions last night, which got lost, but I came up with what I thought was some pretty coherent ideas about the new year and my outlook on it. Unfortunately, my mind feels like a blob of goo right now, and I'm convinced I won't be able to articulate it nearly as well, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. Luckily I have a few notes that I can reference. 

I think I put a little too much emphasis on the first of the month. I mean, it's only a day, and it's usually a day that you have obligations to other people. You need to call people and wish them a happy new year, and go to parties and dinners. It's actually a bit of a terrible day for organization or getting things done. So I'm not putting emphasis on the first day of the year so much as the first week or two. I think this year I need to focus more on flexibility. In the past, if something went off plan at the beginning of the day, I pretty much wrote that whole day off. That's really bad for productivity. I need to be able to roll with the punches more easily.  

For me, this year is kind of like "The Year of Flexibility". I think a lot of people get wrapped up in staying on the wagon. "I can't eat that candy bar, I'm on a strict diet", or "I hurt my knee, but if I don't run this morning my whole month's plan is shot" are the types of things you hear a lot, and you would have heard from me early last year. I've really been looking at the bigger picture more lately, and what I want to focus on is the ability to get back on the wagon. 

You always hear about people falling off the wagon, but no one ever talks about climbing back on. I think that's one of the most important skills you can learn. No one is perfect, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to have days where you accidentally sleep in, or forget to go for a run, or eat a few too many cupcakes. It's going to happen, and you can't let it derail everything. The ability to persevere through those times when it seems like you're failing is what seperate the failures from the successes.  

My main focus when making this year's resolution was to have tangible, achievable goals. When your New Years Resolution is "Lose Weight" or "Read More" it's impossible to actually quantify that. If you skipped lunch one day and weighed 2 pounds less the next morning, did you complete your goal? I wouldn't say so.  

There are two things that are key to motivation. Having a goal to work towards, and having a way to measure progress. I think a lot of people get hung up on the first one of those and don't give enough thought to the second. For example, if I'm losing weight, and in April I have a bad week and spend it eating junk food and watching TV, I've fallen off the wagon. If your resolution was "Lose Weight", then you'll see yourself gaining weight and you'll think you've failed. If your resolution though was "Lose 50 pounds", then you can look and see that you may have gained 5 back, but you're still 20 pounds lighter than you were at the beginning of the year. You have that goal of 50 to work towards, so the little setback doesn't seem like so much. 

Anyway, I feel like I've ranted on long enough. Let's get to the list of resolutions, shall we. I don't have terribly many, because I'm sticking with the realism. I'm sure over the next week or two I will think of some things I want to achieve in 2017, and if that happens I'll come back and edit the post. Mostly this list is to have something to reference back to at my end of the year post so we can take a look at how I did.  

So, without further ado, my 2017 resolutions:  

  • Read 52 New Books: The keyword here is "new". I spend a lot of time rereading books, but I want to branch out and focus on reading new material. This segways nicely into the next resolution...
  • Complete the Read Harder 2017 Challenge: This year my sister and I are taking on the Read Harder challenge. Book Riot has done these for the past 2 years, and they seem like a really great way to expand your reading  in interesting ways. I don't expect to like every book I read, but I expect to learn something with each one! 
  • Take a selfie every day: This one may seem a bit strange, but bear with me. Every once in awhile you'll see one of those videos where someone has taken a picture of themselves every day for years, and then they make a time lapse of all the photos. I really love those videos, and want to do one myself. Plus, it will go really well with measuring the progress of my next resolution...
  • Weight under 200lbs by 2018: This one seems pretty daunting at first look. The last time I weight I was 268 pounds. I'm probably closer to 280 now after the holidays to be honest. That's a lot of weight to lose in a year, but I'm confident that if I'm able to stick to a meal plan and work out consistently, I will achieve this. 
  • Write a novel: Another ambitious one. A first novel is nothing to sneeze at, and if my snails pace of writing is anything to go by, this one will be tough. I'm focusing on getting more productive this year though, so if everything goes to plan I should be able to carve out nice big chunks of time for writing on my days off. I really want to give this writing thing the old college try so I can see if it's what I want to focus on for the rest of my life. 
  • Learn to read music: The next few resolutions are some basic, entry level skills. I play guitar somewhat well, and I want to learn the piano as well, but I think the first step to continuing my musical career is to actually learn to read sheet music. It's something I've wanted to learn for a long time, so let's turn this new productivity of 2017 towards it. 
  •  Learn to speak basic German: I feel like I'll have to revisit this one and better define what "basic" means. One thing I really regret from 2016 is not putting more effort into my time in Germany, specifically not trying very hard to learn the language. I really took that opportunity for granted, and I want to try and salvage something out of it. I want to learn French and Japanese too, but let's take this one step at a time! 
  • Learn to code in Python: I firmly believe that all schools should be teaching coding starting as young as possible. It is absolutely going to be the biggest job market in the future as automation becomes more prevelant. I can think of dozens of small electronic projects I'd like to do, but I can't because I don't know how to code. 
  • Solve a rubiks cube: This is just a small fun one. I saw a video about a guy who learned all of these neat little skills in 2016, and one of them was solving a rubiks cube. It only took him like 16 hours to learn, and I have quite a bit of down time in the truck when I'm loading and unloading, so I think this is doable.
  • Meditate every day: Tomorrow I'm putting up a post talking about some anger issues I've dealt with for a long time. Something that has really been helping me with that lately is meditation. I really feel like even just 10 minutes a day is really beneficial for mental health, and it's something that's super easy to do. 

So that's it. My resolutions for 2017. I'll be editing this post over the next couple weeks, tweaking and adding, but these are the core ones I have. I'll be checking in at the end of the year to see what I've completed. Leave a comment below telling me what your resolutions are, and have a Happy New Year!