Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Two Down, X to go!

So I’ve got two New Year’s Resolutions so far:

  1. Do one thing at a time, with full concentration.
  2. Enjoy the work.

The first one is pretty self-explanatory, but by the second one, I mean I want to take pride in the work itself. (I’m on the warpath on this one ... my poor students.) Our society, our educational system, everything ... we all tend to focus on results. It’s probably why everything is test-this and test-that. I definitely think tests have their place, but I can also see how sometimes tests get in the way of learning. And sometimes they help learning.

But whatever, the fact is that we tend to motivate ourselves and others by the end result.

That’s definitely motivating, but whatever happened to good old-fashioned pride in the hard work itself? Working hard is a character trait, a character value, something to be immensely proud of.

And when you think of it, that trophy or prize you earn doesn’t give you pride. It represents all your hard work; that’s why it makes you feel good.

So my question is, why should we wait to feel proud of ourselves? Why wait for the end result to feel proud of our hard work and effort? Why not feel proud of ourselves every day, for every bit of work we do? For both the grand goals we make for ourselves and the little ones, like cleaning the living room or vacuuming the carpet?

The same applies to enjoying life. Why wait until the house is perfect to feel happy? Why not feel happy with each piece of dust you pick up? Why not feel happy with each word you type? Why wait until it’s done?

The results only happen in small moments here and there. The majority of our life is made up of the work. So I guess, this year, I want to stop waiting to enjoy life. I want to enjoy work.

Okay, and I kinda want to teach myself to enjoy cleaning. Hah! We’ll see how that works out.

That’s two goals. I’m working on the "idea" ones. I’ll get to the nitty-gritty like No More Sugar! pretty soon. I hope.

What about you? How are your New Year’s Resolutions shaping up?

16 bonus scribbles:

Lorraine_Bartlett 12/27/2007 07:34:00 AM  

You wrote: That’s two goals. I’m working on the "idea" ones. I’ll get to the nitty-gritty like No More Sugar! pretty soon. I hope.

Sugar is better for you than high-fructose corn syrup. You can't get away from the stuff, it's in EVERYTHING. I have a friend who once worked for the corn syrup lobby group in Washington. These are NOT nice people, and they've conspired to get the crap into our entire food system. And they've succeeded!

lainey bancroft 12/27/2007 09:11:00 AM  

Happy Holidays, Spy!

Sounds like you're aiming for the same resolution I put on the top of my list every year, to remember its not just about the destination, but about enjoying every step of the journey.

I still have to work on the rest of my list. Last year I went the anti-resolution route and decided to stop picking on myself. Which brings me to a place this year where I now have an 'anti-wardrobe', as in jeans that laugh at me when I try to zip them! Have to find a healthy middle ground.

ps, did you get my email re: the book content? My mail system has been misbehaving horribly and I got a pile of messages kicked back to me over a week after I sent, so if you think I didn't respond to your question, I apologize! I did. =)

Josephine Damian 12/27/2007 09:31:00 AM  

Great post, Spy! Since I've disbanded my book club, I'm no longer forced to read bad books in their entirety so I'll be able to fulfill my resolve to not waste any more time on bad books.

Of course, I don't know if a book is bad until I start to read it, but I only intend to read as far enough until I know whether or not it's worth my time, which is usually 1-4 pages.

I resolve in 2008 to be more disciplined in finding time to write, and have set up some life-style changes in 2007 like cutting way back on the number of writing/crit groups I belong to and the number of meetings I attend.

Dis-banding my book club was also a big-time saver.

In 2007, I hired a maid to do some of housework - she recently quit - carpal tunnel - and I thought I'd go back to cleaning myself, but realize that'll make it tough to make more time for writing, so now I'm looking for a new girl.

I've marked off writing days on my calendar, and intend to hold them sacrosanct.

Regarding focusing on tasks, I find that listening to Mozart helps my brain focus more on whatever I'm doing - there are actually scientific studies done to prove that this works - it certainly works for me.

I have also resolved to stop eating cookies - they're just empty calories I can no longer afford.

Edie 12/27/2007 09:35:00 AM  

Like Lorraine, I look on labels and try to avoid the high fructose corn syrup stuff. I'm a sweet addict. Thank God we ate all the cookies. I can't resist them.

This hasn't been a NY's resolution, but I'm trying to enjoy every step of my writing. Even synopses, and I'm doing one now. It's something I made up my mind to do about a year or so ago.

Have fun with the enjoying cleaning part. Some things we're not supposed to enjoy, and for me that's one of them.

Erica Orloff 12/27/2007 10:16:00 AM  

Hi Spy:
I am working on mine. One thing I know I want to do is learn/study something entirely new. Just for fun. Like conversational Russian, or maybe a class on astronomy. But now, I am having trouble deciding just what I want to study . . . so . . . working on that. :-)

E

StarvingWriteNow 12/27/2007 10:39:00 AM  

My first goal is keeping my little family together and sane.

My second goal is getting the "chores" done during the week so my weekends are unfettered.

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:37:00 AM  

Lorraine, yeah, I try only to eat sugar or a natural sweetener like honey, stevia leaf, or maple syrup. Down with corn syrup! I rarely touch the stuff. It is in everythiing, though, isn't it?

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:41:00 AM  

Lainey, I'm embarrassed to admit that since I've only been online for about thirty minutes a day, I haven't responded to any of my emails for like a week. I'm so sorry! I read it and appreciated the information, for sure! But I mentally took an email vacation and forgot to tell everyone, LOL. I've been reading blogs, instead!

My jeans have gotten tight, too, after baking these cookies. I gained 5 pounds! I gotta get back on that bandwagon soon.

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:45:00 AM  

It sounds like your book club was a time suck for you, Josephine. I want to read more, a ton more. Some year, I want to read 365 books.

A maid!! I've always wanted to get a cleaning service twice or so a month! That sounds like heaven! What a way to take care of yourself.

I need to stop eating cookies. Boy, do I need to stop eating cookies, too.

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:46:00 AM  

LOL, Edie. I think you might be right about the cleaning thing. Well, I'm gonna give it my best!

I just ate six cookies for breakfast, Edie. LOL. And I'm about to get more. I can't wait until I eat them all so I'll stop eating them!!!

Good luck on your synopsis!

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:54:00 AM  

Erica, that sounds like fun! Wow. I want to do that. You know, I'm so bad at making decisions, that if I had a resolution like that, it would take me a year to decide what to do! So many choices! Hey ... maybe that could be my resolution this year: decide on something new to learn in 2009.

Rosetta Stone used to be like ten dollars a month, and you could learn any language you wanted. Now it's much more expensive, but I loved playing on there!

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:55:00 AM  

Writenow, those are two great goals! I want to keep my family together, too. :-( No more DH going away to work! For me, getting my chores done at all would be a step up!

Barrie 12/27/2007 11:11:00 PM  

You know what I do to help me enjoy cleaning? Anti-bacterial wipes? Windex wipes? Pledge wipes?

Now, about New Year's resolutions: it takes me a while to fine tine them. But I'm playing around with 3 or 4 at the moment.

I like your resolution about enjoying life/the process more. I'm no sure how to measure it though. And I really like to be able to measure my goals. For me, anyway.

spyscribbler 12/27/2007 11:24:00 PM  

That's a great tip, Barrie! I did use those for awhile, but then I stopped cleaning. And the wipes dried out.

But they make it so easy, so I'm going to put them on my next shopping list. Thanks!

I hear you about fine-tuning. I take a couple months.

Measurable goals are the smartest kind, I hear. Hmmm ...

Susan Helene Gottfried 1/04/2008 11:50:00 AM  

You're right. When we focus on the outcome, we miss the cool stuff that's part of the process of getting to the goal. And what happens when the goal changes?

We should be taking pride in the doing, not the outcome.

Happy New Year, babe!! (yes, I'm back!)

spyscribbler 1/05/2008 09:02:00 AM  

Happy New Year, Susan! Erica Orloff was just blogging about goals, or commenting somewhere (forget where), and she compared a goal to clay. (Okay, I think it was her, but I'm not positive.)

I love that analogy. Clay. You can change and re-shape and tweak at will, as you play with it.