One of the best things about being an adult is ice cream for dinner. Not literally (well, okay, sometimes), but I mean that sense that you can do whatever you want and there’s no one checking up on you.
On the other hand, one of the worst things about being an adult is that you can do whatever you want and there’s no one checking up on you.
There are a lot of things that I want to accomplish this year. (See: New Year’s Resolutions, 2013). Unfortunately there’s also a lot of internet to explore, friends to chat with, articles to read, and thin air to stare into.
I think the missing piece of the puzzle that turns staring (whether it’s into thin air or at Facebook) into actual productivity is accountability. If I don’t have anyone to answer to except myself, then what’s driving me to complete anything?
Here are some things I’ve tried to accomplish in the past: Bicoastal book club. Writing club. Dieting. Here are some things I’ve failed at: Bicoastal book club. Writing club. Dieting.
The problem with a bicoastal book club is that, without the regular meet-ups to talk about what you’ve read, what is forcing you to finish it? And if your book club happens to be made up of other people who aren’t determined to finish – then you might as well quit before you’ve even begun. A good way to assess the commitment of the others in your potential book club is by how long you’re given to finish the book. More than a couple months and I say your club is going to fall apart after two books, tops.
Ditto writing club. It’s all well and good to pick a prompt and off you go, but if you don’t have at least one other person emailing you something at the end of the month and expecting something from you, then you’re doomed. I’ve tried this in the past, and we made it exactly one month.
All I’ll say about dieting is that, without a good plan, someone to support you in it, and some kind of goal, it’s basically impossible.
But there’s hope! I am now in a book club, made up of real-life friends, and we meet up about every 6 weeks and discuss the book that, for the most part, all of us finished. When we started, I didn’t know how long we would last, but we’ve been going strong for over a year.
A couple months ago I started a new writing club. There are four of us, and while I’m not sure of everyone’s commitment, there is at least one other person who seems totally into it. So I’m clinging to that connection and hoping that she motivates me to write something every month.
Which brings me to dieting…which also brings me to Lent. I’m no stranger to Lent – I’ve been giving things up (off and on) since I was a kid. At some point I decided that Lent shouldn’t be about using the church to diet, so I started giving up things to make myself a better person. One year I tried to give up saying bad things about people behind their backs. A few years ago I gave up fighting with Drew. Last year I gave up Facebook.
This year I was thinking about giving up judging people, but when I suggested that, Drew shut it down. Remember, I need support in whatever I do. We finally decided to go with giving up most carbs. I figured this year I’ll be a happier person if I can stick to a diet, so I’m still technically improving myself.
I know it’s only been a couple days, but I already feel more committed, more confident, and pretty good about myself. In an “I can do it!” way, and not in an “Ice cream for dinner!” way, which is a refreshing change.
Lake County Record-Bee, 2/19/13