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I think every year starts with promise – and promises.
I could wax philosophical and suggest every day starts with the same, or that it’s all a construct by consensus because time is both relative and meaningless.
But I think we’re all a bit tired of that contrarian perspective. Even after 2020 and its terrible sequel, 2021, a lot of us are tentatively looking toward 2022 with hope for a fresh start.
Our collective consensus of time agreed that at 00:00 between the 31st of December and 1st of January we’ll open our new diaries and write out our promises to ourselves for the year ahead – knowing full-well we’ll lose that book before March, find it again in August, use it for a few days, then sigh at it again in December.
Maybe we’ll fill in a few pages we missed to justify the few bucks we spent on the thing in the first place.
I use my diary as a running to-do list and it’s been invaluable to me in making sure I get day-to-day tasks done. Between my anxiety/depression and ADHD, a lot of things most people do without a second thought fall to the wayside. But not when I carry my little to-do book around with me.
So, what am I promising for the coming year?
For a start, I’d like to follow through with my promises and be more judicious in making them. So often I say I’m going to do a thing – and be entirely resolved to do that thing – then never get around to doing the thing.
Maybe my interest fades as I slip into a phase of ennui. Perhaps I get distracted by ‘OMG new thing!’ and forget all about what I planned/intended/promised/resolved to do. Every so often it’s just a case of life/work getting in the way and, eventually, enough time has passed I simply forget all about it.
Which brings me back to my to-do book! Everything that goes into it is a promise to do a thing, knowing there’ll be the satisfaction of striking it out when it’s done.
But, I do have plans!
Not the ‘get up early and go for a run every day’ sort of plans – much as I’d like to make that committment – but rather the ‘make your life’s dreams into goals and then make them a reality’ sort of plans. I have had some success with starting and maintaining habits in the past – see the above regarding actually keeping a diary/to-do for a year! – but habits in and of themselves aren’t that useful to me unless they’re driven by a goal.
Well, no. I should clarify that. What I mean to say is that I think the reason most habits fail for me is that they tend to lack purpose or a specific direction – aka, a goal. I keep losing interest weeks after getting a gym membership because I haven’t set proper and measurable goals. Losing weight and gaining strength are good goals, but nebulous AF. Likewise, writing is something I always want to want to do but seldom stick with because… well, write what? And why?
I haven’t been good with goals in the past, either. Like deadlines, they kind of whoosh as they pass by and disappear in the dust of ADHD distractibility and/or something else new and maybe easier to accomplish.
Goals hail from the future. Goals are usually something distant and nebulous and therefore easy to put off until they actually appear on the horizon visible to the near-sighted ADHD brain. By then, of course, goals are insurmountable mountains.
And yet, folks with ADHD just want to kick people in the shins when they say ‘well, break up the bigger goal into smaller, more achievable goals’. You know why this doesn’t work? We need to be able to envision the completed goal to be able to break it down into smaller goals, and we can’t bloody do that because it’s still somewhere over the future horizon out of sight.
Best example? Writing a novel. This is my best example because it’s been my unachieved and unachievable goal for most of my life. (I could talk – again – about that PhD effort a few years back, but I don’t want to ruin my day.) The pantsers who like to write on the fly and hope everything comes together between their intuition and genius probably don’t have this problem, but plotters who are trying to thread together a massive project across multiple timelines and many, many characters will know what I mean when I say the whole picture needs to be ‘seen’ before it can be broken down into its various components.
That good ol’ puzzle metaphor applies well, here. The finished picture (the novel) is visible on the box. There are as many ways to complete that puzzle (novel) as there are components in the box, but they will eventually come together to reproduce the picture (or novel). Pantsers don’t have a picture on the box, they just put the pieces together and hope it looks like something when they’re done – pantsers often spend a lot of time in editing, I understand.
I’m a plotter with ADHD, so I can’t see the picture on the box and none of the pieces show any part of the picture on them until I put them together. Does that make sense to any of you neurotypicals out there?
Another example? This entry has become incredibly rambly and tangential because I didn’t give myself a plan for writing it!
Okay, back to the original point. I have some goals, and rather than give more rambling and tangential explanations for each, I’ll just do a list to get this entry over with before 2023.
- Crochet one blanket a month.
- Design one crochet blanket pattern a month.
- Write 5,000 words a month toward The Glimmering.
- Publish an episode of The Glimmering once a month (or at least TRY!) – this goal will need a month or three head start
- Some Glimmering specific goals that will be set and shared with my Champion level members only.
- Some sort of ‘art’ once a month.
- Read/listen to at least one novel a month (I haven’t read a book since before Covid-19 was a thing!)
- Borrowed from Becky, the Urban Hedge Lady, ‘be more witchy’. At least once a week, draw cards and runes, and cast intentions for the week ahead. Journal about the results.
- Repot a plant a week from my indoor jungle until everyone finally has a home. (I’ve been collecting plants for well over a year and a half now and most everything is still in the original ugly pots!) Related: no more ferns!
- Weekly review of expenses.
- Ensure all these goals are noted in ways and places that ensure I meet and achieve them!
Basically, I’m going to work with goals month by month, and see if I can work within that future timeframe. I may not be able to break down a major project that’s likely to span a year or so into easy-to-do sub-goals, but I may be able to break monthly goals into weekly or daily to-dos.
Wish me luck!