Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Read better stuff. Work better. Live better.

Both GetaLifePhD (" How to become more creative, focused, relaxed, and productive") and Fie have recently posted New Year's resolutions, so I'm inspired to do the same. Basically, they're all in the title of this post.

1. Read better stuff. When did reading an actual book turn into a commitment rather than a pleasure? Was it reading for work in grad school?

Somehow, clicking on one more internet listicle news seems to ward off the work of opening a book, when the book makes you feel better, is more informative, and is less likely to result in rage at rampant stupidity, bad facts, and worse grammar.

Some books are work, true, but it's more the commitment of time than anything else that leads to stupid internet reading. "I only have 5 minutes, so let me check the news," I say, but how much better spent that 5 minutes would be if I read something real instead of fake--or something that, if it's real, makes me feel enraged and helpless in the face of the events.

2. Work better. After the big push of a collaborative project in the fall, I haven't done much for the past couple of weeks. It's time to get moving--back to the gym (did so today, so hooray) and back to writing. How is this working better? A new year, a new Moleskine, and a new shot at a 30-day challenge about writing every day, maybe, will help with those January deadlines.

3. Live better.  The simple version of this is pretty basic: move more, eat less, sleep more, fret less. But maybe it's even simpler than that.
  • What makes you happy? 
  • What makes you feel creative?
  • What are you proud of being able to do, even if it's something no one else would care about?
  • Was there some incident or you came through with flying colors? Keep it in your mind as a talisman against worse moods or bad times.  
  • Someone's being a jerk? Take your hands off that man.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Read better stuff. Yes!

I summarized it elsewhere saying: If you contemplate death every day, it's hard to live without despair. If you contemplate rage/outrage every day, it's hard to live without unending anger. I think I'd rather contemplate life and kindness more often than death and outrage. It will make me feel better and have a more positive impact on the world. That's my new year's resolution.

So next time I hear "blah, blah, blah, OUTRAGE," I'm going to try to ward it off by saying quietly to myself, "kindness, kindness, kindness..." until the rage passes. I will try it. No guarantees, but I will try it. And if I'm reading outrage, I'm just going to metaphorically walk away.

Z said...

These are my resolutions and it is interesting to see that actually acting upon them means having a more challenging life at the same time as it does a more relaxing and rewarding one. It is not clear to me why living well should seem difficult and living more stressfully and less satisfactorily should seem the path of less resistance.

undine said...

Fie--your plan sounds good to me. Outrage fatigue is a real thing, and the adrenal system isn't meant to take those endless assaults, or we end up being passive. That's my lunatic vision of physiology, anyway.

Z--I hope I can act on them. You're right that having/meeting challenges can be more rewarding and oddly more relaxing, since if you're facing them, at least there'll be an outcome rather than endless avoidance.

Jenny Lamtio said...

i like the last part, "take your hands off" hahaha