Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Resolutions For the New Year

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Total Black: $887.77
Total Red: $230,715.35

It’s a new year.  I’m about to head to the gym, but I decided to post my blog entry for today first.  Got me thinking about resolutions, about the promises the new year brings, and the hope that we’ll fulfill them coupled with the fear that we won’t.  Very few people actually analyze the resolutions they make or examine how they phrase them.  The author of InSide Effects, David Ezell, helped me understand much about our behavior, and his prescient guidance is shining through now as I analyze my goals generally and think about how we achieve them and which are doomed to failure.  His post from last year, Resolve to Make Resolutions Work, still rings true and sums up what I’d say here.  Rather than attempt to rewrite it, I thought I’d just talk a bit about my resolutions and how I’d use his strategy to achieve my own.

In Be It Resolved I posted a few, general resolutions.  But those aren’t really realizable goals, well . . . for the most part they aren’t.  I don’t want to offend the powers that be whom I invoked with that resolution.  But as an example, unimaginable success is not realizable and certainly not something within my immediate control.  Vaguities and generalities are doomed to failure when we speak of goals, and especially resolutions.  Any resolution with the words “more” or “less” or “increase” or “decrease” or “better” are flawed and stillborn once they escape your lips.  Why?  Because they’re immeasurable.  How do you know when you’ve “socialized more” in 2010?  How do you declare mission accomplished when you’ve set out to “eat better”?  After one side of broccoli?  Once you’ve eaten a salad once a week for a month?

Resolutions, like goals, must be precise.  My goals for 2010 are as follows:

  1. Because socializing is important to a healthy frame of mind, and key to positioning ourselves for making new friends and meeting prospective loves, I resolve to go out dancing at least once a month.  It’s good exercise.  I enjoy it.  And once a month is realizable.  If I go more often, even better, but once is something achievable.
  2. I resolve to pay off one credit card by the end of January, a second by the end of February, and one student loan by the end of March.  Many viewers have commented on my lack of a plan.  Others have mentioned that I don’t have specific goals or a laid-out budget.  That’s true.  So I’ve decided to incorporate the goals of this blog into my resolutions.  I’m not determining which credit cards or which loans will be paid off.  That’ll give me flexibility to decide which ones: largest versus smallest balances while still meeting my goal.  If the largest, then more power to me, right?  Smallest, so be it, but I still met my goal.
  3. I resolve and renew my commitment, as promised in my initial blog entry In Medias Res, to post my blog entries each morning.  I didn’t promise in my initial entry to include a narrative, so I’m being lawyerly and reading between the lines here, but I can at least get into the habit of putting up the numbers and filing in the content later.  If I achieve that much, I’ve met my goal.
  4. I resolve to visit the gym at least three times a week.  Now that I’ve canceled cable television and the newspaper subscription, I should have more time to visit the gym.  Moreover, the membership I have allows me to visit any number of gym locations around the city, so whatever jobs I end up with, that’s no excuse.
  5. I resolve to bring at least two meals a week to work from food I made at home.
  6. I resolve to reduce my commercial coffee purchases to only once per day.

I almost wrote for my last resolution that I will reduce my coffee purchases.  But then I realized that I could lawyer myself and find plenty of loopholes in that statement.  So I constrained it by putting in a number.  In effect then what I’ve resolved above to do is eat better, work-out more, spend less, save more, and pay down my debts.  But I phrased each goal as something specific with numbers and limits.

And now I’m off to the gym for the first time this week.  I guess I have to go twice more tomorrow to get three in per week!

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 2, 2010 at 14:01

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