Week 01 – Climb a Tree

The first task has been randomly selected, using the random integer generator at random.org:

2012-12-31

And resolution 02 is … climb a tree!

So why did I put this resolution in the list? Well, the astute amongst you will already know that this is from the “remembering my past” section, which should give you a clue. Back when I was a child, I spent many a day climbing in the trees in my parent’s back garden. The target tree in question invariably depended on how old/tall I was at the time, but from what I can recollect it was the small apple tree behind the shed initially, then the huge cooking apple tree in the middle of the lawn for many years (with thanks to the rope ladder my parents gifted me one birthday/Christmas), followed by the very tall pear tree in the middle of the gooseberry patch at the far end of the garden during my teenage years.

I’ll always remember the “treehouses” we tried to build in up them (usually just a collection of small bamboo poles and a few blankets), and the time we hauled an old TV antenna up into the pear tree and hooked a homemade/kit crystal radio to it in order to try to listen to signals more clearly. However, the memories are all that’s left now, as the small apple and tall pear trees were both cut down during a redevelopment over a decade ago, and the large cooking apple tree was chopped down a few years back, so I’ll never be able to repeat those endeavours.

Therefore, the aim of this resolution is to try to relive a brief moment from my past, and to do something that I’m far too sensible & grown up for now. There is one slight snag to this plan – where I’m currently living is predominately palm trees (FYI the trunks of which are actually just very tall stalks, not real tree trunks), with most only having being planted in the last few decades, so my first challenge will just be to find a big established “real” tree for climbing. I shall have to keep my eyes open on my travels around the area… Then, once I’ve identified the right candidate, I’ll have the main challenge of the climb itself. Should be fun!

Oh, and one last thing – I shall prove that I’ve met the resolution by taking a photo from up in the branches, so I can’t just pretend to have done it! :)

Finalising the List

After much thought and general head-scratching, I’ve finally settled on my list of resolutions. There are two things that’ll grab your attention as soon as you see it (well, three if you count the geeky way I’ve padded the 1-9 tasks with leading zeroes!):

  1. The resolutions have been grouped into categories.
  2. There are 57 of them!

The first should be fairly self-explanatory, as it makes reading the list much easier, plus it proves I’ve spread things out over the entire spectrum. As for the excessive number of them, I’m not (deliberately) honouring Heinz :) In fact, the extra tasks on the list allow for two things – it ensures that even in the closing weeks of the year I won’t know ahead of time what the final resolutions will be, and also it gives me a little wiggle room should a chosen task not be possible for whatever reason. However, since there are only 5 extras, I can’t abuse this padding in order to cherry pick the easy/”good” ones!

And so, the die is finally cast! The only thing holding me back now is the clock…

Setting the Schedule

It’s all well and good just saying ‘one per week’, but what are the mechanics around how that works? In other words, what’s the schedule, and how will I make sure I stick with it?

The new year starts on a Tuesday, so that would be the literal choice of when to start things, but mid-week doesn’t make for a natural/memorable rotation point. Therefore, I shall instead every Monday morning randomly select a number and post about the corresponding task. Once the resolution has been met -or at the end of Sunday, whichever is sooner – I shall post a followup regarding how it went. Oh, and the observant amongst you will note that this means that the first resolution will actually start on the last day of 2012, but that’s part of the fun :)

As for how the resolutions will be enforced? Well, there are three options – rely on my own willpower, getting someone I know to chide/harangue me, or publicise this blog to the world and be accountable to the readers. Since none of them are reliable on their own (especially the willpower one!), I shall attempt to utilise all three – at least to some extent – in order to increase my likelihood of overall success.

Now I just need to finalise the list, and then we’ll be all set for Monday morning…

Building the List

In order to start this plan of 52 resolutions in 2013, I just need one thing – a list! But how should I come up with the list? And what sort of things should be on it? Good questions indeed…

The simplest thing here is to not reinvent the wheel, as the BecauseISaidIWould site conveniently lists the 52 that they’re using, which makes for both an excellent template and a source of ideas to “borrow” from. A few minutes of copy/paste and pondering relevance leaves me with 26 ideas from that list, and (completely coincidentally) 26 spaces to fill. Time to really start thinking!

So what shall be my criteria for inclusion on my list? The task obviously has to be something that can be completed within just one week, so no ‘become fluent in Albanian’ or ‘climb Mt Everest’-like ideas, and fit in with my work & social lives fairly easily (not to mention my finances!). However, on the flipside, the task still has to be at least slightly challenging, so no routine things likeĀ  ‘wash the dishes’ or ‘cook a pizza’ either.

The other thing about each task is that it should have some benefit, either to myself, or to others. I want to use these resolutions to try to improve my life and that of those around me, albeit perhaps in just small little ways, but I want to avoid the complacency of just doing nothing new or good.

Want the TL;DR version? OK, here’s a summary of my criteria:

  • Small enough to complete in a week (so either one weekend day or a few minutes per day across the entire week)
  • Must benefit either myself, or others (directly or indirectly) in some way
  • Outside of my normal routine

Time to put my thinking cap on!

New Year’s Resolutions

What is the one thing about New Year’s Resolutions that make them so hard to keep? In my opinion, it’s the monotonous effort of the same thing day in day out for weeks on end. Due to the drudgery of these endeavours, we eventually get tempted to cheat, skip a day, or just forget, and thus the resolution breaks down into another failed effort.

So what can be done? Well, in my travels around the web, I recently found the BecauseISaidIWould site, with the idea of doing one promise (or resolution) per week. This concept resonated with me, and thus the idea for this 52 Resolutions site was born.

My aim in the coming weeks of 2013 is to do just one simple thing per week, (somewhat) randomly chosen, in order to both prevent procrastination and actually achieve something worthwhile with the year. After all, just one thing a week should be easy enough!

Wish me luck…