Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I used to be a person who resisted the notion of New Year's Resolutions. "Life should be about continuous improvement," I'd say to myself. "Make goals when you recognize the need or desire to do so, not arbitrarily, just because it's a New Year." While I still believe this, I've found that personally, that was just justification, and I wasn't making goals continuously. So, I've embraced the concept of New Year's resolutions, at least until such point as I don't need them because I have managed to cultivate a kaizen lifestyle. Don't hold your breath.

So, last night, Sunday night, which was the last gasp before we all had to go back to work and school after our holiday, our family all sat down and made some goals. I won't share with you the family goals that we set, or the couple goals that my wife and I came up with on our own after the kids went to bed, but I had been thinking for a few weeks about some personal goals, which I might yet share here, and when I checked the Paizo blog, they also talked about the concept of gaming goals or resolutions. I thought that sounded fun, so I made some there too, although they're much more frivolous than my personal goals. I'll check in once a quarter or so and report on how I'm doing with these goals here on the blog, just for the heck of it. Besides, the lack of any kind of meaningful self-audit is probably the biggest reason for failed goals anyway.

Personal Goals
  • During the half-hour 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM is rigidly set aside for the kids as "reading time" when they can read what they want to... but read they must. I've often squandered this time myself, but my goal for the new year is to study my set of Scriptures during this half-hour. I'm currently reading the New Testament, which I'm also teaching to a class of teenagers at church, so it's appropriate and timely. Plus, good example for the kids of spending time in productive activities.
  • No snacks or drinks during the workday. This will not only improve my caloric intake, but will also help in our family goal of keeping a tighter, more thrifty financial ship this year, since that's the majority of my contribution to the budget revisions that we need to make on the fly.
  • Write at least three times a week and at least 3,000 words a week. My whole life I've wanted to write a novel, and I've had several fitful and abortive attempts recently to put one together. In the middle of last year, a drastic revision and re-imagining of my setting due to my disillusionment with the direction I was headed caused me to throw out 20-30,000 words and a plot outline that I'd been revising and tinkering with for quite some time. I've now got somewhere around 15,000-20,000 words in a new draft put together, but my progress has been fitful and sporadic. Frankly, I've got too many other temptations for how to spend my free time in the evenings--books to read, movies to watch, TV to watch, video games to play--to say nothing of the other things that are not just my own personal free time: Friday night date-night with my wife, football games and other activities for my kids, etc. This just needs to be made a priority. I don't necessarily have a wordcount target (other than that I'd like to end up with a novel of publishable size when I'm done, or I've kind of wasted my time with it) but with those two minimums, I should be able to finish a draft sometime this year.
  • Improve my patience and don't lose my temper at home. Simple enough. Difficult to do for one with a bad habit of getting snarky at the first hint of frustration or annoyance.
  • Walk/hike at least three times a week; stairs in the winter and outside in the spring. To get ready for my trip to Glacier National Park with my daughter in June.

After listing these, I came up with some gaming related goals too:

  • Maintain participation level in my current Rise of the Runelords campaign. This will actually be easier for the next several months, but as the kids' schedules explode in the summer and fall, it will be difficult. I want to make sure that this is sufficient priority that I'm still hitting 75% or more of the sessions with our group.
  • Improve content offerings on both this blog and my wikis--complete the houserules documents, and the Dungeoncraft and Yog-Sothothery series of posts. Well, Yog-Sothothery is an open-ended format, I don't suppose it'll ever be complete in so many words... but complete enough of it that I can feel comfortable calling it a complete set of posts rather than merely yet another abortive series that I was excited about when I started, but which faded away ignominously as interest waned.
  • Run a Dark•Heritage campaign. Find a secondary group to run it with, if necessary. Hoo-boy. That one's going to be a stretch. First off, our current campaign, at the rate we're completing it, is not going to end in 2011 with my current group, which I enjoy a lot. And while I'm often thought it would be fun to have a second group on the side that I could run whatever I wanted to run without worrying about what all the rest of the group was interested in, the truth is, I have trouble finding as much time as I'd like for one group, let alone two. But at the same time, I've been frustrated that this setting I've been tinkering with for so long is really just a theoretical exercise. The last time I ran, I didn't use this setting, and in the meantime, we've had three or possibly even four campaigns that other guys in the group have run. While it's one of the great things about our group, that almost every member of it is as much a GM at heart as a player, it also means that us GMs don't get to run nearly as often as we'd like, too.

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