Personally though, I won't be resolving to do anything. I made no resolutions last year and somehow, probably primarily through momentum and stubbornness, got pretty much everything I needed to get done in 2012 finished. Minus this lit review chapter that is making me ornery at the moment, I had 2012 under control. And somehow, not a single resolution was made. Why? Because at some point I stopped caring about the specifics of what happens in my life. That might sound like bad news, but I promise it's not. As long as I'm doing my best and things are moving in a general forward direction, then quite frankly my dear, I don't give a fuck.
No goals, no masters
Honestly, I think I can credit a lot of the things I have accomplished to the fact that I have no resolutions, no bucket list, no 30 before 30. To do lists yes, but not overarching goals. And you know, don't get me wrong, I'm probably the least spontaneous person you will ever meet. The point is though that if you meet every task that comes across your door/desk/email as something important that requires your best, then you will do brilliantly. Further, there's no regret when you don't get a specific goal accomplished. It makes you flexible and resilient.
The things you get done? Excellent! The things you don't? What things, I never heard of any things...?
Case in point. Applying to doctoral programs was never a specific goal of mine. I applied when I did because my GRE scores were going to expire and I didn't feel like taking them again. I also didn't really have a school I favored over any others. Somehow that worked out. No regrets. I came into this not really knowing what I wanted to do study, but I figured it out. I just worked hard, at everything, and I'm on track to being done in four years. And sure, getting it shape would be awesome and I have things that I specifically think would be helpful, but I don't have a set date that is has to happen by. I don't have a target weight. I don't even own a scale.
If you just try, you'll get things done. The things that need doing. I don't need to make a resolution to tell me to find a job by spring. I don't need a resolution to learn how to drive, it'll happen. And if I need to drive for a job, it will happen sooner rather than later. Besides, if you really want to do something, you will, resolution or no. Don't we have enough externally arising obligations in our lives without inventing new ones for ourselves?
Life is not a program
Somehow program evaluation principles made into the self help literature and now we're all supposed to set goals that are, wait for it... SMART. Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Time-phased. These principles were designed for programs though. Here's a link to a CDC handout on setting SMART objectives for your program. So if you have a program to encourage smoking cessation among teenagers you need to decide what the goals are (who will stop smoking, how many will stop smoking, what counts as cessation, by when will they do it). This makes sense right? If you want to know if the program is working you need to have a metric to measure it by. And here's an old post mentioning SMART by the indomitable Gala Darling if you don't believe me.
Screw that though. I want my life to be intangible, aspirational, and unscheduled. I mean, what do you do if you fail to meet your SMART goal? Fire yourself? Cut your funding? It just doesn't, and I would argue shouldn't, apply to lives. It's such an inorganic constraint on things.
This isn't an excuse to be a slacker though. If anything it's the opposite. You're relying on yourself to maintain some kind of general standard to ensure that you, as Bill and Ted would say, have an excellent year. So yeah, get off your butt, start something, work harder, do more, but leave it open ended.
Just go with it
So I'll take whatever 2013 throws at me. Follow through on what I started and see where it takes me. Do my best at all endeavors that I feel like doing. And set absolutely no specific predetermined goals for what I will or will not do in 2013. And look, I wrote a long ornery post about not setting resolutions after all!
In conclusion, may you all have an excellent new year's eve and 2013.