2014.

It’s the last day of 2013 (it’s already January 1 in some parts of the world).

I wanted to write a review of just how I’m going to go about making resolutions this year and some meditations on my 2013 (more than I did in here).

Resolutions/goals/actually getting something done and not quitting in mid Januray

There are a number of ways to review a year and to look forward to the next one. Everyone has their favorite method of doing so. My suggestion would be to do one at least and not to make explicit resolutions unless they’re very specific, measurable and actionable. Perhaps words to focus on— like ‘generosity’ or ‘plants’ or ‘genomes’ or ‘bite my shiny metal ass’ (if you’re going for an all new in-your-face attitude this year). If you’re trying to change a habit, remember Charles Duhigg’s cue-routine-reward habit loop to help with changing a habit or adopting a new one. Also, focus on one at a time and by no means limit yourself to trying new things to just because a new year is beginning. Maybe schedule something for once per month to focus on, but doing everything at once doesn’t really work. One trick is to schedule a calendar alert for yourself to remind you of what you need to be focusing on or remembering to record about your goals for the year.

For me in 2014

The overarching thing for me is getting back to connection with people, it’s kind of a lacking thing for me still (I don’t feel I do it well, anyway, outside of a few very close friends). I feel like I’ve put a lot of conditionals on connecting with some people as in— I’ll open up to person x again when x happens in my life even though x shows no sign of happening. Or ‘I’ll do x when I’m x’. Nope. Can’t do that really anymore; we only get one go round in life so my new thing is do it now (or as Tig Notaro puts it— “How about now, how about right now?” I am still not sure how to punctuate those two lines. Periods? Questions marks? Exclamation points? One period, one question mark? No matter, it’s pretty great).

Of 7 Billion people on the planet, I won’t connect with them all, some will not like me whatsoever and others are in far-away places I am unlikely to find myself in, but there are people to network with, date, make friends with and help with whatever they’re doing if I can. I love ‘The Simpsons’ and part of the reason why is that Homer is someone who just does things without thinking (I am a lot more like Lisa— always questioning, but I do obey the laws of thermodynamics). I referenced Bender from ‘Futurama’ above and again, he’s another character that just does things for himself without much thought and clearly loves himself first and foremost. Of course, both are literally cartoon characters that are extreme in one way or another; but as I’ve said for years, I could stand to be more like both of them.

So where do I go from here? Last year, I had my list of words: Do, write, finish, Decide, Good enough (my lock screen on my phone all year). I may try that again. I did do more of the things on that list this year, though still not enough in my opinion. Do I need a new list? That’s a pretty good one. Maybe I’ll put them in a different order? Or I may focus on less. I might just shorten it to one word “Enough”. Maybe “learn” because I have a feeling this year (as any year, but this more than most) will require that. And possibly “Go Big” because I am sick of staying in the shadows. Still an introvert, but that would just mean I am less shy. And maybe “Try new things” (because what you’ve been doing does not work that well). I would also like to have better metrics to know how I’m doing, so I will have to come up with those because I’m not sure what they will be. I will put an alert on my calendar to remind me to review myself each month.

I want to have more connection in life because that is what matters. As social animals, people are important; really important. As someone who spends a lot of time by myself and connecting via computer I can say that it does not do good things for my brain or my productivity because I have to fill my lonely moments with something less quality that often takes more time. I do appreciate connecting via the internets and the people on there (hello tweeple!), but it is not the same. Loneliness and isolation are not good for humans (as I’ve said before and science keeps saying); even that Buddhist monk who’s off by himself in the mountains meditating because in his mind, he’s one with the whole universe (note to self: meditate more). I know everyone experiences these things from time to time— even married people which is a little baffling on the surface, but we are all stuck in our own heads in some way and still fear in some space that no one understands thing xyz about us. It may just mean that you have an easier time getting past the lonely feelings because that person is there hopefully more often than not and can really listen.

There you have it, my meditation on 2014. I hope to report I’ve launched Ian 3.0 by this time next year. Let’s get started.

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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