In my infamous review of 2017 I very succinctly summarised my feelings in a truthful albeit colourful way. It’s a review I stand by, and the sentiment is annoying, as when I looked back on the year it had some very good moments – Performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, discovering DnD, moving job but somehow keeping all the friends from the old one, playing with a large number of dogs, etc – but it also was terrible due to a multitude of reasons ranging from illness to mental health to family issues. Most of all though, I was annoyed at myself because I achieved a grand total of none of my end of year goals. But, I think I know why this happened – I wrote none of them down.
As people are an incredibly poorly designed bunch, we have an amazing capacity for self-deception, matched by only our ingenuity when trying to destroy ourselves. If we don’t have a constant and physical reminder of something our brains are very good at forgetting the most important information – especially if it’s just a list and not in any sort of pattern. That’s why people use visual stimuli to ‘jog’ the memory, such as tying a knot in a handkerchief or tying a bow around a stick. Our brains are very complicated, very sophisticated, and really rather broken – we can remember thousands of hours of memories, names and faces, but can I for the life of me remember why I came into this room, or which of my aunts got me that nice scarf for Christmas? Not for the life of me.
This leakiness of the human brain is why this year I have chosen to write down my objectives, firstly because it helps to constantly remind me of them, but also because a knotted hankie can’t really hold that much information. But now that I know that I am writing them down, what on Earth am I going to aim to achieve? SMART goals work best in business circles, but I might well try to implement them for my ‘resolutions’.
First things first, fitness and weight-loss. It’s a standard and no doubt everyone and their dog are trying to lose weight this year – and for most of them, good on you. If you aren’t happy with your health and body and want to change, do it. If you’re not going to put your health at risk to do so, even better. My goal is to lose 42lbs this year, the whole 3 stone, and then I’ll be back at a place where I am happy with me – maybe not with how I look but I’ll definitely feel happier with what I am. 42lbs an average of the less than 1 a week, easily achievable if I put my mind and body to it.
I am also looking at running every week, at least 3 times, and doing some level of cardio everyday for 30 minutes minimum. This has already taken a punch to the face by the very fact that I just haven’t been doing it – although if I think of it in the amount of money spent in gym subscriptions then I’ve no doubt that I’ll start to take it more seriously, the same with my nightly ‘workouts’ as I’ve started paying for an app that walks you through 7 minute bursts of muscle activity – which is hellish pain but it’s all worth it.
Now, that’s health and fitness covered – now for the mental. I need to start writing more, and with a friend we have decided to meet up every Thursday and get something creative down on paper, working toward our goal of completing another few plays this year together and actually record our pilot – although where we’ll do that I’ve not a clue as I have no idea how that works at all. It’s going to be as painful as the fitness changes too – as I’m going to have to be very harsh on myself in order to get better. My writing isn’t terrible, but it could be better, reading back some of the things that I wrote last year I found a lot of it terribly dull – either lacking in character, humour, and in one example, an semblance of a plot.
By the end of the year I’d like a comedy radio pilot recorded and posted online – where it will no doubt just gather dust and never be heard by anyone, but it’s something that we would have created ourselves, and no one can take that way from us.
I would like to do something with my improv too – which means that I have to really up my game. The troupe I play with are all very quick, and their ideas are so farfetched it just blows me out of the water – so my 5th goal is to improve and ultimately get the opportunity to perform with the Same Faces. This one is the goal I have least control over, but I need to move away from being a game playing improviser to feel more comfortable in more long form formats.
So, there they are. My key goals for 2018 – Lose Weight, improve fitness via running, write more, record the pilot, and improve the improv.
Oh, and be happy. That’s the big one.