The Delivery

“He’s coming!” Tara screamed from the backseat. The grunting that followed seemed to indicate that she wasn’t just messing with me. Well, I knew that already. Labor doesn’t leave a lot of mental capacity to mess with others.

“Ok, I need you to lift your chin and breath through your nose when you feel the urge to push. I’m parking the car now.” I said in a firm tone. I turned on the blinker and got in the right lane. We were only a half mile from the next exit. I really wanted to get off the freeway. The frontage road wasn’t the ideal place for a delivery but it was better than the shoulder of the freeway.

She grunted some more and moaned while I approached the exit ramp. Then she was taking quick shallow breaths. “Hurry!” She grunted out.

She began moaning again as I pulled into the shoulder of the frontage road. I put on my emergency lights and called the hospital.

Someone answered as I got out of the car.

“Hello, how ca-“

“My wife is delivering her baby right now and I’m in my car. Guide me.”

“Ok sir, I need you to pull over.”

I opened her door and climbed into he back seat. “Done. I’m in the back seat and…” I looked between Tara’s legs, “I can see the baby’s head. He’s crowning.”

“Ok sir, I need you to be prepared to catch the baby. Do you have towels or something soft to catch the baby with?”

I reached to the floor and tried to find the towels I’d planned to pack.

“Gah, I think I forgot them.”

“That’s ok sir, perhaps a shirt?”

I pulled off my shirt and held it in my hand. I put the phone on speaker and set it on the seat.

“Ok, I’m ready with the shirt.”

Tara started grunting again. I saw the baby’s head emerge a little more.

“That’s great honey,” I said. “I’m ready so push. I can see his head! I’m ready!”

Her grunting got louder and the baby’s head fully emerged. I held the shirt in my arms just under his head.

“His head is out!” I called to the phone.

The nurse’s calm voice answered. “Ok, now she needs to push again so his whole body can emerge.”

“Ok, honey,” I said to Tara, “This is it. One more big push.”

Tara clenched her teeth, her knuckles white as she held her knees and grunted again. The baby’s shoulders emerged. I grabbed him and held him as he came fully out.

“He’s out!” I said with a crack in my voice.

“Wonderful!” The nurse replied. “Wipe his face and make sure his airways are clear. Then place him on Mama’s bare chest.”

I used my shirt to wipe his face. I looked at his beautiful face. A little more blue than I’d like, but it was my son either way.

“No crying yet.” I said.

I waited a second longer. “Shouldn’t he be crying?”

“Sir, I need you to rub his back vigorously or pat his feet.” I rubbed his back and patted it.

He coughed. That was a relief! Then I heard that beautiful sound. My son’s first cry.

While I had helped the baby, Tara had pulled her shirt off. She reached out her arms and said, “Let me hold my baby.”

I handed the baby to her and she laid him between her breasts. He nuzzled there and I laid my shirt over both of them. The wet streaks down Tara’s cheeks matched my own.

Why we should strive to fail

If failure is never an option, we’ll never reach the heights we are capable of.

As the end of law school approached, a friend invited me to join him on a hike to the top of Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana. It’s 12,807 ft. up. The last serious hike I had been on was a 50-mile backpack trip in Yosemite National Park in 8 years earlier.

The time for the hike arrived. We drove up to the foot of a small dam. We climbed up a few small switch-backs to walk around the lake behind the dam. Then we started the real ascent. It miles of switchbacks. We climbed thousands of feet.

At the top we arrived at a plateau. This plateau stretched to the foot of the peak. On the map, the plateau was mostly flat, so we figured it would be relatively easy. The hard part was behind us!

Turns out the plateau wasn’t a field. It was miles of rocks and boulders. We had to hop from rock to rock. With packs. For miles. And the sun was low in the sky.

By the time we arrived at the base of the peak, I was soaked in sweat and the sun was going down. At 12,000 feet, in the dark, it gets cold fast. I started shivering uncontrollably. I recognized the early symptoms of hypothermia and we quickly set up a tent, I changed, and we had a warm meal. We slept, hoping to feel better in the morning so we could climb to the peak.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much better in the morning. The climb to the summit required some rock-climbing and I was not confident that I could handle it. We didn’t want to wait, either. There were clouds and we were worried a storm could begin. Being above the treeline in a storm isn’t a pleasant experience.

So, I backed out. My friend was not happy. He told me, “When I set a goal, I accomplish it.” I told him I wasn’t going to risk my life to summit the peak. Disappointed, we turned around and began the long trek back to the car.

Setting Goals

I’ve often reflect on this experience when setting goals. The way I see it, there are two approaches to setting goals: non-negotiable and stretch.

Non-Negotiable Goals

This same friend sets non-negotiable goals. He currently works for an airline and a year or two ago, set a goal to go on a certain number of flights that year. On New Year’s Eve he was a flight or two short, so he went to the airport (he lives really close) and jumped on a short flight. He never left the airport at his destination, just jumped off one plane and onto another, and welcomed the new year in the air, having met his goal.

There’s a trick to accomplishing non-negotiable goals. Some people use the acronym SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. I’d argue attainable and realistic are similar enough in practice to be redundant, but removing one would ruin the acronym. This can be an effective goal-setting strategy. Carefully set goals, make plans to achieve them, and you can feel proud when you check them off at the end of the week, month, year, or whatever time period.

There re obvious benefits to non-negotiable oals. If I had made reaching the top of Granite Peak a non-negotiable goal, I would have taken more steps to achieve it. I would done more to prepare so that the goal would be more realistic and attainable. Mostly actually physically trained, rather than just studying and whatever else I was doing at the time.

Stretch Goals

Regardless, at the end of that hike, I felt pretty good. Just getting to the plateau was a greater accomplishment physically than anything I’d done in 8 years. I never would have gotten there if I hadn’t set the goal to make it to the summit of Granite Peak. It was a stretch goal.

Stretch goals differ from non-negotiable in one main way: the psychological impact of failing to achieve it. The point is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If we look at the SMART strategy again, stretch goals probably fudge on the attainable-realistic portion. A good stretch goal will still have the other aspects, though.

Which Type of Goal is Better?

Not having any sort of expertise in this, I can only speak for myself: I prefer stretch goals. I like the added flexibility of knowing that I don’t have to achieve the goal. But I will strive for it and do more than I did otherwise.

My wife hates this. She, like my Granite Peak friend, achieves the goals she sets. She often tells me, if you’re not going to do it, why set the goal?

There are two potential drawbacks to the non-negotiable approach. The first is that we might not push ourselves to do more than we feel capable of. We underestimate what is attainable and realistic, so we set mild goals just to check off the box.

The second problem, and this is the trap I’ve fallen into the last few years, is that the non-negotiable approach can lead to discouragement. I often fail to achieve my goals. Now, this has a lot to do with how I set them. I overestimate what is attainable, I mis-estimate the time it takes to accomplish things, I fail to make the goal specific enough. Whatever the reason, as I pushed myself into the non-negotiable approach, I began to get discouraged and largely stopped setting goals for a time.

Obviously, even if the stretch approach is inferior in every way to the non-negotiable approach, either one is better than no approach. Living life without a goal is a good way to end up as a leaf tossed on the wind.

These goal updates are evidence that I’m trying to turn over a new leaf.

So, on that note:

Goal Update

My tracking took a hit this week. No, that makes it sound like I didn’t have a choice. I failed at tracking this week. So I don’t have a clear picture on how I did.

Did that long intro serve as a justification for this failure?


So I suppose the number one goal this week is to track better.

Write daily for 30 minutes. 

I did write most days. But my problem remains not having a plan. So, here’s the plan:

  • Plan what to write each day. I often procrastinate writing because I don’t know what to focus on.
  • Require myself to write in the morning. This will help me get it done earlier so there’s less chance of missing a day.

Habit resolution: Stop eating between meals.

Didn’t do a great job. Snacked a few times during the week. Turns out I’m pretty bad at controlling myself when the fridge is right there all day long. Weigh about the same as I did as of last post, so at least that’s not backward progress. Of course, weight also is impacted heavily by what I eat at mealtime, but one thing at a time.

Project resolution: Have the desk put together.

I have a shopping list and a cut list! Now I just need to get to the store and buy the materials. Slow progress, but it is progress.


Prompt: When his daughter was born the oracle told the evil ruler that his grandson would one day kill him. But instead of trying to prevent the prophecy the ruler decides to be the best parent and grandparent, giving his grandson no motivation to fulfill the prophecy.

“Your daughter, born after the city’s slaughter, will give birth to a son, by whom you will be undone.”

I laughed and was a little surprised when the oracle didn’t flinch.

“You’re kidding, right?” I said. “That rhyme is terrible.” I looked over at Raquel, my queen, who sat in the throne beside me.

She looked ravishing in her red dress. It was hard to believe she’d given birth just a few weeks ago. The jewels in her crown, won by the conquest of the city of Larrakesh, sparkled as she turned her head toward me. She gestured toward the oracle, who stood beside the greatest jewel from that campaign – our daughter, Adira, conceived as we celebrated the victory over the barbarians who lived across the sea.

“He’s never been wrong before.” She said with a shrug.

I stared at the oracle. “You truly foretell the future?” I eventually asked.

“Having eyes, you cannot see; you plan for futures that cannot be.” the man said. He lifted his bowed head, showing me his empty eye-sockets. . “Though I am blind, my visions bind; your future I do not make, but these sights I do not fake.”

“Okay,” I said. I waved my hand to the royal guard. “I think we’ve heard enough. Take him away.” I stood and walked over to the banquet table. I grabbed a goblet and began to drink. I turned to comment to the queen and saw the guards still standing there with the oracle. I raised my eyebrows. “Well?”

One of the guards cleared his throat. “Your majesty, where would you like us to take him to?”

“The dungeon, the chopping block. I don’t care! Just out of my sight. Forever! I never want to hear a bad rhyme again!”

“Yes, sir,” the guard said, bowing. He and his companion grabbed the oracle’s arms and began walking toward the door.

“Wait!” The queen’s voice stopped the guards in their tracks. “Oracle, what does it mean that your lord will be undone by his grandson?”

The oracle turned his sightless gaze toward me, rather than her. “For his duty to fulfill, the realm’s ruler he must kill.”

I narrowed my eyes. The queen went a little more pale. “And is there any way to avoid this prophecy?”

Continuing to look at me, the oracle said, “I can only state what is handed out by fate. Always in the past have my visions held on fast. I have never been shown a path to avoid God’s terrible wrath.”

“God’s wrath? Do you think I fear that?” I set down the goblet and looked around the room. The courtiers were whispering and giving each other nervous looks. I walked toward the oracle and pulled out my sword. “I will have you know, oracle, that my daughter will love me.”

As I approached, I swung my arm back, then plunged the sword into the man’s guts. “I will be the doting father. And her children will only have reason to revere me.”

I twisted the sword and the man cried out in pain. I pulled out my sword and turned my back on him, wiping my sword with the cloth that a servant brought to me.

“Though my body you…may…kill, see me again…you will.” The man breathed out, just loud enough for me to hear. I continued to walk toward my throne.

“Clean up that mess.” I ordered.

“Garosh! What have you done?” Raquel stood and cried out.

“He was a terrible poet. And if I ever do see him again, he will eat his words. My grandson will love me more than life itself.”


Adira and I sat at the table, playing an intriguing game of chess. After I took her bishop I chuckled.

“Why do you laugh, father?”

“Because you do not see the mistake you just made,” I replied.

She frowned, considering the pieces. Then she moved her rook, threatening both my queen and checking the king. I was able to take the rook and would sacrifice the queen, but a couple moves later it would be checkmate.

“You sacrifice so many pieces, father. Does it ever make you sad?” she asked. Her sweet 16-year-old face looked contemplative. She moved her piece, placing me in check again.

“Sad? Why? They are tools to achieve victory. When they are sacrificed, they are fulfilling their purpose – to serve their king.” I took the piece, but sacrificed my rook this time.

“Yes, but what is a king without any subjects left?” She moved another piece, threatening me with checkmate in the next move, but also falling into my trap. I made the final move and placed her in checkmate.

“What is a king without a crown? If he does not maintain power – with force when necessary – then the kingdom will collapse into anarchy. If the people have no king to serve, then what joy is there for any of us?”

She looked at me. “Is that why you allowed King Zhollan to rebel? To show your strength and ability to checkmate everyone else?”

I nodded slowly. “Very perceptive. Yes, I probably could have done something to stop his rebellion. I could have given a little in his trade negotiations. But in allowingn the rebellion to occur – and now crushing it without prejudice – I am showing the realm what happens to traitors.”

“Even traitors who simply wish to have enough to feed their families?”

“King Zhollan is wealthy enough.”

“But what of his people?”

“Ah, Adira, it’s your birthday! Let’s turn out minds to more celebratory matters!

“No, father, this is what I want to discuss.”

“Not the surprise I brought you from the front?”

“The gift I want is peace for those soldiers. I want those farmers to be able to work the fields so that Zhollan’s people don’t starve in the coming winter.”

“Do not speak to me like that, young lady!” I said, standing up. I didn’t raise my voice. That was part of the commitment I’d made to myself all those years ago.

“I hate you!” my daughter, Adira, yelled and stalked from the throne room. She practically knocked over my chancellor as she stormed through the door.

I took several deep breaths and had to focus on unclenching my fist one finger at a time. It had been all I could do to keep my hand from going straight to my sword.

My chancellor approached, one eyebrow raised. “Sire, perhaps this is a bad time?”

“No, no,” I said, waving my fully unclenched hand to beckon him forward. “How is our army doing?”

“That’s an interesting question, sire.” He came to the throne and knelt. I waved him up and he walked to the table beside the throne to roll out a map.

“Lord Faulkner has been holding back the rebel king’s army quite effectively. But my spies say that he is questioning – more openly than usual – why you are not on the battlefield with him.”

I looked at the map as he pointed to the marks indicating our forces and those of the rebellious King Zhollan. They had them bottled up against the mountains. I thought of how I could crush them. But it was my duaghter’s 16th birthday. I needed to be here. It was important that I be present for the big events in her life. She needed to know that I loved her.

I’d even brought her an Eastern tiger. Her mother wasn’t happy with that. Said it was dangerous. I thought it was the perfet gift for my fierce daughter. And she loved it. She cared for it like any pet, as a proper emperor’s daughter would do.

“Lord Faulkner will do fine. Crush the king’s forces. Make him pay and regret that he ever stood up to the empire. Force them to surrender, then crucify the survivors.”

“All of them?”

I thought of Adira and her wish. I sighed. “No, just the leaders. Send the soldiers back out to the fields to grow food for the families.”

My chancellor looked up and watched my face for a time. “You wish to…show mercy?” he asked.

If I kill all of them, then what will be left of the empire? I thought to myself. But I just looked at Valorian and said, “Be sure the leaders are crucified near the highways. I want those people to remember the price of rebellion.”

“Yes, sire, I’ll send the messages out tonight.” He gathered his notes and departed.

I sat on my throne and leaned back. What was fatherhood doing to me?


“Sire, the food riots in the West Country-“

“Send them food from our stores.”

Valorian raised an eyebrow, “Just give it to them?”

“No, sell it to them, but for at a reduced rate. After paying for the distribution, use the remaining money to support the farmers whose crops have failed.”

Valorian thought for a moment. “As you say, my Lord.”

Gershon walked into the room as the chancellor left, Valorian bowing slightly as he passed my grandson. My grandson nodded back.

“What did you learn from eavesdropping?” I asked, my hands behind my back.

Gershon walked to the fire and said, “That what the people say is not true. You are not a monster. You are reaching out to save those people, even if it means we will have to ration our food.”

I nodded, “And?”

“The people will not become dependent on your planning. You are helping them to stay afloat in a crisis, but are not permanently propping them up.”

I nodded again.


“Yes, Gershon?” I watched the flickering light cast changing shadows across his face.

“I…” He clenched and unclenched his hand, then looked down at it. I waited, hands behind my back, watching his face.

He blew out his breath, then spoke in a rush, “There is a prophecy that I will kill you. They say that you are an evil ruler, who committed atrocities. That I am destined to free the kings from the scourge of your rule. But…I don’t see it, grandfather. You are not evil.”

He paused and shook his head, then he turned to me, “At least, not now. But what about in the past, before my mother was born?”

It was my turn to stare into the fire. “I was a different man, then. I believed that to rule, I must rule with an iron fist. The only way the people would be shaped into a useful tool was through fire and hammer blows.”

“Do you not believe that anymore?”

I looked into his face and said, “No. Your mother taught me to care for her. You taught me that people are more than tools. I learned something as your grandparent that no campaign or trial ever did – what it means to have a heart.”

I placed my hands on his shoulders, “Gershon, I love you. I love you and your mother. I have striven to be the best father and grandfather I could possibly be. At first, it was about proving the oracle wrong. But over time…I learned what love truly is.” I pulled Gershon in for a hug. He wrapped his arms around me and then I felt a sharp pain in my back.

“And that is your weakness, grandfather. You have become soft and the empire is crumbling as a result. You simply let King Faulkner go when he declared independence. With the precedent, another half dozen kings and lords are plotting to leave the empire.” He pulled his arm from my back, then I felt another sharp pain.

“Your soft heart will result in the collapse of the most powerful realm ever known. We must maintain the empire.” I pushed away and pulled out my sword, but it was too late. I could feel the blood pouring out, my limbs weakening. I lifted the sword up, but could only hold it for a moment. I soon dropped to my knees and looked at my grandson.

“By you, my grandson, I have truly been undone.”

Goal Update

  1. Write daily for 30 minutes. For the first time this year, I missed a day. And not just one. I missed three. Gah! Frustrating and sad. I was doing so well! But I missed it because I’m not planning when to write ahead of time and I didn’t write before doing other things. And I decided to stop staying up late writing.
  2. Habit resolution: Stop eating between meals. Did pretty well. If it weren’t for girl scout cookies, I would have aced this one! The challenge I ran into was what to do when I slip up?One cookie may mean missing the goal that day, but limiting myself to the one cookie is still better than having one cookie, a soda, and some nachos. It’s a little harder to motivate myself, though, when I can’t check the “no snacks” box at the end of the day. And as for the goal underlying the goal: I’m down a couple pounds this week. The coming weeks will show if its normal variance or actual weight loss.
  3. Project resolution: Have the desk put together. I’ve at least begun to put together a plan. This is the desk I plan on building, more or less.

I’ve built a laundry basket cabinet for the garage (ignore the mess…):

and some shelves above where this desk will eventually be:

Am I ready to build a desk? I don’t know. I sure haven’t been building these things at a regular clip. The laundry basket holder was 2017. The shelves were 2018. I didn’t build anything last year. So, I’m nervous about the desk, which is probably why it has taken me so long to get to it. But Alisha is very ready for me to get my rear into gear.

So, one item of input. Alisha and I had discussed doing a lighter color in our bedroom. Then I stained the shelves a dark color. I thought I needed to use red oak stain for red oak plywood…. It’s embarrassing to admit and in retrospect seems obvious that the name of the stain referred to its color, not the wood it should be used on, but lesson learned.

Anyway, style question: could I place a lighter colored desk under these shelves or should I try to match the stain of the desk to the shelves? I could sand the shelves down and restain them, but I’m reluctant to do that. I hate staining. Any thoughts are welcome.

My State of the Union response

For all my interest in politics, I don’t enjoy watching the State of the Union. Perhaps because I enjoy the policy aspects of politics more than the theatrics. And the State of the Union is mostly theatrics. Particularly tonight! Guess that’s what happens when you have a soon-to-be-acquitted former-reality-tv-star as president.

I’m going to comment on specific policies. The general remarks I originally drafted weren’t worth sharing.

Opportunity Zones – I hadn’t heard about these until tonight. I can think of numerous potential problems, but without knowing the details of the law, I’ll focus on the general idea. As an incentive to invest in struggling areas, it sounds like a great idea. Not Trump’s idea, but a great idea.

Criminal Justice Reform – Another excellent achievement. We have a lot of work to do, but the law that was passed is a good first step. In the works long before Trump was elected, but it happened while he was in office, so in the nature of U.S. politics, he’ll get the credit.

Top producer of oil and gas – ok, not a specific policy, but I had to comment on this. I just read God Bless Texas, which talked about the man behind fracking. Notable because fracking is the cause of this boom. Would a Democratic president have regulated this boom away? Maybe. But I have my doubts.

USMCA – Better than NAFTA? Yeah, probably. Better than the Trans-Pacific Partnership? No, not at all. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would have accomplished a similar objective but pulled in many more countries. Including so many countries in a free-trade agreement would have strengthened all our economies, isolated China, and been solidified our position in the Pacific for years to come. But maintaining our trade relationships with Mexico and Canada is good.

China policy – the tariffs are bad. Is China negotiating? Yes. But there were other, less economically harmful paths to the negotiating table. The TPP was one of them.

Cuba – isolating Cuba never worked. Continuing to do so will continue to not work.

Hurray for recognizing Venezuela’s Juan Guaido! That was a good move.

What is the Space Force going to do? Good? I should know. I love space. But I don’t like the idea of militarized space. At the same time, where there are people, there will be fights. I may be a little naive, but I’m not too naive to recognize that. Anyway, it’s probably a good thing.

Our schools are only failing because we don’t invest enough in them. Providing tax benefits for scholarship donors is a worthy goal (though at odds with the dream of a postcard-sized tax return form), but it will be better to find ways to better fund all schools.

Hurray for vocational and technical training! College is a trap when it is pushed as a cure-all. It was never the cause of greater wealth that we were taught it was.

Hurray for price transparency! A small step in the right direction. Now we just need to stop the consolidation of hospital chains so we actually have some choices….

Apparantly we should let immigrants die?

An expensive wall that won’t do much more than the barriers that already exist. Better enforcement focused on employers and easier legal immigration will be a lot cheaper and far more effective. Not to mention more humane.

I will always be grateful for Trump fighting the opioid epidemic.

Rush Limbaugh received the Medal of Freedom? Now if that wasn’t pandering to his base, nothing is. I remember my dad putting on Rush Limbaugh when I was a kid so we could laugh at him. I’m not laughing at him now. I pray that his recovery will be quick and if not, that his pain will be eased.

Doctors can be put into difficult positions in dealing with pregnancies. We should be very careful when passing laws that may restrict their options.

Hurray for family leave for mothers and fathers! A no-brainer to me.

Trees? Yeah!

Infrastructure? Yeah! Maybe more investment in public transit, though?

I support cities that release non-violent immigrants. Cities and states should not be held accountable for acts they cannot foresee.

Easier immigration for workers does not need to come at the expense of families or refugees. If providing hope for the hopeless is outdated, then we have lost our way.

How vigorously is the administration defending the right for Muslims to pray? Do they defend hijabs and crescents as well as crosses? Religious liberty only exists when it exists for all.

Fund Artemis!

Hurray for winding down Middle East wars…if only we could avoid actions that require more troops to be sent….

I hope that people are inspired by Trump’s speech. Reading the final paragraphs, I can forget about the monster who spoke them and remember that America is greater than the sum of its parts. Despite all our weaknesses and shortcomings, we are built upon an ideal. That ideal – freedom and equality – is really hard to reach, but we don’t give up when something’s hard. We keep striving.

Let’s keep striving to make America better, even if it means a few compromises along the way.

February Goals

As promised, my February goals:

  1. Write daily for 30 minutes. I am going to start throwing some short fiction pieces on here. I’ll probably use prompts from the subreddit Writing Prompts. Feel free to throw something my way.
  2. Habit resolution: Stop eating between meals. This is my habit resolution and falls under a larger goal to lose 10 pounds. I’m going to be working on some other things, too, but this is the make or break goal. I’m going to give myself some leeway on the others. Sidenote: I am going to do a triathlon in May, so I will also be prepping for that. I may be discussing that when I post about progress on this goal.
  3. Project resolution: Have the desk put together. Sanding and staining it would be nice, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to devote to this.

OK, now you know. I’m accountable.

Resolutions Update

January is over, so it’s time to review my resolutions.

1. Write 30 minutes daily.

I did it! So far I’ve written 30 minutes every day. This blog is evidence of that. I’m considering adding some short fiction pieces on here. What do you think?

2. Monthly habit: 30 minutes of dedicated physical activity daily


I missed 7 days. And my bar was very low. Any activity counted, even something so simple as going on a walk. I’m going to discuss the third goal, then come back to why I think I failed, or at least some ideas on how I can do better in February.

3. Monthly project: Complete desk.

I would like to build a desk for the master bedroom. Nothing fancy. Basically just some plywood slabs resting on simple shelves. I’m planning to stain it. I made zero progress. I did clean out the garage, but that’s it.

Factors in Success

Why did I succeed on one and fail on the others?

I wrote daily because I enjoy it. I didn’t need to add much additional structure to accomplish it. I did announce it to the world. The best followup I’ve gotten to that was when my children’s dentist checked if I’d written that day. I succeeded because I enjoyed the activity and made myself accountable to multiple people.

I was most consistently active on Thursdays and Saturdays. Thursdays I went to a free swim class at my neighborhood pool. Saturdays my activity was usually just walking around with the kids wherever we had gone that day. The other days consisted of going to the gym or on a run by myself. I succeeded on the days I did something I enjoyed more, starting the activity took relatively little effort, and when other people were involved.

I did nothing on the desk. I never told anyone I was going to do it. I never sat down to make a plan. Even stating that the desk was my goal is bending the truth a little. I also would like to build a workbench and I waffled a little on which to start first.

Next steps

How can I be more accountable, make my resolutions more fun, and reduce the friction to getting started?

First, I’m going to involve more people. I’m going to announce my monthly goals here and probably elsewhere. I’ll post regular, at least weekly, updates. It adds some accountability.

Second, and tied to that, is adding a writing element. This makes most sense for my monthly habit resolution. I want build better habits in a variety of areas. This involves figuring out what habits to start, which to break, how to start habits, etc. There’s a lot of thought involved and writing things out clarifies thought. It doesn’t necessarily work as well for the projects resolution. That will most likely consist of posting photos of whatever steps I’ve taken on the project that week.

Third, I want to make my resolutions more enjoyable. Part of that will involve better planning for my goals. There’s satisfaction that comes from completing the steps along the way. Better planning will help me choose activities that will help me fulfill my goals, rather than scrambling to do the minimum at the last minute. But another aspect is that I enjoy life more when I’m being social, even though I often have to force myself to do that.

So I’m inviting you to join me in my journey. Share your goals. Give me advice on mine. I’ll be posting my February goals either later today or tomorrow. Be sure to check it out and respond. Thanks for reading!