A few days ago, I asked my husband if he would join me on a new diet, to which he replied that he would "try." "Try," I said, "don't bother." He looked at me, surprised. I explained. "Whenever somebody tells me that they'll 'try' to do something, I already know, they won't do anything more than 'think' about it."
This was the start of a long discussion during which we each listed all the things which we had said we would 'try' versus those we would 'do'.
As it turned out, my lists went something like this. Under the 'try' category, I had written; exercise regularly, get more sleep, spend more time with my friends, go out to dinner more often, do more reading: whereas under the 'do' category I had; finish my book by such-and-such a date, write a minimum of 1000 words per day, and carry a notebook with me all the time. By the time I finished reconstructing these lists, I noticed something disturbing. It seemed that all my determination lay in my accomplishments at work. Meanwhile I was completely neglecting my social life and my health. It was high time, I decided, to make a new set of resolutions and now was the perfect time.
I know that new years begin in January, however, if you're like me, September is the month you think of as the real beginning of a new year. September is when children are off to school and parents everywhere breathe a long sigh of relief. September is when, as a writer, I was able to start focussing on my projects again. So it stands to reason that I resolve to make some changes starting September 1st.
This year, I resolve to not only work all the time, but also to make time to play. I will limit myself to no more than eight hours a day on the computer, and that includes writing, emailing, blogging, tweeting and face-booking. (My anxiety level is already spiking at the thought of limiting my wonderful relationship with my computer. This is, after all, the only relationship where I have all the control.) I will schedule time for exercising. I will go to the gym on Monday's Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 10. I will call my girlfriends twice a month and I will read on Sundays.
Notice how I haven't used the word 'try' once in the entire previous paragraph. Theoretically, doing these things will give me more energy and creativity, so even if I work fewer hours, I will be able to accomplish more during my shorter work day. (Amazing how I still manage to turn this into something positive for my career.)