I can’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. But goals may be prerequisite for growth, and the changing year is as good an excuse as any to reflect and plan. Still, it is difficult not to try to make a laundry list of defects which, if corrected, would yield a perfect person.

“Are you a Buddhist?”
“No, I’m an asshole. But I keep trying.”

   ― Scott Hawkins, The Library at Mount Char

My primary focus in 2018 is to improve my ability to relate to people personally, especially in professional contexts, but in social ones as well. I had some trouble in 2017 in my last job which was perfectly preventable had I had a greater set of practiced social skills. I hesitate to self diagnose the causes too greatly, but they likely include a natural shyness, that learned awkwardness often associated with academic excellence, some toxic masculinity around the concept of dominance, and some sense of insecurity. Nothing unfixable.

I think the problem is twofold; to label simply: introversion and assholeishness. Although I think my wife is right in that the latter is not perfectly accurate, it is succinct, captures others’ frequent feelings, and is a fair defense mechanism to keep the true concept at arm’s length. It is painful and embarrassing to know and write that I need help to improve myself in that regard, but I suppose sensitivity is stronger than ignorance.

My goal in 2018 is to consciously work to improve with people, dealing with both aspects of my difficulties. My first step is this, acknowledging it and naming it. My next step is to research resources which may help me improve. My only other identified step is to revisit this goal regularly in order to maintain momentum. I can’t see the whole path or what will be required of me, but one foot in front of the other seems well and good enough.

My other goals for 2018 are manifold, mundane, common, and of lower personal priority than the above. Not that they aren’t important in their way.

  • Get up earlier each day, especially to help L with the girls.
  • Play fewer video games. Play more board games.
  • Watch less TV and allow less TV. Read more.
  • Eat out less. Cook more.
  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Write more of everything: blogs, prose, code for my game or another side project.
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  • Find time for more exercise. At least walk the dog.
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Addendum January 2, 2018: I’ve added this page to track my progress around the goals I most care about.