Monday, January 5, 2015

The Marvel Reset Switch IRL

Comic books are fond of time travel the way I'm fond of rum; it happens every now and then, and usually it gets a bit of attention. Marvel Comics are especially prone to stories involving time travel of some distinction, whether it's someone coming from the future to prevent a doom the X-Men have yet to face, a hero coming to the present day to join a team of young heroes, or Wolverine going back in time to play the role of Marvel's Reset Switch. The seemingly immortal (ha!) hero is ideally suited to make all the bad things go away how and when it suits him.

And that's what we seem to consider New Year's Resolutions to be. A Reset Switch, in real life. Don't want to smoke? New Year's. Want to lose weight? New Year's. Want to travel more? New Year's. I could keep going, but I can be prone to repetition in the same way Marvel are prone to repeatedly sending Wolverine back in time.

The point is this: sometimes, the Reset Switch works out for the best, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, Wolverine pulls through and saves the day, and other times he only ends up causing a different kind of apocalyptic nightmare, because apparently that's the power of time travel. (Age of Ultron anybody?)

The real question is, how can we make sure we stick to our resolutions? How do make sure our personal Wolverine's actually succeed in the mission without needing to go back and do it all over again because he messed up the first time?

I had planned on recording a video for this, but I'm not sure I could sustain the Wolverine analogy long enough face-to-camera without looking like a mad man. Instead, I'll use bullet points. That's almost the same thing, right?

  • If you choose the way of the Reset Switch IRL, choose to change something that's important to you. You're more likely to stick to it if it actually matters; "go to the gym more often" is not as important as "live a healthier, more active lifestyle", because it doesn't specify what's so God-damn Reset-Switch-important about the gym itself.
  • Set positive goals, not negative ones, if it can be phrased in that way. Don't "give up junk food", when you can "eat healthier food". Don't say you'll "stop being so lazy" when you can say you'll "be more active".
  • Be specific in your goals. It's easy to say you'll go for a run twice a week, but it's better to say you'll run a specific amount each time, and increase upon that amount over the course of the year.
  • Declare your intentions in writing, in public or in private. Phrasing your New Year's Resolution the right way - a positive, specific goal - means you'll be more likely to stick to it. Saying it publicly is an even bigger motivation not to fail. (That's why you see so many people saying on Facebook that they're going to give up smoking. It's the mindset behind the Reset Switch.)
I happen to be a fan of the ol' annual Reset Switch, particularly because New Year's is about the time that I have a few days to myself, and I'll have just gotten over the rush of Christmas retail. The difference between this year and every other year is that I'm not going to aim to write every day, or publish something every day, because inevitably that falls on its face before the end of June or July. This year, I decided I would do something more for me, and less for my social media sites and various blogging sites. I decided I would attempt to do something significant every day, something I can talk about.

Already this year I've gotten to meet up with different groups of friends for dinner, and work on a screenplay that I've been wanting to write. They count towards my goal, and I write them down in a year planner as a record of what I've done, and to encourage myself to do something to include.

Added to this, I'm setting myself goals for each month. These include the number of videos, blog posts and short stories I want to write in a given calendar month, as well as a number of other goals. This month's list includes the writing of my screenplay, because I know that once college starts back, the time I'll have to do something like that will be more difficult to come across.

Here's the big question: what's your Reset Switch about this year?

No comments: