Tag Archives: Goals

The New Year Sucks Part Two: The Nostalgia of New Beginnings

Back when I was younger (and stupider) I always found myself sitting around on December 31st with either a piece of paper or a Google doc writing and reminiscing on how the year went and reflecting on all of the shit that had happened. This would inevitably run into dreaming about The New Year and wondering what the next 365 days would bring. I have suspicion that many — if not most — of us do this and while I never really told anyone about this habit or asked others if they do it, I’m sure I’m not alone.

On a very superficial level many people like to party and celebrate the new year, which as you can probably tell from my first post I think is stupid because it’s so arbitrary. I’d be all up for having a celebration at the solstices or equinoxes (like dancing around a campfire on the first day of spring or some shit) but outside of pagans, witches, and astronomers (maybe?) no one actually does this. If anything the news just blurts out something like “It’s the first day of summer, and the weather is nice!” while maybe mentioning that it’s the longest day of the year. Ya know, by the way. But The New Year is a big circle jerk of partying, drinking, kissing, and watching some fucking ball in New York “fall”. This is if you have an “ideal” life; if you’re single, miserable, and/or depressed the holidays in general just make you want to kill yourself or hide in a closet for a month. After any intense year-end partying I just can’t help but ask myself “Okay. So…now what?” The whole thing feels pointless and hollow. Like at the end of the day you wake up in The New Year: Day One with the worst hangover you’ve ever had and smelling like expired pizza and sweat. Happy New Year!

Failed Goals

People also like to use The New Year as a start for various goals and self-improvement plans they set for themselves. These are usually referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions” and have a horrible failure rate. At the very least this should prevent people from starting any goals on New Year’s Day; why start a goal if it will have a 55% chance of success after only a month! Like if you set two resolutions for yourself, only one will succeed on average; if you start a diet and stop drinking for New Years you’ll either be eating a doughnut or drinking a six-pack on February 1st. Maybe even both. The rate of success also becomes worse with time. After two years only 19% still followed their resolutions — higher than I would’ve guessed — but still dismal. If you started a diet you most likely would’ve fucked up between a month and two years. It was a good run but in the end you still failed at your goal.

I attribute these failure to various things, but the most obvious reason I can think of is that New Year’s Day is a terrible time to try the typical shit people like to set for their resolutions. Think dieting, losing weight, exercising, starting (and maintaining) a hobby, being a “better person,” and whatever else. This is mostly because New Years occurs near the start/middle of winter and immediately after the holidays. How is this not setting up for instant failure?

Let’s say you want to exercise like maybe run a marathon or something by summer. Well, January 1st is likely cold and shitty so why would you want to force yourself outside to run when it won’t get warmer for another two months? You might be able to get out and run a mile or so, but this isn’t the situation that actually favors sticking with it. Even if you keep with the goal of training for a marathon, running a few miles every few days isn’t going to help much in the long run. It makes more sense to wait until the season improves a bit and then hitting running in a hard but sustainable way.

What about dieting? You just came from stuffing your fat face all holiday season and a week later you’re all of a sudden going to eat vegetables and fruit? Cut your calories in half in a day? It could work but it seems like the worst time ever to start an actual diet that you can stick with.

What about not drinking? The holiday season has probably been so stressful that you’ve been hang onto reality bottle by bottle but then have to cut the cord right immediately after? Good luck…especially when your first day sober is you waking up after a YOLO-final-New Year-drinking-party with a terrible hangover and craving another shot of vodka just to make the headaches, spinning, and the shaking stop for awhile.

Any sort of these motivational, self-improvement goals also have one primary thing in common: motivation. You can’t just do your goal: it takes drive, dedication, hard work, and persistence. Once again, the cold darkness that is early January isn’t conductive for any of this especially in regards to some goal you set for yourself in a make-or-break attempt to make progress. You’re putting it all on the line with a hard start date at a time where your motivation is likely total shit and waning. Pile on multiple goals and you’re left grasping for any sort of willpower you can find. And January isn’t helping any of it.

Then again maybe all of this is just a problem for me.

The Nostalgia of it All

In the end, all of this hating on the practical downsides to resolutions are nothing with the whole naive “starting over” aspect of it all. Remember when I was talking about my little journal entries on December 31st? And how every year I’d reflect on things and while I wouldn’t set hard resolutions I would try to pick a direction for the year: how to improve on things, what large ideas and goals to keep in mind, what sort of person I should be, so-on-and-so-forth, etc. It always seems so nostalgic to sit and write and dream about a whole new 365 days where you can start over and I still find myself wanting to do such a thing.

The truth is I recently went back and read some of these entries and they’re cringeworthy at best and depressing at worst. Any sort of lofty goal I’ve had like “helping the family achieve their goals,” “investing more in ETFs,” “do something with my life,” or “day-trade cryptocurrencies” have fallen totally flat on their fucking faces in the course of just a few months. Is this my fault or the fault of the entire idea of “starting over?” I don’t know, although it could be both.

Everything seems so clear from the year-ending perspective. You can see how the year has been, what your mistakes were, and what you could’ve changed. You realize how you didn’t spend the summer outdoors enough, or you didn’t garden as much as you wanted, or whatever and you regret it. But this is all in hindsight and in the actual moment you “screwed up” you never had that hindsight perspective and clarity. When you could’ve been outside gardening or biking you decided instead to sit inside and play video games, but that was your reality and you made the best choice you could at the time. It’s only by looking back you’ve seen how you “screwed up.”

Looking forward also offers this messed up vision, but this time it’s based on vague hopes for the year. While hindsight is 20/20 the future is always rosy, dream-like, and successful. Even if you fucked up in 2018, 2019 will surely be different because, well, it’s in the future and you can construct as rosy of a picture of your year as you want. Even if you end up filing for bankruptcy or losing a loved one in 2019, you don’t know this on January 1st so obviously 2019 will be a landmark year of happiness and success for you. In short, no one realizes how much of a challenge the next 365 days will be and we always imagine the best possible outcome.

Hency my newfound hatred for looking backwards/forwards during the New Year. When you look back you seen how much a struggle it has been and see all your mistakes in perfect hindsight clarity. When you look forward you see a clean slate that will probably end up as much as a struggle as the last year where you make the same stupid hindsight-obvious mistakes that you always end up making. When I’d read my past entries regarding The New Year, I always see this nostalgic vision I put forward into the past and the hope I put into the future; it never seems to arrive. Each New Year is just as bittersweet as the last — if not more — because it’s the same shit all over as it’s always been. Determination, hope, mistakes, reflection, regret. Then determination, hope, mistakes, reflecti……….

The New Year Fucking Sucks.

Giving Up Sucks: Blogging

First off let me say that I really don’t like blogging about blogging. It seems like a really cheap and easy way to get people to read your stuff, because obviously people who blog are interested in blogging so would like to read a blog about blogs. Yeah. And I also don’t like writing about “success” or “being successful” because I’m not successful so why should I be spouting shit about success when I know nothing about it? It’s like listening to financial advice from a poor person or dieting tips from someone who’s obese or anorexic. But here we are anyways. I guess what I’m trying to say is that on the path to success (which I think I’m on I guess) there’s about a million difficulties you run into and if that’s causing me so much frustration and anguish I might as well write about them. Other people are probably dealing with some of the same struggles and feelings. This is called Everything Sucks and being successful is probably the hardest thing ever, so it fits I suppose.

This post is about a blog and failure and how I suppose it’s nice to quit sometimes. This obviously don’t feel good which is why it Sucks. I started a blog in February that was about electric cars. I had purchased one about a year ago and since there are tons of misconceptions about the things I thought blogging would be a great way to enlighten the masses about how great they are. I really like my electric car because of a ton of reasons and I wanted to get that information out into the world.

I was enthusiastic about the blog; it had focus, a narrow topic, and seemingly tons of things to write about. I’ve said before Everything Sucks is a mess because it has no real “tight theme” which apparently blogs are supposed to have so I felt excited about finally have a good blog idea. You read articles about how to really blog and they usually suggested those few things. I set to work on it immediately. I made a post every two days, made sure the design looked acceptable, and even made a Facebook page for the blog. Hell, I even advertised for the blog! It took about a week for the page to have over 100 “likes” and I felt good. Things were moving along nicely.

And then I didn’t write as much for it. It wasn’t for lack of motivation either; I just couldn’t think about topics to write about. When it came down to it an electric car is nearly the same as a gas car and there’s only so much writing you can do about how efficient and cheap they are to operate. One of my premises — namely the one about having a ton to write about — was wrong apparently. There wasn’t much to write about.

You end up with two choices. You can either give up, accept failure, and move on or keep trying to make progress. It’s a choice we all make in regards to nearly anything: a difficult job, relationships, careers, and goals. This choice is made more difficult by the often-heard adage about success: it’s all due to persistence. The people who are successful don’t give up at the first sign of difficulty and if you give it you feel like shit. You’re a failure. You’re [insert goal here] is an automatic failure if you stop working on it.

What did I do? I gave up on it. Do I feel like shit? Sort of, just because it was wasted time. But strangely I don’t feel too bad about it. Even though we’re conditioned to feel like failures sometimes it’s best to realize when you don’t have a way forward and try something else. You can keep banging your head into a wall trying to make progress but sometimes that wall isn’t going to give and you need to move on. Accepting this is probably the hardest part.

I think of what Hunter S. Thompson said in a letter to his friend asking for advice:

“We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.”

He gives the perspective of a child who wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. Everyone wants to be something cool like that, either a firefighter or a veterinarian or an astronaut. None of us actually become these things but we don’t feel like we failed out dreams because we eventually outgrow them, or rather see the goals from a different angle, as Thompson puts it. It’s this ever-changing growth in ourselves and our ever-changing perspective on life that forces us to also make ever-changing choices regarding our goals and dreams. It’s simply not set in stone: you have to constantly figure out what it is you need to do.

I guess it’s with that perspective that I gave up on my blog. I had a good run for a few months and for once I hit it hard with tons of motivation and little procrastination: two of my biggest flaws. Eventually I found that there wasn’t much to write about and that maybe my idea wasn’t that good. I felt terrible about this at first because I had wasted so much time on the blog and I obviously felt like a failure for “giving up” but fact is fact. With my ever-changing perspective on the state and future of the blog I was able to realize that my time would be better spent elsewhere. I still learned a bunch of lessons and those won’t disappear either. So don’t feel like you’re a failure because you had to give something up. Obviously try to make progress because persistence does seem to be key, but realize when something has run its course and don’t be afraid to move on to new adventures (like trying to sell goddamn t-shirts)!

Selling T-Shirts Sucks (and Update 2.0)

This blog was started with an actual idea and a central theme: Everything Sucks. I started a shitty personal blog a few years ago just to get into blogging without any idea of what to do with it and as you can guess it was a fucking mess.

After a near meltdown a few months ago I decided to work on this blog in a dedicated manner: Everything Sucks 2.0 if you will. If you check the posts I’ve been tossing up one, two, or even three posts a week and I’ve been keeping the tempo for awhile. I feel proud of myself because I’m finally doing what I believe is the key to success: hard work and practice. Even if I don’t think the post is perfect I won’t let that stop me. It’s all about progress and success. The fun fact is I don’t know what “successful” means in the case of blogging.

I guess I’d like followers or people to read the site because duh, but besides that? I don’t really know. Let’s say I had 10,000 people who read this blog. Then what? I have no idea. Sitting back and being comfortable sounds silly as there’s always something that can be done. I still don’t know the answer to this because there’s never been a “plan”, but I’ve always thought it’d be cool to sell shirts. That’s right. T-shirts. Not as a get-rich-quick scheme or some overarching plot to make a brand for myself, but just because shirts. It’d be cool to know that others have a shirt that says “Everything Sucks” on it. It’d make me laugh. It sounds really trivial and stupid but why not?!

I finally sat my ass down and created a shirt after dreading the impending failure for a few weeks. I set a price of $15 per shirt and a goal of 20 shirts. I shared it on Facebook and and purchased myself a shirt because that’d be cool. I checked it today. Guess how many shirts I’ve sold? One. And that to myself!

Well fuck. This reaffirms what I believe success and goals are: it’s throwing yourself at something over and over until something works and weathering failure after failure. Things never work on the first, second, third, or even the 75th try; they only work when you blindly toss yourself at something over and over again you find that magical formula. I never really expected to sell any shirts the first time but once you finally decide on a course of action you get your hopes up a bit. Failure Sucks but it isn’t game-breaking although it sure doesn’t feel good.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself though because I got off my ass and tried it. No one can fault you for that. I did think of making a t-shirt “business” on Facebook to spam ads targeted locally. Maybe shirts that are themed off my hometown? Hell, I might be able to sell tons of t-shirts that way. This initial experiment might be the beginning of something new.

If you want to buy a shirt, feel free to click right here. I’m pretty proud of them and they’re available in like 5 or so colors (but not grey 😡 ). But if not it’s no big deal because I wasn’t expecting to sell any in the first place. Selling T-shirts Sucks.

Vacation Sucks: Life Without Work

I’m currently at work having just returned from a week-long vacation, and I must say it’s pretty shitty being back. Despite me having a job so simple that I can write a blog post at work, it’s still awful being back. It’s obvious to anyone that returning to work from vacation sucks, but in a strange way it’s nice to be back. I realize Work Sucks, but looking back and realizing Vacation Sucks more than work is pretty depressing. It makes no sense, but without fail when I return to work I think my Vacation Sucked and that vacation was pretty pointless.

The Second Job: A Halfway Vacation

First up on the “Vacations Sucks” post is the gripe that I work two jobs and only have a vacation with one of them. In case you didn’t realize my “vacation” is simply time off from work and not an actual “go somewhere and do something special” thing. This might not apply to some people, and if you’re one of those lucky people who only has a single job or who can get both jobs to allow you time off to do something, well congrats because this doesn’t apply to you! Working two part time jobs like I do leaves you with the typical situation where one gives me time off when the other doesn’t. This sort of “halfway vacation” sucks for all the obvious reasons. I’m not working as much, but still working enough to make life not enjoyable, and it probably makes work and vacation suck more because of the juxtaposition of the two. Working only one job isn’t really a vacation, it’s just normal life that doesn’t suck quite as much.

Motivation? Where U Go?

The prospect of having tons of free time while off of work (even one job) always seems promising to me. I feel that by having more leisure time I would be able to focus on a few of the goals I have. There’s this blog, and my derelict blog, and I also (try to) write short stories on Wattpad. I also have a few really stupid ideas for small businesses. Obviously, I have a bunch of crap going on in my head and time is a premium when it comes to making meaningful progress on anything. Working two jobs simply makes it hard to focus and get anything done and vacation should allow me to actually be productive.

Then I was on vacation and how many blog posts did I post? Zero. How many short stories did I write? Zero. Did I work on my business plans or revamp the blog’s Facebook page. Nope. I did basically nothing. What the hell happened?

You see, having a bunch of free time seems to have the counterintuitive effect of making me less motivated. I’m assuming I’m not unique and other also have this problem. Having more time allows me to escape the feelings of doom and desperation that working two jobs fills me with, and without that awful feeling staring me down daily and hourly, I have no drive to really be successful. When I’m working and I’m miserable and my schedule is busy there is no time to worry about motivation: if you want to write a blog post you fucking write one and post it because need to get on that shit if you want to do something with your life! But on vacation you’re like “Meh. There’s no rush. I have plenty of time!” Somehow having more free time gives you less motivation and drive making the vacation look ultra-depressing and pointless, especially in retrospect. You didn’t work, and you didn’t get any hobbies or goals accomplished. You basically wasted life without actually enjoying it.

Vacation is what Life Isn’t

Despite those two previous whine sessions, they aren’t really why Vacation Sucks. They’re facets of shittiness, contributing to vacation being awful while being offshoots of the primary reason: Vacations Sucks primarily because you have to go back to work. “Yeah, no shit.” you’re probably saying, but let me elaborate.

Vacations are what we all want to achieve out of life. Vacation is not working and having enough money and time to do the things you want to do. Some even call vacation by another name: retirement. We all want to save enough money so someday we don’t have to work and can have a “perpetual vacation.” If you’re really lucky you can retire earlier or might not have to work at all. This is a perpetual vacation called “being rich.” There’s this grand idea that if you accumulate enough money you don’t have to work at all, and this laziness to not want to work might be a large driver of the world’s greed. Retirement, being rich, living off the land, and vacation all serves a single urge: not working and doing something else you’d rather do! Chase your dreams! Do what you want to do! 

So vacation is a little taste of this for the lowly lower-class worker, especially if it happens to be a paid vacation. Here you have a week with no work and you still have money. You can do whatever the hell you want (or don’t want to do) with no obligations to a job. While you might not have a ton of money and aren’t actually rich you still get a temporary taste of not having to answer to anyone. This is life without a job, and it’s pretty refreshing.

Except the dream and experience has to eventually end of course. You always have to go back to work because you’re not rich and you’re not retired. You’ll probably have to work nearly the rest of your adult life with little to no breaks and you have to do it sustainably so you don’t burn out and just fall apart. Or get so discouraged at life you kill yourself or descend into alcoholism. Life is one big grind to make money to survive and to support your family, and compared with the wonderful fantasy that is vacation, it’s awful. Vacation gives you the perspective to what life would be like if you didn’t have to work. Going back to work from vacation just hammers the point home: this is your life, you hate it, you’re stuck here. How was vacation btw?!

Making it even worse, you might not even enjoy your vacation and this leads to some more troubling thoughts. If vacation is a microcosm of being rich and not working, I’d be a fucking miserable mess. I made no progress on my blogs and business plans and whatever other stupid shit I wanted to do. I didn’t travel anywhere and I didn’t do a bunch of housework. I don’t even think I mowed the yard a single time. In fact, I spent a bunch of money on fast food, drank about 50% of the time, and gained about 5 pounds. Apparently I’d be a fat, lost, unmotivated alcoholic mess if I didn’t work my jobs, so as much as work fucking sucks, it almost seems that vacation is shittier than work. It’s like I need to work to keep my ass in line, focused, and sober. Vacation makes me realize how much work does and doesn’t suck while work makes me realize how much vacation does and doesn’t suck.

In short you can’t win. Vacation, Work, and Everything Sucks.