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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Here's what I'm going to do in 2007...Resolutions, goals and certainties...1994 flashback...


Baby New Year is almost two weeks old and you know what that means... Approximately 90% of all New Year's resolutions are already as difficult to remember as what aunt Jenny sent you for Christmas (gloves, by the way).

Everyone knows the New Year resolution thing is a doomed exercise in delusion. We create a fictional tabula rasa based on calendars that aren't yet filled. We take a quick inventory of ourselves, of the Joneses and of what others around us think would be wise. One blank sheet of paper and a Bic pen later, we have a New Year Manifesto. All of those things we will accomplish... All of the changes we'll make.

Before you know it, you decide that you like melting cheddar cheese on top of every other thing you eat too much to make that "healthy diet" thing work. You catch the flu and realize that the "8 solid hours of writing every single day" thing just isn't happening. You meet up with the guy on I-35 who doesn't understand concepts like turn signals or acceleration lanes and that "positive disposition/kindness" notion is out the window along with your left hand (which is flipping him the bird).

Diane Penna wrote a nice post about resolutions and goals. Read it when you have chance. She discusses just how important it is to have a plan and how big-time dream statements don't mean nearly as much as taking concrete action, among other things.

If you want to change yourself or your patterns for 2007, realize that you have a load of bad habits and tendencies that will fight you every inch of the way. If you can see it, they say, you can be it. They leave out the part about working your ass off in the process, of course.

2007 is 2006. Only the calendar hanging in the kitchen wall has changed. Your weaknesses are still here. Your skeletons are still jangling in the closet. Your kid will still want to play Candyland when you want to work. Your friends will still call and interrupt you. Cheese will still taste good. Running will still actually require a not-so-fun pumping of the legs. January 1 wasn't magic.

Obviously, based on my opinion, I'm not playing the New Year game, right?

Well, here's the deal... Even though I know it's silly, crazy, unworkable and more than a little foolhardy, I am playing. That's right. You can count me in!

Why? Because everyone else is doing it? Maybe. That could be part of it--getting caught up in all of the "2007 Will Rock the House" madness might be fun. Maybe it is the symbolic value of a new calendar. Maybe it's just convenience--seems like a good time to start making some changes. Maybe I'm just a sucker.

I decided to do things a little differently, though. I am not referring to my objectives as "resolutions." I have goals, I have plans and I have the end-states to which they lead in mind. But "resolution" feels weak. I've decided to have "certainties."

How's that for stupid and bold? I thought about "inevitabilities," but that seemed too much like some kind of Calvinistic predetermination thing. "Certainties" is a better fit.

Without further ado, the Content Done Better Certainties for 2007

  • I'm going to hit that $125K mark as of August, 2007 (updates next week here and in the newsletter).
  • I'm going develop a larger component of my online business that is not dependent on writing for others on a project-by-project basis.
  • I'm going to share something (hopefully) helpful to other online-focused writers every week.
  • I'm going to share something (hopefully) helpful to webmasters and buyers of content every week.
  • I'm going to make the Content Done Better Report into a 2x month piece of email people will actually want to read.

All of those certainties have underpinnings in concrete actions and plans. I might end up discussing some of those in the Report and here at the blog.

Do you have goals, resolutions, plans or certainties? What are you going to do to prevent this year's resolution list looking a lot like that crumbled 2oo6 version that's currently decomposing in your local landfill? Have you given up on the "it's a new year, time to envision a changed me" thing completely? What kind of odds are you laying on my certainties? Have you ever seen so many consecutive questions in a single paragraph?


I was listening to my Finetune playlist (mentioned yesterday) and one of the songs belongs to Frank Sinatra--"That's Life."

That got me thinking about something that happened thirteen years ago. I don't know how many people remember this, but Sinatra received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1994. Bono did the introduction, which people say Sinatra loved.

Today, if the deal is remembered at all, it's usually because the Grammy people committed the cardinal sin of cutting the Chairman of the Board short, cuing the out-tro music to get to a car commercial or something on time. It was a massive Grammy faux pas.

Regrettably, the production team's decision to stomp of Sinatra's toes overshadows one of the best introductory speeches of all time. When I heard Frank singing today, it inspired me to dig up Bono's gem.

This is one of the only versions I could find online. The punctuation/carriage return thing is lacking, but it still reads well.

This has nothing to do with writing. Or does it? There's a message in there beyond how bad-ass Francis Albert was and it is one of those great opportunities to find spectacular writing where you might not expect to find it.


"This is the conundrum of Frank Sinatra
Left and right brain hardly talking
Boxer and painter, actor and singer, lover and father, bandman and loner Troubleshooter and troublemaker
The champ who would rather show you his scars than his medals
He may be putty in Barbara's hands
But I'm not gonna mess with him, are you?

Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to welcome a man heavier than the Empire State, more connected than the Twin Towers, as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty, and living proof that God is a Catholic!

Will you welcome the King of New York City, Francis Albert Sinatra!"