Cicada SamuraiWe’re half way through February now so I figured it would be a good time to quickly write out my 2014 Resolutions because – hey, better late than never. They really aren’t “new year” resolutions at this point, but I have been working on these since the beginning of 2014, so that’s got to count for something.

For some people a resolution is something that they want to be mindful of and strive to improve throughout the year. Some people resolve to “be nicer” or to “listen more” which is all well and fine, but those are often subjective judgement calls and at the end of the year it’s difficult to know if you’ve actually accomplished your goal or not.

For me a resolution is a goal. At the end of the year I can look back and point to some visible object or change and say, “Yes! I accomplished my goal,” or “Ooops, I have nothing to show for that resolution.” Resolutions are things that I “resolve” to get finished before the next instance of January 1st (or random day in mid-February) rolls around.

While I feel as though I’m pretty good at handling multiple projects at once, I do recognize the need to keep my list of resolutions a fairly short one so that I can concentrate on each a little more. I originally had three goals, but I think I’m going to bump that up to four goals. Anymore than that and it just becomes a jumbled list of “things I have to do but probably won’t.”

So here they in no particular order:

Create a Real Mobile App Game: I like to build apps in my spare time with GameSalad and GameSalad and I’ve had a bit of success making and selling apps for kids and parents over the past several years, but I’ve never actually made a “new” game from scratch. Most of my apps are fun little utilities or parenting apps that have a few simple buttons and only do one specific thing. I tried making a “Fruit Ninja” clone called Cicada Samurai which I thought was clever (though, based on the minuscule number of downloads, no one else did). But it really didn’t have very good gameplay and the whole 17-year-cicada thing didn’t really trend nearly as much as I hoped it would. So, yeah, I want to create at least one unique game before the year is out. I’ve been working on while for a while but without setting a real deadline I know I’ll never push myself to finish it.

Lost Weight and Get Healthier: This is the standard resolution for any new year, but over the last few months I’ve had a few family members go through some nasty health situations, so things are hitting a little closer to home than they have in the past. I’m over 40, I’m probably a good 70 pounds heavier than I should be and I’m quickly coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t live forever. I’ve already made some changes to my diet (greatly reducing my sodium intake) but I need to move forward with more proactive measures such as exercising more and reducing more sugar from my diet. I’ve been doing this is fits and starts over the last month or so, but I’m writing this down in an effort to make it a little more concrete for myself. I plan to work on a lot of my health and weight loss goals using less conventional methods (video games and maybe trying that wild stuff called Soylent).

Publish an E-book on Amazon: This is not one of those “let’s write a novel in a month” goals, but rather a goal that’s centered on teaching myself exactly how book publishing works on Amazon.com. I’m intrigued by the idea, I have tons of “old writing” hanging around and it seems like a lot of fun to have a book of your own available and be able to call yourself a “published author” without ever having to deal with, you know… a publisher. I suspect my first book will probably be something geared towards children or a collection of old essays I have sitting around. Either way it will be a fair bit of work to to create. Again, the idea here is to learn the process, not necessarily write a best-seller (yet).

Produce More: This is my fourth goal that wasn’t originally on the list, but I have found that I’m much happier and more at peace with myself when I’m creating something and working on a project or two (or three or four). From a practical standpoint most of my writing will probably just be blog posts, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I used to write hundreds of blog posts a year, but my annual average has dropped to around “three” on an annual basis for the last few years. I have hours of do-it-yourself videos and hundreds of home improvement blog posts sitting on my PC but getting the actual time to polish them up and get them published has, thus far, eluded me.

Besides putting these goals forward as something I’ll work on accomplishing this year, I’m hoping blog posts like this will eventually be read by my children as they grow older so they can get a sense that daddy was a lot more than the “guy who says no” a lot. All of my goals are ultimately aimed at making me a better parent and provider for my kids. There is real income potential with writing and making games and there is obviously a tangible benefit to being healthier for my family. More income and better health ultimately mean I can spend more quality time with my family and less time worrying about the day-to-day things that often overwhelm parents.

By improving myself and accomplishing these goals I can improve the lives of my family and those around me as well. That should be all the motivation I need.