Success and Failure

Most people celebrate the changing of the year. I’m weird, I guess, since it’s just another day in my life. I don’t party. I don’t ponder the success and failures of the previous year, really. I don’t make a set of resolutions or make any special plans for the upcoming year. I’ve learned several things about myself over the years, which makes this the wisest course to follow.

First off, I always had the best of intentions. Not only did I make a resolution, but I’d make a plan to obtain it. But when something went wrong with that plan, regardless of what it was (in my control or not), then that failure hit hard and I foundered so badly, it affected other areas of my life until I was a wreck. I know it’s bad to allow that, but when emotions are strong, I literally can’t think. My entire life goes to shit for several days to several weeks (occasionally several months), and I totally fail.

Odds are, it’s because of my autism that my mind shuts down like that. Left to myself, it’s how I work. Occasionally, my good friends can shock me out of it, but because it’s all internal for so long–and, no, I won’t talk about it, even to them, even after decades of friendship–it’s not always in time to save me from my hard wiring.

So, I simply don’t do the resolutions thing. I will succeed or fail at various things throughout the year (like scoring a better job, like I did last year), but it’s because that’s how life rolled that year.

I used to do writing goals, as in daily word counts. I’d stress badly if I didn’t write every day and didn’t get my 1000-2000 words in. And there was no relaxation if I happen to get double the count yesterday, so I didn’t have to work so hard today. Nope. It’s a daily thing I have to do. No vacation. It’s how the Aspie mind works: This is the rule set, it is law. It must be followed or I’m guilty of being a BAD PERSON. So when life happened, the guilt set in and that killed creativity and desire to write, which meant I didn’t get the goal yet again, which quickly turned into a horrible spiral of bad emotions that would keep me from writing for months.

Changing to weekly or monthly word count goals worked better, but the cycle would still happen as before. So I did the logical thing and stopped using those kinds of goals. They don’t inspire me to get something done. It’s a straightjacket and I don’t like wearing it. It works for many, all the better for them, but not for me.

There are always things I want to do, things in my life I want to change. These things are always somewhere in my consciousness to be taken care of, and I’ll get to them or not. I’ll work on them or not. But making any public announcements or private resolutions–yeah, it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, but I’m not wired like most of society, so count me out, thanks.

Society has gotten much better in recent years about not openly staring and pointing at people like me, trying to guilt us into doing the same. That’s a nice relief. I used to dread the holidays and New Year because of that pressure and guilt. Now, yeah, people think I’m odd, but it doesn’t matter so much. Maybe just because I’ve got grey in my hair, older people are allowed to be odd. I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t care much why. I’m just glad it’s working out that way. Life is much happier.


So a cyber toast to 2014. May the year bring exactly what we need, much of what we want, and only the best of what we deserve.

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  1. This year I’m working on habits, not goals or resolutions. Not that I don’t have goals, but I too find that failure is the norm, even for well thought out goals, because I don’t have the habits to sustain them.

    But you have to do what works for you. I know with Autism/Asperger’s (my son is autistic) that routines are perhaps the best way to approach things. Instead of a word count goal, maybe you could set a routine to write at the same time each day, or on set days of hte week? Write each day from X:00 until Y:00 or whatever works?

    Just a suggestion–you know yourself best. 🙂

    • Habits are a great thing to work on. Routines can be a savior (as well as a curse). Such is life. Best of luck with your endeavor! (And hugs to you and your son.)

      The time of day routine is difficult with my day job, since my work day can start anywhere between 6AM and 2PM and last from 4 to 8 (even 10) hours, depending. Very difficult to set up that kind of routine. Sad, but I’m adjusted to it.

      Instead, writing gets its own routine not dependent on time. It starts with a mug of something to drink (usually tea) and my brushing out my Pekingese (he of Foo Bat fame) and discussing with him (not that he answers) what has happened in the story, what I need to figure out, and by the time I’m done with his grooming, my mind is set to get to work. It’s good time with the Foo, good for the writing, good all round. Since his grooming takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes, it gives me all the time I need to get into the groove. And doing this also clues in my housemate of my starting to write, so I’m not interrupted.

      And it’s not like I don’t have stuff I want to get done this year. I have a novel to finish (about 10K from the end), there’s COTV stuff to be finished, I have a short story itching to be written and then a five book series (same world as the short story) that I’d like to start. But setting goals and intentions to do any of it? Nope, not happening.

      Here’s a quote that might give you inspiration on working on your habits (it’s one of my favorites): “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle.


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