The Year Of The Geek: New Year’s Resolutions We Can Keep

The winter holiday season for 2010 is just about wrapped up, with the last celebration waiting in the wings: the New Year. Along with the parties, the midnight kisses, the parades, the football, and one last big feast (eat your black eyed peas or lentils for good luck in 2011!) comes the most famous/dreaded New Year’s tradition of all: New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’re anything like me, this is how it’s gone every year, no matter what your resolution is about:

  • Make resolutions. I write them down and put them someplace I can see them every day.
  • Start out strong! This is the year I’m gonna do this, man!
  • Slip up a little. No big deal, right? I mean, a little slip-up is OK…
  • Slip up…again. Now I’m getting disappointed in myself, and that list is taunting me!
  • Give up! Obviously I cannot do this, I am an epic failure, and I’m throwing that list away so it stops reminding me what a loser I am.

Sound familiar? Probably. So what’s the solution? Well, I’m not about to go into the psychology of why resolutions are hard to keep or what it may or may not say about us. I wouldn’t even know how to do that! But what I will propose is this: maybe resolutions would be easier to keep if we didn’t make them so hard to begin with. What if we try to make some geeky resolutions this year that are exciting and fun enough that we really want to accomplish them, even if it does take a little work and takes us out of our typical geek comfort zone?

Let 2011 be the year you resolve to be a better geek! Here are some geeky goals I’m shooting for this year – maybe they’ll work for you too, or at least give you some ideas for your own resolutions.

Sit On The Other Side Of The GM’s Screen

I am a rabid role-player. I’ve mentioned before that I spend every Friday and Saturday night gaming, and that’s just the minimum. One of my jobs is writing RPG books. I love RPGs! But…I’m almost always a player. For all the game material I’ve written, my true in-the-field GM experience consists of a few scenarios in play-by-post games. Why the heck haven’t I turned the tables and run a game? I suppose it’s because I’m nervous. What if the players don’t have fun? What if they do something I totally did not expect, and I can’t figure out a way to roll with it? What if I can’t contain my frustrations and yell, “You’re doing it wrong!”

This is the year I’m going get over my fears, sit at the end of the table and roll the GM’s dice. I might really suck at it, but who knows? I may be awesome. And I’ll never know until I try.

If you’re like me, resolve to run a game this year, even if it’s just a one-shot. On the other side of the coin, if you’re always the GM, why not resolve to get involved in a game this year as a player? The change of scenery could recharge your creativity and maybe even make you a better GM later down the line!

Play A New Game

It’s easy to get into a comfortable routine of playing Pathfinder and Star Wars d6 every week. When someone suggests a Deadlands campaign, you might hesitate to say yes. But I like Pathfinder and Star Wars, you think. Deadlands might be a lot of fun, but what if it’s not?

Again, you’re never going to know if it’s fun until you try it! And srsly, the world will not end if you take a break from your usual game of choice to try something else. You’re not cheating on your Pathfinder character by playing a Deadlands sawbones for a few weeks or even months. So take a chance on a new game this year, whether it’s an RPG, a video game, or a board game.

(And for the record, Deadlands turned out to be a lot of fun!)

Take A Taste Of A New Geek Flavor

While some geeks are very multi-faceted, others are one-or-two note. Are you strictly a videogamer? Why not give a tabletop RPG a try this year? Are you all sci-fi TV shows/movies, all the time? There’s lots of good anime out there, just waiting for you to discover it. Step out from the stacks of classic swords-and-sorcery fantasy books in your library to read a little urban fantasy (I did this last year and was pleasantly surprised!).

What sector of geekdom am I planning to enter for the first time this year? While little things like finances might hold me back, I’m hoping to try cosplay for the first time. With the exception of the year I dressed as Kaylee (from Firefly) for Halloween, I’ve never done the costume thing. I don’t know if I have the patience for it, but it always looks like so much fun!

Read A Book

As my regular readers know, I’m passionate about reading. But even I don’t make as much time for reading as I should. I’m resolving to read more in the next year, and to read a bigger variety of books within the geeky genres.

If you’re not much of a reader, resolve to read just one series, or even one book, this coming year. It’s good for your brain!

Learn Or Hone A Geeky Craft

Making your own geeky accoutrements can save you money, guarantee that you’ll have unique things, and give you another thing to completely geek out about. Make this the year you finally make that piece of steampunk jewelry you’ve been dreaming of. (Head’s up: I’m going to highlight some geeky projects in future columns!)

For myself, I’m going to be putting some more ranks in Craft (sewing) and Craft (jewelry-making) this year in hopes of getting them up to the level of my Craft (crochet) and Craft (embroidery).

Be A Healthier Geek

This resolution is the deepest one you’re going to see out of me. We geeks have a lot of games to play, movies to see, books to read, costumes to make, and fanboying/girling to do. We need to be healthy in order to do all that. But I’ll fess up and admit that I don’t take as good of care of myself as I should. I like sweets too much, and while I get plenty of physical activity at the day job and have even lost weight, I could stand to be a little more buff (for that cosplay costume I want to make). And I think most of us could look at all the Mountain Dew cans in the recycling bin and sheepishly nod our heads in agreement.

“Getting healthy” is a broad goal, and it’s one anyone needs to narrow down to something more specific if they want to succeed. Maybe it’s as simple as “Drink only one pop a day instead of four” or as big as “Lose 50 pounds by this time next year”. Whether you just have an unhealthy habit or two you want to break, or it’s time to make a massive healthstyle overhaul, maybe this is finally the year to do it.

Health-related resolutions are some of the hardest to keep, so find a support network to help you out! E’s own +5 Cha community is the best place on teh interwebz to talk to fellow geeks who are also trying to get healthy. Sign up and join the conversation and let’s all get healthier together!

What’s my healthy resolution, you ask? I think it’s going to be getting more fruits and veggies back on my plate. I figure if I eat more good things, I’ll just naturally have less room for sweets, and then I won’t feel as deprived as I would if I restricted my sweets intake (can you tell I’ve gone down this road before?).

We Can Do It!

I’ve made a lot of resolutions here, but I think I can successfully hit all of them, and maybe even roll a crit. You can too! Let’s do it together and make 2011 the best year for geeks EVAR.

What are your geeky resolutions for the new year? What’s helped you stick to resolutions in the past?

About c

By day, Connie Thomson (aka Ariel Manx) is a mild-mannered shoe salesgirl, geeking out about insoles, outsoles, and shanks. But when night falls, she takes her turn at the helm of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, where she writes, edits, and does layout for table-top RPG products. Regardless of her persona, C is always a fangirl, bookworm, and craft diva. (Email C or follow @arielmanx on Twitter.)

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