A February Full of Promises

"Groundhog Day is Coming!"As January draws to a close, my thoughts turn to Groundhog Day, that day when we Americans wait upon the prognostications of a large rodent emerging from its burrow. Should said rodent see its shadow, we’re to be blessed with an early Spring. Occurring halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, Groundhog Day is a sort of meteorological “hump day”; it’s still dark, but the days/night lengths are starting to equalize and spring is just around the corner.

It’s on this day of optimism, Groundhog Day, that I make my goals for the new year. I started the habit six years ago, writing about this in the first Groundhog Day Resolutions post. It stemmed from the realization that I’m too damn tired on Jan 1st to make any kind of credible plan for the year. It takes a few weeks to close out the old year and reflect upon what’s desirable in the new, so I wait until February 2nd to stake my personal intentions. To keep myself honest, I conduct a Review Day to see how well I’m doing every month-plus-one-day thereafter. That works out to March 3rd, April 4th, May 5th, and so on, which is easy to remember.

Has this been the harbinger of astonishing productivity? Well, no. Although the system has reliably kept me to a monthly review schedule, I’ve never quite figured out how to stick to what might be called a “traditional” resolution with a goal and a well-defined end-state. Instead, I tend to make sweeping proclamations and propose theories that center on the pursuit of some flavor of sustainable happiness. As a result, I haven’t actually completed any of my so-called “goals”. However, I have gained a lot of experience learning about what is meaningful to me, culminating in last year’s breakthrough of deconstructing my failure to complete this quest. Despite the wandering nature of my journey, I came to realize that I did in fact have passion, and that I have a pretty good idea now what is important and meaningful to me. I’m actually found a good spot to start building something, and thus 2013 is dedicated to doing the work. It’s been going around, this recommitting to work. In my case, it was coming to a conclusion about what I wanted that created the necessary confidence to move forward.

Anyway, to kick off this year’s Groundhog Day Resolutions, I’m going to commit to a crazy idea: make a new product for every day of the month. The time period will begin on February 2nd and end on March 3rd. Since doing my 715AM “start work” routine with my illustrator buddy Brad (who incidentally drew the Groundhog sketch), I’ve been experiencing a greater productivity and think it’s possible to sustain this pace. I also draw confidence from my experience doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge last November. To write 50,000 words in a month, I had to spend about 90 minutes every day producing around 1600 words. I learned, to my surprise, that the artistic process DOES work if you make it past the fog of uncertainty; just chipping away at it for a few minutes yields surprising and unpredictable results. Product-wise, I know I can make something in 90 minutes, and having 30 or so new products to potentially sell would be a huge jump in inventory. I think that would lead to some increase in daily sales, which is on the road to creative self-sufficiency.

So that’s the plan. February 1st is the first production day, for delivery on February 2nd. I hope I don’t screw this up :)