Start with Analogies Instead of Resolutions

It’s the time of the year when the calendar and the late night TV infomercial encourage us to begin reflecting on the past year and setting resolutions for the one to come. But the truth is- I stink at goals and resolutions. Oh, I can keep them for a couple weeks or months but slowly but surely I begin to slide, fall off the wagon, slip, peter out, lose steam…

Goals and resolutions are scary and strange, uncharted waters that make me reluctant to set out to sea. Even if I sit down and plan out a course of small steps to achieve the goal, I still feel overwhelmed because this is something I want to do but have not tried or been able to achieve in the past.

I am much more likely to accomplish something new or difficult if I start with a metaphor/analogy instead of a goal. I like to ask myself “What hard things have I done in the past and lived?” When I come up against another difficult decision or idea, I can think “I did x and lived; I should be able to do y, too.”

This all might seem like a semantic dance, but in the following TED video on the power of metaphor, James Geary quotes Albert Einstein, who said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” Some of the analogies I create seem playful or silly or unreasonable. But as I’m setting out or when I get stuck or panicked, I can come back to the metaphor/analogy. (I speak in front of students all the time, so I can speak in front of teachers at a conference. I blog, so I can write an article.)

Things I accomplished in 2009 that’ll likely serve as inspiration for 2010

  • Published an article in a professional journal
  • Took a writing class (Thanks for the encouragement, Karen L.!)
  • Helped students publish a literary magazine we all were proud of
  • Received a Digital Resources grant to update the 6th grade LA and History curriculum at our school
  • Started the blog you’re reading now
  • Presented at two professional conferences
  • Joined the English Companion Ning
  • Created and ran a Local Foods Camp
  • Toured the West Wing of the White House (and caught a glimpse of the president)
  • Organized a week at the beach with friends (a couple are pictured below) from grad school

What metaphors will you make in 2010?

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2 thoughts on “Start with Analogies Instead of Resolutions

  1. I loved your method of considering your possibilities for growth in terms of analogies; makes it all more plausible! It looks like you’ve achieved an awful lot this year, and I wish you the best for 2010! I look forward to more posts, both the practical and the inspirational.

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