Did you want to stop reading because of the title? Me too, a little. New Year’s resolutions are garbage, for a few reasons, not least of which is their seeming acceptance (and perhaps expectance) of failure. But they do have a few positives. If they are a viewed as a set of concrete goals, not amorphous ideals then they can be very helpful. I’m of the mindset that “get into shape” will get you nowhere, but if you resolve to “run 400 miles in 2013” then you might have a shot. It’s quantifiable, and it removes all bias. If you run those 400 and still have some extra weight, that doesn’t mean you failed. Finally, I believe that, if used correctly, New Year’s resolutions can underline the importance of constant improvement. They shouldn’t be about what’s wrong with us – so many just sound like whining – but rather ways we can make ourselves better.

And in that light, if I’m setting goals for myself, why not set a few for Sawyer? Some are concrete, while some have undefined boundaries, but you’ll see why. Some are more about me and the blog than Sawyer. They will all, however, make Sawyer and the bond between us stronger. Here they are:

  1. By the end of 2013, this blog will have garnered a total of at least fifty total followers, no less than 2,000 total views, and will have had at least one day with 100 or more views.
    • Thank you for reading, reader. You’re far more than just a number, but again, I’m trying to make these quantifiable.
  2. By the end of 2013 (but hopefully much sooner), Sawyer will be able to stay home alone, with access to the whole house, with no problems. I’m tired of using the rake.
  3. By the end of the year, Sawyer will have stopped jumping up on people and barking out of turn.
  4. Long before the end of the year, Sawyer will be neutered. We’ve put it off long enough. Expect a post about this one.
  5. I will buy this book on how to train a dog to find shed deer antlers, and outline our training here.
    • We’ve never done this before, so I don’t really know how to quantify it. For an added bonus resolution, Sawyer will hopefully actually find a few.
  6. I will buy these DVDs about training pointing dogs, and outline our training here.
  7. Sawyer will have his first unaided point and retrieve.
    • Unaided here means I didn’t have to do much but give the command. I expect him to find the birds on his own, point them, then go pick up the one’s I knock out of the air.
  8. I will take Sawyer on no less than four extended (more than one day) hunting trips.
    • Chukar season doesn’t open until early October, so we’ll have to cram these in at the end of the year.

That last one is a bit of a stretch. For the trips to be more than a day long, they’ll have to be weekend trips, which means they’ll cost significantly more than just driving into the foothills and letting Sawyer go. Also, four weekends is a third of the available weekends in the last quarter of the year, which is also typically a very busy time. But reasonability be damned, we’ll make it happen. Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments.

Happy New Year, everybody.

– Matt

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