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Neo Year Resolutions


by aurorapearl

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It’s the new year, and then some. How did the weeks fly by already? Weren’t you celebrating the end of 2020 just yesterday, and now it’s - well, now it’s most certainly not January 1st?

     And how are those New Years Resolutions coming along?

     Or - like me - did you realize long ago that you are utterly incapable of setting New Years Resolutions and so you didn’t even bother making them up this year?

     Because really, in many ways, New Years Resolutions are silly. You don’t need the new year to set a resolution for areas of improvement. So, I say, do away with the New Years Resolution - and let’s focus on something more important: that’s right, Neo Years Resolution!

     I’ve been playing Neopets on and off for about two decades now, and let me clarify something - two decades is a nontrivial portion of my life. What I loved about Neopets when I first started playing as a kid isn’t what kept me online as a teenager, why I played Neopets through high school isn’t the same reason as why I play Neopets as a working adult. And that’s what’s great about Neopets: there’s so much content available for you to explore!

     So what’s next for you in the world of Neopia? Follow my guide for a five-step process on setting your Neo Year Resolutions to answer the question for yourself!

     STEP ZERO: REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR

     Aha, you see now that I have cheated - my five-step plan includes a step zero. But a six-step plan doesn’t sound nearly as catchy as a five-step plan, you understand?

     So step zero of our five-step plan is retrospection. Think back on your past year on Neopets. What parts of the site did you enjoy? Were there any goals you’d set for 2020 that you hit, or failed to hit? What achievements did you accomplish that deserves a self-pat-on-the-back?

     If you’d like some structure to your retrospective, Kanban processes suggest breaking it into three sections: Kudos, What Went Well, and Areas to Improve. (We’ll then later translate “Areas to Improve” into “Action Items.”) Or maybe all you need is a pros and cons list. Or take a more abstract approach - maybe journal a bit and see what Neopets 2020 means to you! The thing about processes is to take what works for you, and leave the rest.

     For me, here’s an overview of my past Neopian year, if you’d like to use it to inspire your own retrospective:

     Kudos:

     - Pat on the back for trying for the Neopian Times Writer avatar! There’s always been so much fuss around the -00 and -50 issues that I’ve been too intimidated to try for this avatar, and I’m proud of myself for getting past that.

     - Pat on the back for hitting my goal of neopoints in the bank! It’s been a long time coming, but I finally buckled down and finished it this year.

     Went Well:

     - Joining my guild was arguably the best Neo-decision I made in the past year. Finding a community to support & drive me towards my goals has been a fundamental part of my Neo-experience.

     - Being more consistent with doing my dailies

     Areas to Improve:

     - Consistency with trading! I’ll often make a board on the Pound Chat or the Neocash Chat and then immediately get lost into the world of Neoquest or some other aspect, leaving my board to die.

     STEP ONE: CHOOSING YOUR AREA(S) OF FOCUS

     Now that you have an idea of what you did in 2020 and how you feel about it, it’s time to pick themes for your 2021 year. I’d recommend choosing a few themes that you know to enjoy, and pick a theme or two of something new to try out. You never know what might be your new favourite reason for coming back to Neopets! So many of the things I play regularly now on Neopets I only realized I enjoyed after my guild pushed me out of my comfort zone.

     Here’s a few themes to help you get started on your list of what you may or may not want to try out for 2021:

     - Account Improvement (Avatars, Trophies, Stamp & Neocard Collections)

     - Building a Gallery

     - Art (Art Gallery, Beauty Contest, Neopian Times, Drawing for your Neopets)

     - Writing (Storytelling Contest, Poetry Contest, Neopian Times, Writing for your Neopets)

     - Coding (Userlookup, Petlookup, Petpage, Shop layout, Gallery layout)

     - Making Neopoints (Stock Market, Food Club, RSing, Employment Agency Jobs)

     - Pets (Pet trading, Pet stats, Customization, Petpets & petpetpets)

     - Games (Neoquest, Plushie Tycoon, HTML5 Games)

     - Community & Neofriends (Join a guild, Chat boards)

     STEP TWO: SETTING ACHIEVABLE GOALS

     Now that you know what areas you’d like to focus on, it’s time to set concrete goals. A key thing about goal-setting is to choose achievable goals, and the best way to know if a goal is achievable or not is to have data from previous years as a benchmark. The idea is to set a threshold that will slightly challenge you, but not feel daunting.

     If you don’t have previous data to fall back on, consider how long you think a goal might take to achieve. Want to make neopoints, but you don’t know how much you earned in 2020? Think about how many neopoints you usually earn in a day, or in a week - and then multiply that out throughout the year. Then bump that number up a tad to give yourself something to push towards.

     The goals you set yourself should be concrete and measurable, rather than qualitative. Ideally, it’s expressed in a way that can be tracked. (“Invest two hours a week on the Pound Chat” or “Learn how to place Food Club bets” for example, instead of “Be better at trading pets” and “Earn more money.”)

     Here’s some of my concrete goals for 2021:

     - (Account Improvement/Trophy) Beat Neoquest on Evil mode!

     - (Making Neopoints) Earn 50 million neopoints!

     - (Pets/Pet trading) Train trading fodder to 1500 HSD!

     - (Pets/Writing/Coding) Complete one pet’s story & petpage

     STEP THREE: SETTING STRETCH GOALS

     Now it’s time to choose a goal or two that will really challenge you. Don’t set it to be so impossible that you feel exhausted just thinking about accomplishing the task, but these goals, you’ll have to work for. You might not hit these goals, but it’s okay - you’ll feel proud of yourself at the end of the day for even trying, and it’ll mean you’re that much closer to your goal in 2022.

     Here’s my stretch goals for 2021:

     - (Account Improvement/Avatars) Earn the Neopian Times Star Avatar!

     - (Pets/Pet trading) Trade for a UC RG Cybunny!

     STEP FOUR: REVIEW

     You’ve reviewed 2020, and you’ve set goals for 2021 based on your 2020 review. Let’s now review these 2021 goals.

     You now have a set of painstakingly built goals - a mix of achievable and stretch goals - that are built in such a way that you can track your progress in accomplishing them. But how do they fit together holistically? Maybe your goals are achievable, but you’ve set so many that completing all of them would be impossible.

     Here’s your chance to look at your goals, seeing the big picture that they spell to make the according adjustments. Know that you are not limited to your goals. For example, I have not set any Neo-goals regarding customization, but that does not mean I’m not going to be playing dress-up with my Neopets. Make sure that your goals aren’t so exhausting that you won’t have time to have fun on other areas of the site!

     Some questions you might ask yourself now are:

     - Is it possible for me to achieve all of these goals this year? If not, which ones should I trim? (Maybe your stretch goal is to complete a bunch of achievable goals!)

     - Are my goals too focused in one area?

     - Will I have fun trying for these goals?

     STEP FIVE: MAKE A PLAN

     Time to work backwards! Now that you have your goals, what do you need to accomplish them? My goal of 50 million neopoints in a year, for example, means earning 4.17 million neopoints a month. What’s my plan for making that money?

     How your plan looks should depend on what you need to give you drive. If breaking a detailed week-by-week plan works for you, then go for it. If setting a benchmark to hit every few months is what keeps you on track, then go for it. If your plan is to tell your neofriends about your goals and have them nag you about your progress, then go for it. Again, do what works for you!

     At minimum, I would suggest capturing your current metrics in a petpage somewhere. Is your goal 50 million neopoints, like me? Record how many neopoints you’re starting the year out with! Is your goal to trade for a certain pet? Start a trading chain journal! Is your goal to improve your avatar count? Generate your avatar checklist! Being able to track your progress and see measurable improvements by the end of the year - even if you don’t religiously update it - is a huge motivator and will help you define better goals for 2021.

     STEP SIX: CONQUER THE WORLD

     Wait, step six? We already had step zero in our five-step plan. What’s step six?

     Step six is to be the superstar you are and begin tackling all these goals that you’ve set. Move over Fyora, it’s time for you to take center stage!

     Good luck with your goals, and above all - have fun achieving them.

     Wanna chat about your goals? My name is Cae, and my inbox is always open! And with that, I bid you all a Happy Neo Year!

 
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