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Advice from Aarockmoth the Ancient One (New Year's Edition)

From Twitter:

Any advice on committing to a list of goals or resolutions and actually following through? Should I be finding ways to reward myself for every month of forward progress?

— @Azniac

And also from Twitter,

To also follow up on this, is there a specific sacrifice I should make to Aarockmoth to help achieve my New Year goals?

— @thecommonmasses

Salutations Azniac and The Common Masses,

Resolutions can be insurmountable to any entity, from the lowly tain-wyrm up to the great deity Lobarq. Indeed, even the Gods find themselves glancing at tasks they set some thousand years ago, shrugging, and saying, “Well, mayhaps I shall wreak havoc on the blasphemers ‘cross the realms next year.” In this metaphor, let us pretend the, “blasphemers,” are the extra weight humanoids pick up during the holiday feasts, and, “wreaking havoc upon them,” is exercise.

The most common way mortals break their goals is by setting themselves up for failure. Do not task thyself with entering the gymnasium several times a week, banishing all sugars and carbohydrates from your diet, and waking up early all at once. Your flesh body is a frail, weak thing, and it must be coddled as such. Ease thyself into a routine that isn’t too extreme so that ye may begin remaking thyself slowly, getting thine meaty carapace used to a new pattern over time. This goes for anything from dieting to studying the blade.

Ye may then begin to introduce new aspects to thine lifestyle, such as walking more than twice a day, eating vegetables other than corn, and prying thyself from the newest season of “Fortnight” each evening so that ye may actually achieve thine recommended 8 hours of rest. Once ye start to become used to something, say going on a 20 minute walk each dawn, then ye can begin to evolve the process. For example: Add a minute to the walk every week. In no time at all, ye’ll spend an hour each morning at a brisk pace and feeling energized, rather than like a specter of death if ye try to start walking for a full hour day 1 of the, “New Year, New You,” cycle.

Now, this is supposing the typical goal many mortals have of ridding themselves of the Holiday Meat they have accumulated on their person prior to the Year’s End Celebration, but these same principles I have laid out apply to many different types of goals. Pace thyself, know thine limits, and set smaller goals that ye can accomplish, leading ye to larger, and more formidable ones over time. Is losing weight thine goal? Start off your year by snacking a bit less betwixt meals. Once ye’ve starting getting used to that, perhaps remove sugary drinks from your meals next. After that, more veggies, less carbs, and so on. Easing into a diet is far less formidable when taken a step at a time, and thine body will not hate ye all at once. Unless ye have been cursed by Veggetakakora, the self-loathing master of spurned root vegetables, in which case, I can only offer my condolences, and suggest throwing a party for and themed around brussel sprouts, in attempt to sway him to remove the curse.

A note: ye may also wonder if Chronomancy may be used to bypass earthly laws and see results quickly, perhaps traveling to the past to tell thyself what ye will become if ye do not cease the consumption of the powdered dairy triangle known as, “The Dorito”. THIS IS A CRIME OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER! Toying with time for your own gain is a certain way to create paradoxes, and collapsing all of space-time just so ye can achieve the abs ye’ve dreamt of will come with a much higher cost than just eating your greens would, Jeremy.

On the topic of setting thyself aside rewards for following through with thine goals, I believe this idea is a double-edge sword, and as such, must be wielded with care. Most ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ are made because a mortal believes that they are underperforming in some aspect of their life, and seek to use an arbitrary date on a calendar to kick start their progress into “bettering themselves”. It is a test of patience, determination, and resolve to see if one can achieve what they have set out to accomplish, and more often than not, The Fitness Planet sees a sharp decrease in memberships come February 1st. Rewards, cheat days, breaks, all of these can wear away at the resolve ye enter the new year with, undermining what you set out to accomplish.

On the rewards themselves: what are they? Of what rarity are these wonders? A ‘cheat meal’ for having stuck to a diet for a predetermined amount of time? Indulging in some shopping after being more frugal during the holy times known as ‘Toyotathon’? I caution these rewards because they are a slippery slope. At first they are enticing, a delicious ice cream boon to be claimed at the end of a harrowing time of low carbs. But once ye have tasted this reward, can ye truly leave it where it lies? Will ye be able to return to the bleak world of steamed vegetables after a night of chocolatey indulgence? If so, than ye are stronger than most.

My advice here is to use foresight. Ye know thyself better than anyone. Can ye resist the temptation? Or by giving thyself a reward several times year as ye’ve suggested, are ye sabotaging what progress ye’ve made? Will ye become more inclined to gift thyself the reward early, with the half-hearted promise that ye shall follow through with thine routines? Will the goals seem less important as ye hunger for the treasures ye’ve promised? Be wary of what rewards ye place before thyself. If the donkey supplied the carrot the rider dangled on the line before it, would it not cease trotting and simply devour the carrots? Why do the work if they have access to the reward? Mayhaps ye have the fortitude to withstand the temptation, the conviction to not break in the face of such bait, I cannot say, but I offer this final thought on the matter: shouldn’t accomplishing thine goals, and bettering thyself be reward enough?

If all hope seems lost however, and ye lack motivation to keep up with the endless hordes of mortals who think jogging is, “neat,” ye can do as The Common Masses proposes, and direct your pleas to me for assistance. Animal sacrifices are not my favored method of beseechment, I much prefer blood oaths, magical artifacts, and/or vast sums of your world’s Girl Scout Cookies. Offer these, or thyself, to me and my dark causes, and I may just utter a dark incantation in your name, and keep The Burger King from sneaking up on ye in the coming year, and terrifying ye with his bovine sandwich offerings. Or, mayhaps ye’ll find a fiver on the sidewalk. It depends on the cookies ye offer and what my schedule looks like. The New Year is always a busy time for those in the profession of soul collection, but rest assured if ye call, I shall answer.

Or, at the very least, ye’ll be contracted by my secretary, Maude.

The Accidental Apprentice (Pt. 1)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Holidus