Resolutions – 2009 Edition

Normally I am not a big believer in making resolutions. It feels like a great way to set yourself up for failure. This might be due to all those years when I used to smoke, and I would resolve to quit. That one held firm, at most, until I woke up the next morning. Then there are all the other lifestyle changing resolutions that are such herculean tasks and probably best left to more pleasant weather – getting in shape, eating better, etc.

My resolutions this year are not life changing, it is more about getting back on track. These are things, good habits I’ve fallen away from for whatever reason. Most, no doubt, fell away as a result of my new hectic life, i.e., my one year old son.

So, here we go:

1. Free write for 10 minute everyday. I love doing this exercise following Natalie Goldberg’s wonderful rules: “Keep your hand moving, don’t be logical, don’t correct, go for the jugular, etc.” This type of writing really helps me dig deep for authentic voice and ideas, and give me confidence. The beauty is that even you don’t feel like writing, it is only ten minutes and that is doable. I have my mason jar full of new prompts, and I just finished my ten minutes today. It felt great, and helped me get to work on the next piece I think has potential as a long work of fiction.

2. Read more. I have a long list of titles I’ve been meaning to read. Right now I am in the middle of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. In order to stay realistic, my goal will be two books per month. I have a tendency to read classics (there are so many I still want to enjoy) but I resolve to designate half of my list for contemporary titles.

3. Once a month, go to a museum! This will be especially helpful this winter as I combat the gray Cleveland days. First stop – the rain forest at the zoo.

4. Do something new and creative with my son every week. He loves painting, and we just started drawing with toddler crayons. I resolve to finish those puppets I bought all the clearance fabric to make, and use my “Busy Book” to do something new, creative and fun once per week.

5. Be present and engaged. Okay, so this one is kind of spiritual/zen for me, but I think it is a good idea. Too often I find myself either thinking ahead or reflecting back, and I want to live in the moment and appreciate all the beauty and joy around me.

With that I am done making resolutions. You’ll notice there are none of the following: get published, get an agent, finish my late-bloomer History degree, or finish my next book. Why? Well, all those things would be great, but they are better goals rather than resolutions. I will work to achieve my goals, but resolving to make those things happen isn’t going to help bring them about. There are too many other factors I can’t control. I want resolutions that I can control, and that will ultimately make me a happier healthier person.


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