Thursday, January 5, 2012

So You Say You Want a Resolution?

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My thoughts exactly


Aaack!  It’s that time of the year again.  The time I always hate.  No, not the time to de-decorate the house after Christmas (which mysteriously always takes twice as long as getting all of the knick-knacks and doodads out in December).  No, it’s that time of year when everyone is talking about making resolutions.  Time to set goals and visions and commitments to make life better, richer, skinnier, more creative, and generally more awesome.


And I hate it.  I believe I fall into that group of people who never have succeeded in keeping a single one – unless it’s one like “I really resolve to return to that restaurant in Dijon that advertises French fries made in duck fat and eat a plate of those suckers” or “I resolve to branch out from my beloved French menthe chocolat ice cream and eat a different flavor every day in Dijon this summer.”  In that case I’m all over that resolution-making routine.

At the beginning of last year I vowed to embrace failure.  If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.  It was a bit of channeling Thomas Edison and his dedication to finding 10,000 ways that didn’t work.  I also made a resolution to stop wasting computer (and writing) time clicking on celebrity gossip.  That did last a full three weeks.  And I felt quite productive and virtuous.  I wrote a “Dear John” letter to fast food and vowed to exert more energy than my old, arthritic dog.  But I let my neck and arm pain and all the attendant side effects pull me down the paths of sloth and gluttony.

New Year’s weekend – the usual time for making those impossible public declarations – was spent peacefully at my in-laws’ Georgia mountain house reading Stephen King, walking the lake, taking pictures, and eating black-eyed peas and collard greens for luck.  With that annual luck feast fully digested, I’m now fully recharged.  Now I just need the resolve to follow through on my resolutions. 

Christmas lingered on Burnt Mountain
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Fiery sunsets over the white pines, night skies crowded with stars and planets, and worry over whether or not the neighborhood bears had gone into hibernation yet (what with the radically warm December we experienced) distracted me from the job of reflecting on 2011 and setting a brand new path for 2012. So this year, instead of making new resolutions, I decided to just pull the old ones out of the plastic bin in the basement where I stored them.  They’ve hardly been worn.  I’m pretty sure they’d still fit me.  And they’re not the kind to go out of style that quickly.

That pretty much gives me a full pannier for the coming year.  However, I decided to add one more challenge to my basket and am also taking up writer/blogger guru Kristen Lamb’s cry to battle: “Don’t let the pixies win!”  This year I want to blog and write like a madwoman, so I’m taking her workshop to learn how to beat back the Procrastination Pixies that convince me on a regular basis that I have to check all the toilet paper rolls in the house when my rear should be glued to chair and fingers on keyboard.

Onward to the future!  I’m very much on the upswing in my surgical recovery and I’m eager to tackle everything that I should have mastered last year.  Let’s just look at it as being environmentally conscious.  I’m all about recycling.  Better late than never and all that.  And I’ll begin right after I put away all my Christmas doodads.

So how about you?  Are you pro or anti- resolution?  What energizes you to start a new year?  Give us your ideas, handy hints, or motivations to screw your resolution to the sticking place.  Share in the comments box.  And have a fruitful new year!

Photographing more sunsets on Burnt Mt. in Georgia might be a soul-satisfying resolution
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24 comments:

Nadine Feldman said...

Julie, welcome back! I hope you continue to feel better, better, and better!

I'm keeping my resolutions light this year -- lose weight and finish my next novel. Oh, yeah, and resist posting snarky comments on The Huffington Post (the hardest one of all).

The key, I think (and this is an untested theory) is to have strategies as to how to succeed and what to do when resistance rears its ugly head. We'll see if I'm right!

Julie Farrar said...

"Finish next novel" doesn't sound too light. And I need a resolution to not even read HuffPo. How many minutes do I lose there every hour?

Cristina Dimen said...

Happy new year, Julie! Wishing you a speedy recovery and health in 2012.

I relate to your post in terms of getting distracted while I write. Working from home is a blessing, but a challenge, too. So many things to do "while" I'm writing.

I've now allotted a certain time slot to social media, and the bulk of my time in front of the computer "writing" blog posts, and my debut novel.

Saw your post in SheWrites and replied with some ideas for places you may want to check out while you're there. Hope it helps.

bridgetstraub.com said...

Hi Julie,
Happy New Year! I'm glad you are feeling better and able to write, share such beautiful pictures and get on with your life, hopefully pain free. I'm determined to get my writing out to more people this year. Searching for My Wand has been out for a few weeks and I'll be honest, I have not yet become a bestseller. They say word of mouth is what gets that done. Want to read it? I'd be happy to send you a copy. I've also heard that the more you publish the more you sell, so I will publish at least one more novel this year. See you on FB and I look forward to your next post!

Julie Farrar said...

Hi Bridget. I downloaded a copy of your book over Christmas. I'll read it soon, but I'm trying to catch up with previous downloads on my Kindle. You're probably right about the more you publish the more you sell. I'll have to keep that in mind as I try to get more material out there this year.

Tonya Rice said...

Love this, Julie! So glad I'm not the only one guilty of wasting time clicking on celebrity gossip. (I guess I'm not anonymous about that anymore, am I?) It's better than picking up "Star" in the grocery line. Like you, I plan to really focus on what I know I can do. Finishing my novel's first draft last year requires the rewrite, so that's my biggest challenge. Happy New Year and wishing you well very soon!

Julie Farrar said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tonya. Ah, the specific writing challenge. Notice my resolutions weren't writing specific. I think I have to revisit them and add something.

brenda said...

I don't believe in setting myself up for failure, life is hard enough. I did write a list but it wasn't anything I was doing already. I added a couple things, like believe in my own words (you know the writer self doubt thing). I kind of like staying present prefect, in the moment and giving myself permission to redefine. Wonderful post, btw.you have a way of spinning that pulls me in.

Julie Farrar said...

Thanks, Brenda. Eternal question: do resolutions set us up for failure or motivate us?

Bella said...

Julie, I don't believe in resolutions. I've never been good at keeping them and hate to feel like I've failed when I can't commit. So instead, I set short term goals regarding things I know I need to improve. This year I've decided I need to eat healthier. My stomach troubles seem to be getting worse and worse and the doctor tells me it's from an improper diet. Hence, I've resolved to incorporate good food items into my diet. Like yogurt, fruit, and more raw veggies. I hope I can think of the repercussions of not sticking to this and maybe that will keep me motivated! :)

Project 365 Vets said...

Welcome back. I wish you luck in beating the procrastination pixies and am happy to hear that you are on the mend following your surgery. Happy New Year.

brenda said...

I don't know the answer.. for the masses, but for me it's like wasted air if I declare to the world I am going to do something. I work better under pressure so I keep the list tight and short, which seems to work for me..

monicastangledweb.com said...

I don't usually go for resolutions, but this year, on my doctor's advice, I vowed to eat more healthy. Unfortunately, that's already falling by the wayside. My other resolution is the fifty/fifty one I wrote about earlier this week. I'm resolved to read 50 books this year and see 50 films. It's a long shot on the books, but I'm already having fun trying, as I'm almost finished reading my 2nd book of the year!

Julie Farrar said...

All who choose short-term, concrete goals probably have more success keeping them. Something like your 50/50 goal, Monica, is one that would be easy for me to keep (and important for me as a writer), but alas the eating more healthily is the one I need more.

Lee I said...

I resolved not to resolve, since I can't remember resolutions, in particular, to do them. And now along comes a homework assignment from my French teacher, which includes announcing three resolutions in French in next week's class. I could dazzle her by resolving to do my French homework, since I always answer "non" when she asks if I have done them. (I guess that's "it" in English, but I'm thinking "mes devoirs.") Maybe, to do it three times, then I will have fulfilled my resolutions, and can get back to normal.

Melinda Farrar said...

Julie,the HuffPo resolution would be a good start for me. Need to change the world closes to me before changing the entire world. Procrastination comes from fear so look closely at what your biggest fear is if you complete a specific task you are avoiding. We all do this, just need to be aware. I'm all for more of your writing, but I don't see how how it can get "better" when I love everything that I read already!

MuMuGB said...

Glad you are feeling better. I have stopped making new year's resolution - I never keep them anyway. So I have decided to keep going! Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone my name is Kathy,

I just started reading your blog recently and I totally enjoy it. I usually set some resolutions but only 1 or 2 - this year is different. I worked on my health and diet last year and I am still doing that successfully for a change (down 35 pounds since last Feb). But the day after Christmas I went back to work and was told that my job was eliminated. After 9 1/2 years it was over just like that. Really shook me, because at 58 prospects are not very good. I miss our clients and want to be productive and can't seem to find my focus. Didn't really expect this but when his daughter came into the business last January I had a feeling my days were limited.

Hope 2012 brings me new opportunities!

Meanwhile my wish for all of you is that you have a great year - with good health.

Thanks for your blog - it is one of those little wonderful things that you just cross paths with - I consider myself very fortunate to find you.

Kathy

Julie Farrar said...

Thank you for reading, Kathy. I wish you well in 2012.

Cora said...

I don't do new year resolutions either. Too much guilt. I get more accomplished without feeling like I have to. I'm also a digital photo buff and love your pics.

Nancy said...

Happy New Year, Julie! Glad to hear you're feeling stronger every day.

I usually start my new year full of energy after reflecting on the highs and lows of the previous year. 2011 was grand in many ways, but I did have a few hard hits and was more than ready to turn the calendar page.

As for specific resolutions, well . . . I do my best to set a few. Working with a business coach and joining a gym top my list for 2012. Wish me luck!

Julie Farrar said...

Thanks for reading, Cora. Your sequoia pics made the place come alive for me.

Nancy, I have friends working with a business coach and it sounds fascinating to hear the challenges they're given by her.

animprobablelife.com said...

Happy New Year, Julie! I'm so happy your body is healing and you're starting to feel stronger.

I'm one of those saps you love to hate because I'm a sucker for the fresh start of a new year and all the possibilities it offers. I don't make resolutions, but rather goals--which help remind me what's important in my life. You won't find me resolving to eat less chocolate. :-)

I try every way possible not to set myself up for failure by breaking each goal down into micro-steps. That way when I complete a task, I inch closer to reaching my goal and it keeps me motivated. As long as it has me moving in the right direction, I'm happy.

Here's to a wonderful 2012!

Julie Farrar said...

All of these wonderful comments have motivated me more to stick with my relatively basic resolutions this year! Thanks for the kick in the rear.

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