How I Make My New Year’s Resolutions
Every year, I make four or five New Year’s resolutions with the idea that I’ll manage to achieve at least one. Last year, for example, I made a resolution to put a set amount of money into savings. I ended the year with that amount plus 41 dollars in the bank. Example two: I established a pattern of spending more time with family.
I didn’t do especially well with the others resolutions but progress is a process.
Every year, as the New Year approaches I evaluate the year that came before. I look at what I accomplished and what I didn’t. Journal a bit on what I’d like to do better. Pray. Try to get a handle on God’s will for my life. Reflect on what really matters to me. Then resolve to do better.
Why I Make Resolutions
Oddly (to me) when I talk to other people about making New Year’s resolutions they say things like “life is too short” or “don’t be so hard on yourself” or, invariably, “I never make New Year resolutions.” To me, that’s perfectly fine. If you’re steadily progressing in life and accomplishing your goals in a day to day way, why do anything different?
Personally, however, I like the structure of setting goals. I like taking account. I like resolving to do better. And I love new beginnings. I most especially love that in that week or two before the New Year it feels like ANYTHING is possible. To me, hope is the secret of our survival as a species. Or at least it’s the secret of my survival as a human being.
Even if I am a realist who knows that my resolution success rate hovers somewhere around 35% I honor the New Year, I think, by believing that good things can happen.
And so, this year, in honor of this new beginning, here my New Year’s resolutions.
My New Year’s Resolutions
- Strengthen our family ties. This resolution is carried over. My main win last year was in establishing a family movie night – which everybody really does enjoy. We take turns picking the movies and I make popcorn or other snacks. In my experience, offering snacks is one of the easiest ways to get people to gather. So, so far, so good. But I do I want to make other specific changes this year. I have a feeling they won’t all take but I’m aiming high. They are – one family dinner a week (aiming for Sunday), walking with my youngest son daily, help lighten my middle boy’s workload, more frequent communication with the oldest and possibly adding in a family game night (probably monthly).
- Get the house in shape. Remodeling, organizing and exterior work. This resolution is a carry over, too. I did make a little progress last year and got into a routine with some tasks but I could have done a LOT better. Still, I feel good about 2021 because I’m going about things a bit differently. E.G. (a) I’ve decided to pay for some of the work (which I actually can do because I’m setting aside money) and (b) have asked two of my grown sons to help out one afternoon a week. To me, this is key when you’re repeating resolutions. You can’t just say the same thing and make the same effort because if it didn’t work the year before it probably won’t work for the one coming up. You have to change something. And if that doesn’t work, you have to change it again. Next year.
- Lose weight. Lose, in fact, the same exact number of pounds I wanted to lose last year. This resolution is 100% carried over. But I am making a couple of changes that might help: going back to a primarily vegan diet and walking everyday. I actually started both of these things in 2020 so they are already in effect. This is another thing I’ve found helpful. If you know you’re going to make lifestyle changes, make them early so that they’re established habits by the time the New Year rolls around. The best way to do this is to start one, wait until you feel like you’ve got it, then start another. I’m good with the vegan cooking and okay with the walking.
- Doubling the amount of money I saved last year. This is a big jump but I actually feel pretty confident about it. In 2020 I actually met (technically exceeded by 41 dollars) my savings goals and I (really surprisingly) enjoyed doing it. I do come from a long line of thrifty people so maybe something genetic finally kicked in?
- Writing. My writing goals are specific. This resolution is a carry over in a general sense but the goals themselves were different last year. Last year, I decided to start this blog (check) and figure out what I wanted to do in terms of a larger work / ebook (mostly checked) and get one ebook in print (no check). This year I want to publish my testimony and write the first novel in my new series. I’ll be blogging weekly.
- Media. After reading Joann Penn’s book Audio For Author’s (see review here), I decided I want to podcast. So I will be doing that every two weeks, as well as occasional YouTubes and regular social media posts. I’ll be using Canva (affiliate link) for the graphics. This is a very robust free tool though I do pay for pro because of the image library, additional templates and the time I save by being able to resize one design for various social media applications. Also very helpful – you can schedule social media posts and publish to social media straight from Canva (I think this is available in the free version also).
Where I’m at Today
So that’s it. My 2021 New Year’s resolutions are ambitious and I’m pretty sure I won’t accomplish them all. But I know I’ll do some of it. And I do feel good about 2021. I’m here. I’m healthy. I love my family. We have money in the bank. I know what I want. And I think I know how to get it. More or less.
Things are not perfect. I need to lose weight. Members of our family have significant health challenges. I have yet to publish a book. I’m not getting any younger. And there is a LOT of work to be done on the house. But I do have a plan. More importantly, I have hope.
Yesterday I wrote the first fight scene for the new series (which ended up as more of scuffle). Today I am struggling with the entire concept. This weekend the whole family watched a movie together. On Sunday, I baked chocolate chip cookies with my youngest son. Life is a mixed bag and we have to learn to make the best of that.
About for the chocolate chip cookies. I am aware that baking cookies is a little inconsistent with resolution number 3 but something kind of nice happened while we were doing it and I wanted to share it.
While we were in the kitchen, a Grateful Dead song popped up in the playlist we were listening to. I’d been thinking about the New Year off and on all day and, for some reason, the lyrics of that song spoke to me. And I think they spoke to my son, as well.
Reach out your hand if your cup be emptyRipple, The Grateful Dead
If your cup is full, may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men
There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone