Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Resolve

How to Resolve

Yeah, it’s January 6. Most people have broken their New Year’s resolutions by now, and I haven’t made mine yet. You think that’s bad, you should see the bright, shiny Christmas tree in the living room.

One year, we did get ambitious. My husband and I made a firm resolve to get up and go walking every single day at 6 a.m., without fail!

Problem is, New Year’s Day tends to fall on January first. When we popped out of bed that morning, we noticed that it was 2 degrees outside, and thick ice covered every sidewalk. So we went back to bed. And didn’t exercise for the rest of the year.

So, yeah, some years we’re really efficient. But this year, the process has captured my attention. As I was mulling over how to go about resolving, my son walked past, chanting under his breath:
more productive
not drinking too much
regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)

“Are those your New Year’s resolutions?” I asked, trying not to sound alarmed about the drinking part.

“No,” he said, “it’s a song by Radiohead called ‘Fitter Happier.’ It goes on like that for three minutes, and then it ends, ‘In a cage. On antibiotics.’”

Oh. So there’s an approach to the New Year, refreshingly devoid of idealism.

Here are some others:

“This year, break a bad habit, learn a new skill, do a good deed, visit a new place, read a difficult book, write something important, try a new food, do something good for someone who cannot thank you, take an important risk.” Awesome advice, which I find my brain automatically rejects, because it came from Pinterest. In-a-cage. On-antibiotics. Unless I count this blog post as writing something important and cross that one off…

• At work, my husband and his co-workers first made comprehensive lists of everything they were good at, and everything they needed to work on. They spent half a day narrowing both lists down to five items: things to improve, and things to make even more awesome.

• A neighbor told me that her elderly relations’ notable characteristics, positive and negative, are growing more pronounced with age. An alarming thought. I like my alone time—LOTS of alone time, and I like it a LOT. I can see myself curling into a tight little ball, then fossilizing like that until someone digs me up 200 years later and puts me in a museum. Which I’d hate. Museums are full of people.

• A couple of different friends choose a word to live by for the year: Ignite! Love! Heart! Focus! Etc.! I kind of like etc., myself.

• My friend Luisa pointed out that, in baseball, a .3 average is awesome, and a .4 is legendary. But when most of us make goals, we beat ourselves up for anything short of 100%. Not beating oneself up is a good goal, but it also got me thinking that I could probably bat .95 in a T-ball league (Well, maybe .75). But what if I signed up for the majors, and rejoiced in batting .3?

• Which brings us to a quote from the newspaper: “My fears will eat me alive, not if I act on them, but if I don’t.” Really gotta start those banjo lessons. Can’t spend my life fearing the banjo.

So, yeah, New Year’s resolutions. So far I’ve made a list of things I’d actually like to accomplish in a bunch of different areas, and things (in a different color of ink) that I probably ought to want to accomplish. Then went back and wrote in long-term wishes/visions for those areas. 

Further bulletins if I ever finish. Maybe after the ice on the sidewalk melts...


  1. From the title I thought you were going to teach me some music theory!

  2. This is awesome. Retroactively resolve to be even more awesome. Then: BOOM.


Lee Ann Setzer's blog about books, writing, and life in general.