Thursday, January 13, 2011


For the past 10 years or so, I've always made a "mega list" of New Year's Resolutions. For example, in 2002, I made 102 micro-resolutions. In 2004, I made 104. I wasn't the only one...there's a whole community of people who break their resolutions down into categories and smaller, more manageable increments. I also created titles ("Get it Done in 2001") for each list, printed them out, and carried them with me in my day planner. I even highlighted each item as it was accomplished. Cleaning out some files (one of my resolutions) earlier this week in my desk, I came across 10 printed out lists from the past 10 years. Frankly, it just made me tired. If I stuck to the old pattern, this year, that means I would have to make 111 resolutions. Not going to happen.

I was thrilled to find these old lists, not just for entertainment value (in 2011, one of my resolutions was "don't leave the house without makeup." Another: "Watch less TV."), but also because I realized that they served a purpose, but it's one I no longer need. Every year, I included "read one book a week." Done. The wearing makeup thing? I now live in Austin. I go to the grocery store in my pajamas and often spend days without makeup. Another amusement: Every single list had "fall in love." I did that one year; it didn't quite work out. Also, I don't think that's the kind of thing you can put on a check list. The coolest thing is that some of the resolutions I thought were long shots actually happened: I published a book in 2008. I made a huge change in my life when I moved to Austin (just passed my one year anniversary here!). I got a literary agent and a publicist. I became my own publicist. I matured emotionally, have been able to let down some of those walls, and I tell people I love them all the time - whether they say it back or not. I finally read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead (thanks to some prompting from Aleigh). And they did change my life, or at least the way I perceive things in my life.

For 2011, I've decided to keep my list in my head. Or maybe here. But there won't be 111. I want to live in the moment. I want to be happy (I am). I want to be more social (working on it). I want to find a day job that I love so much I'd do it for free. I want to lose 25 lbs. I want to finish my second book. I want to buy some plants. But since I live in Austin now, as a tribute, I'm going to go with the flow, add resolutions as they come up, and let the Universe point me in the right direction. Maybe this year, not having a printed, rigid list will be an asset. I'm calling my 2011 list "Subject to Change." Which reminds me: Add "stop trying to control every aspect of your life."


  1. I couldn't imagine having a list of resolutions that long.. I bet in some ways, it was kind of fun-- like a game or a life scavenger hunt. I like writing things down and then looking back on old journals and seeing all the things that have come to pass. Not to compare you (or me) to a Virginia Slim, but it seems fitting this year! :)

  2. Until two years ago, I categorized all of my goals for the new year into sub-sections with multiple points under each one. It was exhausting. Bravo to both of us for embracing life and noticing the moments!!


  3. Angie, it was a pretty cool project every year and I'm so glad I printed them out and saved all of them. I was actually surprised at how much I have accomplished!

    Andra, I did exactly the same thing - broke my resolutions into subgroups "health," "relationships," "family," "money," "habits," and probably 10 more I can't remember now. The logic was to make my resolutions more manageable, which it did, but also looking back I realize how OCD it was! I agree - bravo to both of us for spending less time making lists and more time living them!

  4. Before the start of the New Year, a friend told me to make a list of affirmations, positive affirmations, affirming expectations as if they already exist. I decided a list of affirmations would be my 2011 resolution.

  5. I love that idea - writing the "resolutions" as actions that have already occurred. Going to steal that one for 2011!


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