Bringing Europe Home

So You Say You Want a Resolution?

A trio of three typical shot glasses

A trio of three typical shot glasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you say you want a resolution?

Well you know, we all want to change our world…if only in the form of a promise made over a glass of champagne on December 31.

I eased myself, chilled, soggy, and worse for the wear into the morning of January 1, 2013, and the last thing on my mind was resolutions.  But ‘tis the season for making pledges; resolutions are filling the air around us, the way smoke fills a blues bar.  So I have formed a few thoughts on the topic.

Resolutions used to be an annual thing for me, like cleaning out my car. That was back in the days when I was young and in my 20s and life was spread out before me, full of promise and adventure like a massive trampoline that’s waiting to be jumped on.  I’d make my list of personal goals and improvements each January, figuring that I had a year to get it right.

Years have passed and become more precious, and the time I have to make changes is closing in on me.  If I’m going to make a change, I don’t want to wait until January to start.  Besides that, if I want to get something done, I’ve got about five minutes to do it in.  Really, I lost my taste for making New Year’s resolutions around the time I lost my taste for canned beer.  And for practically the same reasons.  I’ve since graduated to daily shots of hard intentions, if you will.  I know, I know… it’s the stuff of which a certain road is paved.  But good intentions coupled with constant reminders of what needs to be done can be a powerful force.

I want to be a more attentive mother.  Well, the kids are standing right there: talk to them.  I’d like these jeans to feel a bit less snug.  Well, don’t go for a second scoop of ice cream.  I need to be more organized.  Well, get off the internet and de-clutter this desk.  In a sense I am changing my world, one shot glass commitment at a time.

I understand about new leaves and new beginnings and the significance of writing a different date when signing a check, and I recognize the importance of sitting back and assessing things every so often.  But my January pledges always disintegrated by the time that new buds were appearing and then freezing on the dogwood trees.  So I’ve cut that out.  My personal promises have to be made and kept constantly, daily, with each decision.  It’s something of a race against time and my own memory; I have to meet that goal before I forget what it was.  For me, my own resolutions have become more about the minutia of the moment rather than the beginning of a year.

That’s all I have to say on the topic.  Now I’ve got to go clean out my car.

*This article was originally published in the January 16, 2013 issue of the Dekalb Neighbor Newspaper and its affiliates across metro Atlanta.

54 Comments

  1. I second the feeling Robin. I learned about resolutions when I moved to the States and immediately realized they don’t work. Being in the moment and make things happen daily is precious.
    I migrated my Home Designs Master blog in a new location, if you like to visit it: http://valentinaexpressions.com/category/home-designs-master – Thank you.

  2. Congratulations on being published Robin Jean!!! I sensed a new edge in your writing and I love it!I absolutely love it! To be able to tackle everyday big issues with a dose of upbeat humour and yet serious contemplation takes practice and you seem to have it flow so naturally. Indeed resolutions are not just an annual decision or a one time effort. It is a day by day renewal. And one which our lives should be dedicated towards transforming ourselves. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts with us. I am so glad that you’re being read far and wide and beyond! Hugs and a Happy New Year! I have missed you. Sharon

    • Aw, Sharon, thank you kindly for your own upbeat enthusiasm and words of wisdom. I’m so glad you like the new edge in my writing–it’s really more of the style that I enjoy. (Beneath that sweet, round Polish pottery lady lies an edgy kind of gal.) It’s always nice to read your posts and to hear from you, and truly appreciate your support.

  3. very good and cool,thank you for your sharing

    • Good and cool is what I was aiming for–so thank you kindly, Canada goose.

  4. Great post! I used to try and make resolutions every year, but eventually realized that I couldn’t keep them for more than a few days. I think part of the problem with resolutions is that we try to make huge, sweeping changes (drop 30 pounds, exercise every day when we can barely exercise twice a week, etc…) instead of focusing on small and attainable goals. So I really like your idea of daily commitments to changing things right in front of us, like paying attention to the kids when they are talking to us or choosing to skip dessert after dinner (if only just for today).

    • Thanks so much, Tammy. I’m glad you “got it.” Still, for all my efforts, sometimes the brownie wins out.

  5. I can definitely relate to this — there is a growing sense of urgency about putting my work out there that really didn’t exist in my 20s, and this has been both scary and wonderful.

    • Scary and wonderful are fine motivators, too. Good luck with your work, Chris, and thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  6. TBM

    I never understood why resolutions only occur with the start of a new year. I’m constantly finding ways to challenge myself. And man, I’m glad I don’t have a car anymore. I hated cleaning the dang thing inside and out. and oil changes. Hated getting the oil changed.

    • How liberating–to live without a car! Mine is really like a rolling closet. So nice to see you here, TBM…and I wish you the best in the New Year–resolutions or not.

  7. This said it all perfectly: “…my own resolutions have become more about the minutia of the moment rather than the beginning of a year.” Excellent post.

    • I appreciate that, Marylin. And now that I’ve written it and posted it, I’m more likely to follow through. ;-) Thanks for stopping by and for commenting (so kindly).

  8. Great post! This year my husband and I decided to go a different route with our “resolutions” this year. Instead of idle promises, or even jotting them down.. we actually are formulating them into kind of a personal business plan. A plan that includes both necessary and fun goals to strive for.
    Kenley

    • I love that route you and your husband are taking, Kenley! And it’s always nice to mix the necessary goals with the fun ones…and get that spoonful of sugar in there. :-)
      Best to you both and your business this year.

      • Thanks! Though perhaps I didn’t type it clearly — we don’t have a business, we are just treating our resolutions and goals like you would a business plan… :-)

        • Well then, cool! But I was thinking that perhaps you were segueing your “green door hospitality” into a bed and breakfast type business. ;-)

          • Ah… someday Green Door Hospitality may be a business of sorts, but more from the writing side of things — book, etc. For better or for worse, my husband and I love the freedom to travel too much to have a bed and breakfast type business. ;-)

  9. I’ve never done them anyway. Not much point really, if you are going to do something, get on and do it. Nice post and good to see one from you.

    • Yes, you do impress me as a woman of action, Roughseas. Glad you liked the post, and I appreciate your kind remarks.

  10. As time seems to move ever more quickly, you’re right—waiting to make a change could be too late! And the deep dark days of winter have always struck me as a tough time to gather the energy and drive needed to make those changes. When we come to the realization that we want to change something truly is the best time to do it.

    • Well said, JM. There’s no time like the present!

  11. I love your philosophy, Robin. When you think about it, life (our memories, resolutions, experiences) is all about the moments! We’re just not made to remember or stay present in big, long-lived chunks of time. In other words, amen to the “minutia of the moment”. Thanks for this fantastic post!

    • Thanks for your fantastic comment, Sugar! And, thanks for stopping by–I’m always happy to see you here.

  12. petit4chocolatier

    Excellent and sincere resolutions! And cleaning a car is definitely a timely thing :)

    • Thank you, Petit4, and thanks for stopping by. Cleaning a car is a timely thing that I don’t do enough times.

  13. Roly

    Great post I can’t remember resolutions for longer than a day or two :)

    • Thanks, Roly, and thanks for stopping by! Yes, resolutions are not for short-term memory people.

  14. Way to go for my achilles heel…you HAD to bring up the car!

  15. I share your feelings about New Year’s resolutions and a few years ago resolved never to make them in January again! ;-) I now resolve to do things at various intervals, with varying success… Enjoyed your article, Robin!

    • You’re always up to something, Cathy–and if your blog is any indication, you have great success at whatever you take on. Glad you liked the article, and best to you in 2013.

      • :D Best to you too, Robin!

  16. ” daily shots of hard intentions” – brilliant…Loved this piece Robin… and yes, life is from minute to minute, and at nearly 75, I’m conscious that that’s all we’ve got… waiting is no longer an option!!!

    • Oh, and it’s brilliant to have something I wrote called “brilliant”—especially by you, Valerie. So a big, brilliant thank you for that, and a hearty pat on the back for your go get-em attitude!

  17. I’m always so glad to see a post from you, Robin! I agree, there’s no reason to wait until January, or next week, or whatever, to resolve to do something differently. I’ve been trying to do that as well—not always successfully, but at least I’m making the effort. :D

    • Gosh, thanks Weebles! And I’m always glad to see your clever little sniperkitten paws on my site. Speaking of making the effort, I hope you’re paying adequate attention to your favorite hot dead guy these days. And I hope you’re checking-in with the rest of the hot-dead-guys-and-chicks for inspiration, as needed.

  18. I agree! I decided a more productive use of my energy this year would be to just try one new thing every week. This way my attention span doesn’t have to last an entire year and I get to experience lots of lovely new things!

    • Now there’s a plan I can get behind! And welcome to my site, Girl.

  19. Through the years I found out that resolutions don’t work. The way I see it is: every 10 days things should get done and changed, then every10 weeks the same should happen and finally every 10 months. This for me is an easier way to tackle and resolve any challenge.

    • Wow, that’s quite a clever plan, Valentina, in a very metric kind of way. You always come up with a unique way of doing things!

      • Robin,
        I have learned from my mistakes.

  20. You tie the whole idea about resolutions quite well together in this lovely piece my friend :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thanks so much, Chip! And I’ll look forward to seeing what sweet creations you come up with this year.

  21. That’s great; this whole post conveys urgency. :-) Sue

    • That’s one thing a procrastinator like me needs: a sense of urgency.

  22. Great post!

    Cynthia

  23. lntci

    I love your articles … and I am now following the Neighbor papers so I can enjoying them more frequently. Good Job!!
    Lisa

  24. It sounds to me as if you’re the queen of resolutions Robin, and I applaud your constant making of them, regardless of the date. It does have to be that way if you want them to succeed, it’s a constant battle throughout the year, and every little shot glass is going to add up to more than a few empty beer cans by the end of 2013. I wish you well with your determination to get things done, and congratulations on another article in print!

    • Well, it’s nice to know that I’m the queen of something, Lorna. I appreciate your applause and your support, and every time I manage to follow through with a commitment, I’ll reward myself with your image of a pile of empty beer cans. Thanks for that, my dear!

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