Happy New Year = Happy New Resolutions

Happy New Year = Happy New Resolutions

I am a list maker, a planner. Resolving is in my DNA. Beginnings get me excited–new year, new season, new project. So I am one of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions. I think resolutions get a bad rap though.

{Note: When I typed “bad rap” I wondered if it should be bad rap or bad wrap and because I am me, I googled it. I discovered a funny little entry about the origins of the phrase and just thought I should share. You can find it here. It’s really quite entertaining if you are even a bit of a grammar snob. I mean, how can you not love this:
“Popular use and “correct” use are rarely on the same temporal page, though it seems that inevitably popular becomes proper over time. The Internet just spreads the popular so fast that the young and web savvy (reliant?) often find themselves in trouble when they have to find the “correct” spelling or use of a term in a world that still relies on precedent to establish order and stability.”

And now I see I should say “bum rap.” But I digress…}

I was saying that resolutions get a bum rap. Too often we are overly ambitious in our resolutions: “I will work out over day in 2013;” or unspecific: “I will be a nicer person;” or completely unrealistic: “I will lose half my body weight in 2013.” Well-crafted resolutions can be inspiring and motivating and help us become the person we want to be. For me they help me identify my priorities and then provide reminders of the behavior that should accompany them. For instance, I value reading. And while I still give up more potential reading time to watching Law and Order reruns than I would like to admit, I will make time to read. I will not, however, choose harder or challenging books. I’ve been saying for about ten years that I want to read a biography of each of the American presidents yet to date I’ve only read four. This year’s resolution then is to read three–a vast improvement over my non-resolution reading but still well within my grasp.

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about the difference between goals and resolutions. You achieve goals, you keep resolutions. So if my aim is to change my regular every-day, walking-around life, then I probably want resolutions, not goals. She also talks about how the easiest resolutions to keep are, surprisingly, often the ones that require an every day commitment. It has to do with habits and routines I think.

For me, if it’s going to be something I stick with, I need two things: a way to mark my success (that ever illusive gold star) and it has to be cute. Last night I made a resolution chart for January. It has a place to track each of my monthly goals. And I designed it to match a super fun life-planner I ordered yesterday from Erin Condren. You have to see this site. It is soooo cute. But beware. I need everything.

Here’s the printable for my january resolution chart. And here are my resolutions: (nothing like committing to this in front of, you know, EVERYONE to keep me accountable!)

Note: This is now the third revision of the resolution chart. Nothing major, just a few small changes now that I’ve used it for a week.


  • I purchased Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen. I want to read it every morning.
  • After a terribly sporadic year, I want to read through the Bible again this year. Here is the plan I am following. I chose one that has the books in order by when they were written.
  • I want to read at least 52 books this year. (I have about 300 on my “to read” list so even if I stop adding to it now, it will still take me years to get through the list!) I’ve set numerical goals like this before but this year I am specifying some of the fifty-two:
    …12 books for Book Club,
    …12 children’s lit’ books,
    …6¬† classics,
    …3 presidential biographies,
    …and this random collection of books that I am looking forward to reading/got for Christmas: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, Seven by Jen Hatmaker, Holiness: the Heart God Purifies by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God by Francis Frangipane, Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chappell, Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.


  • Right after I wrote the entry about why I run I completely fell off the wagon. The reasons to run remain unchanged however and so with all of America, I say, “I will get back to exercising.” My running resolution is two-fold: run at least three days a week and run at least ten miles per week. I’d love to be able to show you my mileage tracker next December with a big 500 on it!


  • I feel better when I have a plan so I want to continue making my weekly menu plan.
  • Evidently I would have been one of those mothers that comforts with cookies. I just feel better when there is something I baked available for those I love. So I want to bake at least once a week.


  • I have always loved lettering and doodling and graphics. I want to be more purposeful about those things. I want to intentionally put down my computer and practice lettering. I set my goal as once a week. Since I already know I like it, it shouldn’t be hard to reach that target. Incidentally, if you need someone to address your wedding invitations, shower invites, graduation announcements, change-of-address cards, etc, give me a shout. Maybe I will make it my lettering practice for that week.

It’s also worth noting that I reserve the right to add or remove resolutions in the coming months. I only made my chart for January even though most of these are a plan for the year. I’m thinking about a few other things…graphics classes at the local community college, purchasing an app to organize my recipes, creating “an ideal week” plan, intentionally adding a theater/symphony/etc experience every month, scheduling quarterly family gatherings, maybe something about travel? I’ll keep you up to date as I make decisions about those items.

What about you? Have you made resolutions? Anything you want to share? C’mon, we can encourage each other. It will be fun, I promise!


One response »

  1. Nancy – sharing some of yours…but my book list will not nearly be as diverse. First term has at least 7 books already.

    Also, you definitely should make your running goal 13 miles a week!

    And, I missed the resolution to visit Bend.

    Miss you,

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