Sunday, 1 January 2012

On not making Resolutions.

So, how was Christmas for you?

The decorations will be down in a few days. The walls will look bare - though pine needles crunching in the carpet are a reminder of the jollities that have passed - the glee of children at four in the morning; the bleary eyes of parents reaching for the wine by eleven (that's not too early, surely?). The game playing. The joy of connecting with those we love, and the relief of silence when they leave.

Done for another year.

Now - into the New Year. I've dipped into some other blogs - and found so many that overflow with Resolutions.

Don't get me wrong - I envy anyone who can make Resolutions and find that they propel them into the New Year with a sense of purpose. That they find tackling a list of worthy behaviours is a means to serious change.

But this is why I shall not make Resolutions.

Somehow I am unable to make Resolutions that I can actually keep. For instance, why should I forego the nightly glass of wine - any Resolution that suggest I give that up I can keep for, let me see, all of twelve hours. Why would give up the glass of wine, unless a doctor insists it's doing me actual harm? It gives me pleasure. It reminds my body that it's evening.

And then - I must get fitter. Go walking every day - my exercise of choice. Should I go to the gym? Really? Have you been to a gym lately - and seen many older women trying to work out the rowing machine? I could, of course, swim. I have a pool within talking distance. But I hate that 'getting in' moment - the toes, and calves, and knees, I can manage them. It's the gasp of cold as the water hits my bits that puts me off. Please don't suggest golf. Unless it's the miniature kind with little hills and a windmill and I can play with children. So - I should walk every day; and I live in beautiful Wiltshire, so I can't complain that there is nowhere to go. And I walk on some days. But not when the wind is howling, or the rain pelting down, or the paths are icy, or the clouds in the west are full of snow. And this is January, for goodness sake. Any Resolution to walk every day will be out the window by the 2nd.

Writing Resolutions? I write because I love it, not because of some Resolution that tells me I should write more. Reading - ditto. I should submit more work? - Why? I know the edict - if you don't submit, then you can never be published. But I shall continue to submit work that I feel is good enough, and let the rest of it languish in the 'could do better' file.

So, if there are no Resolutions - I cannot fail. There is no point in setting myself up to fail.

Instead, I shall continue to devote myself to the pursuit of pleasure. I shall spend time with friends and family, play with my grandchildren. I shall write because I can think of nothing else that satisfies me in the same way. I shall walk the Wiltshire Downs when the weather is kind, and curl up by my fire when it isn't. I shall drink wine in the evenings and read in bed in the mornings. I shall travel when I can.

Hardly hedonistic. And you? Do you make Resolutions, or leave that to others and sink back into familiarity, as I do?


  1. I like the way you think..
    I made some last year and managed to keep a few of them... But I don't know if I will this time around.. I spend a lot of time "Doing", I think this year I would like to focus more on "Being".. If that makes any sense at all.
    I love your take on this, thank you for sharing :o)

  2. Like you, I tend to leave resolutions well alone. My issue is the arbitrary nature of the whole New Year thing. Why wait till New Year to do something different? I tend to make decisions about what I am doing and how over the whole year. Your list of intentions at the end of your post sound just the ticket.

  3. I tend to think of a few things I'd like to change in September (that to me is New Year for some reason, even though it's many many years since I was at school)and leave it at that.

  4. Thank you - I'm glad I'm not the only one who flops around without resolutions. And Sarah - I'm glad you get as far as thinking about it, what a star you are!

  5. I'm afraid I can be a sucker for resolutions, in part because there are elements of OCD and anxiety in my mental health that make resolutions very appealing - but (as happens with OCD) that also makes them very damaging when they fail.

    I find the key is not to set myself goals that are simply broken ("don't snack" - the moment one snacks they're broken) but ones that are more like realigning the wheels on the car. I agree New Year is arbitrary as a time, but 6 months or a year is a good time gap for reevaluating, which I do find important because it refocuses me on what matters before I get too far off track without noticing, something that has a tendency to happen, especially with writing, where I find myself changing the goalposts imperceptibly and getting carried away with distractions like selling

    There's a wonderful vlog from the ever fabulous Tee L Tyson on the subject of resolutions - she offers a very simple but achievable resolution - "don't hate"

    I wrote a poem as a New Year message that's sort of a resolution, and read it on video
    The nitty gritty is to encourage people to put the things they feel passionately about on paper.

    My personal resolution is to forget about selling my writing completely and just play with it.

  6. Dan - I can see that, in your position, hanging onto some way of keeping life in some sort of order is a great idea. I wish you well with it - and plenty of playing!

  7. Well said, that woman! I've certainly given up making any resolutions that have anything to do with wine, food or exercise! I still make the writing ones, though, but have failed on day one!