I am a person who keeps her commitments. I am also a person who makes new year’s resolutions. And because I keep my commitments, I tend to make resolutions that I can keep. In 1978, for example, my NYR was to quit smoking. I smoked 1 1/2 packs a day. I didn’t say when exactly I would quit, but that I would quit that year. All year long every time I lit up, I could hear that voice in my head repeating my resolution to quit. On October 3rd I went to the doctor for yet another headache, and she said she wasn’t going to be able to get rid of my headaches as long as I continued to smoke. That was it. I never smoked another. The first three days and nights were the hardest. I thought my head would split open. My hands reached for cigarettes even in my sleep. But I made new rules the first day: No smoking in my house. No smoking in my car. Ever. No matter who you were, how much I loved you. Smoking was over. My mother refused to come visit me. I told her she could smoke on my gigantic covered porch, but no. So, I did without visits from my mother. 

I mentioned last post that my NSY this year was to write 500 words per day, and that I exceeded that average awhile back. I’ve been pretty much resting on my laurels this month. I do have a few WIPs, and will be cracking the whip on myself starting tomorrow. (Deadlines now loom.)

I’ve been reflecting on what I need to do for myself for 2013. As far as my writing life goes, I am quite happy with it. I am living my dream. I am a published author, I write every day (more or less), I am never at a loss for ideas or projects. I sell books, I get paid for writing projects. I feel solid in this area.

I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. I eat a healthy diet, drink only water. I could lose some weight, but have learned that “dieting” does not work. 

What is missing from my life is nature. I spend too much time in my chair and in my head. Not enough time outdoors, not enough time moving my body. I am a pretty grounded person, but I could be more so. Also, I miss the stars. When I was a child growing up, we lived out in the country in Missouri. I could lie out on the grass at night and see the Milky Way and count the stars. I did this regularly in the summer. I just picked up the throw rug from in front of the door, carried it out to the yard and lay down. I would lie there for hours until it cooled down enough to go back inside. I listened to the tree frogs and cicadas and watched the moon on its path. I haven’t seen stars like that in years. 2013 will be the year I make the effort to see them again.

For the past 4 years, I have spent too much time indoors. Now it’s time to get back outside again. Even if all I do is walk around the yard, or up the street to the park, I must go out. I love being outdoors except when I’m sitting inside. Then I imagine it is too cold or too hot or too rainy or too sunny or too overcast or something too. Once I step outside, I realize my foolishness and am happy to be out. I’m going to buy myself a timer and set it for recess. When the bell goes off, it’s time for recess and out I go!

Please share your resolutions with me and each other. Let’s all resolve to support each other in our aims for personal betterment if that’s our goal, or world peace, or whatever we are trying for — even if it’s the status quo. Sometimes stasis is what’s needed.



  1. I love your idea of recess! And time outside is a beautiful resolution. So far, I’m thinking my resolutions will be to read more, even when school is in session, and to eat more fruits and vegetables. I usualy make much more profound, and somewhat abstract, resolutions. I’m feeling concrete this year. But who knows? I usually re-read my journal for the year before I finally write my resolutions down, and sometimes that changes things.

    • Thank you, Cindy. Re-reading one’s journal for the year just wrapping up is a great way to reflect before making resolutions or commitments for the coming year. Eating more fruits and veggies is always a good thing (I made this a goal one year, still make my goal almost every day). I know a lot of people don’t believe in NYRs, but if one sees them as goals, keeps her commitments, one can slowly but surely change her life for the better.

  2. Beautiful resolution. And I love your idea of recess. So far, I’m thinking my resolutions will be to read more books even when school is in session, and to eat more fruits and vegetables. I usually make deeper resolutions than that, more abstract. Guess I feel concrete this year.

  3. Great post.

    I keep running through my head about what my NY resolution should be. I have a tendency to break them. I think I could do 500 words a day of writing, but I may just make a goal of writing every day on one of my manuscripts (because if I didn’t do that, I’d TOTALLY count all the time I spend emailing and blogging and responding to blogs and writing reports for work. Yeah, I cheat).

    • Meggan, I think it’s important to honor commitments. This is a strong value for me. Whereas I don’t think New Year’s resolutions per se are meaningful (look how few are kept), it’s a convenient time to reflect on where we are in our lives and make new goals and commitments, if that’s something we find useful. A new school year is just as good a time for that. So, if you’re serious about making a resolution, why not make it something that you really want to do for yourself? That will help you in your life, that you won’t want to/or need to cheat about? Really just do for yourself? That will better your self? A couple of poet mentors of mine each choose a word of the year to hold in their minds as their word. They both have tons of followers who do the same. That word then helps guide the person’s choices. My resolution serves the same purpose: recess. By choosing to take recess every day, I am getting out in nature, getting into my body and out of my head, and taking time for myself. All with one word. And it’s surprisingly fun to say to myself “time for recess!” as opposed to something like “exercise.” ugh.

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