January 4th, 2010


Making New Year’s resolutions is a mug’s game that, ninety percent of the time, just leaves us disappointed in ourselves as we cross off one bright, shiny commitment after another.

But here we are, not only with a fresh new year in front of us — not a footprint in sight — but a fresh new decade.  The old what should I do with it? question presents itself and won’t go away.  We’ve been given this time, and the strength and wit to use it well — maybe improve the way we approach something, or maybe try something completely new.  So what should we resolve?

I’ve made five.  I could talk about each of them for paragraphs, but I won’t.  Here they are.

1.   To aim high and to try to exceed my expectations.

2.  To go to gratitude rather than resentment when the world challenges me.

3.  To listen more than I talk.  (That one’s going to be hard.)

4.  To increase my exposure to beautiful things.

5.  To live more widely, not to allow my life to shrink to unchallenging routines.

What are yours?

11 Responses to “Resolutions”

  1. Lisa Kenney Says:

    I like yours. Can I have them? Oh, wait. Maybe I need to resolve not to be so lazy. I’ll give it some more thought. Happy New Year!

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Really wonderful resolutions Tim. Your list is sort of the maximum super strength version of the five I came up with on New Years Eve.

    1. Exercise every day. Hope springs eternal.
    2. Make more time for friends.
    3. Creative life — pursue, engage, grow it!
    4. More kindness, more compassion toward myself
    and others.
    5. Last, but not least, notice when my ego is
    is trying to get in my way and try to quiet it
    down well before I act. (Your second resolution
    says it a lot better.)

    Would love to hear more! Happy New Year everyone.

  3. Larissa Says:

    Hm…that’s a nice sounding list there of goals. I have a few that I think are attainable…(c:

    1. Travel more and consistantly.

    2. Allow myself time to really work through creative ideas through experimentation and play. (i.e. don’t procrastinate on projects and then just do “good enough”)

    3. (I’m stealing yours because it’s mine too) Learn to listen more and talk less.

    4. Start meditating consistantly. Regardless of how much work it seems like sometimes.

    5. Indulge my curiosity whenever possible.

  4. Usman Says:

    I’m borrowing all of the above suggestions. Even if 50% works, I have it made.

  5. Jen Forbus Says:

    Your list is wonderful, Tim, as are the others that have been added here. Mine will echo some of the other sentiments.
    I’m working on:

    1. balancing. I need to make sure I have time for exercise and reading and other fun – not just one of them.

    2. carrying the spirit of Christmas with me every day, not just Dec. 25th

    3. challenging my fears instead of hiding from them.

    4. ORGANIZING! My home has turned into a collection of clutter and I’m going to get it reduced and organized.

    5. Working everyday to find at least one thing that was great, beautiful and/or inspirational.

  6. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    1. I will learn to resist the urge to explain the exact solution to other people’s problems. And more specifically, learn how to relax and let others enjoy their own problems.

    2. I will expand my bubble. New tastes, new smells, new sounds, new sights, new books, new walks, new routes, new friends and plenty of art.

    3. I will look up from the concrete while walking and wave to my neighbors (I see them every day, after all. And maybe I’ll work up to “Hello.”)

    4. I will start writing down the flashes of brilliance when they occur, instead of just letting them dissipate.

    5. I will drink a lot more water.

    6. I will take deep breaths, really full breaths, and enjoy all that free air hanging around.

    7. I’ll stop biting my nails.

    8. I will read books with notepaper and a pencil close at hand, so I don’t forget the deep thoughts I think when I read.

    9. I will tell my loved ones that I love them, and not just assume they know. And I will look for little ways to show them how I feel.

    10. I will finish the first draft of my book.

    11. I will finish reading “Anna Karenina” (about 100 pp left) and read “War and Peace.”

  7. Judy Schneider Says:

    The above resolutions are tempting — like the commenter Usman, I want to borrow them all. I need to exercise, listen more, and balance. I also specifically want to commit to finishing my novel. Stating such a resolution early and often will help with my productivity and accountability, won’t it?

    Thanks for an inspiring post!

  8. Sylvia Says:

    I’ve got a pretty specific list of goals (which I think break down by month) which I may change my mind about but seem achievable at the moment.

    Except for the losing weight bit, that’s been on the list the previous two years too and I’ve gained instead of lost. :/

  9. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everyone, and thanks — lots to think about here. What surprised me when I looked at my list was a sort of delayed reaction — at first, I thought most of them didn’t have much to do with writing, and then I realized that they all do, in one way or another.

    LISA — You’re welcome to take my resolutions, although the last word I’d use to describe you is “lazy.” How about “generous” and “mentally adventurous”? Those both work better for me.

    SUZANNA — Yours are all on one of my lists (especially the one about exercising). I made lots of lists, but these were the ones that stuck. If I can keep to most of these most of the time, and you can do the same for yours, we’ll both be in better shape in 2011.

    RISS — Great resolutions. Meditating daily is about the best single thing I can think of. For me, with a mind that’s never seen a piece of mental clutter it doesn’t want to keep, meditation is the only way I know to get clarity and perspective.

    USMAN — Adopt away. Haven’t heard from you in a long time. How are you? Everything okay? (We all worry about you, but then I have friends in Thailand who worry about me living in Los Angeles, where the LETHAL WEAPON movies are set.)

    JEN — I don’t know how you balance anything, given the amount of energy you pour into your site and all those books, but I have faith you’ll manage. And organizing is absolutely a spiritual exercise. I looked at my house on New Year’s morning and saw maybe 350 objects, and that didn’t include books on shelves. By 7 that evening, I’d cleared out every single thing that wasn’t necessary or beautiful, or both. I feel so much more clear I can hardly express it.

    CYNTHIA — I personally find that water goes very well with fingernails, so I don’t know why you want to stop biting yours if you’re going to drink more water. And I know how hard it is to let other people enjoy their problems, especially when the solution is so evident to us. And if you don’t finish the first draft of your book, I’ll finish it myself. Oh, wait . . .

    JUDY — Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which was named long before tea parties became 12-step meetings for birthers. The thing about finishing your novel, if you don’t mind my saying so, is that it requires a daily commitment. I believe, after writing maybe 15 novels and teaching more people than currently buy my books in hard cover, that if you don’t work at least five days a week, at least 3-4 hours each session, the odds against your finishing are much, much higher than they are if you build a fence around your writing time: it’s essential and not to be intruded upon. There’s a LOT about this in the FINISH YOUR NOVEL part of this site. Or e-mail me via the “Contact Tim” buttons that are here and there.

    SYLVIA — I gained 60 pounds in the two years since I quit smoking, and I’ve now dropped 29 of them. If I can do it, anyone can. Just remember, it’s all about the balance between the number of calories you take in and the number you burn. I’ll support you from here, where I’m presently hungry.

  10. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    Fingernails and water? Is this some kind of celebrity diet?

    BTW: 9 1/2 days into this year and my fingernails remain unbitten. I’ve drunk a few gallons of water, take quite a few deep breaths and finished reading “Anna Karenina.”

    I’ve waved to many strangers in my tract and haven’t been shot. Yet.

    I’ve looked up “piebald” and “subaltern” in the dictionary while I was reading this afternoon. And I’ve written two paragraphs in my book. Two. 2. But they’re not bad.

    And I ate something really, really icky at dinner tonight. Some kind of mushy goo that smelled like garlic, but wasn’t. And I didn’t die. Yet. So much for broadening my culinary horizons.

  11. Usman Says:

    Tim, I appreciate your concern for me. Yes , I am living dangerously these days. Never know where a bomb will go off…literally like Lethal Weapons. I loved those movies, but not living them out.

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