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New Year’s Resolutions That Work

Have you made a resolution?   I'm working on this, not quite finished.  For me, a good resolution needs  two parts: the big goal and the action item.

A few years ago,  Part One was: follow the will of God. Part Two was: find out what that is by meditating 20 minutes a day without fail.

That year I got a nice contract for my novel Sister India and felt sure that the resolve and the book deal were related. (I trust you know this is a bit tongue-in-cheek.) So I tried the same resolution again another year–with no discernible literary or commercial result. Though who knows what intangible change may have occurred?

This year, my big goal is:  Loosen up.  At least a little.  Still to go: figuring out how.

I came to this idea when an energy worker/massage person/ farmer (Libby Outlaw of Chapel Hill) told me some weeks ago that I'm so hyperfocused I barely leave enough energy free to run my internal organs.   She suggested, among other things, paying attention to transitions and thresholds, the spaces between events.

I found this quite striking because I like to go from the heart of one matter to the heart of the next matter:  no preparation and no cleanup.  Moments of transition make me uneasy; these are the perilously unfocused  times, you know, when one could run amok and do who-knows-what.  I wrote a poem about this when I was pretty young– I do remember that I didn't have my driver's license yet– and I've written a novel about it much more recently in which the woman does run amok.

So you can see that this for me is a bold resolution.  Will report when I've figured out how to do it.

In the meantime, what's yours?  Making it public all over the place helps us keep our resolves.  (I've decided to request that my weekly writing group ask me every week what page I'm on in the young adult novel I'm now working on; I know it will spur me on to know that I'll be making an announcement.)

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Categories: resolution


  • January 5, 2011 at 6:26 am Reply

    My sandplay therapist shared a passage right at New Year's that took my breath away:
    from David Whyte, "All the True Vows"

    All the true vows
    are secret vows,
    the ones we speak out loud
    are the ones we break.

    and out of the silence
    you can make a promise
    it will kill you to break.

    I'm looking at being more accepting of following my flow this year – instead of trying to rein things in and operate from lists, I'd love to simply accept my ability to find the flow and get things done out of that place.

    It's sort of like combining my intentions with being in the moment. And embracing how well that works when I don't let the need to document what I've done and haven't done take over.

    Happy New Year!

  • Peggy Payne
    January 7, 2011 at 10:45 am Reply

    Good plan, Billie, and I think you've been working this way for a while — and it seems to be working well for you.

    Thanks for the poem, which is nice.  Although I tend to do better if I make a deal out loud. 

    Still, there's an internal action that for me makes a deal unbreakable.   I don't know how to describe it except that keeping the deal slides into the life-and-death column.

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