This time of year, many of us are talking about New Year’s resolutions. But it seems more and more, when I ask people about their resolutions, the response is, “I don’t make resolutions.”

I must admit, even the anticipation of hearing this raises the hair on the back of my neck. Or, it would if I had any hair on the back of my neck. I’m not sure why that is, so I thought I’d analyze the reasons in a blog entry.

Upon denying they make resolutions, many people distinguish between goals and resolutions. So, I thought the first thing I’d do is go to one of my favorite websites, to check out the distinction between a goal and a resolution. There, I found a distraction in the Word of the Day, which was “compotation” and the word in its definition, “tippling,” which I particularly liked. But, I digress. Back to resolution vs. goal:


[rez-uhloo-shuh n]   noun

  1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made.
  2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
  3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
  4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute;firmness of purpose


[gohl]  noun

1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Next, I hope you’ll indulge me while I brainstorm about the reasons for my “ire” over two little words—“no resolutions”:

  1. Hearing “I don’t make resolutions” kind of leaves me with the same feeling I had as a child when someone said, “No, I don’t want to play with you.”
  2. A New Year’s Eve without resolutions is like blowing out birthday candles without making a wish, French fries without ketchup, a movie without popcorn, a fairy godmother without magic.
  3. Maybe hearing “I don’t do resolutions” simply leaves me speechless and in an awkward silence. What is one to say in response?
  • “Oh?”
  • “Well, bless your little heart.”

4.   Perhaps it’s simply a sign of grouchiness that comes with age. I always was an early bloomer.

So, in the spirit of Resolution’s definition #3 above, I have a resolution solution to the resolutions vs. goals debate:

Do both!

Some resolutions can be made into goals, but some cannot. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be made. Take for example the resolutions listed in this photo by Paulo Coehlo. These are certainly some of my resolutions for 2013, but let’s see how well I can make goals:


1) Kiss slowly – place your lips onto those of someone you love and without being obvious, monitor the second hand on your watch up and to the count of at least ten seconds. Do this at least five times a day, seven days a week.

2) Laugh insanely – This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Have drinks with an insanely funny friend. Get out the fart machine. Listen to someone else laugh. Here are a few of my favorites:

Begin and end at least three days a week with laughter. Problem with this one is, setting goals for insane laughter is hardly insane.

3) I think you get the picture, therefore I won’t entertain bore you with the goal-setting details of “love truly.”

4) However, I think when it comes to “forgive quickly,” I will set a goal. Never withhold forgiveness beyond the length of time you can hold your breath.

I digress . . . again. Back to my point. There are benefits to both resolutions and goals, so I’ve resolved to do both this New Year’s Eve. In addition to the resolutions Mr. Coehlo listed in his photo, here are a few of my resolutions, followed by a few goals:

RESOLUTIONS (This is the magical part.)

  1. Focus on the positive.
  2. Watch less news and listen to more music.
  3. Try to see the “other side.”
  4. Live in the moment. Try not to reflect on the past or worry about the future.

GOALS (This is the practical part.)

  1. Get up by 5:30 each morning and spend from 5:30-7:00 either writing or editing.
  2. Spend 30 minutes on either the treadmill or rowing machine, at least four days a week.
  3. Do 20 minutes of yoga three days a week.
  4. Complete and upload “Mo’s Shadow” to Kindle by June 30.
  5. Complete and upload a book on haiku to Kindle by the end of 2013.
  6. Complete the first draft of the sequel to The Red Kimono by the end of 2013.
  7. Develop a speaking repertoire, adding at least three different topics.

Whether you are magical, practical or both (like me) about what’s in store for your 2013, I wish you the best of luck and happiness throughout the year!

What are YOUR resolutions and/or goals?

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32 Responses to Resolute

  1. Jan, I love your love of resolutions, but am overwhelmed by your lists. That probably means I need a list myself!
    I’ve been working on a running start to 2013 by focusing on this: See clearly ~ feel deeply ~ mindfully immerse myself in life.
    May we ALL achieve our visions of a life we love!


  2. Oh, my wonderful sister, you must simply bless my heart.


  3. Very inspiring and enlightening, Jan. Thanks!


  4. Oh, goodness. I wasn’t going to make an resolutions or set goals for 2013, but considering how 2012 completely spun out of my control, I’m rethinking my stance on a resolution-free 2013. I’m going to ponder, over a couple of bottles of wine, and come up with my list for 2013. I appreciate your gentle nudge, Jan.

    Oh, I hadn’t seen the Anderson Cooper clip before. It, indeed, made me laugh!


  5. Umm, I think you’re talking to me. I don’t do resolutions/goals because I forget about them, like by the next day. I’d need a refrigerator magnet sign, and guess there’s no excuse with Vistaprint around! I take life day by day and work best with practical short term to-do lists. Just for you, I shall make a goal to learn to paint cute cats. And my resolution will be to paint more in the first place. Thanks, Jan. Now, to make a sign…


    • Jan Morrill says:

      I also like the philosophy to take life day by day. In fact, I think one of my resolutions said something similar to that. 🙂 I, too, sometimes forget my resolutions by the next day. But for me, it’s fun to be focused, if only in the present. Happy New Year!


  6. keliwright says:

    I started writing this very post (down to the inclusion of the definitions) earlier this week. Still haven’t wrastled it into submission, however. Thanks for sharing your take. Hopefully I can reciprocate later today! or tomorrow… Hmm…maybe it’s time for a little resolution on my part. Have a wonderful and resolute New Year!


  7. You know, I never pondered why some people don’t make resolutions. Maybe they’re afraid of failure and of commitment or maybe they just don’t like structure in their life’s journey. I’ve done a lot of failing, and I do hate it. It bothers me enough to keep me motivated to keep trying to do better, but the idea that I *might* fail doesn’t dissuade me from trying to reach goals anymore. And I can’t seem to help but always be striving for … something… and whatever that something happens to be is my goal. Or is it my resolution?

    Your goals and resolutions are admirable. I thought you were setting as one of your goals to kiss slowly though and then proceeded to tell us how you would measure your success or failure 😉 I think kissing slowly is a GREAT goal and resolution, but I’ll skip the stopwatch to gauge how I did 🙂

    I also love how you get so distracted and wander off on tangents and yet manage to find your way back on topic. Your tangents are interesting too 🙂


    • Jan Morrill says:

      I hate failure, too. But, in most of my failures, I also learned valuable lessons. I’m always striving, too. It drives some people crazy — they think I should be satisfied. I call it stagnant though. 🙂


  8. Linda Apple says:

    Don’t forget one goal that is waaaaaaay out of the box! Mine is to get a speaking engagement in the UK. 🙂 Gotta think BIG! I have no resolutions, but I do have goals:

    1. Finish my contemporary romance and my meditation gift book.
    2. Develop two presentations based on my historical romance, The Journey, for reader-groups and women’s groups
    3. Complete first draft of sequel to The Journey.

    My DREAM BIG goals are:
    1. An all expense paid speaking engagement somewhere in the UK
    2. A bidding war on the Journey 🙂
    3. A movie deal based on the Journey or The Women of Washington Avenue


    • Jan Morrill says:

      I love that, Linda! A goal WAY out of the box, huh? Let’s see. . . how about getting to spend several months in a house on the beach, where I can write with my window open and listen to the sound of waves and seagulls? 🙂

      I’ll bet you make your UK goal! Keep putting it out there!


  9. Pingback: Resolutions | Pamela Foster, Author and Speaker

  10. ruth says:

    Hey Jan,
    I got the “laugh insanely” part down to a science. Kick your feet, roll on the floor,sing Witchy Woman at the top of your lungs, wrap yourself in the curtains, and laugh till you hurt.
    Happy New Year!


    • Jan Morrill says:

      You ARE the best at laughing insanely, Ruthie. I love to hear you laugh. Just thinking about that night in Bandera, watching you roll and laugh uncontrollably, makes me laugh. What a gift. 🙂


  11. Beth Carter says:

    Love the resolutions versus goals. And I truly admire yours. I have loafed all morning watching the Rise Bowl parade so I must do something productive and exercise.

    I always have resolutions and we set annual goals during one of my writers’groups at our December meeting. We fill out two cards–one to keep and one to be read at next year’s meeting so we are publicly embarrassed if we didn’t do a thing all year toward our goals. It’s motivational!

    I’ll let you know what they ate after I do SOMETHING productive today. Thanks for the inspiration.


  12. Beth Carter says:

    Okay, you inspired me. I posted my goals, both writerly goals and my “me” goals at
    I’m also linking back to you since you inspired me!

    And Linda what an out of the box goal. You go, girl! I’ll have to read about Madison’s new venture, and Jan, I think I’ll be living your out of the box goal IF hubby does’t keep me too busy which I fear.


  13. Resolutions or goals, I love seeing people’s hopes for the coming year. Great post!


  14. Pingback: EnD oF tHe MoNtH…. lAuGh! « Fairy Godsister's Blog

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