Resolving to Not Over-Resolve

Dec 30, 2013 by

It’s that time of year…Christmas is over and we will have a week to recover from our holiday coma before we hit the next holiday.  The week between Christmas and New Year for me always seems to result in self-reflection, self-incrimination, and making promises to myself to be better, do better, be super-awesometacular-amazing-wonder-woman in the coming year.



While being super-awesometacular-amazing-wonder-woman sounds great and may even seem doable the week between Christmas and New Year…it is not realistic.  New Year’s Resolutions are in theory are a good thing.  But really they’re only good if they’re workable, reasonable, and achievable goals.  And if they’re limited in number.  Putting a billion things on your list, or putting things that you’ve no hope of achieving in a year, is a syndrome that I call “over-resolving.”  The result is that you’ve failed before you’ve even started.  Some part of your brain knows this too, because you’ll start slipping up just days or weeks into the new year.  Another part of your brain, however, will beat you up and explain in vivid detail and colorful language how much of a fail you are even though the task was impossible.
Basically it’s a big, fat, yucky ride into frustration and even MORE frustration.


So let’s not do it. And let’s agree now so that we don’t spend the last part of this month being insane, over-resolving fools.


I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals.  Goals are good. Resolutions can even be good!  Let’s just make a pact with ourselves to make them limited in number and achievable.  “Get healthy” is not a solid, well-planned out goal.  “Write 4 books” is probably not a realistic goal…I mean, it might be if you’re super-awesometacular-amazing-wonder-woman and don’t plan to eat, bathe, sleep, or interact with people for twelve months.  It’s up to you to decide what’s achievable.


Maybe you don’t want to do a resolution list but want to do a word of the year.  Awesome.  Pick something fabulous.  Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re failing to live up to your word.  Remember that it’s something to aspire to, not something you have to be 100% of the time all of the time.


Whatever you do for New Year’s, whether it’s resolutions, goals, a word of the year…as you’re considering them/it ask yourself this question: Am I being kind to myself? How am I loving myself here?  Maybe being kind to yourself means looking at your list and crossing one thing off – or maybe two.  Maybe it means crossing almost everything off and focusing on only a handful.  Maybe it means taking several passes at your goals to make sure they’re achievable.


So let’s resolve to not over-resolve and to be kind to ourselves in 2014.  If we can do that then we’ve already won this year!


Filed Under: Things Jess Needs to Tell Herself and Chose to Share With the Class


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  1. This! Exactly this. The New Year’s workout ads have started, and lemme tell ya, I’m not buying the spandex pants. :D My blog post today is also on being kinder to oneself as a writer, and I’m going to be gauche and link it because this was a hard lesson for me this year: Maybe this will help other writers. :D

    • Jennifer, go right ahead and link :) I don’t love spandex work out pants, but I did finally cave (after working out all year) and buy some yoga type pants from Old Navy. They are the most comfortable things ever. So amazing ;)

  2. I have yoga pants. I use them as riding pants. They’re way cheaper than the fancy ones in horse catalogs. I’ve discovered that if you add the word “horse” to anything, the price goes up 50 percent.

  3. Great post. For New Year’s I’m driving three dogs to Texas. After that, I don’t think I have to do anything hard for the rest of 2014. Except lost ten pounds and write four books. Oh crap! Horse.

  4. Writing four books in a year is unrealistic? Um. Does that change if one of them is a novella and you’re only planning to publish three of them? Asking for a friend… (Also, I think what’s realistic and what isn’t varies from writer to writer, based on their life and how fast they work.)

    I really like the idea of asking if I’m being kind to myself.


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