What's in a New Year's resolution? The desire to make ourselves into something we're not? The subconscious will to see ourselves fail again and again? I remember as a teenager, seeing a little note on the refrigerator door that said, "Remember your New Year's resolution" written in my mother's neat cursive. Well, you can guess what that was all about, and twenty years later, she's still overweight. I wonder how many people actually make New Year's Resolutions and go on to succeed. If you're like me, you do well for the first few months of the year and then somewhere around the middle of May, June or July, you say screw it!, and go on with life much happier and perhaps a bit heavier around the waist.
Perhaps rather than make these resolutions that never amount to anything and seem to just get us down, we should finish every year with a list of all the things we did succeed at, or made progress with. Then we can look at all of the good things we've done and not feel this heavy burden of having to make the same resolution year after year. So, here's a list I came up with of things (some writing related, some not), that I did accomplish this year, in no particular order.
1. Finished a first draft of a novel. The second draft is a major overhaul, but I did get that first draft done.
2. Read close to 50 books - listed here on my blog. Actually it was over 50, but I just made the list about a month ago and couldn't remember them all.
3. Posted 450 times on AW website - ok this may sound weird, especially since you can rack up posts in no time if you're just talking to people, but most of my posts were actually critiques of other's writing or posts of my own writing. So, I take this to be an accomplishment. I gained a little back bone by posting some of my stuff and I learned a lot about writing and editing in general. Hopefully I helped others out in the process.
4. Made 85% return on my Roth IRA - obviously not writing related, but a major accomplishment nonetheless. I think I got lucky though, I just happened to start investing again at the March low.
5. Taught my daughter the basics of reading. She's doing really great with her phonics and small words, and I think that by the time she starts Kindergarten next fall she'll be on to more complex words.
6. Actually drove to my sister's house! Yes, this is embarrassing, but I have this huge fear of driving on the freeway. I have a horrible stigmatism and the idea of merging frightens me to death. But I was getting sick of relying on my husband when I want to visit family, so I sucked up the courage and actually drove.
7. Work - I wish that I had more to list here, but science is so unpredictable. I spent most of the year trying to do transient transfections in plant protoplasts with very little success. But, the good thing is that I beefed up my cloning efforts so I'm now much more proficient with that, and I'll be trying some new experiments in tobacco leaves that look promising so far. My boss is having my gene patented and we will probably be working hard to get some papers out in the next year, so there's a lot to look forward to.
So do I have things that I want to accomplish in the coming year? You bet I do! But I'm not going to make any actual resolutions - I'm just going to keep on doing what I have been doing. Seeing areas where I can make progress, learning a little self discipline (like not spending all day surfing the web - hint, hint) and patting myself on the back when I make progress. That to me is a much better plan than posting a little sticky on the fridge.