Intentions versus resolutions

Happy New Year! As an employee of a state University, I have had the awesome luck to have been off work since Christmas Eve. With all good luck comes bad luck, though, and my long and awesome stay-cation was greatly affected by a sinus infection, which seems to be almost gone now. Since tomorrow is a work day, I’m grateful that I have been feeling better for the past couple days. It’s also a great thing to start a new year on a high note, isn’t it?

To celebrate this new year, I put the Christmas decorations away and did my annual $20 redecoration of the living room, which consists of three yards of fabric, my sewing machine, and an afternoon. Last year, Wayne made me valance boxes, which I covered with some really cute red and black fabric. This year, through the magic of double-sided tape and a staple gun, I recovered them with some pretty gray and black fabric. Curtain tie-backs and new throw pillows complete the change. I love the feeling of newness, and I am particularly pleased that I found fabric that matches the lampshades I got a year or so ago.

We also started, in a slow and easy way, on remodeling the house. Our plan starts with the second floor. There’s a tiny room (my craft room before today), a large room (shared between Wayne’s daughters, again before today), and a weirdly shaped bathroom. We relocated the bedroom to the tiny room and turned the big room into my craft room and a storage room. The chimney is in the big room. Taking it down is the first big step of our remodel and when it starts coming down, the girls’ bedroom will be untouched. The relocation was a simple little thing we could do to start us on our path.

These small things, though, are discreet and complete in and of themselves. What will we do with the rest of the year?

I can tell you one thing we will not do: make resolutions.

I’ve been anti-resolution for a while now. A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something” (thanks, Google). When you add “New Year’s” into it, though, a resolution takes on greater significance; it becomes a promise we make to ourselves. According to, the success rate for New Year’s resolutions is between 14 and 39%. That means that somewhere between 61 and 86% of resolutions fail. Personally, I like better odds when it comes to keeping a promise I make to myself.

So instead of resolutions, I choose intentions. I intend to continue my more healthy lifestyle, to do the Seagull Century again and beat last year’s time, to do the rewrites and edits on Handsome Prince Stephen and try to get it published traditionally, to apply for the MLS program at UMCP and accept the decision with grace, to stop letting other people determine where my emotional energy goes, and to give the knitting thing at the library a try. These intentions are like resolutions, with the simple exception that I am promising myself to try and not to succeed.

I’m currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” (I know, I am all slow and whatnot) and this line resounded in my soul: “‘Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.'” I love the idea of being polite with myself. I deserve to be treated with care, especially when I am trying to make myself into a better version of me. More than anything else, this year I intend to be polite with me.


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