Posted by: devonellington | January 10, 2022

Resolutions Are the First Step

image courtesy of USA-Reiseblogger via

Every year, the same argument is fought, both on and offline, between those who make resolutions and those who sneer at them because, “you don’t keep them anyway.”

No, hon, YOU don’t keep them anyway. So stop bullying others because you haven’t sustained your goals.

We are going into our third year of the pandemic, so everything is still topsy-turvy. The structures we worked hard for, and counted on, have failed us: No UBI, no universal healthcare, no erasure of student debt. Our fellow humans have broken the social contract, too many of them indicating our lives don’t matter more than their convenience.

We’ve learned that the systems we were brought up to believe in don’t work, and need complete restructure. And that those who profit from those systems would rather kill us than let that happen.

Those have been difficult lessons to learn. We have to work on systemic change while we also work on personal change. That, coupled with the struggle to survive, has been momentous. Pile on the immense grief and loss of over 800,000 people, and it seems unbearable.

Which is why resolutions are more important than ever.

If anything was proven these past years, it’s that we don’t get a prize for showing up.

First of all, look at your past resolutions. Did you make your resolutions based on what you really wanted, or what you thought you should want?  And did you do anything beyond stating the resolution?

Stating it IS the first step.

But then you have to actually take the actions to make it happen. That’s where most people stumble. They forget that stating is the first step, and they have to CHANGE their routines in order to make room for other steps.

If you say, “My resolution is to lose 20 pounds” it’s a great first step to state that resolution. To state the intent.

But how are you going to make that happen? It won’t happen just because you said it. You have to change your eating habits (whether it’s cutting something out of your diet, or adding something to it, or eating smaller meals more frequently, because everyone’s dietary needs are different). You have to up your exercise (or start an exercise habit). Those sound like hard work, which is why so many people give up. But if you figure out what foods taste great and are also healthy, and you take joy in the meal prep and the eating, it becomes something to look forward to each day, not to dread.

“Mindful eating” sounds like a cliché, but it’s a tool. Taking joy in healthy food choices which are also delicious, taking joy in the preparation, and taking joy in sitting down and noticing the flavors and textures turn the actions into wonders that help support your resolution.

When you look at exercise as building a practice instead of starting where you think you should finish, it’s not as much of a chore. When you choose how you build a fitness regime, based on what you enjoy, it makes it fun instead of something you dread. Do you like yoga? Mix and match your yoga practices?

I hate running. I have tried to run, because it is the fitness regime that makes sense for me, and something I can do anywhere. I hate it. So I don’t do it anymore. I find other things, that I enjoy.

In my new location, I am in walking distance to many errands. Weather permitting, I do as many errands as possible on foot. It’s a way to learn my new area and a way to get fitter. Since I’ve been doing that, I have much less knee pain and hip pain. When I left the Cape last summer, there was discussion of needing hip and knee replacements sooner rather than later. But between the yoga and running errands on foot, not only have I lost some weight and feel better, but my joints are working better, and I’m not in constant pain. Even though I sit too much. My resolution for that is to take a late morning break for a few yoga asanas, and do the same when I wrap my work for the day. Because I have the flexibility of working remotely, I can run errands on foot in the late morning or early afternoon, and that supports the “don’t sit too much” as well. With a strong farm-to-table movement here and an abundance of healthy food choices, I can take joy in expanding my palette and eating healthier.

So my resolution isn’t about losing weight and hitting a particular number or fitness marker; it’s about building up with practices that give me pleasure to get healthier in both mind and body, which then leads to losing the weight I want to lose.

Instead of making a resolution of “I’m going to write a novel this year” and then wondering why it didn’t happen just because you said it, use the statement as your first step.

Now, take some time to decide how you work best, and where you can make the time to work. Do you work best with a daily word count quota on a project? Do you work best with time blocked off and you work in X block? I do best with a daily word count. If I do a block, I might stare at a blank page and write twenty-five words in the last ten minutes, instead of writing in the entire block of time. If I set a goal of X words per workday (my minimum is 1K), then I sit down and write until I hit at least 1K, and go over if I can. That’s another reason I like outlines – it allows me to drop right back into the world where I left off, and continue, without wondering what I meant to write next. As someone who has to juggle multiple projects to survive, outlines are necessary. They don’t dampen creativity; they allow me creative freedom.

Do you need to combine these? Can you only write 3X a week for an hour? How many words can you get done in an hour (loose estimate). That’s your quota. Sometimes you’ll struggle. Keep working until you hit it. Sometimes it will flow. Go on as long as you are able.

Once you find the writing rhythm that works for you, you build on it.

And then your book gets written.

Because it won’t write itself. And the exercise won’t happen by itself. YOU have to put in the effort.

Stating the resolution matters. It is the first step. Then you build the practice around the resolution, and that is how you keep your resolutions. By building something sustainable that YOU WANT, not doing what someone else tells you that you SHOULD do. And by shifting things in your schedule, a bit at a time, so that working on the resolution is something you look forward to, instead of dreading.

What are some positive ways you’ve worked to fulfill your resolutions?


  1. […] There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step. […]

  2. […] Resolutions Are the First Step — Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions […]

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