Resolutions, Goals, Promises

I don’t like the word resolution. It’s too formal, too legal sounding: “I hereby resolve to . . .” or worse “It is hereby resolved that . . . ” (What the heck does “it” refer to in that phrase?) Maybe that legal tone makes some people take their New Year’s resolutions more seriously, but given the ephemeral life of most resolutions, I kinda doubt it. For myself, as soon as I started thinking in terms of resolutions, some part of my subconscious immediately dug in its heels:

Me: I’m going to make a resolution to get more exercise.

Internal voice: Ha! That’ll last about three days. If that long. In fact, I dare you to ignore it from Day One.

So I’m not going to resolve anything this year. Instead, I’ve been thinking in terms of setting goals and making promises to myself. I like having goals to aim for; without them, days and weeks speed by in a blur as I deal with whatever is right in front of my face at this moment. Goals take a longer view. And I like the word promise better than resolution. It’s softer and suggests good intentions rather than an iron will. I can’t say I’ve always kept all of my promises (and I do realize which road “good intentions” lead down), but it just feels better to me to make some promises to myself instead of imposing resolutions on myself.

Goals are long term: they come from me squinting into the distance and thinking about where I’d like to be at this time next year. Promises are the day-to-day actions that will help me reach those goals.

So here are my goals and promises for 2010.


Guide Deadtown‘s sequel through the editorial process to make it the best book I can by its release date next year. Since I handed in the sequel, I’ve thought about tweaks and changes I’d like to make—and I hope these will be sympatico with my editor’s suggestions.

Finish the third book in Vicky’s series.

Develop an idea I have for another series. Whether or not anything comes of it, I’m in love with the idea and want to play with it.

Finish the nonfiction books I have under contract—and finish them on time.

Prioritize. Instead of jumping from one thing to another on my to-do list, I need to figure out priorities and then use those to structure my time. (A good first step might be learning how to write a to-do list LOL.)

Exercise. When you work at home, it’s way too easy to roll out of bed, turn on the computer, and not look up until the end of the day. My body needs more movement than it often gets.


I promise myself that I’ll make time for creative writing each day. It’s easy for the day job to impinge on my time, but I promise I’ll stay in close, daily touch with my creative projects.

I promise to take at least one day off each week.

I promise myself the pleasure of frequent morning walks.

I promise to unplug from the Internet more often to spend time in the real world.

I promise to be gentler with myself.

I promise myself more breathing room. When I’m already going flat out, any unexpected problem can send me into a tailspin.

I promise myself perspective. Sometimes it takes some effort to make sure things don’t get blown out of proportion.

I promise that I won’t stress out over things I can’t control.

I promise myself more laughter and to stop and appreciate the good times.

So there’s my list. If I can do those things, I think 2010 will be a great year. How about you? What are your goals and promises (or resolutions, if you prefer that word) for the new year? Whatever they are, I wish you success in achieving them.

Happy New Year!


About nancyholzner

5 responses to “Resolutions, Goals, Promises

  • Keith

    Happy New Year! Here’s hoping you fulfill all goals and promises in 2010. I’m just now digging into Deadtown (and it’s already been out 2 or 3 days, what kept me?!?!) so you’re already a part of my 2010.


  • Vickie B

    Happy New Year!! I have my non-resolutions as well. I am working with a daily plan of action, working out, getting in some ‘me time’, take my sister up on her offer to work with me on the kid’s book that I keep putting off….I know there’s more…ah well..that’s a good start.

  • nancyholzner

    Happy New Year, Vickie! Let me know how that daily action plan works out. That’s exactly the kind of thing I need to learn how to do. And enjoy writing your children’s book with your sister–collaboration can be fun.

  • Digging Out , part 2 « Nancy Holzner, author

    […] originally planned to use my birthday as a day to reevaluate the promises I made to myself at the start of the New Year. Two months down the road, another milestone—it […]

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