Seriously. What is it about New Year’s that makes people overthrow habit and desire to turn a 180 and make dramatic changes to their lives? I’ve tried, but that darned word, habit, really gets in the way. I’m not one for total makeovers anyway.

So I’ve discovered the trick to keeping New Year’s Resolutions is to make ones that I know I can achieve. I’m not saying, count to 10 each day when I know I can already count to 100. But I’m not throwing in things like open a bakery or take a trip to Italy… not yet, anyway.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, for the year 2012:

1. Read. Every day. The Bookshelf is a great new addition to my blog that will keep me on track with the books on my scheduled reading list, as well as more books I want.

2. Write. Every day. Stephen J. Cannell told me to. Often. And since he had a writing career longer than I’ve been alive, I’d say he knew what he was talking about.

3. Cook. Not just cook at home, but really really cook. Find new recipes and not be afraid to test them. Create new recipes and not be afraid to share them. Go out to eat at least once a month, find a great meal, and compliment the Chef. Get that cookbook published (any day now, so exciting)!

4. Schedule. Being “unemployed” only means I don’t get paid at a day job. It does not mean I have nothing to do all day. In fact, I’m finding more and more things that keep me legitimately busy (see Items 1, 2, and 3 above for starters). But sometimes I can get overwhelmed or, more typically, distracted. I recently got the Dayrunner page refills for my datebook. Today I’m going to plot out some What-and-When’s. Things like writing, a day trip to Disneyland, having family over for lunch.

5. Make time. Spend more quality time with my daughter. Not just be in the same room with her, but actually interact with her. Turn off the cell phones, play a game, learn those new recipes, even work together to clean the house. Together-time. Because her immediate presence leads to some great conversations that I miss out on when she’s in the other room or watching TV.

6. Exercise. Every day. Even if it’s just a short walk or a 15 minute workout on the Wii. Do what I can to stay active, and push myself a little each day. Park farther into parking lots and walk the distance. Carry more grocery bags. Get out of my chair more often. Stop being lazy or using my daughter as a go-fer. Just move!

7. Finish. Finish a few projects that really have needed my attention for several years. Finish the writing course through Institute of Children’s Literature. Rewrite a screenplay I started five years ago that really needs a rewrite before I embarrass myself by sharing it with others again. Finish the tiny To-Do’s around my house like finally paint that one-inch patch in the Narnia room. Set up a trellis for my Boston Ivy to happily climb.

8. Keep it clean. Clean every inch of my house and keep it clean. Dust when it needs dusting and don’t be afraid of the wetmop. Use bleach when necessary. Open windows even in winter (with five indoor cats, that’s somewhat of a necessity). Do more yard work. Plant more flowers and herbs. Cultivate growth.

9. Open doors. Enter more writing contests. Enter doors to new experiences and opportunities. Enter worlds of writing, of cooking, of family. Enter life without being timid.

Well, that seems to cover just about everything I can think of. At least for now.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

(Not) Recipe: The Impromptu Breakfast
Color Me Colorful
Sweeten my tea and share: