Thursday, January 03, 2013

How'd Those Resolutions Work For You?

"Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since." ~Dave Beard

Last January, departing from my usual custom to not make New Year's resolutions, I resolved to read 50 books and watch 50 movies in 2012 as part of the challenge. I also promised to wear earrings every day. I missed all of those goals. Instead, I ran a marathon, revised more than half of the memoir about my last year with my father, and started writing a book about running. Setting goals isn't a bad thing, just sometimes we wind up achieving different goals from the ones we set. At least that's how it worked for me.

Although I didn't achieve my publicly stated goals, I'm still pleased with my progress. I watched 41 movies including many titles I wouldn't have watched if I hadn't taken the challenge. I watched thrillers and documentaries, romances and comedies, and a few sad movies which made me cry. I kept track of the movies on Pinterest by posting an image and writing a one or two sentence comment about each. You can see them here.

As for the books, I finished 25. I read several memoirs, a few books about dogs, several running books, and four novels. I started many how-to books about running and didn't finish them out of sheer boredom. Again, I'm pleased with the result. Twenty-five is nearly a book every two weeks which is still more than the 17 books the average person reads in a year.

The truth is that I couldn't make myself begin many books because I was afraid. Ever since my last major depressive episode (the politically correct term for a nervous breakdown) which began after my niece died in February 2007, I have been self-preservationally selective about reading. I hate to say I'm sensitive, but it appears to be true. I fear reading anything too sad, too violent or too dark. I go to those emotional places so easily without the aid of art that I am loathe to read, see, hear, or visit any book, show, lecture, or exhibit that might send me tunneling into the depths. Although I am much more resilient now, I'm still afraid. And that fear kept me from reading more in 2012.

I picked up Marley and Me and although I have heard it is good, I'd also heard how it ends and couldn't bring myself to read it. The same is true of The Reader which Ed adored and which has gotten high marks, but I couldn't put myself through it. I thought about reading nothing but romance novels, but I couldn't bear that either. While some romance novels are well-written, a little bit of that goes a long way with me. And so, twenty-five is my total. I tracked my progress on GoodReads if you care to look it up.

As for the earrings, it was lofty to think that I was going to dress up enough or even remember to wear earrings every day. It got old really quickly. I don't think I made it through April. I'm not sure.

I thought about tackling the 50 book goal again in 2013, but decided against it. Rather, I will just read as many books as I can. I would love to hear suggestions of books with happy endings that are well written. Let me know what you adore. I will also watch as many movies as I can and will wear earrings when the spirit moves me! That is much more my style.

Did you make New Year's Resolutions in 2012? If not, why not? If so, how did that work out for you? I'd love to hear your experiences.


authorwannabe said...

I've never made public resolutions, but I've always made a list of a few things that I'd like to accomplish each year. When I was a child I seem to recall the list was rather short consisting of only 3 or 4 things. I remember always wanting to lose weight (or at least not gain anymore), and trying not to swear too much (trying to be a good little Catholic girl).

Today my list of resolutions is a lot longer, but I don't beat myself up if I don't accomplish them all. That way there's no pressure, but I can still reward myself for any success I might have.

About the only resolution I usually can complete (except for last year, 2012) is to read a book a week. I fell short by perhaps 10 or so books. Still, if the average person only reads about 17 books a year, I guess I should be proud that I've nearly tripled that most years.

My one movie resolution is to try to watch one Oscar winning film each month, but I never got too motivated to try since some of the films just don't appeal.

Nita said...

@authorwannabe - My husband and I try to watch the Oscar nominated films so that we have some idea what's going on during the Academy Awards, but lately, we too have not been terribly thrilled with the choice. Maybe this year it will be different.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Genna said...

I don't make resolutions. I prefer to stay in the moment and achieve what I can every day, but I'm glad you make good work toward some of your goals!

Pat Snyder said...

I love, love, love the movie list, Nita. Thanks for putting in the viewing time and saving ME time!

As for resolutions, nope. Goal-setting, absolutely!

Nita said...

Thanks, Pat and Genna for the comments. I like the idea of goal-setting as opposed to resolutions. And, staying in the moment is an excellent reminder that, after all, we only have today!