Of Mice and Men and New Year’s Resolutions

Oh the pressure.

The start of the New Year should be a time of joy, a time of hope. But instead, it is a time of dread. At least for me.


New Year’s resolutions.

They are so nice and shiny in early January. Come March, April, November they darken when I realize that what I set out to do isn’t going as I planned.

So this year – no resolutions!

This will be the year of living in the moment, living freely, living without the burden of my unfulfilled resolutions.

That’s what I keep telling myself. During the pauses, though, I’m scheming about how to expand my freelance writing business, and I’m plotting my next novel, and I’m joining the YMCA. I’m working on my pitch for novel #1 and sending out partials to editors and agents. I’m clearing my house of all of the buildup of junk (shredding old papers is fun!) and scheduling blog posts for the next few months.

Robert Burns was right: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” Or Steinbeck’s version: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Not making any plans for the future is impossible for me, even with the knowledge that I’m going to be disappointed when what I set out to achieve does not turn out as intended. So my plan not to plan in fact has gone astray.

Which leaves me where? Alive and moving forward, I suppose. And that isn’t a bad place to be, even if disappointment is part of the experience.

How about you? Do you find resolution making a tricky business? Do you do it anyway?



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20 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men and New Year’s Resolutions

  1. “This will be the year of living in the moment, living freely, living without the burden of my unfulfilled resolutions.” – Love this! I will cheer you on in spirit as you clear space and submit your writing. I can’t wait to see what transpires for you this year!

    I don’t have specific resolutions. I have general ideas of things I’d like to do this year: write more, get fit, etc.

    For the past few years I have done the Word of the Year thing, where you choose a word that is resonating with you to think about throughout the year to learn more about yourself and help focus your energy.

    I’m still deciding on this year’s word (usually I have it chosen well before Christmas), but the word that seems to be sticking is LISTEN. As in listen (really listen) to people when they talk, listen to my body’s needs for food and movement, listen to my muse, listen to messages from God or the universe, and listen in any other way that I can’t even think of right now. (These words tend to unfold in unexpected ways.)

    1. Love the word of the year idea. Listen is a good one too. I’m going to ponder that.

      THanks for the support re: my writing. What would I do without the WANAs. 🙂

  2. I try to keep resolutionizing to a minimum, though that’s easier said than done. I think if you set goals without framing them as “New Years Resolutions” it’s easier to experience the process without getting hung up on each individual success or failure.
    Keep on keeping on, chica. Will send one up for your success in the querying process.

  3. Seeing how I’m the type of person to occasionally set unachievable goals for myself, then feel guilty for not achieving them, I’m going to skip the whole resolution thing. I do have some things I’d like to focus on over the coming year, so I’m going to go with New Year’s Suggestions instead of resolutions. That way I can cut myself some slack if I don’t quite make it 🙂

    1. I’m on the same page as Mike. I don’t make resolutions. Too much pressure. Suggestions are nice, though. I think that would look nice on the wall: Suggestions of What I Might Like to Achieve in 2013.

      1. A great suggestion, Cora. A perfect poster idea. I think I should put all my concerns out on the blog, so I can get all this wise advice on all subjects that interest me. Hmmm.

  4. I can’t help myself when it comes to end of year and NY resolutions posts… I’ve already written three! I like the process of taking stock and recalibrating. I think we need to do this, otherwise we might end up going in circles! And it doesn’t hurt to have goals, even if we don’t quite achieve them. How else do we stretch ourselves? The trick is to not beat ourselves up when we fall short. (Note I didn’t say ‘fail’.)
    Good luck with your goals for 2013!!

    1. I’ve been reading those posts despite not commenting. Taking stock and recalibrating are very smart things to do. Sometimes I don’t have the strength of mind to observe myself from the outside like that, especially when I feel like I am supposed to. So I tend to be more loosy goosy about it. I am in awe of you, though, for your ability to look at your life with such focus.

      Fall short, no doubt, is a much better way to describe what often happens. Fail is just an ugly word. 🙂

  5. I keep resolutionizing (to borrow Liv’s word) to a bare minimum at all times. It doesn’t feel as uplifting or motivating when it all becomes a list of should’s or shouldn’t’s. That’s why I chose to create the Un-Resolution list that doesn’t put any judgement on me if I choose to do anything on it or not. Living in the moment and being present as much as humanly possible in each of those moments will ultimately move us forward in life. Perhaps not in the linear fashion we all desire, but forward nonetheless.

    1. It’s funny. I think I want the linear go from A to B without taking detours but in reality, I am much better suited to detour-taking. And I think it works for me as a writer and a mom. The hard part is seeing this truth when the world we live in promotes the set a goal and move directly toward it. I’m jotting down these terms: resolutionizing, the Un-Resolution list, Word of the Year. See. There I go off on a detour. 🙂

  6. I love the image of the tarnished resolution, like a tarnished halo! I just wrote about this today, agreeing completely with Liv Rancourt. I am going to be all about the attainable goals! Today’s? Comment on Sara’s blog. Done! See how easy that was?

  7. Happy New Year!

    Yes!! Living freely, deeply, and in the moment. I love it. I guess that is how I really feel every start of the new year. For me, life feels fresh and new every January – somehow the load feels a bit lighter. The old has gone and the new has come.

    As far as resolutions go, I have never really made them. The few times I have, there was not much success. What I do recall at this time of year and what I feel at this moment, is a deep awareness and clarity of what is most important in life. I feel energized by this and it motivates me to live deeply and in the moment. It drives me forward. As I learn to live from the deep areas of my heart more, I bypass my mind (which is a good thing for me!) – resolutions, failures, and even successes become less important. I guess it means being content with myself, my life, and living in the present.

    1. Bypassing the mind. Good for me too. Unfortunately, I have trouble with that.

      Your approach to the new year is refreshing and wise. Wishing you a wonderful 2013!

  8. Happy New Year, Sara!

    I do tend to make resolutions, but it’s kinda like I throw them out there and don’t make a plan to get them done. So, they don’t get done. As you say, though, the best laid plans and all that ~ so maybe they wouldn’t get done anyway, right?

    This year I’m concentrating more on my writing ~ all aspects ~ and browsing through a couple of books I have (101 places you have to go before you’re 12 and 101 things you have to do before you’re 12) and just picking some cool things to make this year exciting!

    I think that living in the moment is the best approach to take, probably the hardest and the most fun. Good stuff 🙂

    1. Happy New YEar! Concentrating on your writing and injecting a little spice into your days sounds like a good path for 2013. Look forward to hearing more about it as the year progresses. How’s the French coming?

      1. French is going pretty well! I was doing the coffee break French (and still am), but a deal for Rosetta Stone came through right before Christmas and I jumped on it, so now I’m doing both. I am determined to be able to have a conversation with the French people in Epcot when we go at the end of the year. We’ll see 🙂

        How about you?

        1. I haven’t worked on my French in a couple of months but in my non-resolutionizing, I’m considering getting back on track with the Rosetta Stone. Actually, I’m determined to get back to it. As soon as I get these last edits done. 🙂

So what do you think?