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Resolved – Part 2
January 3rd, 2011

One year ago I launched this blog with a set of resolutions for 2010.  But I did so with a fair amount of equivocation.  Amidst other objections I pointed out that I found New Year’s resolutions off-putting because they ask us to define ourselves as a set of faults, and I stand by that.  But I moved forward with my resolutions nonetheless.  And today, one year later, I’m so glad that I did.

By some stroke of either genius or dumb luck last year’s resolutions were not binary.  I asked quite a bit of myself, but none of my goals was set in a way that facilitated pure success or failure.  Rather, they were phrased in shades of grey.  They were a framework for changes I wanted to make in myself, but they were not rigid or binding.  And it was that freedom to allow smaller measures of success that enabled me to fare better with my resolutions than I ever would have expected.

2010 was not a year of major milestones for me.  In 2004 I got married.  In 2005 we bought our first house.  In 2007 I finished my MBA.  In 2008 I had my first child.  In 2009 I started a new job.  But last year was not a year of significant events.  Yet I think I accomplished more in 2010 than I have in years.  I changed a lot last year.  Some of those changes were carefully cultivated.  Others were wholly unexpected but yet no less important.  And although it strikes me as strange, I attribute these changes and accomplishments to those resolutions and to this blog.  There is something compelling about making your goals public.  There is something compelling about eschewing your fear of failure.  There is something compelling about this particular brand of accountability wherein merely by posting my aspirations in this forum I felt, throughout the year, more committed to them than any other goal I’ve pursued in the past.

In fact, I started a running list of potential 2011 resolutions several months ago, adding new entries as they dawned on me.  Even amidst the satisfaction of 2010′s successes, I found myself eager to cross the threshold into 2011 and a new set of challenges.  In 2010 I took control of my life in completely new ways and it was, quite simply, empowering.  So it is not surprising to me that I am finding exhilleration in my goals for 2011.  I do not know if it is realistic to hope for comparable success in the coming year as I achieved in the past year.  But I know that taking such risks served me well in 2010.  So I find no reason to change my tack now.  With that, my goals for 2011 are:

  1. Read literary classics that I’ve never read before (there will be a dedicated post on this one at some point).
  2. Regularly carry and use reusable grocery bags.
  3. Don’t waste food.
  4. Choose at least one initiative from The Happiness Project for implementation in my own life.
  5. Brush my dogs more often.
  6. Deepen existing friendships.
  7. Send actual birthday cards in the actual mail and do it on time.
  8. Get our family photo albums properly archived and up to date and keep current with them.
  9. Grow an herb garden.

As I read back over my list, what I love most about it is that I can’t foretell the ways in which the pursuit and realization of these goals will enrich my life.  Last year I had a goal of meeting people who would challenge my perceptions of the world.  I had no idea that some of those people would weigh less than five pounds.  I had a goal of traveling to new places, and those new places turned out to be completely different than the ones I expected to visit.  I had a goal of reading more nonfiction and I had no idea that the entire year would become a dedicated literary project.

My resolutions were stated at the beginning of 2010.  But they evolved organically throughout the year and came to mean more to me by year’s end than I ever intended at the outset.  I can only hope that my new set of resolutions will come to mean as much.  But I do hope.  I hope that through my care and feeding of them, I will find that they feed and care for me in kind.

Here’s to 2011 and all the goodness that it may bring each of us this year!

6 Responses to “Resolved – Part 2”

  1. Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities Says:

    Happy 2011, my friend! And congrats on one year of blogging! xo

  2. BigLittleWolf Says:

    I love your resolutions, but even more, the fact that there were discoveries along the way that give them shape and depth, and some which had nothing to do with what was expected. Mostly, I like your approach. My own is to no longer make resolutions (I haven’t in more than 15 years). Instead, I take stock and focus on an area of improvement, usually captured by a word or phrase.

    That way, “failure” isn’t an option. Only movement in the right direction.

    And congrats on that one year! It’s big!

  3. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Ahh, Gale, I have long known that you are a woman after my own heart and this post only serves to confirm that fact. Like you, I have found it motivating and inspiring to commit to resolutions on my blog (I really do think that I would have abandoned my Happiness Project a week or two into it if I hadn’t announced my intentions to my bloggy friends). I also appreciate your specific set of goals for 2011 – some of which I would do well to copy.

    I wish you a 2011 full of health, happiness, and steady progress toward your goals!

  4. Anne Says:

    Yeah, I feel the same way about 2010. Although I don’t know that I accomplished as much as you. I’ve created zero resolutions for 2011. I wish I felt more drawn to, but I don’t know…something is making me keep things very very open.

  5. Gale Says:

    Anne – With motherhood on the horizon I think “open” is the biggest thing you can ask of yourself. You’re on the right track. I promise!

  6. Ten Dollar Thoughts » Blog Archive » Stuart Smalley for the Modern Woman Says:

    [...] first post of 2011 listed my resolutions for the year; things I want to change.  But having thought through it a bit [...]