A Successful Resolution

clean sink

I have a confession to make: normally I avoid making New Year’s resolutions. I tried them for years and then realized that the only way for me to win was not to play.

This year I wanted to try again though. Whether it is because I’m stupid or just a glutton for punishment I can’t say but, by golly, I wanted to have a resolution for 2013 and I wanted to achieve it!

At first I made a list that looked something like this:

  1. Write 12 more books
  2. Create a web page for all my previously published books (while crafting pages for all of my new ones too)
  3. Format all of my eligible ebooks for print
  4. Get in the habit of cleaning my house up every day
  5. Get in the habit of cooking dinner every school day

The list went on but you get the idea. I had tons I wanted to achieve and I wanted it all done NOW. Fortunately, I took one look at my overflowing list and felt as if I had been sucker punched. Who was I to think I could do all of that stuff in a year? I felt overwhelmed just looking at them!

For a time I just dropped the idea. Annie, you suck at resolutions anyway, I told myself. Instead of bothering with being disappointed just do what you can and be happy.

I wanted this year to be different, though. I wanted it to the the first year I have actually made a resolution and achieved it. I knew if I just thought this through I would be able to come up with some way to achieve this.

Jokingly I referred to this as my resolution to actually achieve a New Year’s resolution but the idea was spot-on. I mean, what is the point in making resolutions if you never keep them?

It finally occurred to me to take my own advice to Simplify, Focus, Achieve. To do this I needed to pick one thing at a time to accomplish, focus on that and then choose something else.

For my first goal I chose the one thing that has aggravated me about myself for years: my penchant for letting the dirty dishes pile up. My very first New Year’s resolution was to ensure that all my dishes were washed before I went to bed at night.

The first few days were spotty; I would see a dish in the sink, tell myself I would wash it up later and then doze off with it still unwashed. As a result I changed my tactic: Whenever I saw a dirty dish in the sink I would make myself stop and wash it even if it was in the middle of the day.

It has been over a month now. My sink stands empty now; I head over there periodically during the day to wash anything Katie or I have placed within. I was already in the habit of tidying up the kitchen whenever I washed dishes so the whole area stays cleaner now.

Since it only takes 20 days to create a new habit I feel safe in declaring for the very first time in my life that I have accomplished a New Year’s Resolution! Cue the fireworks and choose another goal to accomplish…

Have you ever accomplished a New Year’s Resolution? What was it and what steps did you take to achieve it? Please share your story in the comments below.

Thank you so much for your help during my current challenge. You are awesome!

7 thoughts on “A Successful Resolution

  1. Eric West

    Hey Annie, it’s Eric of Eden Journal, but now I have a new blog I’m working on. We’ve been making an effort to keep dishes from piling up as well. We actually have a dishwasher, but I hate using it. I’ve never had a dishwasher do a great job at cleaning dishes. Plus, when we did use it, we could never find the dishes we were looking for – they were either in the dishwasher and not yet washed, or they were in the dishwasher clean but not put away.

    All in all, I found it easier to just wash them by hand. We were pretty much pre-rinsing everything that went in the dishwasher anyway, so it’s not much more effort to just go ahead and wash them. It really doesn’t take long and they get cleaner and seem to last longer.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s much easier to clean them right after using them. It’s not always how I want to spend the time right after a meal, but it goes so much easier when the food hasn’t had time to dry on the dishes. When it’s fresh, it washes off easily.

    I think you have a great goal started here. We’ve slipped from washing right after we use a dish, and this is a good reminder to get back into the habbit of washing them right away.

  2. John Grebe

    Personally I’ve had the most success with the “Five Focuses Five” technique which was developed by Jessica of Minimalist Student. In short you just choose 5 areas to divert your focus upon, instead of specific goals. For example instead of a goal of write 4 books, you list writing as an area to focus upon. I’m in my third year of doing so and I have found it to be very helpful to me as it contains enough diversity so that I can take a break by simply switching from one focus to another (like writing to classical literature or photography). While I can not see that I accomplished any set New Years Resolutions during the past two years that I practiced it, I can say that I accomplished a lot more than I did in past years when I had more specific New Years Resolutions.

  3. Colleen

    Hi Annie, you know what my resolution was in 2010. I was like you, I simply did not make New Years resolutions. Not because I didn’t think I could achieve them but because I just thought the whole idea was stupid. However on January 3rd 2010 when on a morning show I watched to hosts talking about how most people had given up their resolution by now I felt compelled to beat the odds. So then and there I decided to declutter one thing a day from my home for a whole year. I selected three things to make up for the days I missed and went from there. Due to certain circumstances I had to find my items ahead of time on occasion but so long as it averaged out at a thing a day I was content. As you well know I succeeded and kept on going, doing one thing every week day for the next two years as well. This year my resolution is to finish and publish an ebook. Wish me luck!

  4. BJ

    Congrats on your accomplishment, Annie.

    I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. It wasn’t something that our family ever did, and I didn’t start as an adult. But I do set goals. What has worked for me successfully is using my daily journal. I include each day goals that I want or need to accomplish the following day as I write my journal entry. It sounds pretty short range, but it works for me and tends to be cumulative. It keeps me focusing my time on things I really want to do rather than it, which we all know can be so easy to do.

  5. pokeberry mary

    I haven’t made them–but this year I do have a plan of things I want to address–one is being distracted from what I need to work on. I have a small business I am building up online, and I want to stop thinking about too many other things.
    I also need to improve my health–so exercise and better diet. my focus on that right now–stop buying food that’s not good & stop letting good food waste cuz i don’t feel like eating it. 🙁

    So basically I am using your method to simplify, focus & achieve–I thank you for it.


Your comments are appreciated. Thanks!