It’s the New Year: Make a List but Don’t Call them Resolutions

by Pam Godwin

We’ve all heard it before:  New Year’s resolutions don’t work. In fact, according to an article in this week’s Huffington Post, psychologist Richard Wisemen says nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. Wiseman also says that resolutions can be achieved but most people simply set themselves up for failure. We couldn’t agree more and although we are not experts and just two friends, we know from personal experience that reaching too far and too fast just doesn’t work. We probably knew this instinctually when we conceived So by just making a list of stuff we wanted to do or change about ourselves and crossing them off our 52 lists one by one over the course of a year, it made it all a bit more realistic and real.  Some things worked. Some didn’t. Some we haven’t gotten to yet and maybe we never will.  Some things we loved and some we just liked and some we didn’t like at all and won’t be doing again.  And some things were just for fun and for no other reason. That’s what we think is great about the 52 week plan: just make a list, cross things off when you can and gain confidence and motivation by doing even the littlest of  things which may in fact give you the confidence and inspiration to do the bigger things.

You also have to remember to count even baby steps towards any goal; and you also need to count doing things just for fun because they often lead to other, more so-called important things (trust us, we’ve been doing it).  There isn’t an official “start” time or an “end” time.  Our blog just set things in motion – it got us out of the gate. And forget about the January 1st thing; we started this whole thing sometime in the middle of the summer.  The Huffington Post article goes on to say that resolutions are more likely achieved if you 1) are specific; 2) have support from someone or make it public; and 3) write it down!  The 52 Weeks is all about writing out your list, having a friend if possible to support you, and being specific. We’re still checking things off but we also know it’s time to get out there to help others do the same. Here are just some of the things we already did in 2011. Hopefully the list of things we did will give you some food for thought and a little inspiration:

  • Learned to play poker
  • Drove amazing, impractical  sports cars
  • Started to do away with some bad habits (or at least take some baby steps!)
  • Faced some fears (public speaking, flying, what else?)
  • Took golf lessons, nude drawing lessons and even weaving lessons!
  • Read more in general and re-read the classics
  • Remembered to laugh more
  • Suffered through at least one new and different exercise class
  • Discovered blueberries, broke up (sadly) with cheese
  • Experienced Kabbalah and sought other things to feed the soul
  • Built some confidence:  took rifle shooting lessons, rock climbed and learned how to box!
  • Explored France even if one of us couldn’t seem to get there:  started French lessons, saw more French movies
  • Volunteered more
  • Smiled more
  • Did nothing, intentionally
  • Took piano lessons (again)
  • Explored our own city, got out of our routines
  • Cooked something new or out of the box and baked if we usually cooked and cooked if we usually baked
  • Repaired some relationships
  • Got makeovers to have some fun
  • Did something romantic with our significant others
  • Learned to Tango
  • Listened to more music
  • Took Yoga (again)
  • Played Tennis (again)
  • Took nature walks for no reason and walked more —  anywhere, anytime
  • Explored new careers
  • Visited Ground Zero
  • Meditated
  • Went hang gliding (or inspired someone else to!)

And most of all, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t check-off 52 “new” or different things — or even 10 things on your list.  We’re the ones that started and we’re still trying to get to everything too.

Happy New Year!



commentLeave a Comment (4)  

categoryPosted: 12/30/11 4:08 PM

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorene January 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

It is so funny! I thought of the same thing to experience something new or adapt a new routine in my life, every week of this year of 2012. I am so excited about the thought of it all. On week two – my kids who are 8 and 10 years old did a tower run. We climbed 29 Floors. 638 Stairs. I want my life to be more exciting and show my kids we can have fun as a family. I hope to build confidence in them and in myself.


donna January 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm​donna-marie-ryan/2012/01/17/​no-new-years-resolutions-this-y​ear

I am thrilled I found your blog….Im 52…we are married 31 years….we raised our 24 year old son…but here were are once again three as we care for my 93 year old mom. I embrace each day despite having to stop work to be here for mom more. i began a hobby of blogging…I started a website…and i occasionally when time permits do a blogtalk radio show….I stress…it is a hobby…but its something I love to do…i love meeting other 50 year olds and getting new ideas on this wonderful journey. I hope you will give my show a listen …… I am thrilled to find this blog…it looks like so much fun and I am excited to begin reading….


Lisa Ng January 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Man, yall did so much in 2011! How will you top it in 2012?? Agreed. Taking baby steps and not focus on “oh my gosh, I need to blog a day or take a picture a day for 366 days” because then I’d get scared. I’m taking it day by day, and not get upset if I miss a goal a day. It’s not the end of the world! TKS FOR WRITING!


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