No New Year’s Resolutions, Just Gratitude

No New Year’s resolutions, just gratitude. Leo, this really cute kitty, is just one of the blessings on my gratitude list. 

Yes, I know this is the time of the year designated to set goals and assign new resolutions for ourselves, when the calendar flips over to a New Year.

Sometimes we make promises to ourselves to create new healthy lifestyle routines, or to break bad habits, like procrastination, (but I’ll get to that one later).

Dropping the extra 10 pounds I packed on from all the holiday indulgence is an ongoing and repeating goal from one year to the next. In business matters, learning how to use my website for marketing, create an eye-catching newsletter, and to better understand how to grown my email subscribers are all goals I’ve yet to check off. Shamefully, I admit that some of these tasks have been on my To Do list for a few years, still undone and unaccomplished.

New Year, same aspirations.

As I consider the idea of resolutions, I wonder why, at the beginning of a New Year, do we pile a giant weight of expectation on ourselves to accomplish something we should have already been able to do?  We all know there’s a serving of self-berating waiting for us when we come up short of achieving those goals, and that drink can be a bitter cocktail, often laced with self-pity and dusted with excuses.

We have a full year ahead of us to create, to take flight, or blossom into whatever we dream of achieving. However, because of the unknowns in our future, some of which we have no control over, we may also have a full year to crash and burn. But we don’t have to stay there.

This year, instead of creating a TO DO list on what I expect to accomplish every day for the next three months and hang it on my office wall (and yes, I did do this…once), then wait for the sick feeling of failure to creep in as most every duty, every workout, and every new accomplishment I wish to achieve on my list remains unchecked, I have decided to do something different this year.

My New Year’s resolution is to make NO New Year’s resolutions.

Instead, I’m going to be grateful and reflect on all the good that happened this past year, and not to worry so much about what’s coming in the new one.

I’ve also made a choice to stop comparing my writing career to other authors and embrace where I am right now. I don’t need to know how much another author’s last royalty check was, or how many books someone sold on Kindle this month to make myself feel more inadequate. Inadequacy is an attribute that I have mastered quite well.

I also now realize that my expectations before publishing my first book were unrealistic. For one, I’m not sitting on the beach sipping margaritas with my editor thanks to the million dollar advance I received from my publisher, just one of the big 5 who were scrambling to get me on contract. Oh, what a naive little chick I was! My newbie’s dream of being a successful author was quickly crushed by reality, and that dream came crashing down like the wrong piece pulled on a Jenga game.

Nor have any of the books in the Mark Of The Faeries series made it to the NYT Best sellers list, and the reality is, that most likely will never happen. There are over a million self-published books being released every year and no gate-keepers to keep out the trash. I’m also competing with celebrities who think we all need to know how bad their childhood was (oh, please!), as well as all the established and well-known authors who are spitting out new books every year, because they have a whole team of writers who write their books for them! Yeah, it’s hard for one little goldfish to stand out in a sea of sharks, but I’m still swimming.  

So, instead of looking forward to a year of failing to meet my unrealistic expectations, for this New Year, I’ve decided to be grateful for where I am right now and how far I have come on this roller coaster of life. Glancing back at the pretty amazing events and growth that have happened this last year, how can I not be thankful?

And rather than making a New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided to reflect on some of the highlights on my gratitude list.

These are a top few in no particular order:

  • Our two-year-old grandson’s adoption became official in 2022, and I now have 6 beautiful Rae grandchildren. Blessed.
  • Last year Mom gave us all a scare with a summer full of health issues, and my sisters and I believed that her demise was at hand. Fortunately, Mother is stubborn. Though we had to move her into assisted living, she pulled through and is still with us today.
  • My sisters are amazing! I am both grateful and blessed to call them friends.
  • Attending fairs and festivals this last year, selling books directly to the public, has brought out the creative side in my husband. Now he sells his resin art alongside my books. After retiring from a paper mill over 15 years ago, he finally has a hobby other than me!
  • Other than a few aches and pains that come with age, I’m still in good health. Each year that goes by and I can still say this, well, that is definitely something to be grateful for.
  • The members of my extended family are also doing well. Though some of them are dealing with their health issues, for the most part, everyone is okay. Financially, mentally (well, some of us are questionable in that department), we are living a good life, with all of its ups and downs.
  • You already met Leo at the beginning of this post, the feral cat who has made my home his home. He’s a cute furry friend who makes me smile.
  • We celebrated 45 years of marriage in 2022, and most of the time, I still like my husband. 
  • I’m very grateful for my walking friend, Lori. She keeps me moving.
  • My oldest granddaughter turned 16 this past year. Seeing the growth in her as she has transformed into a young woman is a gift I am grateful to have experienced. Had we stayed on the west side of the state, I would have missed it all.
  • As an author, hearing from a reader who loves the Mark of the Faerie series and can’t wait until books four and five are available, that is a gift for which I will ALWAYS be grateful! The simple act of making a connection with another soul, and doing so through my writing, well, that is called pure joy.

And speaking of books, Of Lace and Lions, book four in the Mark of the Faerie series, will be released this fall. Working with my editors and my book designer have been amazing gifts. These people were brought into my writing career when I finally realized the power of gratitude. I was thankful for them before they even arrived.

We don’t always know what lies ahead in the coming year. Yes, we can prepare and plan. We can make resolutions we hope to keep. Or we can just be grateful for where we are, how far we have come, and to show gratitude for the unknown blessings that are coming our way.

So, rather than a New Year’s resolution, I’m looking forward to a New Year full of things to be grateful for. And that TO DO list…well, I’m not making one. Now, that feels liberating!

To start out this New Year, I’d love to hear what gives you joy. What has filled your heart with gratitude?

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