Friday, January 1, 2010

Starting 2010 on the Right Foot (or the Left Foot, If You Walk That Way)

by Susan McBride

I'm not sure how 2010 got here so quickly, but it did. Sometimes I'm glad when a year's over, and other times (like now) I wonder how 365 days could've zipped by in a couple of blinks. Regardless, I like the idea of getting a chance to start over, if you will. What better excuse to attempt self-improvement than making New Year's resolutions? So I'm going to show you mine, and maybe you'll show me yours.

Resolution #1: Banish negative thoughts and stop dwelling on ickiness from the past. I just read EAT, PRAY, LOVE, and that's a huge theme running through the book. My goal this year is to keep scooping out the poopy stuff like used cat litter so I can better focus on the positive. Or as John Burroughs put it, "One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things." Amen.

Resolution #2: Pause before I speak (or email). Instead of reacting emotionally and immediately to everything, I need to step back and take a breath first. I've had a few chances to practice this recently, and I did a pretty good job. Maybe one of these days it'll become second nature.

Resolution #3: Keep cheering on my friends and their triumphs because a victory for one is a victory for all. Really. The more good stuff that gets spread around, the better.

Resolution #4: Practice random acts of "just because," like surprising someone with a thoughtful note or kind word when they least expect it.

Resolution #5: Be self-disciplined enough to exercise regularly and eat good things because my body deserves it. How can we care for those around us if we don't take care of ourselves?

Resolution #6: Enjoy the moment. I am famous for looking too far into the future and worrying about things that haven't happened yet (although I'm not as bad as I used to be). If I stop and smell the roses more, I'll spend less money on Tums.

Resolution #7: Forgive myself for bad judgment and recognize that everyone I've met who's had an impact on my life, good or bad, has helped me to make a choice and/or learn a lesson and/or realize what I truly want/need/love. Stepping in doo-doo sometimes reminds us of how unpleasant it is to have stinky shoes. So next time, we're a little more careful of where we walk. (If Confucius didn't say that, he must've thought it.)

Resolution #8: Continue to test myself as a writer, tackling projects that once seemed terrifying and out of reach. Every time I survive something crappy or write something I never imagined I could write, I understand better how anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Resolution #9: Read as much as humanly possible in a variety of genres. Reading, like exercise, is something I've been carving out more time for. I love when I find stories that not only entertain me, but inspire me. Like, Garth Stein's heartfelt THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, Sarah Addison Allen's magical GARDEN SPELLS, Kate Morton's meaty multi-layered THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON, and Elizabeth Gilbert's engagingly soul-baring EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I so agree with Thomas Jefferson's remark that "I cannot live without books."

Resolution #10: Stop writing resolutions because I could go on forever, and life's too short.

A-hem. (Lifting a virtual glass.) Here's my toast to everyone as we enter 2010: May we always strive to be the best we can be and forgive ourselves when we stumble now and then; may we never be too busy to appreciate the sweetness of a kind word or a held hand; and may we never run out of wonderful books to read so that our minds can explore new people and places without having to pack a bag or leave the house. Cheers!


  1. Loved every word - will adopt as my own - especially the part about stopping myself from saying things I shouldn't - focusing on the positive - supporting others. Wishing you a great year!

  2. Thank you, Kathy! Here's hoping 2010 overflows with good things!


  3. GREAT POST, Susan! I couldn't have said it better myself (and didn't, this past Wednesday). Our resolutions align very well, don't you think? We're definitely going to focus on the positive this year and banish those dark, negative thoughts. I'm off to a good start today! All best, sister. Maggie

  4. We are definitely on the same wave length, Maggie! Here's to ringing in the positive and ringing out the negative!


  5. Fantastic resolutions, Susan! I have many of the same ones. I cannot live without books, too!

    Happy New Year, and here's to achieving all that you set out to.

  6. Loved your resolutions, Susan!! I'm a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love, too, and was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's attitude and outlook :). Wishing you an absolutely fabulous 2010!!

  7. Hey, Misa and Marilyn! Thanks for your support re. my resolutions, which I'm going to work hard on this year. A very Happy 2010 to you both!