Category Archives: New Year Resolutions

IT’S ONLY ONE DAY—EVERY DAY Hazel Dixon-Cooper

 

zodiac

January 20, 2016

The holiday season is over and if you’ve resolved to lose weight in 2016, you’re not alone. Each year, losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution, and we blame our weight gain on the two months between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. However, if you are one of the 78 million overweight Americans—as I was 100 pounds ago—official holiday pig-out season began with Halloween. Unofficially, it never stopped.

Like you, I had great intentions, but in spite of those intentions, I repeatedly stuffed myself to the brink of illness right through New Year’s Day. Then repenting like a Saturday-night sinner at a Sunday-morning revival meeting, I rushed to the nearest gym or joined the latest lose-it-quick weight-loss program. Sound familiar?

But just as you begin to feel human again, Super Bowl Sunday roars up the driveway, tailgate flapping, loaded with hot wings, stuffed jalapenos and supermarket meat-and-cheese platters, and your resolve to eat healthy ends with the first mouthful of chili-cheese dip.

Oh well, it’s only one day.

Before you can wipe the last smear of wing sauce off your face, oops, here comes Valentine’s Day. Break out the chocolate and champagne. By the time you pick the caramel out of your teeth, St. Patrick swings by with a heaping helping of corned beef, cabbage, and green beer. Right on his heels, Easter drags in a basketful of chocolate bunnies. Before the dye dries on the eggs, Mother’s Day rings the doorbell. You take Mom out for a calorie-loaded dinner that is sure to raise both her cholesterol and her blood pressure. Yours too. But no worries. It’s only one day.

Memorial Day kick-starts summer with the first official barbecue of the season. Father’s Day is next on the menu. All Dad wants to do is flop in front of the sports channel and eat, and you are happy to accommodate him. Spread out the food on the coffee table, wrap a beach towel around his neck, and let him chomp himself into a heart attack. Hope the life insurance is paid up.

Summer appears with a bang on the Fourth of July, another grilling-and-chilling holiday. Mid-July through August is vacation time, and who counts calories at the beach? Instead, you tell yourself that is the only time you can truly relax, so you gladly live on sugar, carbs, and fat-laden non-food.

As soon you are home, Labor Day weekend and the last binge of the season arrive. When the kids head back to school, you head, credit card in hand, to the nearest diet center or gym. That lasts about four weeks, until Halloween creeps in again. You have come full circle and are about to take another trip into the Bermuda Triangle of holiday food benders.

Add to this list Hanukkah, Eid-ul-fitr, Kwanzaa, and a multitude of other religious or spiritual festivities, weddings, showers, anniversaries, birthdays, funerals, Sunday dinners, and other personal celebrations. The result? Out of a 52-two week year, most people resolve to lose weight the week after New Year’s and the week after Labor Day. Think about it. Two weeks out of an entire year.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 300,000 people a year die prematurely from obesity-related diseases. Saying no to Aunt Fanny’s banana pudding cake or Uncle Ralph’s roasted beast with mango chutney is tough. We’ve all heard, “I made this just for you,” accompanied by a hurt expression. Out of guilt, and an ever-present craving, you eat the casserole or cake or candy. If you decline, they counter with, “It’s only one day.”

What can you do?

Well, you can continue to eat anything that anyone shoves your way and risk turning into an insulin-shooting diabetic stumbling around on your last three toes. You could eat yourself into a case of dementia, or be diagnosed with late-stage cancer because the fat hid the tumor.

Or you can begin to get healthy. One skipped order of French fries, one refused dessert, one trade from fried chicken to grilled halibut will start to turn your life and your health in the right direction.

One bite. One choice. One day at a time.

 

Hazel Dixon-Cooper is an internationally best-selling author. She is currently working on a memoir, CONFESSIONS OF A FAT COSMO GIRL, and can be reached at hazeldixon.cooper@gmail.com and through her blog https://fatcosmogirl.wordpress.com/ .

 

It’s New Years and Members of the Write Room team share some thoughts

toasting the year in

 We asked our members to share their resolutions, gratitudes & thoughts about the New Year, 2016.

 

Part two

Fran Lewis is an author, book reviewer, and magazine publisher. Her resolutions are:

To think on the bright side.

To hope that I can deal with the impossible and turn it into the possible.

Remembering and valuing all the good things I have and glad that so many authors value my words.

To everyone in the write room blog, authors and readers, Happy holidays, Fran

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Flash fiction author and poet Sal Buttaci  shares these thoughts.

I Will TRY TO BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF AS I CAN BE

I’ve made more New Year resolutions than I care to remember and most of them I walked away from before January was laid to rest. Were they too difficult to keep? Unrealistic? The product of an exuberant Christmas spirit when joy buoyed me up so high I believed I could promise anything and deliver? Who knows! I have since changed my tune. I’m singing a different song. Let me push the musical metaphor a little further: I no longer reach for the unreachable note that insists I can sing it if I try.

Did wisdom come to me in my old age? Hardly! I simply gathered past resolutions in one basket labeled, “I will try to be the best version of myself as I can be.” Over the basket I draped a kind of comforter to keep my intentions warm throughout the new year. And I continue to recite the mantra of what I hope to attain. “God, help me to become a better man.” One who is kinder than the one in the dying year. One who prays for an increase in faith, hope and love of my God, my wife, my neighbors and myself. A better man whose writings more deeply and sincerely reflect that the words I write emanate from the heart.

For several years now I respond to the call for New Year resolutions with Christ’s words: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect.”

It’s a resolution that helps me strive towards a better way to enjoy life and partake in the inner peace we all desire to be truly happy.

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British author Bryan Murphy is still keeping a New Year’s resolution he made in 1974 never to make another New Year’s resolution, but this year he is resolved to bring out his novel Revolution Number One, much of which is set in Portugal in 1974. He shared an excerpt in the blog.

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Cody Wagner tells us that his mom was the Clark Griswold of every holiday. She did everything so over the top, we were embroiled in holiday decorations and singing for weeks before and after Christmas, Easter, New Years, and Arbor Day…OK maybe not Arbor Day, but she was a holiday woman.

Every Christmas, we’d have a plethora of activities laid on us. We were the Atlas of holidays, bearing metric tons of cheer. Festivities included doing good deeds to earn miniature blankets to lay on miniature Jesus (by Christmas day, he’d have 300 blankets piled all around him), performing novenas to move sheep closer to a manger scene (one sheep, named Ishkabibble, had no head and all us kids fought over him), stringing popcorn and carrots for a trees just for animals (we’d go out into a field on Christmas Eve and plant it), and the list goes on and on.

New Year’s was no different. Mom got busy baking and made cheese balls, Chex Mix, coconut cream pies, and everything else under the sun. She was a terrible cook, but that never stopped us from taking a few bites of everything, only to revert to fallbacks of Kit Kats and Twix bars.

She also started a new tradition on New Year’s. Instead of going to parties and whatnot, our family stayed in every year. We’d whip out all our favorite board games and play them all night New Year’s Eve and into the following day. By the end, we’d be exhausted, sick of games and ready to crash. But it was a huge bonding moment for a busy family that had trouble finding the time to be together.

Sadly, Mom died of an unexpected stroke a few years ago.

I wasn’t sure what would happen with New Year’s after she passed. I mean, big parties are really appealing. I’ve vowed a hundred times to make it to New York one year to see the Big Apple drop.

It turns out, her death solidified our New Year’s game night.

It’s December 23rd and, instead of talking about Christmas like normal people, we are putting together our New Year’s gaming plans. I think we’re going to revert back to classics like Clue and Yahtzee. And I’ll try to replicate some of her recipes and make them as disgusting as possible (purely for nostalgia’s sake, not because I can’t cook…which I can’t). Several groups have extended invites, but they’ve all been turned down. And I couldn’t be more excited.

Reflecting on all this, it’s hard to say exactly what New Year’s means to me. Sure, I make resolutions like everyone else. And, like everyone else, I never stick with any of them. And I probably dread the passage of time as much as anyone else.

Maybe what Mom provided for us – in addition to an after school special about family bonding – was an escape. An escape from thinking about what we did or didn’t accomplish this year. Or what we need to accomplish next year.

Escapes are good. As good a revelation as anything. Especially when we’re all so busy adulting, the stress of everything weighs us down.

So that’s what I’ll thank Mom for when the clock strikes twelve.

To buy his book. 

 

Jon Magee is the author of From Barren Rocks to Living Stones to Living Stones and also Paradise Island, Heavenly Journey. These books reflect his nomadic youth where he has discovered that in places where all seems hopeless life can become hopeful. For that reason, he writers of a new commitment.

Well it’s that time of year again when in a fit of optimism many of us will make great promises about what we are going to do in the New Year that we usually abandon about the second week in January. Possibly we will spend a lot of time thinking through the resolution, yet it still does not reach to its completion. As we have come to the end of the year, we may likewise feel the sense of failure for what was not successful and we allow it to pull us down. In the midst of such a scene, perhaps we need to face the year with a different perspective.

In the coming year we will all face the challenges of life, however, do we see them as barriers to fall over, or as hurdles that we will soar over seeking to reach the next challenge of life? May our Challenges be hurdles, not barriers.

To buy his books.

 

Romance author and animal-lover Trish Jackson gives some advice, harness the power.

If you haven’t yet made a New Year’s Resolution, here’s one – harness the power of your mind. Be positive, think positive, and nix any negative thoughts.

Wikipedia: ‘The law of attraction is the name given to the maxim “like attracts like” which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.

The ramifications of this are way too complex to discuss here, but it is a fact that we tend to dwell on negative thoughts more than we should, and most of us devote far too little time to positive thoughts.

So be thankful for all you have and think positive. Be aware of your thoughts and make a concerted effort to catch the negativity and change it to positive energy. You have the power to make 2016 the your most successful year yet, and I’m sending positive thoughts to all of you

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Motivation and religious author and President of Christ Is My Savior Ministries Yves Johnson asks us abut our 2016 Goals.

At the beginning of this year I asked friends if they had abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions.  I jokingly said, “Hey, it’s been five days already!” I thought it would be appropriate to ask, “How did you do on accomplishing your goals?”

Someone once said, “A goal is just a roadmap to deviate from.” While that is true, your goals also help you to achieve success. It provides you with the opportunity to see what you have accomplished.

I want to be an honest broker. I did not accomplish all of my goals this past year. So, why would a person who teaches about goals admit that he did not accomplish all of his goals?  Great question. Let us explore that for a moment.

Goals will help drive you to a destination. We must be open to new opportunities. Further, we may have overestimated our goals.  I anticipated I would accomplish XY and Z. I was only able to accomplish X and Y.  I miscounted the cost for Z. Yet, this miscalculation was a benefit. I did my research on Z. I asked and received counsel from people who were engaged in Z. Thus, I was prepared to tackle this challenge!

Hmm. A funny thing happened on the way to success. This funny thing called life popped up. First, Z called for nearly twice the amount of time my counseled stated. Second, several unanticipated opportunities materialized. Although I had a defined goal, I miscalculated the cost to accomplish these goals.  It is possible I would be dissatisfied in progress if I simply looked at my goals sheet without taking into account the deviations.

All these aforementioned variable created growth opportunities. I teach participants in my Path to Personal and Professional Success workshop that they gain a lot of growth in those path deviations. Like those participants, you will see enormous growth once you adjust your goals with the new realities in your life. Personally, I received enormous growth when I adjusted my goals. In addition, I was able to adjust my goals to include the new opportunities.

I hope you have goals for 2016. Remember, embrace the deviations life may cause.  I’ll be checking in on you in a few months to see how you are doing on your 2016 goals.

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Novelist and essayist Ken Weene shares some musings on time, which is at once the most primitive, complex, and evocative of dimensions of human experience.

Consider an early ancestor living in a cave, locating their life in a small patch of jungle, unaware of the great distances of the world around. Aware that there is a sky, but having no sense how far above the tree tops it begins or to what distance it reaches. They know that one roasted pig is heftier than another, but they cannot measure the difference.

But when it comes to time, our ancestor was assuredly aware. He knew there was diurnality, the difference between day and night. Then there was the arc of the sun’s apparent movement overhead. The moon waxed and waned with no known cause. The seasons changed if only in terms of when certain roots weere edible and certain species produced their catchable and edible young. Even our ancestors’ bodies reflected time, both in circadian rhythm, especially the women’s menses, and everyone’s progression from birth towards death.

The protohominid was aware of time at the most primordial level of being.

But time is not an easy dimension to understand or to measure. Once past, the moment cannot be redone. Secondly, precision in time is difficult because the easiest standards of time, such as the angle of the sun, differ from place to place. Once we travel, time becomes very confusing indeed. For early explorers, longitude could be determined by comparing the time at one’s homeport to the noon hour of the sun overhead but how?

If those earthly considerations seem confusing, consider the contributions of Einstein. Imagine that you have a twin who becomes an astronaut, spends some time hurtling through space and then returns. They disembark and you discover that now you have a younger sibling. What?

Time is indeed complicated.

But it is the evocative nature of time that captures the poet in us. If we start at one place and go to another, we can say we’ve travelled so many miles, kilometers, or whatever. Pick something up and we can say it weighed so many stone, pounds, grams; or we can be fancy and rephrase that in terms of mass. Either way we are talking about a comparison, for example to the mass of a cubic centimeter of water at sea level. We are not talking about the very beginning of all weight.

Only when we consider time do we emotionally require an absolute starting point. Perhaps that is because we recognize our mortality and therefore need to know where we are within that flow of time from beginning to end. And so, from earliest recorded history, humankind has tried to explain that first point, that moment of creation. The Christian tradition is particularly brazen in its attempt to master time, giving both a starting point, a creation, and an end point, an apocalypse. Modern science has tried to do the same in an even more precise manner, big bang until the universe stops expanding and turns back on itself.

Of course, the religious model makes it all feel more comprehensible and isn’t that what we need, to comprehend our mortality?

But then once a year we all, or at least those who follow the Gregorian calendar, will wait until the first new moon after the winter solstice at the moment when the sun is farthest from its zenith in our lives to turn one to the other and say, “Happy New Year!”

For the moment we want to believe that we know “when we are.”

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It’s New Years and Members of the Write Room team share some thoughts

calendar cube for New Years

We asked our members to share their resolutions, gratitudes, and thoughts about the New Year, 2016.

 

Part one—More to Come in Our Next Post

 

Mike Ajax author of  Tomb of the Riceratops and fan of all things dinosaur has a few resolutions:

Discover a new dinosaur (and name it Ajaxsaurus)

Apply (again) for a research position at InGen labs.

Get park passes to Jurassic World (if the place ever re-opens after that terrible incident this summer).

Determine which came first – the dinosaur or the egg.

Visit Makoshika (a real park in Montana) — word has it some unusual occurrences are happening up there.

And finally, explain to discriminating readers what Tombs have to do with Triceratops.

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As a wearer of far too many hats than is good for her—author of historical, mystery, and general fiction, editor, audiobook narrator, mom—D. M. Pirrone resolves in 2016 to:

Write Book 3 of the Hanley & Rivka Mysteries.

Have fewer people in my head, and more down on paper.

Take time to smell the chocolate (you were thinking “roses,” weren’t you?)

Learn to say, “No,” and “You do it, honey” more often.

Read more, fret less.

Have a good belly laugh every day—bonus points if I have it with a friend.

To buy her books

 

From Stuart Carruthers who lives in Taiwan, we received this.

I’m confused. I know I shouldn’t be, but living in Taiwan is enough to confuse the wotsits out of anyone.

According to the Gregorian calendar, on the evening of the 31st December 2015 the leaves of the calendar will inexorably fold over and become January 1st, two thousand and sixteen years after the birth of a man called Jesus, if you believe the stories.

But here in Taiwan we have another year using another calendar, one that is official and used on all documents. The Minguo calendar is used to represent the founding of the Republic of China in 1912 and was used in the Mainland until 1949. So, after Chinese New Year, 2016 will also become 105, one thousand nine hundred and eleven years after the Gregorian one.

But not only is it soon to become 105, it will also be the year of the Monkey. An especially inauspicious year and one that’s likely to have parents trying to make sure their kids are born on the correct side of February 8th and in the current year of the Goat.

So with not one but two years to deal with simultaneously things get interesting and not a little confusing as banks and governments require the correct Taiwanese year whilst still using the Gregorian months and days.

So here’s to Happy New Years and confusing times ahead.

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Micki Peluso has chosen to share some very serious thoughts about recent events, which she has titled Birth of A New Year.

It was New Year’s Eve in 1999. The world waited and watched what turned out to be an unrealistic fear that on 2000 all computers would stop, having reached their set point. Planes might drop from the sky. Power would be off everywhere, including my residence on Staten Island, a borough of New York City. Like many people I took no chances, filling the bathtub for toilet flushing and every pot and container with filtered water. My kids, grandkids and I drove to New Jersey to a relative with a huge home, in order to stay all together. My husband and Golden Labrador remained to protect our home. I remember the sky seemed blacker with fewer stars to light up a possibly darkened world. The clock struck midnight in our time zone—nothing happened. We felt a little silly but then, one never knows.

We found that out on September 11, 2001 when all feelings of safety in our own country vanished with the smoke, flames, and ashes of thousands of men, women and children who were vaporized. Terrorists brazenly flew into New York City and exploded the World Trade Towers, as well as an attack on the Pentagon and an attempted attack thwarted by brave passengers who gave their lives to abort the attempt. On that day, forever burned into the memories of Americans, all sense of safety in our country, schools and homes shattered like pieces of a puzzle; one that could neither be solved nor resolved.

Fifteen years have passed, as thousands more people have died from breathing deadly toxins from 9/11. Our sense of safety in our own country, once the shining star of the world, has not returned. Terrorism has a foothold in our precious land, once a safe haven. Some of our neighbors, whom we have communed with for years as friends, have bombed and shot in the name of Allah and others have turned viral in their hatred of peaceful Muslims as copycat and psychopathic home grown terrorists join the killing spree—spreading the hatred. And as in centuries past, religion is at the root of war, pitting people against each other in the many names of god.

As we welcome the birth of a new year, may our nation, once again, feel the warmth of the blanket of security and bask in freedom, the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream.

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John B. Rosenman is an impractical soul who has published 20 books and 300 stories in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres. He has a few New Year’s resolutions:

Stop being so neurotic and letting people’s slights and insults bother him so much.

Smell the flowers and enjoy life and his wife more.

Develop a better backhand at tennis.

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From Dellani Oakes, we received this serious response:

I’m a very thoughtful person—in theory. In practice, not too much. I think of writing a get well card to a sick friend. I contemplate doing something thoughtful for someone’s birthday. I spend hours pondering the perfect gift to send my granddaughter…. Only to completely drop the ball and not do any of it. I’m the same way with New Year’s Resolutions.

When I was younger, I thought that you had to, by some unwritten law, make and keep a New Year’s Resolution. I considered it a flaw in my character that I couldn’t do it. It took me a few years to realize that others had the same problem. To date, I can’t think of a single person of my acquaintance, who has made, and successfully kept, a New Year’s Resolution. Once I realized that I didn’t have to make a promise I was sure to break, I quit trying.

Some might consider this lack of resolve as a flaw in my character. I consider it a plus. Why? Because I’m not trying to do something I know I’ll fail at, simply to follow the crowd. I recognize my fallibility and, rather than endlessly chastising myself for it, I move on. I’ve lived a good long time without making, and breaking, resolutions, but lately I’ve been thinking maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all along. Maybe we all have. What if we make a Resolution we know we can keep? Maybe this is the year for the Resolution Revolution? Here is what I propose. Instead of making a New Years Resolution that is destined to fail, make one you can keep.

My New Years Resolution for 2016: I resolve to be a good person, to be the best friend I can. I will feed my family, love them and put up with their personality quirks (because they put up with mine.) I will continue to write my books, I will finish as many of them as I can and I will get more of them published. I promise to be the person I’ve been all my life, flawed though I may be, I am consistent. I promise to be kind to strangers, even if they are rude to me. (However, I withhold the right to stand up for myself if they get nasty. Also, that doesn’t apply to bad drivers, because there is no excuse for those people). But otherwise…. Yeah.

So, when New Years rolls around and you’re confronted with the need to make a Resolution, think about what I’ve said. Don’t make a Resolution to cover up a flaw—you’ll fail. Make one that works with your strengths and build on them. When all else fails, resolve to smile at a stranger. You’ll feel better and you might make someone’s day.

To buy her books.

 

Instead of resolutions, mystery writer Bonnie Hearn Hill makes a gratitude list every New Year’s Eve. This year’s list includes gratitude for:

The birth of her new novel, If Anything Should Happen, number 14 and first in a series;

Still feeling the same love and passion for writing (even when she hates it);

The best literary agent on the planet;

The most wonderful daughter and son she never gave birth to;

A best friend who knows where the bodies are buried (because she drove the getaway car),

And a boisterous, rowdy, brilliant, generous literary family she loves beyond description.

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With her usual warmth, speculative fiction author and radio host Monica Brinkman provides us with something completely different:

Here’s a song for New Years.

My resolution is never to make one.
For if I don’t make one, then how can I break one?
Instead, let’s all love one another as we stumble and fall, with our backs to the wall.
Say goodbye to the year.
2016’s almost here.
We’ll start again, we’ll be a brand new nation
With more unemployment and higher inflation.
Wave your banners and cry – Hey! What’s the fuss all about?
Because next year you still will be saying,
“Let’s get on with the new. 2016’s almost through”
Ta! Da!

Monica

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