This New Approach to Resolutions Really Works!

resolution illustration

I’ve been through a few years of good intentions which paved my road to resolution hell. Even though I started on the right path to check them off my list, I wound up in the shadows of monolithic deadends while overwhelmed with disappointment. I’m done making traditional New Year’s Resolutions and have a new approach to share with you. It really works!

resolutions illustration


It all started two years ago when I topped my list of New Year’s Resolutions with a deadline to traditionally publish my first book. As the end of the year approached, I felt that super sick sinking feeling of failure by not achieving my top goal. My children pointed out that I can’t control my fate if it’s in the hands of others.

Last year, I made resolutions including all the projects I wanted to complete. This time, I was in control of the list. What could go wrong? I skipped down the verdant path under sunny skies until I lost my brother and a demon washing machine took control of my life. I missed most of the writing contest deadlines and bummed out.

Enter the Bullet Point Journal.

When I discovered bullet point journaling, I began to make short-term goals and planned 7-10 days in advance. Each week that I used it, I stayed on task and accomplished twice as much. Plus, I crossed off a lot of random chores and goals like meditating and exercise too.

Bullet Point Journal

Build good habits.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of finishing writing projects as a goal, I want to write more consistently, improve my work/play/exercise balance in life, and continue a routine which I started in the last quarter of 2017.

Create space for being creative.

It’s easy for me to crush writing deadlines, but I loathe forced wordcounts. Instead, I’m focusing on time management. With the help of that beloved bullet point journal, I carve out time to write every day. It really works!

Continue the challenge of becoming fit and strong.

One of last year’s goals that I actually attained was to finally rehab my knee after a partial knee replacement. I had tried physical therapy and working out on my own, but made very little progress. My legs atrophied after a partial knee replacement and became very weak. Without strong legs, the rest of my body weakened.

Then I hired a personal trainer to meet once a week. It made a HUGE difference! I’m still on Anastrozole to blow estrogen to bits (what my breast cancer ate), but it also blows up bone, so lifting weights has an added benefit for me. Weight training is important for everyone since it prevents osteoporosis along with burning fat and the obvious, building muscle. I weigh more this year, but grew a lot of muscle and lost some of the flab around my waistline.

This is the first year I can wrangle the humongous plastic bins full of Christmas decorations. I have enough for ten households. I surprised my husband, Danny, when I took down all of it in an afternoon and stacked those monstrous containers in the basement. He was pretty stoked! He used to be the wrangler of the household.

I won’t face monolithic deadends if I don’t build them.

New Years Resolutions 2018With this new approach in place, I won’t be disappointed with the twists and turns of life’s journey during 2018. I like the idea of building good habits, carving out creative space, and continuing to make exercise a priority instead. A bullet point journal full of activities and short-term goals will result in progress towards completion of projects at its own pace. As long as I keep moving forward, that’s enough for me!

New Approach to Resolutions

Do you make resolutions? Have you tried bullet point journaling? Do you like the idea of short-term goals and habits instead of traditional resolutions?

Click for more of the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

A Tiny Tale of Terror or How to Train Your Resolutions

My Resolution Failures and Why You Should Join The Big Chill in 2017

Super Easy Bullet Point Journaling

I Celebrated a Birthday but Failed to Save a Life.

My Demon Washing Machine is Haunted

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

64 thoughts on “This New Approach to Resolutions Really Works!

Add yours

  1. I resolved long ago to never make resolutions, Susie.
    It’s in my nature to fight convention/authority, even though authority always wins.
    By the way, your approach is as brilliant as it’s creator.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful drawings! You are so talented! I like the idea of the bullet point list. I’ve been doing lists similar to that for quite a while, but I think putting that bullet point on the items helps to shrink them into smaller, more likely to get done, items. Great tips, Susie. An inspirational post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Anneli!
      Bullet point journaling is more than list making, and I’m sure you’re aware of that. For others reading this comment, it’s about using one sheet of paper for an entire week. I think I’ll post the photo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I missed that, about the one sheet for the entire week. What I’ve been doing is making a list for one day. The whole week would work better to plan things in my head and show more of an end goal. Thanks for pointing that out!


  4. Such a good post. I have written so many resolutions over the years and failed at them and then I get disappointed in myself. This year I am including smaller stepping stone goals to help me achieve the larger ones. This way I think it won’t be as intimidating! I also think I might try your bullet journal idea, it looks like it will help! I love getting to check things off lol


  5. This is a good idea, Susie. The only alterations I’d make on my version is three categories of two items each. 1. Daily chores – Part one: let dogs out, Part two: let dogs back in. 2. Special chores – Part one: take nap, Part two: get up from nap. 3. Extra chores – Part one: do fun things, Part two: do things on wife’s “honey do” list. I really think I’ve got a good chance of checking these off every day. OK, maybe Part two of number three will be a wee bit of a problem…….I’ll let you know how it goes.


  6. I just started following your blog and I already know I will love following along. I haven’t tried bullet journaling but it seems like a proecss I should further research. Looking forward to reading more


  7. Susie, great post. I have tried and failed at resolutions and even creating goals in the past. I use something similar – it’s a digital planner and it allows me to create tasks that carry over to the next day. I print daily pages and though there are things outside my control, it works. Also, I began using a digital product an app called 5 Minute Journal that focuses on gratitude and three things each morning and a reflection in the evening. It’s not perfect, but it helps. Happy New Year AND the artwork is AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww! Thanks, Clay.

      That sounds like a great way to stay organized. It’s amazing how motivated by those little pink rectangles. I work pretty hard for them!

      Happy New Year to you!


  8. Happy New Year Susie!!! I love, love, LOVE what your kids said about your goals/ resolutions being hard to fulfill if their fate is in the hands of others and not yourself. That revelation came to me a few years ago and it blew my mind! I think Tim Ferriss goes over that too. I do something like resolutions, but more like goals, bucket-list additions, self-improvement projects. And ever since that revelation it becomes easier for me to concentrate on things under my control. I used to feel so terrible about the whole book thing and being published before 40. I mean I still do. But came across the things being under my control nugget and that made me feel less crappy. You know I recently heard that the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy got rejected like 140 times or something like that before some small publisher said yes. So … what’s under our control is persistence. 🙂 But my goals-bucket-list-self-improvement projects still works for me. I revisit them once a month and see if I’m still on track but I haven’t tried your bullet point journal. I’ll have to investigate. So glad it’s working for you!!!


    1. Happy New Year, Guat!
      Time is irrelevant to me now. As long as I make progress every day and fill in the blank rectangles I’m good! I started to feel stressed yesterday with tasks that pulled me away from my computer. I had two hours before I had to leave so plunged into that WIP! I also have some screenwriting deadlines coming up, so I’ll have to juggle my schedule a bit, but it might be worth it!

      Here’s a link to the Super Easy Bullet Point Journal post. I don’t think my links show up very well. Let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmmm…it turns out I have done “Bullet Point” journaling. I just didn’t know it was called that. I just started keeping track of things much like you show in your picture. You’re right, it kept me on track and I accomplished quite a bit. I’d say it is time to try that again. I can’t even remember how I stopped.


    1. Habits come and go! I really like to keep track of more than a week at a time. That way, I can see a pattern of what is taking hold as a good habit and what I need to work on. There’s always work to be done!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My resolutions are a lot more nebulous than yours are, Susie – more in the nature of guidelines and suggestions.

    I was going through Christmas cards the other night and came across yours from a couple years ago. You are such a talented artist!

    Hope 2018 is full of great accomplishments and continued health for you and yours.


    1. Fantastic, Rach! It really works. The trick it to take your notebook with you so you can be reminded and can get that rush when crossing tasks off the list. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  11. I no longer make resolutions. I merely keep doing what I am doing. I make some demands on myself and if they get done, great! If not, then I rework and try again. Working well for me.
    My hip surgery this winter will make spring and summer stuff a breeze. I can’t wait.


  12. That’s so inspiring to hear you’ve been able to rehab your knee. I’ve also found that Physio hasn’t helped my knee and back issues. Am thinking maybe I should go down the personal trainer route. Happy New Year to you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DEFINITELY!!! I found one who specialized in knees. It made such a huge difference. I’ve been skiing pain-free for the first time in years. And no limping in those nasty boots through the parking lot. What I learned was building the quadriceps helps the kneecaps float. So true!!! Also, the accountability of paying and scheduling a week in advance committed me so I went consistently.

      Let me know how it goes.

      Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will laugh, last week I started something similar. I’m trying Mini Habits this year and have selected 4 mini habits. I created a chart in the back of my notebook and color in the squares each day as I complete the habits. Looks exactly like your bullet journal but right now I only have the 4 habits on there as a starting point. Carrying a journal with me is a habit, I even carry it with me when I go from one room to the next, You never know when an idea will pop in.


  13. I love this approach, Susie. I try and practice my “5 Minute Miracle” Which sounds a bit like bullet journaling. I keep a list of activities that don’t take a lot of time and then I tick off 3 a day. Things like “comment on two blogs” or “read Jane Friedman blog on publishing.” I think it does lead to more manageable accomplishment. I think the idea of short-term goal setting, but long term intention-setting has multitudes of benefits.
    My husband and I just talked about 2018 and I realized the thing I want most is to be conscious is my choices. I never feel like I have enough time. And it’s partly because I get so easily distracted or focus attention where it doesn’t belong. Being intentional with spending my time is akin to being conscious about how I spend my money. I have to budget it and pay attention to expenditures.
    I remember you mentioning your focus on body strengthening in a comment on my post on body image. I thought it was a wonderful way to approach a body-positive and healthful way of living. With your super active lifestyle and boundless energy, I’m inspired by the notion of feeling grounded in strength for living, rather than fitting into a particular dress size. Happy 2018, you lovely and talented woman.


    1. Awww! Thanks so much, Angela. I’m over the dress size thing. My goal in 2017 was to be fit and strong and I really am! It feels so good. Now that my trainer moved to a new club, I’ve really got to make an effort to continue my fitness. It’s all up to me and my little journal. Wish me luck!

      The journal works. What I’m finding out is that I have to do my most important work first before I get sucked into marketing all day or dinking around blogging. If I were a pro blogger, life would be cake!!! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I can’t make ginormous goals anymore. Too much is out of my control!!! I have been committing to time management instead and have gotten a ton done! Good luck to you. Let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Resolutions have never worked for me, either! Instead, I choose a word of the year to guide my decisions and set 3 goals for each day (ok, most days) – somewhat similar to a bullet point journal! Wish you a wonderful 2018!


  15. Hi! Love your post and art!! Weight lifting is great, isn’t it!!? Love it! Part of my life for 40 years now. I love feeling strong and steady on my feet, so if I want to try new activities, I’m more apt to give it a go!
    No resolutions, I’m a constant planner and staying healthy is always a priority.
    Happy New Year!
    PS, I lived 23 years in Denver, live in Florida now, miss Colorado- except for the cold. 🙂


    1. Hey Alverta! Thank you so much! Nice to meet you.
      Yep, I love that feeling of being fit and strong too and the independence that comes with it. My timing was off yesterday when I worked out my legs. I hit the ski slopes today and was pretty sore. Ha!


    1. Thank you, Suzie. It’s addictive! I get so much done when I use it. I gave up with stating lofty goals in specific time frames since so much is out of my control. I still have goals with lots of loftiness!


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