Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

For 2016: Resolutions? Goals? Neither? — January 4, 2016

For 2016: Resolutions? Goals? Neither?


Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve pondered many things. Life, mine in particular. Family relationships and friendships. My relationship with God. And the ending of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, which calls to mind resolution making, goal setting, or maybe neither. I’ve decided on the neither group, and I’ll tell you why a little later.

2015’S GOALS

Last year instead of making resolutions I set goals. My decision to set goals instead of resolutions is found in my history of not keeping resolutions. As for last year’s goals, I didn’t carry out many of them. Rather than send myself slogging down that path again, I decided last week to focus on the positive and not the negative in my life, including those goals. That also includes some difficult familial relationships, some friendships, and our friendship here in the NW with the sun, a relationship dreadfully lacking in harmony for too long and highly problematic for those of us suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, i.e. we would not make good moles.


Taking note of the time to select my One Word for 2016, I pondered that for a few days. Several words made it to my final list–committed (sounded like a journey to a home somewhere), persistent (fits in with my current reading of Jordan Rosenfeld‘s book, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence), dedication (meh!), and then it came to me.

*Drumroll, please.*


Don’t you like the sound of the word “intentional?” I do, and here’s why. It has nothing to do with the real sound. It’s the definition. Intentional, according to, means:

1. done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.

2. of or relating to intention or purpose.


Unlike resolutions, it doesn’t necessarily include a promise to do one specific thing or a longer list of things. Unlike goal setting, it doesn’t set a bar I must strive to reach for several things. Or as my husband said, “It means when you set your mind to something, you get it done.” I can do that!


And now you know why I have chosen the neither group. I’m going to spend 2016 making up my mind to do that next project–after all I have several “leftovers” from 2014 and 2015–and when I’ve finished it, I’ll do the next one. Each one done with intention. Easy peasy, huh?

My intentional self also plans to address many things with this “can do” attitude and with a positive attitude. I’ll keep you posted along the way.

For the near term, I will be finishing up my Timeline Story Series in the next couple of weeks, adding some new memoir reviews you are going to enjoy reading, and lots of other items on the horizon, including a free ebook of motivational quotes for writers from writers coming soon.

But before any of that, I have good news to share–an inclusion in an anthology. Book launch is Friday, January 8th. You’ll be hearing more about it then.

What about you? What are your thoughts on resolutions, goals, or neither? Have you been pondering anything spectacular for 2016? Selected your word yet? Let’s talk over coffee, OK?

One Word 365: Have You Selected a Word for 2015? — January 8, 2015

One Word 365: Have You Selected a Word for 2015?

For the past few years I have chosen to focus on one word for the year. I have done so through the site One Word 365. I invite you to visit the site. It’s a great place to build community with others who have chosen the same or a similar word. In 2015, I choose to focus on the word “flexible.” defines “flexible” as follows:

1. capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent:  a flexible ruler.

2. susceptible of modification or adaptation; adaptable:  a flexible schedule.

3. willing or disposed to yield; pliable: a flexible personality.

Photo by ScottieT812 
Photo by ScottieT812 

In my look back at 2014, I used this photo to define the word “flexible” with imagery. As I said then and continue to contend, I’ll never be this flexible physically. It’s too late!

And yet I need the characteristics of the word “flexible” in other areas of my life.

The best example I can offer is to share with you a story from this past year.

In the midst of my husband’s three months of suffering with severe back pain and my struggle with what turns out to be a chronic respiratory issue, I sensed our world was falling apart.

My goals for the year fell by the wayside, my writing placed on hold for the most part, and other activities we volunteer for removed from our schedules. WHY? was all I could think as I pondered our circumstances. Why now? Why these problems? Why, why, why?

In the process of fuming over these stumbling blocks, I became short-tempered, spoke to others in terse and biting ways, and lost my ability to reason with insurance clerks, nurses, pharmacists and others trying to help us.

Ordinarily, I can face days that come along with changes in scheduling because of one thing or another. But this wasn’t just a day here or there; it was months we were facing. My inflexible attitude wasn’t helping matters though.

In retrospect I can see that I need to step up and realize that yes, some days will self-destruct in favor of some other activity or chore simply because life is often unexpected in how it rolls out in the morning. If I had been less rigid last year, I likely would have accomplished more than I did, but I literally destroyed my plans by allowing outside forces and influences as well as our circumstances to get the better of me.

Having worked almost 40 years for attorneys you would think I would be able to handle such crises with aplomb and grace. It makes you wonder where all that polish goes after retirement.

Thus, my choice of the word “flexible” for my focus during 2015. I’m hoping to come out at the end of the next 12 months with an improved attitude and toting around recaptured polish. One shouldn’t give up almost 40 years to a career and then lose her polish!

What is your focus word for 2015? Will you choose one? Do you have another method of establishing your focus for the year? Or do you dive in head first and go by the seat of your pants? I’d love to hear how you would handle your world turned topsy-turvy.