Here is the 27th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at http://1writeway.com and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at http://johnwhowell.com. These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.
10. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not put “Exercise Daily” or the word “exercise” anywhere on your list. At best, you will wind up paying for a gym membership you will never use because you always have an excuse not to go. At worst, while trying to cover up your lack of participation to your personal trainer, you will drop a 25-pound weight on your foot, resulting in an injury that uses up most of your sick leave and the remaining days of your gym membership.
9. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not include on your list: “Start the [fill in the blank] diet to lose the ten pounds I gained over the holidays.” At best, you’ll only lose a lot of water (notice the flushing) which, for a few days, may make you look and feel like you lost ten pounds. At worst, the minute you go off the diet, the weight will all come back, two-fold.
8. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not include in your list: “Quit smoking cold turkey.” At best, this item doesn’t apply to you because you don’t smoke. At worst, you do smoke and going cold turkey might get you through five minutes without a puff. Then you will tear through your house, upending the trash as you try to salvage at least one smoke-able filter. Of course, even five minutes you don’t smoke is another five minutes your body gets a break.
7. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not put “Get organized” anywhere on your list. At best, it’s too vague (it could be mean get organized at work, get your kitchen organized, organize your bookshelf) and you’ll forget it anyway. At worst, you’ll think that you have committed yourself to organizing everything in your life, including your friends’ and families’ schedules, and they will commit you for a having a near-lethal case of OCD.
6. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not put “Read all the books on my To Be Read list.” In the best case, you only have two books on your TBR list and so you now have the whole year to read them. In the worst case, you (like so many of us) have a Leaning Tower of TRB in every room in your house. The only way you’ll get through them all is if you quit your job, quit sleeping and quit taking bathroom breaks (unless your bathroom also serves as a reading room).
5. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not commit yourself to reading every blog you follow every day. Much like item #5, that will only work if, at best, you only follow a couple of blogs. At worst, if you follow more blogs than there are seconds in a day, you may have a worse dilemma than that in #5. Unless you don’t mind taking your iPad or laptop to the toilets with you, bathroom breaks will cost you precious reading time.
4. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not put “Get last year’s NaNoWriMo novel (still in first draft) published in six months” anywhere on your list. At best (and least likely), you’ve already read through your first draft and am pleasantly surprised that it actually makes sense and will need little editing. At worst (and most likely), you’ll find your first draft is just a hodgepodge of random stories and blog posts and any attempt to put it in readable form by the end of the year (much less published) will likely drive you insane.
3. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not add “Save money by not buying books” to your list. Who are you kidding? At best, that resolution will last only until you receive your next Barnes & Noble 20% discount coupon. At worst, you’ll fill up your e-readers with free e-books until you realize that reading those books in print is much more fun. Before you know it, you will have spent your imagined savings and it’s only week 2 of the New Year.
2. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not add “Learn to do at least one risky activity a month, like sky-diving or bungee-jumping.” At best, you’ll learn about the activity but never get around to doing any of them once you understand the risks and decide life is too short to risk shortening it more. At worst (and if you don’t think life is already too short), you’ll try to make like Nik Wallenda over the Grand Canyon, but without the success.
1. For your New Year’s Resolutions, do not set your resolutions so high that they remain forever out of reach, nor so low that it’s not even worth stooping to find them. Instead, for your New Year’s Resolutions, start each one with “Be grateful for …” Be grateful for your health, for all the great books and bloggers you have to read, for knowing when to live dangerously and when to live vicariously. Be grateful you are here for a New Year.