Resolutions, Goals or Bucket Lists

Author: Janice McCaffrey


Resolution: a firm decision to do something. (Encarta Dictionary: English (North America). Goal: something that somebody wants to achieve. (Encarta Dictionary: English (North America). Bucket List: a list of all the things you want to accomplish before you expire. (

If a resolution is a firm decision to do something, why don’t we act on them? I know I’m more inclined to complete a goal than stick to a resolution. For me the key word is “wants”. I’ve learned that anything I should do (resolution type things: lose weight, exercise, etc) doesn’t get done, but anything I want to do (goals: keep my plants alive, Christmas gifts mailed by December 10th) usually does. And then there’s the Bucket List. From my perspective this has become more pressing as I age. The closer to my expiration date I get the more intent I am at refining and completing my list.

Twenty-five years ago I became friends with a 77-year old woman named Daphne. One day as we visited she handed me a small square of yellowed paper. Once in my hand, it felt worn thin and fragile so I used gentle care unfolding it. It was a plain rectangular shaped piece of note paper that had been folded and refolded many times and it contained a hand-written list. What I remember of it: become a teacher, live in the country, own my own home, study at Oxford, enjoy a financially secure retirement.

Daphne answered my questioning look, “As a young woman I worked as a secretary in the city and I wasn’t happy. One day I made a list of what I really wanted, folded it up and put it in my wallet. As I moved through life, and opportunities presented themselves, I followed my heart. What started as a list of desires is now a list of memories. I accomplished them all.”

Daphne’s experience inspired me. I went home and immediately wrote out my list. Over the years I have refined it adding and subtracting at will. And, like Daphne’s, my list is becoming cherished memories.

As Tennyson’s Wild Bells ring out the old and we enter the New Year, whether you choose Resolutions, Goals, or Bucket List, enjoy the vision and the journey.

Janice McCaffrey

Goodbye, New Year Resolutions. Hello, Goal Planning.

Bring that Ouija Board, Maggie 001

Bring the Ouija Board, Maggie. We want to find out where Mom hid the jerky treats.

A few years ago, I made a decision to give up making New Year resolutions. Each preceding year, I had made the same five resolutions that I think most people make.

Lose weight – How do you spell Yo-Yo?

Get organized – No need to add it to the list as this is my year-round quest.

Start an exercise program – Start …stop ….start ….stop ….(you get the picture)

Eat more vegetables, less junk food – We’ve actually made a little progress on this.

Start saving money – My dear, late mother used to say, “Debbie can pinch a penny so tight, she can make Lincoln cry.” Enough said.

If a person’s own backsliding and procrastination aren’t enough to disrupt New Year resolutions, there are always the unknown, unforeseen, and unplanned saboteurs that “pop up” when you least expect them. Saboteurs can be good or bad.

Take last year for example. We planned on Nathan retiring. (Good) We didn’t plan on him getting a hernia and having to have surgery for the first time in 60 years. (Bad). My son decided to go to graduate school while continuing to work full time. (Exhausting, but good). My 87 year old father passed away. (Bad)

Just this past week, I’d planned a day of writing when the phone rang. The lady on the phone explained that our governor, Steve Bullock, was doing a phone conference about healthcare bills concerning Montanans and wanted to know if I would like to ask him a question. You Bet! Yes, I had to wait in the queue, but it was worth it. (Good)  The next day, both microwaves went out. (Bad)  The following day, I slogged to town and spent half the day hunting for the perfect microwave (at a discount, of course).

So you just never know what will pop up and play havoc with your plans or resolutions, which gives someone like me,  a planner by nature, reason enough to abandon making resolutions. So, without a crystal ball or fortune teller to show me the future, I’ll stick to goal planning instead. It’s a better use of my time and makes life’s “pop-ups” easier to integrate into my life plan for 2015.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful 2015,


Breaking TWIG Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook

Breaking TWIG
Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook

Deborah Epperson

Deborah Epperson


New Years Resolution That I Keep

By Marie F Martin

coffee pot (2)     New Year resolutions that I will keep.  The biggest one for me this year is to write everything I need to remember down on the list by my coffee maker.  Another biggie is to check the calendar, by the coffee maker beside the note board. And to check for messages on both telephone and cell phone. I will do this every day.  I will remember.

calendar (2)

phones (2)            Was it really that many years ago my vows were to lose weight and exercise?  To be more patient with teenage children and hubby?  To do my daily reading?  To not bitch in my car about stupid drivers?  Those I did not keep, but lists and messages are mine.  No problem.


card3 (3)