My Father’s Impacts

what I do instead

Written By Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.  |  Musings  |  4 Comments

list of resolutions

It’s THAT time of the year — again [sigh]

My inbox and social media feeds are filled with mail/posts selling me on the advantages of:

  • planners
  • courses about planning
  • products on how to use AI to make my year “better” “great” “etc.”
  • health-related info on starting the year off the “right” way
  • making resolutions [personal and business]
  • and more…

Except for the AI which is sort of new this year — the posting and the emails are the same every December and January.

But last year some of it started back earlier in the Fall because everyone knows:

“I have to get your attention about January 2024 in the middle of the summer or early fall or else you won't buy my product.”

It’s fine if you do the above - and even better if making resolutions works for you…

I no longer make them.

I used to.

I’d read a lot of that “how to succeed” stuff, that “guru” stuff, that “my friends say this works” stuff, and would make a list of what I would accomplish in the upcoming year….

Then at some point during the year, I’d look at my resolution list and laugh [or cry] as so little of it ever got done! Or done with any degree of consistency.

So I stopped making New Year resolutions. It seemed to not be good for my mental health OR my productivity. My brain doesn't like lists!!

I've discovered that I am not alone. Many, if not most, people did not follow theirs either.

Especially these:

"I am going to exercise every day” resolution or “I am going to lose X pounds this year” or “I am going to lose 5 pounds a month.”

And work-related resolutions?

The “I will write a post a day,” or “I will write a book before Summer,” or I will do X by Y time frame.

Ditto the very popular “I will be making $XXX a month by the end of March or April” type of resolution.

These resolutions generally do not work.

Why? We tend to set impossible resolutions or standards for ourselves. They are often more wishful thinking than actual planned-out behaviors. Not sticking to these resolutions may make us feel like failures so early in the new year, and yes, the ad people play into this guilt.

Watch ads early in the year and note those aimed at making us feel guilt and shame over NOT keeping resolutions. They may not be direct, but they are aimed at guilt making!!

my insteads 

With two major professional degrees and several accolades, I know I am not a failure.

I actually CAN and DO accomplish things - but I have ceased the resolution-type thinking and adopted a more casual approach to my life. It took some hard work on my part to re-think the business/life model that keeps telling us we “need” to make a yearly, monthly, daily plan… or else!

I choose "or else"

Opting for the “or else” works for me! 

Every choice can be the “correct way!"

I let my mind wander!

I now enjoy late December/early January as we get an added minutes of daylight every afternoon. 

I use this light/dark scenario to reflect, have fun, and think about my work - but not make any of this into resolutions,
to-do lists, or anything tightly scheduled!

I do a non-journal kind of journaling

I call it my mental meandering but it’s more like a brain dump. This is one activity I do most every day but without the “I must do it” kind of thinking, so I often don't do this. And that’s okay!

Apple has made this easier for me as they released a journal app and I have started using that app - but still not every day - I figure a few days a week [maybe] works for me.


I have been thinking a lot about the past - who and what impacted me and in what way. It's hard to remember all of this because I've lived a long time. That in itself is a good thing, but it means that some of the things that impacted me were so long ago that my memories are distorted.

My Father and Reading

My father died when I was in my 20s, and I never realized his major impact on me until years later. 

My father's life was typical for his time. He finished the eighth grade and he went to apprentice with his father as a photoengraver. A job he held until he died. Worked for a major New York City newspaper and I realized that he was responsible for my having my nose buried in words for my entire life. Because he worked for a newspaper, in those days all the other newspapers left copies of their papers for the employees of the other papers - and so he came home from work every night with lots of newspapers. And I read them. 

My Father and Trivia

Crossword puzzles and almanacs are the part of my life he still impacts.

And because he worked for a newspaper, he brought home books such as world almanacs, world facts, world whatevers - all compendia of facts. He and I did the NYT crossword puzzle on the kitchen table over coffee every morning as far back as I can remember. I am still addicted to the New York Times crossword puzzles, trivia, and coffee. And I thank him for these parts of me.

My Father and Home Repair Skills

My father did a lot of work around the house. He did plumbing carpentry he did some fancy jigsaw work and encouraged me to help him

I was the kid who knew how to use the table saw when I was very young. I could do some plumbing, I could do a lot of woodworking, and I got interested in a lot of other craft stuff from him. Not to forget my mother who taught me how to knit and crochet and do other stuff - but the skills I learned from my father have saved me much money.

Thoughts? Comments? Random Newsletters?

Thank you!


Do you make resolutions? Do they work for you? Or if not - what do you do - if anything? Please comment below and thank you for reading.  

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