New Year’s Resolutions that Work


Advice guru Marnie Macauley has tips for coming up with your New Year’s resolutions that are guaranteed to keep your 2020 goals simple and on track.

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Now that we’ve all overdosed on turkey-aspic-surprise, have gifted, re-gifted and are on an anti-acid drip, there’s one task left: the dreaded new year’s resolutions.

If your clan’s anything like mine, your resolutions are based on: 1) who you’re standing next to at the time. (“Yeah Sis, I’ll try to lose those 15 pounds”), 2) small stuff you have a shot of doing. (“OK, I’ll floss more”), 3) big stuff you wish you could do but don’t have a shot at. (“I’ll be a better person — whatever that means. Oh, and I’ll work on world peace.”)

So in honor of New Year’s resolutions, this week’s column is a small selection of “Marnie-isms” that are great for single living. I’ve distilled these bon mots, thoughts, aphorisms and truisms into resolutions that might actually work. Let’s take a look.

Getting It! Personal Resolutions for Living

* MARNIE SAYS: “Life is a messy affair — if you’re doing it right.”

No, this doesn’t involve turning the living room into a dumpster. It means putting yourself “out there,” despite the scary risks. A life devoid of foul-ups means you’re either living in an emotional bunker or you’re an android.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To live life full out, take fair risks and expect bumps and lumps, despite the best-laid plans.

* MARNIE SAYS: “I’ve yet to see a perfect meatloaf, never mind a perfect person.”

Quit expecting perfection. It doesn’t exist. Some failure is inevitable. Your confidence will nose-dive if you pitifully grasp yet another flavor-of-the-month self-help book to “fix” you.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To try to be the very best I can be and feel satisfied in the trying.

* MARNIE SAYS: “Mistakes and failure are our best teachers.”

Without learning from failure, we’d all still be crawling to the potty chair. Children are constantly falling and then picking themselves up to take another step. But somehow adults have turned failure into a shameful disaster. If we beat ourselves with nettle stalks we’ll get nowhere. But if we choose to see our failures as opportunities, we can go anywhere.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To see failure as a natural learning experience that will make me stronger and more successful.

* MARNIE SAYS: “Nothing dooms the creative impulse faster than an inattentive spirit.”

A life without the right stuff to follow our passion is like an eagle without wings. “I’ll try” isn’t enough. The chin must say, “I will.” And that means finding not only the passion, but the determination to move from wishing to doing.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To identify my passion and make specific plans so my days are marked with grand anticipation and effective action.

* MARNIE SAYS: “One of the biggest errors humans make is assuming others see the world as we do.”

They don’t. Yet I hear it all the time: “She didn’t handwrite her invite!” “He didn’t call for three days!” “She brought over one lousy Jell-O mold for dessert!” Each is followed by a “What a swine!” Judging others by what we would do and how we feel will make your spleen bile up as you assign all sorts of evil motives, that likely never existed, to the deed.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To accept the fact that people don’t always see things my way. Before jumping to conclusions, I’ll get more information and try to negotiate important differences.

* MARNIE SAYS: “If it sounds like a nut, if it cracks like a nut, it’s a nut.” |

Believe fact. Believe action. Believe the simplest explanation, in the absence of other compelling evidence. If he’s promised a ring — for the last seven years — and you’re still opening his Cracker Jacks hoping for the prize, my dear, the only thing you may get from this guy is a cracked tooth.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To believe what is, and what is truly possible, not what I wish life to be.

* MARNIE SAYS: “People aren’t pantyhose. They don’t come in one-size-fits-all. We’re each a custom job.”

While many of us share common values, in the gray that defines morality, feelings and behavior, we are, each of us, as unique as snowflakes. There’s no one right answer for all of us in the cosmos, just a useful one that suits our own needs and our beliefs.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: To be OK with myself, indeed celebrate my differences — warts and all — and to extend the same respect to others.

* MARNIE SAYS: “Kindness demands we care more about keeping up with people, than keeping up appearances.”

I know a hostess who can set a table that would leave the queen of England in awe. All’s swell. Except … she yells at her guests! Should a poor invitee drop a fish fork, she turns into the mad hatter. Needless to say, her guests sit quietly chewing, in rabid fear of dribbling. On the question of manners and impressions, kindness and comfort toward others beats linen napkins! (If you don’t believe me watch “The Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: Rather than trying to impress others with “stuff,” I’ll make the people in my life comfortable and happy in my presence.

And finally, MARNIE SAYS: “In the matter of uninvited constructive criticism — shut up!”

Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2019 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie Winston-MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 


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