'Nonresolutions' no easier to achieve in 2021

I blame my timing.

I didn't finish my list of "21 for '21" nonresolutions until February of last year. Had I had the month of January to work on them ...

Of course, when I wrote about the suggestion by Gretchen Rubin, author of "The Happiness Project," to consider writing such a list as an alternative to resolutions, I was impressed with her laissez faire approach to her own list.

The things she did were marked "DONE."

The things she did not do were marked "no."

There were no apologies or explanations or excuses. She just didn't get to them. End of story.

When I look at my list of 21 for '21, I can write "DONE" next to only four items. I met both of my birth parents, I made them each a photo album of my life (I should have counted that as two separate items!) and I planned a memorial service for my mom (who passed away in 2020).

I have one "kinda" (have a meditation practice), two "sometimes" (speak kindly to myself and relax) and one "yes and no" (basement was cleaned out but then filled up again with items displaced while we had some construction going on).

That leaves an embarrassing 10 "no's" on my list - almost half of my items. One "no" will turn to "yes" on Friday when I get my colonoscopy - only seven days into 2022.

Of course, this kind of rationalizing is exactly what I had hoped not to do. I shouldn't need to point out that I almost earned a yes on No. 8 by walking at least 21 days a month 10 out of 12 months. Or make a case that I was, in fact, less serious (No. 5) in 2021 than I was in 2020.

I wanted, like Rubin, to simply note what I had not done as if it were no big deal. Perhaps I underestimated how many times "no" would appear on my list. And perhaps I should change my answer to No. 21, relax, from "sometimes" to a flat-out "no."

I don't know what Rubin would suggest, but I am familiar with the old adage "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

And so I will give these five items another try:

1. Bake a pie from scratch

2. Walk 21 days every month

3. Drive to Bloomington from an impromptu lunch with my best friend

4. Make macarons

5. Clean out the basement (again!)

And I'll put my kinda and sometimes items back on the list, too. That takes me up to eight.

Most of the rest of the items I am willing to let go. I don't think I really will try one new recipe a week, play a game with my family every night for a month or read an article every day.

So that means I have 14 things to add to my "22 for '22" list. I could ensure my success by adding items like "Watch every episode of the final season of 'This is Us' " or "Take my first cruise over spring break" or "Spend a week in Saugatuck" since I know these things are going to happen. But that feels like cheating.

I could add ridiculous ones like "Wear PJs and bring popcorn to the next (five-hour) District 86 meeting." While entertaining, that's not really in the spirit, either.

Based on my performance on my "21 for '21" and the late creation of my "22 for '22" list, perhaps creating the "23 for '23 list" should be No. 22 this year.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean