Happiness is Plans. Big Plans.

So it’s 2022, and people are making resolutions, and I spit on resolutions because they’re always so grim. Nobody ever resolves to eat more chocolate, it’s always diet this and exercise that and “do more” and somehow that always ends up being “enjoy less.”

I do not make resolutions. I make plans.

The thing about plans is that they’re finite. They’re not “I’m going to eat sadly the rest of this year,” they’re “I’m going to make that 40 clove of garlic chicken people keep going on about.” They’re not “I’m going to sweat a lot more,” they’re “I’m finally going to get my ass to the library and get a card and meet the librarians.” They’re not “I’m going to keep my house so clean nobody will think anybody lives here and nobody will want to,” they’re “I’m going to find what the hell I did with my loom.” They do not harass you weekly with your failings, they give you a sense of accomplishment because they can be finished, preferably in an hour or at least an afternoon.

My plans include:

Getting an electrician in here so that I can get a new fridge (my birthday present to me, I’m so excited).

Focusing on one set of books to start writing next: the three Liz books (probably), Anna/Alice/Nadine (possibly), the Trudy/Courney/Darcy novellas (maybe), the Zo/Cat stories (definitely but not now). And then getting them DONE.

Going through my immense collection of recipes to find the ones that really make me want to cook. This sounds like a drag, but I love reading recipes so it’ll be an orgy of ooohing and note taking.

Making those recipes, and also Chicken Marsala and Vegetable Soup and Stir Fry with Cashews and Chili with Sricha because the classics are always good. Sigh.

Walking the dogs on their new double leash, just for the comedy value. I do not have high hopes this will work, but it should be hysterical finding out.

Crochet my yarn or give it away. This will take years, so I’m in no hurry. It’s a process, not a project.

Finally organize my kitchen. I’m a Virgo; this is better than sex for me. (Okay, not, but close.)

Make my kitchen a laff riot of color and funny but practical stuff, like my Flying Spaghetti Monster colander and my octopus holder (after I got one for the bathroom, it was a no brainer to get one for the kitchen. I can always find my ketchup and mustard now.)

There’s more but it doesn’t matter because they’re plans not resolutions which means (a) I don’t have to do them and (b) they end, gloriously, with me having had a good time AND accomplishing something.

Oh, and also;

Eat more chocolate.

Your turn. Tell us your resolutions if you must and we’ll support you, but really, do you have some great plans? YES, tell us those. Fuck resolutions.

58 thoughts on “Happiness is Plans. Big Plans.

  1. I love the ideas of plans rather than resolutions.
    My plan is to really enjoy my life because it is a good life.

  2. My plans continue to be sorting the new place, unpacking vast amounts of boxes, and putting up many, many shelving units to house all the stuff. I’ve been rediscovering things like my grandmother’s china, and the beautiful table linen, which has been packed away for the past ten years, and I’ve missed it. There have been treasures I’ve forgotten we had.

    It’s feeling very cathartic in a lot of ways – I have the stuff around me again that makes me happy, and I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff that we no longer want, need or use. And things are getting sorted into useful places and a workable order. All of that makes me very happy. I feel like I’m rediscovering myself.

  3. I’m still happy and excited about my plan to sort out my stuff, especially in my workroom, so that it’s much easier for me to focus on writing, photography, gardening & enjoying life from now on. Each bit I do makes me happy, which is good since the whole project is going to take a while.

    1. I’m with you on this one. The overall task is huge, but every time I finish part of it, I do a little silent YAY JENNY.

  4. I plan — make that “wish” — to travel to France and England with a side trip to Poland with my husband and hopefully a friend or friends. I figure that February, March, and the first bit of April (before Easter) should be safer than during holidays. May might be good.

    Others’ schedules might push a trip into July or August, my least favorite time of year to travel. The autumn is great but my husband wants to be home for our New England fall.

    First I have to get my stupid foot working again. Plans are good.

  5. So many plans. Learn more about birds and go on more bird walks. Read more books. Write something. Get my office in order. Get the carpets cleaned. Keep taking care of the Feral Patio Cats. Start my garden earlier, I think the biggest reason things have failed for me in this climate is starting too late. Spend more time boating and camping and swimming and less time weeding (I plan to start burning them instead of pulling them, saving time and also cathartic). Bike more.

  6. My plans are projects: I started by going through all the books on my Kindle app (1350 of them) and organizing them into collections. I now have collections for the 2022 Fiction Reading Project (36 books that have been living on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet), the 2022 Learning Project (20 non-fiction books, ditto) and the 2022 Cooking Project (currently 0 books, but every time I cook something from one of the 46 cookbooks I own, I will add that cookbook to the collection.)

    It just occurred to me that it might be fun to make each of these projects contain 22 books to go along with the number of the year, but one of my favorite things about my projects is that they will end. I don’t need to spend all year on them, I just need to do them until they’re done. Also, second great thing about my projects — they involve reading and cooking, basically two of my favorite activities!

    Happy New Year!

    1. I don’t like pressuring writers but… any plans for a new book out this year? The little tastes of your voice in your blog leave me wanting more.

      1. I sure hope so. Or maybe I should phrase that as “I definitely plan to!” Getting the audiobooks ready has made for a couple mental breakthroughs on what I write/how I write which I hope is going to make for some good writing energy this year. Actually, I *PLAN* for it to make some good writing energy this year. 🙂

  7. I bought a lottery ticket over the weekend for the big one half billion, my first in a bunch of years. I was remembering the times when working the whole unit would pool our money and play for the big drawings. About 25 tickets. No luck then, no luck now. Back to Plan A for January, and get my first professional haircut since January of 2020, because with Plan B I’ll have to renew my license by February and I don’t want to see the results of my own hairdressing skills for the next five years.

    I’ve been binge watching the first two seasons of Yellowstone, not because I like the show but because of all the hoopla about the prequels and sequels. And I have to admit that Kelly Reilly’s, Beth Dutton character is the most nasty version of a psycho as I’ve ever seen. I practically cringe whenever she appears you already know someone is going down. Who knows maybe she likes to get out her inner bitch in acting. Or most likely it is the money she earns and does it well.

  8. I usually make my plans before the end of the prior year, but I felt too unsettled in November/December. I’m still struggling to settle down, and my one definite plan — starting cardio rehab — has been put on hold due to staffing shortages due to the covid surge, and I’m not sure I really want to hang out where people are breathing heavily (on treadmills and bikes) at the moment.

    So I’m still mulling over possible plans. I do want to finish my current manuscript’s first draft in the next month or two; I just don’t know what I’ll work on next, so I don’t have the whole year’s writing mapped out yet.

    Along the lines of “eat more chocolate” (which, sadly, I can’t do, because of the cardio diet restrictions that I absolutely must follow, because I am NOT clogging up my arteries again, and I can eat occasional dark chocolate, so it’s not a total prohibition, just no milk chocolate, which is my preferred variety, and the dark kind only in moderation, which is all I ever want anyway), I’ve been considering going through all of my fabric stash, just to appreciate it. And maybe find the back-up rotary cutter that disappeared about five years ago and was probably tossed into a fabric bin inadvertently, never to be seen again. But I’d be doing it mostly just to wallow in all the pretty colors and patterns.

  9. Ah plans. Mostly those are projects for me. Along with deadlines. We’ve got a quilt show coming up in March, which means the three or four unfinished quilts in my quilt room (taking up valuable floor space) need to get finished. It’s all the quilting part, which is not my favorite, but perhaps I can excite myself and get it done.

    I’ve got several quilts to start. All I need is to find the time!

    Crochet – I’ve got two current projects working. The plan is to finish the shawl sooner, then do some of those zippered purses, and then get back to the other larger project. I also plan to put those crocheted squares together that I made a few years back. It would be good to get that out of my living room!

    I’m planning to visit family at least once this year. If I plan for June / July, the pools should be warm enough to swim in!

    So that’s the first six months. I’ll figure out additional plans as I go!

  10. My plan is take better care of myself as well as I take care of other people. Also, I plan to remember that I think I’ll enjoy the holidays, but I never actually do. So, stop setting myself up for that.
    So my plan is to set up my paints on the dining room table and leave them out again.
    I think that’s mostly what I want, but some more physical activity is also a good idea. I would enjoy feeling better.

  11. How funny that before I came over here today I started writing a 2022 To Do Brainstorm. 🙂

    Definite plan, the biggest plan: re-branding. I’ve been using a tagline that is clearly doing me no favors, so the blog and the book covers need to be changed. This is a good bit of work for me but will be done gradually as my cover designer completes the revisions.

    Other authorial plan: launch a new title each month the way I did last year. Could be a novella, a novel, or a collection of previously-published novellas. I already have one up for pre-order, four more in the queue, and one complete needing only a cover, so I’m in pretty good shape for that.

    There are a lot of other writing-associated plans, intentions, and goals, but whatever. Aside from writing, I plan to continue being a good employee so I can keep this job; to continue gradually killing off the wretched creeping grass in the front yard; to continue ignoring the back yard; to continue riding last year’s unexpected wave of decluttering motivation; to continue not outgrowing my clothes.

  12. Number 1 on my list for 2022 is to finish my horticulture program. Since I only have 3 more weeks of classes in Janaury, this is a slam dunk. I have a list of the 20+ assignments that need to be completed by then and am making my way through them. Once school is done, I plan to do things I enjoy for Feb and March (crafts, cooking, etc.). I am registered for an online card making weekend in March and am looking forward to planning my vegetable garden, starting seedlings, etc. DH and I have been wavering about going to visit friends in another province and go cross-country skiing – now that we’ve been directly exposed/had Covid, traveling seems less scary.

    I have several garden-related volunteer commitments that I’m looking forward to participating in once the weather warms up. I’m going to keep my eye out for other opportunities – paid or unpaid. My own garden could use a refresh and I grow my veggies in my neighbour’s yard, so lots to keep me busy. I have been putting off some health-related tests due to school and Covid, so plan to take care of them early in the new year.

  13. Hmm Plans: Sleep… just sleep, spend whole year sleep deprived.

    Read all my fiction library books ( I just have to get started and jump start my natural reader ( poor thing is starved of variety due to all the comfort reading of late)

    Keep knitting/crochet a few rows every day on child cardigan/ easy crochet jumper, must not let them be abandoned in the corner with other UFOs

  14. There is so much that I want to do this year… Last year felt a little wasted or lost, and it was a big birthday ending in a zero for me, made bigger by it being the one where I outlived my mother. She died young of cancer. I’m not superstitious, but it is still good to have passed that particular marker. One more year and my sister will be past it too. But 2021 felt like treading water. This year I want to move the needle.

    Hard goals are:
    Reach 1000 followers on Instagram
    Take better photos and etc for Instagram.
    Reach 1000 listings on Etsy by October
    Finally make my front porch livable.
    Make things in a timely fashion that celebrate seasons and holidays, etc.
    Eat more local food.

    We will see how it goes. Intentions are good for me to write down, just to clarify them in my mind, but too many hard goals make me squirrely. Still, I feel hopeful about this year, which is a good thing.

  15. Plans: continue my Pratchett reread, organize my recipe collection (and put the paper ones online), reconnect with a couple of friends (lunch at locally-owned places). I should also do some decluttering of some ‘categories’ and finally finish a couple of craft projects. Mostly I’ll just be doing ‘political’ stuff.

    And read, read, read, read.

  16. So far my only plan for 2022 is to stay aware of how important the people I love are to me and to really appreciate them. If I am living in love, I figure the rest of life will tag along somehow.

    1. This is the best idea I have read for 2022. Thank you, Jennifer.
      Focus on loving and the rest will follow.

  17. Hmm. I made a whole wad of resolutions. As others stated above, last year was coasting, and really – so was 2020. I finally feel like I’m coming out of a funk, and I want to take advantage. But, I also keep remembering more things to do…. and I really like quite a few of what people have here. I’m going to add to my list, stupid as that is for me. 😀

    I broke my list into two chunks – long term (like weight loss, it’s been a bad year….), and short term finite like find a new dentist.

    I plan to make a list each month of what to focus on, so it’s more finite, and I’ll have oomph to finish by end of month.

    I feel like I can’t do big things (e.g. work on new projects) until I’m organized. It’s a huge blocker for me, but also feels like I’m using it as an excuse…. can’t tell for sure. Probably an excuse…..

    Happy 2022 Arghers!!

  18. From my blog:

    Today, I revisited my resolution Never To Make Another New Year Resolution. I’m pleased and proud to say this one is unbroken, and has remained so for many, many years. Today is no exception.

    I’m not saying I substitute plans for resolutions. Exercise and dieting? Yes. I want to live, so those are in my future. Besides, how bad can Chair Yoga be? I loved the warmup. If anyone asks, I’ll just tell them I’m getting sweaty with my instructor and her mom.

    I have five basic “recipes.” The first one I call, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chili.” Shared it here a dozen times, always a little different. Ground meat, diced tomatoes and diced chili peppers, hot spices, garlic, onions, a little tomato sauce. Often, some kind of bell pepper added. Served with some sort of diet bread, or water crackers, or on brown rice, or konjac noodles.

    Second recipe is broiled steak and green beans. Usually a rib eye or a New York strip steak, but that’s just a preference, not a law. The beans could be canned cut green beans or French cut, or French beans, or wax beans. I’m flexible. Usually the beans have a few shakes of parmesan on top, and some sort of garnish. Could I get more basic?

    Third recipe is boneless pork chops and brown rice. The chops are baked in my toaster oven for about an hour. The rice is either Minute Rice or Uncle Bens, fresh from the microwave. Spices vary. Garnishes happen.

    Fourth recipe is a cheese and whatever omelet. Whatever bread I’m permitting that week gets toasted. Just now, it’s Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Whole Wheat bread. I have a supply of already cooked bacon, so that’s always in there.

    Fifth recipe is broiled fish and brown rice. All that varies is the type of fish. Tuna steaks, Mahi-Mahi, halibut, and I try for wild-caught from Alaska. Could be lemon butter on ’em. Might be blackened seasoning (gotta watch the sodium, there.) Might just be catsup. Or Ketchup. Or malted vinegar.

    Oh, six! My sixth recipe is boneless skinless chicken thighs (or maybe breasts, or both) baked on a bed of onions and maybe other veggies. I’ve been planning macaroni & cheese as a side. And garnishes.

    I eat other stuff, but can’t call that other stuff recipes.

    Then there’s the chocolate. Have I mentioned that I am a card carrying chocoholic? Got the t-shirt! And the card. Wore out the mousepad, though. Yes, as a dieter, I have to track chocolate consumption like anything else. Yes, the majority of my chocolate has “Atkins” on the label. My favorite quote might be, “What doesn’t kill me must be chocolate.”

    I plan to keep living. I didn’t retire from that.

  19. Happy new year, Arghers! <3
    I have some plans too. I've never been fond of resolutions either, but plans I can manage. Maybe.
    Plans for this year include (so far):
    – Keep up the weekly mobility training (the both of us) with help from woman from association for blind and visually impared people to learn to navigate our surroundings and get where we wanna go. Thus far we've learned the way to the tram stop, the supermarket/baker/flowershop/wok restaurant (it's all in a small shopping center) and the house doctor/pharmacy. Coming Tuesday, we'll explore the streets around our house to see where and how we can walk to just "take a walk". We're both feeling as if we're reclaiming independence. We have trainings scheduled once per week until March 1st, so plenty of time to learn all we need for now.
    – We're getting a cat. Or maybe two. It's gonna happen. Don't yet know when, but it's going to.
    – Next Sunday, we're going to family friends so I'll FINALLY(!) get to cuddle with their Sibirian Huskies. Can't wait! Have been waiting since 2014…
    – Will keep working on kicking anxiety's (social, generalized, other random ghosts) butt. This might be an endless work in progress. Not giving up yet!
    – Gonna find a way to learn how my sewing machine works.
    – Discover more recipes and try to reawaken my joy of cooking.
    – Seriously consider the guide dog thing.
    – Will try to get back to writing again. It's been faaaaar too long.
    – Hope to make music again.
    – Go see my family in Sweden. it's been almost 3 years now…

    I'm reasonably sure points 1, 2 and 3 will happen. The rest….we'll see. Keeping fingers crossed.
    Hope this year will treat you all with kindness and love.

    1. My friend lost her elderly pug last year and is seriously looking into doing the guide dog thing. Has an application in and everything. She is a dog groomer who works at a vet’s and has had dogs for years, so hopefully they’ll accept her.

    2. I love guide dogs — some of my office mates raised and basic-trained puppies for the program, and would bring them in for visits to accustom them to different surroundings — BUT:

      My ladies’ group had a program on guide dogs from someone who has one, and he said that the dog has to be big enough to discourage you effectively from doing something dangerous, and consequently requires plenty of exercise. If your age, relative feebleness (me compared to thirty years ago), and living circumstances don’t allow for this, a guide dog may not be the right solution because it isn’t fair to the dog.

      Keeping fingers crossed.

  20. My main goal for the year is to take as many art classes on line as I can. I’m working on a drawing class now from Skillshare that I really like. The instructor of the class I’m doing now is really good for reminding students that things don’t have to be perfect and that even the best artists start out knowing that they aren’t going to get it right the first time. That’s really reassuring to people like me who struggle with that.

    I’m also aiming to get a better handle on the yard and garden now that 2 of the big hardscape projects are done. I need to work on getting over the idea that big, foundational pieces are not Too Expensive they are Investments that I will have for years.

    Today is 19 years since Paul asked me out on our first date. All those years ago I just resolved to give that first date a try and hoped it didn’t ruin a great working relationship. It’s going okay I think.

  21. I like plans. Resolutions not so much.
    I plan on selling the place I’m living in and moving into a new place soon. A place more conducive to eventually retiring. So one of the first things I have to figure out is where I’m going. Cuz that may or may not be Florida where I am now. Another thing I have probably 15 novels in various stages works-in-progress and I would like to finish one of them this year. At least one. I want to put together another chapbook; this time with poems and some flash fiction to self publish.
    Also I am really enjoying chair yoga and I plan to pursue that all the way up to the point where I don’t have to do it in the chair. To that end I bought myself a yoga calendar for my home office so that I can look over at it and smile anytime someone is not being so nice to me on the phone.
    Also I want to take advantage of the time while I am here in Florida and go to the beach a few more times this year.
    Happy New Year everyone.

        1. Thanks Gary and Judy. I used to do yoga years ago, but after I trashed my knee, it got to be pretty impossible. I’d like to get back to it in some form. That’s a plan, right?

  22. My plans include visiting my daughter in England again as soon as Covid permits; reading at least the books on my bedside table; trying one new recipe a month; hanging the photos of the kids that have been waiting 7 years; hanging the Navajo rugs; watching detective videos a couple nights a week with my husband ; sitting on the front porch swing for at least 15 minutes an evening when the 300+ bulbs I planted this fall are in bloom; eating more of our home grown figs before my husband can turn them into jam; holding a Sunday tea party for my friends sometime in February even if I have to do it on zoom and drop off the foods and teas in advance (we did a New Year’s Eve virtual party and the locals got champagne splits, baby cheeses, crackers, chocolates, cookies, and serpentines—people loved it) ; taking one lunch a week to talk to my daughter (by the time I’m done with work she’s ready for bed and her weekends are crowded so we end up texting and it’s just not enough); watching figure skating at us nationals with my son in person before he goes back to grad school ; watching Olympic figure skating online with my son when he is back at school.

    Just planning all that cheered me up.

  23. I’m going to expand my genealogical research to Doing Something with DNA. I joined DNA Painter last night, so it’s on to comparing centimorgans. I can’t plan what I’ll find out, but I can plan to learn how to use these new tools.

  24. For some reason neither this post or the one that followed showed up in my mailbox. Sigh. No problems before this.

    My plans include trying to persuade the terrified cat I adopted on NYE that this is a safe place and I’m good people, so she’ll come out from behind the bed and make friends. (She was at the shelter for almost 3 years, in part because although affectionate, she is also very scared, so this may be a bigger challenge than I anticipated).

    I got the rights back to my Veiled Magic series (urban fantasy that Berkley only ever put out as eBooks) and the first three Baba Yaga novellas. So I’m planning to get an assistant and get these out into the world again. That means getting new covers made, too, so it is a pretty big project. I also need to write the first chapter and synopsis of the 4th book in the cozy mystery series, to submit to Berkley Mystery, since the contract only covered the first three.

    I very much hope to finally get out to CA (from upstate NY) to finally see my parents, younger sister, step-daughter, and a really good friend for the first time in three years. I’ve put off the trip twice already due to Covid and at this point I’m just going to have to go whether it feels safe or not. Maybe in early spring.

    1. Mine also cut out. I assumed that it was due to the fact that I said yes when my computer asked to delete cookies, but if the exact same thing happened to you, perhaps something else is going on. Or maybe you cleared too many cookies, too.

  25. I, too, have learned the folly of resolutions. I begin this year with an “extra” 10 or so hours a week, courtesy of retirement from pt job. I want to invest them wisely. One goal is to visit our local art museum weekly and copy at least one piece of art. (A friend is giving me a membership as a retirement gift, and I want to use it well.) Another is to keep doing the healthy things I’m doing: working out, eating sensibly most of the time, taking naps. I’m not committing to anything else at this point. I’ve begun to learn that I can’t make plans that assume other people’s cooperation–like meeting with other former library workers for occasional lunches, which of course we’ve said we will do. tbd

  26. I’m gonna do 1,000 doodles, focused on developing three characters living in my brain. First step: instead of playing solitaire as a palate-cleanser between calls/writing tasks, doodle!

    Also, borrowing from Sarah Wynde above, my motto for 2022 is “Do it until it’s done.”

  27. I don’t do resolutions, either, but a group of friends and I who used to buy the Leonie Dawson workbooks do her annual ritual of listing 100 things we want to do this year. It’s kind of hard to come up with that many, so there’s some “what if” -ing and some dreaming, and I use it as inspiration throughout the year. It takes a little while to do, as well – I’m up to 27 so far (and thought of a couple of things while I was walking this morning, but was so sure I’d remember them that I didn’t write them down!). It will probably take me another week to complete – scribbling down ideas as they pop into my head. Check back in December to see if I really do try paddleboarding this summer!

    1. 100 things? I take it these are discrete things, not repetitions, because there are so many things I do 52 times a year (like my allergy shots) and new things, because there are lots of things I do irregularly (like going for hikes in the woods) that I’ve done many times before, but mean to do several time in the coming year. And do things like “Getting the toilet fixed” count?

      1. These are discrete things, and yes, if your toilet has been languishing, it can go on the list. On the hiking, maybe you’d say, 10 hikes in the woods this year. Or you can pledge to take up paddleboarding with me. 🙂

  28. My plans for the year are always many, and a mix of concrete goals and more open concepts. For instance:

    Remember what I used to love about travel. (I work for an airline, this is really important for me.)

    Install a washing machine in my flat.

    Give myself permission to be bad at things.

    Eat more greens. (Not self-flagellating, I love greens.)

    There are more, but if I don’t do them I don’t do them, and after the past two years that’s allowed, dammit.

    A bright shiny happy new year to us all.

  29. I have to share that on New Year’s morning my 4 year old actually did tell me that her 2022 resolution was “to eat chocolate every day.” And then my 5 year old chimed in to tell me his resolution was “more snuggling.”

    And so when they asked mine, after hearing that wisdom from them, I shelved my actual weight loss resolution and said “to kiss my smart, amazing kids first thing every morning”

    We’re only early into 2022 I know… but so far, we’re all crushing it.

  30. A little late to the party, so here goes. #1 get moved in to the house that never gets done. #2 learn more about the chronic illness I have and see if there’s more I can do to feel better. #3 find a new artistic hobby. 4# Finish another book. (This one is hard because of my brain fog, but little bites.)
    Happy New Year everyone.

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