"Writing itself becomes the subject of the writing course..."

 — Michael Carter       

My New Years “Presolutions”: The 2016 Version

December 30th, 2015 by

First, a few important points need to be made right up front.

I am a writer. That means I revise. I revise everything. I don’t just “edit.” And “everything” includes New Years resolutions. I don’t care how far into next year we are. If it is March, they are still open to new suggestions, ideas. In May, it is still possible to “workshop” them.

Furthermore, a look at the word “resolution” reveals something. Resolution reminds me a great deal of revision. Both are formed from other words by putting the prefix “re-” to them. That means doing something again. In revision, there is an act of re-seeing something. In a resolution, there is an act of restating a solution–but it can also refer to being “resolute,” which has something to do with the will.

I make no great claims to solving problems or being resolute. And this year’s resolutions are not restatements. I have never offered them before.

The Three P’s
A friend who teaches history is occasionally asked to give sermons at his church. This is something that has never happened to me. It happens to my friend because, well, his father was a minister, and apparently his church believes that giving sermons is tied to blood lines. That’s fine. I don’t attend his church. And at my church, this will never happen. I don’t need to give sermons, anyway.

My friend has a great device for when he delivers his messages. He reduces them to three points around a single letter: He refers to the “3 C’s” or the “3 R’s.” This helps his audience to follow him and, perhaps more important, to mark when the discourse is nearing its finish. It also helps him to remember what he has to say.

It is with this in mind that I announce my New Years resolutions in a way that I hope to remember them. Here they are, the 3 P’s:

Positive. This year, I plan to stay positive, no matter what comes.

Prayerful. I aim this year to pray more for others.

Promotional. This year, I propose to learn a great deal more about what it takes to promote my writing.

Revision Strategies
I also offer that each P is open to revision, should I learn more later in the year. For the first P, for example, I can’t promise that if the economy collapses again that I will greet it with a smile and a song. I might be depressed for a few days.

And I am awful at prayer. So anything will be marked as an improvement.

But anything is possible at this point. I can make my resolutions with the confidence that no one else will be holding me to them next June. But they seem like a good place to start.

May peace be unto all of us, and a prosperous New Year.

Posted in Uncategorized| 13 Comments


Comment by Emily Griesinger on December 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Love it, Tom. In a similar vein, then, I am building my 2016 resolutions around the letter “C.” I will be less CANTANKEROUS. I will eat less CANDY. I will drink less/more COFFEE. I like to keep my options open. Happy New Year!

Comment by Tom on December 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Thank you, Emily! May you be blessed in the New Year in your Three Cs.

Comment by Dave Milbrandt on December 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm


I love the idea of revising one’s resolutions as conditions change on the ground. It seems we are so wed to our plans that we give up if one thing goes awry.


P.S. I have my own list of 3-5 goals, but I don’t have the repeating letter yet. I guess I have a few hours to figure it out.

Comment by Tom on December 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Thanks, Dave. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure that I should want to remember them in early February. Many blessings to you for the New Year.

Comment by Joseph Bentz on December 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Tom, I like those P’s and think I should pursue them also. Hope you have a great 2016!

Comment by Tom on December 30, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Thanks, Joe. As of right now, they are still 3 P’s. If they change, I’ll post about it. Many blessings to you for 2016!

Comment by Carol Entler on December 30, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Tom, Please remember that prayer can be simplified to “talking with God” and doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple thought like, “Lord, are you here?” or “Lord, what do I do now?” Is prayer. And you will find He answers to your thoughts. Since you are a writer, you might want to create a prayer notebook or journal and write (or blog privately) your prayers. I keep a journal which is mostly prayers, telling the Lord about my day, my family, and other concerns. For 2015 I chose a journal theme of thankfulness, even thanking Him in the middle of difficulties. I think I’m going to theme 2016 “joy. This is way too long! But hope it is helpful. (Can you tell I write a little, too?)

Comment by Tom on December 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Thanks, Carol. You are right. Even groans are prayers. Blessings to your “2016 Joy.” I share that.

Comment by Nancy Brashear on December 31, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Such inspiration, Tom! Thanks for leading the charge! My resolutions might turn into revolutions (e.g., sudden, complete, or marked changes–perhaps even somewhat whimsical!). My revolutions including reinventing (of course, I am living a new life with a new identity? Who am I??), relating (reaching out to all of you and drawing from your strength and experience), and relishing (every day and every experience!). Happy New Year!

Comment by Tom on January 1, 2016 at 11:53 am

Thank you, Nancy! Of course, it is highly inspiring to here from you about your new retirement! I hope you see great new things this year! And some publications! Blessings to you!

Comment by Carla McGill on January 17, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Hi Tom, Emily, and Joe! Tom, I enjoy the look of your blog, and this is my first visit. I just started one, so I am still on the learning curve. As far as resolutions, all of these sound good. No matter what occurs, it’s always fun to get excited at the beginning of the year, evaluate one’s habits and practices (mine always need major improvement), and implement new things. God help us all with our endeavors!

Comment by Tom on January 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

Hi Carla. I’m sure your blog will be great.

Comment by Carla McGill on January 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Thanks Tom. Emily, I vote for more coffee!

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