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The Good Intention of The New Year’s Resolution

A Resolution at Midnight is the most recent installment in the Lady Dunbridge Mysteries by Shelley Noble, and it takes place in Gilded Age Manhattan during Christmas time. As the end of 2020 approaches, read Shelley’s thoughts on her love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions.


By Shelley Noble

The anticipation of…. The good intention of…. The determination of….

The New Year’s Resolution.

And then comes the New Year and that moment when you break it, or realize that you’ve forgotten to, do it, or just allowed it to pass out of your life without even noticing.

After years of grappling with this battle of good intentions v. back sliding, I ended the custom. I didn’t give up. I didn’t admit failure. I just made adjustments.

First of all, I never felt right about resolutions, everything depending on that one night into day. Flip a switch and you’re a better person, a thinner person, a more compassionate person. And can you really trust a resolution made after a glass or two of celebratory champagne?

For a long time after I faced my love-hate relationship with the New Year’s Resolution, I substituted my New Year’s Superstitious Transaction. When I was a dancer and toured the world, I always made a point to be out of my New York apartment when the clock struck twelve. Whether traveling to far away places, at a party or just taking a walk around my neighborhood, when that ball came down I was on the move. I wanted to start the New Year as I hoped to continue, in those days, energetically, traveling, working, going places, making new discoveries, and bringing a little joy to the audience.

After children and a move across the river to New Jersey, suddenly it was more important to create a secure space for my family. So whenever I could, I would be at home when the clock struck twelve. Even if I was out, celebrating or traveling, I would try to put myself in a cocoon of calm long enough for the countdown.

And though these talisman gestures were not resolutions, more of a fingers-crossed nudge to the universe, they did teach me something about myself and the new year.

Sure I’d like to write faster, be more efficient, be kinder, volunteer more. I’ll probably never write faster, this is just how I do it. I could be more efficient but that would come in increments by small, constant tweaks. Not by accomplishing A Resolution at Midnight like my fictional protagonist Lady Dunbridge. And volunteering? That would be dependent on my being more efficient which would give me more free time to help others.

These days, instead of yearly resolution, I’ve adopted the seasonal determinations, and their companions, the monthly cleanup restarts, and their companions, the weekly reminders.

The so you blew it—don’t give up—it’s not too late to start again answer to a resolution. A day or two of missing the mark, a week of forgetting what you meant to do or not do. A little reminder. A climb back on that proverbial horse. Much more useful (to me anyway) than the “Oh no, I ate that Chunky Monkey ice cream—I’ve failed—and all is lost” kind of resolution. And while not fireworks-worthy declarations, they have more of a chance of succeeding than that list you carefully saved somewhere around five to midnight last year and haven’t been able to find since.

So I don’t have a list of planned resolutions, not even one. Though I can’t resist making at least one wish for the coming year. For there to be more peace and harmony on Earth, and as the song goes, let it begin with me.

Grab a Copy of A Resolution at Midnight—on sale now!

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