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The Year-End Clearance Resolution Sale. All Items Must Go.

I think I need help.

Not of the psychoanalytical variety, although that’s debatable, but of the prioritizational kind.

(Also, the kind that encourages me to stop making up words. Because I think I’m addicted. Or just too lazy to look up real ones.)

You know, it’s almost hysterical — and hypocritical for sure — that not all too long ago I ragged on my ex-boss for making me multitask at my old job when the truth is, I make me multitask. All the damn time. And what results — and why I find the concept of multitasking as a whole so stupefyingly coagulating — is near-complete paralysis.

My inability to do anything because I want to do everything.

What specifically do I want to do?

  • Learn to play acoustic guitar.
  • Earn a living wage as a full-time blogger.
  • Travel the world.
  • Figure out how to keep fingernail polish looking nice for longer than 18 hours.
  • Completely update this 1957 brick ranch on a budget.
  • Subscribe to — and actually read, bookmark, and execute vacations and recipes from — at least three culinary and/or travel magazines.
  • Write a series of children’s books for my friend Jenn to illustrate.
  • Become a better cook.
  • Thoroughly explore my new part of the country.
  • Walk my dogs and/or work out daily.
  • Stop wasting so much time.
  • Consider getting a real job so I can earn my keep and justify doing any of the above.

Hour 19: It looks like I’ve been raking leaves with my bare ass hands.

And actually, now that I list it out like that, it doesn’t look so daunting. Except. Each of those bullets has bullets of its own that directly or indirectly affect the completion of the task at hand. For example, I can’t just snap my fingers and update this house. Hell. I can’t even paint a room without about a hundred — or six — other things needing to happen first.

Two weeks ago I picked a color for our master bedroom because the mint green? It’s just not working for me.

And I was so proud of myself for picking the paint and buying the brushes and rollers and making sure we’d brought our leftover primer from the last house, and I was all ready to get started when I realized that the previous owners left nails in the walls. Rude.

So I set about prying them out so I could use my quick-drying, light weight spackle to tackle the problem and move on, when I realized that these walls are plaster — not drywall. Which likely means they need a different method of patching. Which likely means I need to Google it and ultimately get sucked into the endless vortex of internet tabs and Pinterest pins and Facebook status updates and before I know it, it’s too dark to paint anyway. Plus, for some unknown reason, the previous owners ripped out about half of the shoe molding in each room, which means that has to get replaced before I can paint the trim, which really should happen before I paint the walls.

And now I still have a mint green bedroom.

With two gallons of super awesome paint collecting dust in the corner.

Meanwhile, I’m still researching the best ways to modestly update our kitchen, searching for inexpensive doorknobs online, ordering light fixtures to replace the brass, calling handymen for estimates, and compiling a list of thrift and consignment shops in the area because I’m not sure what to do with so much house. (First world problems, I know.)

But the problem is, I can never finish just one thing because I’m always working on twenty.

It’s worse, of course, during this time of year when the countdown begins and resolutions start falling off the shelves because apparently the ball’s about to drop on a giant red “RESET” button, and hey. Now I can write new resolutions and I have a whole year — which reduces down to approximately seventeen minutes when I subtract all of the time I’ll likely waste watching Netflix and YouTube — to accomplish them.

So for the last couple of years, instead of writing doomed resolutions, I’ve been picking a word — just one word — to describe what I hope will represent the year ahead. (I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but I’m feeling the inspiration now, dammit, and so now is when this is happening.) And by focusing on that word when I start to get frustrated on my (sometimes lack of) accomplishments, it helps me do what I need to do to in order to work towards my bigger goals.

For 2012, the word was ambition. For 2013, it was momentum. And I actually feel like I did okay with those. My real estate photography business was just starting to take off, and I was feeling a little less guilty for not having a “real” job with a steady paycheck. But then The Move happened, and it’s kind of like starting over. Like the last two years didn’t even happen.


When I think about it, I know I wasn’t being honest with myself about what I wanted. I thought if I could just be successful at something — if I could just figure out a way to work for myself — that I could finally learn to ignore the little voice telling me that I’m still not doing it right.

That I’m still not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.


What’s the word for 2014?








And okay. It’s not the most glamorous or heartfelt or inspiring of words, but listen.

It’s solid.

It’s real.

It gets things done.

So when I’m sitting around next year, thinking about the word I want for 2015, I won’t be stuck wondering how a full three hundred sixty-five days have passed and all I managed to do was buy some oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs.

Because I’ll have prioritized, baby. I’ll have set daily goals. I’ll have maximized my time.

I’ll have ambitionized the crap out of everything I’ve ever wanted to do, I’ll still be making up words, and I’ll feel happy. Accomplished.


And look. I know it’s only December 17th, but consider this Day 1.

  • Figure out how to keep fingernail polish looking nice for longer than 18 hours.

And I’ve already crossed something off the list.

What’s YOUR word for 2014? Or would you prefer to stick to traditional resolution-setting? Or would you prefer to eat a tin canister of Christmas cookies instead of thinking about it?


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I’d recommend Taunton’s Fine Cooking on your magazine subscription list. It’s great. And I think it’s bimonthly, which takes some pressure off too. I’d send you my guitar, but I think the postage would be prohibitive.

Prioritizing is a great goal. I have a really good system for it too. Every day, you write a list of things you’d like to get done that day. Put it in order of importance, then throw away the bottom half and get the top half done. I know it sounds like those bottom half things won’t get done at all, but they either will or you’ll realize they weren’t important anyway.


I’ve never heard of that one – have to check it out! I’m partial to Saveur, but I have to special order some of the ingredients. And I could be mistaken, but isn’t your guitar PINK? I’d totally take it. Just come visit and you don’t have to worry about postage. :)

Thanks for the prioritizing tip – I think I will give that a whirl. I’m sure there will be a bit of trial-and-error when it comes to a realistic list length, but I won’t know how to do it until I just do it. Good stuff.


Pink with GLITTER!



Frank Haataja

My resolution for every year is the same: Be better.

Today, I’m being better at spacing out at my desk and playing with my sideburns. I tend to be very loose with my definitions.


Which make it impossible to fail.



i feel like there are too many things i want to do too! i just posted a rather rambling insomnia-induced blog post about it!

i am so envious of people who have a calling, who know what they want to do with their lives. me? i have a list that is so far reaching, there is no way i could do it all but i still can’t bring myself to focus on one thing.


YES! I’ve always said I’m envious of people who have a focused passion — who know what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives. But me? I love everything. Until it loses its luster. And then I move on to the next. Feels so… I don’t know… anticlimactic.


Simplify- that’s my word for the year. It was my word last year too..and probably the year before that. So I encourage you to add a silent ‘simplify’ to your ‘prioritization’ because prioritizing will be so much easier if you simplify:)

As for earning your keep- my vote is that painting mint green walls earns you at least 2 months salary!


That is a great word. And so true! I stare at the empty front room of our house, wishing I didn’t feel the need to fill it with something. We already have enough, you know? More stuff = more stress.

HA! Love your salary rates – I can deal with that. And there are a LOT of walls to be painted. How much do yellow ones go for? ;)


Your writing is phenomenal.

Its funny how much I can relate to “prioritization” as your resolution. I was just thinking about what mine would be the other day and I came up with “learn how to to get shit done.” Prioritization sounds a little nicer though :)


HA! I think “learn how to get shit done” is an accurate translation of my word – I just have to learn in an effective order. :)

RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

Can’t I just use your word?! It sounds perfect, and you’ve already done all the thinking. ;-)

Like I did years ago, I’m going to try to go back to starting my day with a list of my aims for the day and praying about them before I start in. I hope that doesn’t come too close to being a resolution!


You can definitely use my word! And that’s not a “resolution” in the typical sense, because it’s something you can apply to *all* of your goals for the year – big and small. :)

(Unrelated P.S. What happened to all the TKO people on Gardenweb? I’ve posted on there a couple of times about my kitchen but I’m not getting the most inspiring feedback. Maybe because we’re not doing a full remodel, but still. Bummer!)

RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

I don’t know what’s happened to the forum!! I couldn’t really relate to it any more, so many people were gone, and it wasn’t making the same sense…if you know what I mean. If you’re ever interested in one TKO’s opinion, please feel free to email me any time. I might be able to round up some other TKO troops, if we need ’em.


Thank you!! I might just do that. :)


I love your writing! I feel like you just get me. Are you my non-specialist twin? :)

Does it have to be a word? Can my phrase be “Live in the moment”? If I have to pick a word it would be Act.

I too envy people who just know what they want to do, where they want to be, and how they should get there. I want to do it all!

It’s not that I don’t have a skill or two I can hone, I’m just too energetic to sit down and focus on it. I get too bored when I don’t have multiple things I could or want to be doing.

When you figure out how to have it all, can you clue me in? I would truly appreciate the help!


Thank you! It’s possible we were separated at birth. ;)

I love the word “Act” – it’s less cliche than “live in the moment,” and far more concise. Whenever you’re sitting around, wondering how you’re ever going to get it all done, just think of your word and start doing something! Anything. And things will get done.

And I hear you on the energy – I call it “Life ADD.” When I find the cure, I’ll definitely let you know. :)


It’s funny that most of my list for 2014, so far, is about the house.

-Paint the kitchen cabinets and get new door handles/knobs for said cabinets
-Get a storm door for one (of the two) back doors
-Re-paint the master bathroom (with a paint that doesn’t look like my bathroom is crying every single time we shower)
-Install a tile back-splash above the master bathroom sink
-Re-seed the backyard with actual grass
-Repair the shed
-Re-treat the deck
-Get rid of the cross-hatch panels on the deck and replace them with vertical posts
-Get window screens repaired/replaced
-Fix light switches that don’t seem to work 100% of the time

Is there a word for all of this?

Stranger yet…this is the sort of thing I was looking for to when transitioning from renter to home owner.


Ha! That’s been known to happen. :)

We’re going to be painting these cabinets, too – a job I’m NOT looking forward to. Why does the paint make it look like your bathroom is crying? Too glossy? Our backsplash tutorial could help with that… We gave up on grass a long time ago with our mutts. Do your deck rails look like ours? Because I love ours! I don’t envy you the other deck work, though… When do we get to see pics of your place?

Oh, and your word? MoneyPit. (It’s a compound word. Enjoy! :) )


Great word, love it. My word for 2013 was refine and I don’t think I did that. So maybe mine will be refine redux. I need to figure out something as I am not in a happy place right now!


I’m so sorry to hear that. Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot more people have a case of SAD this year? I think we’re missing something… time to figure out what it is. If you do a redux, make sure you DO the redux. Do what makes you happy. :)

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