A Failed Resolution: Why I Still Count it a Success


I’ve always been rather sneaky. Just ask my mom. Playing it close to the vest comes naturally to me, so when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I really don’t care to tip my hand. If I tell you what I resolve to do, you may try to hold me to it if I change my mind. To avoid the resentment that would surely ensue, I usually save us all the trouble and refuse to set goals or make resolutions. It’s simpler that way and I get to keep my friends. But once in a while, I do sneak a resolution in.

Last December I read a post by writer, Christa Sterken titled, ’52 Books in One Year’.* My interest was piqued. You see, I used to read a great deal. Before having children, I spent more than a healthy amount of time in my make-believe worlds. 52 books in a year was child’s play; I was probably reading about three times that many. After children I became a less prolific reader, but I still pretty easily fell into the range of at least one book per week.

Quitting smoking was the death knell for my reading habit. I read while I smoked and the pages add up quickly when your body screams for a 10 minute fix every hour. When I quit almost seven years ago, I suddenly seemed to have no time to read. It was lonely. I missed learning new things. I missed my imaginary friends. I felt bereft and alone for a long time. Eventually I found a rhythm of sorts but my reading remained sporadic.

The thought of being purposeful in my reading seemed like a worthy resolution. 52 books. That should be doable, I thought. I know women who read that much in a couple of months. In my home I am considered a super fast reader. However, I live with a bunch of dyslexics, so that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

I failed.

The magical number eluded me, yet I find myself feeling satisfied nonetheless. I read 38 books, along with a few scripts, several magazines, and of course, countless blog posts. I found myself being deliberate in my reading choices. After all, I didn’t want to write this post and only have three fiction authors on my list to share. I decided to try to select a variety and to finally get around to a few titles I’ve wanted to read for years.

Though I didn’t read as much as I set out to, I consider this failed resolution a rousing success. I enjoyed some fun reads with my children. I read a couple of classics I’d been putting off. I found new authors that I am now crazy for. And best of all, I have entertained a variety of new thoughts and ideas.

My list for 2014: (Top ten personal favorites are in red.)

1.) Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

2.) The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller (Anything by Timothy Keller is sure to be thought-provoking!)

3.) Ye Olde Weird But True by National Geographic Kids

4.) 10 Tips For Liking the Bible: Because believing it’s true is not enough by Keith Ferrin

5.) Fatal Tide by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson

6.) When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason

7.) The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (A new favorite author!)

8.) The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (A classic for writers. Only a word nerd will love this. My hubby good-naturedly mocked me because I was riveted.)

9.) Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

10.) Fatherhood by Bill Cosby (I’m afraid this title will now be fuel for the wood stove.)

11.) A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

12.) Sanctuary by Ted Dekker

13.) Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

14.) Shattered Justice by Karen Ball

15.) George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge

16.) The BFG by Roald Dahl (An old favorite that I have now read to all of my kids.)

17.) Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer S. Holland

18.) Sleep: It Does A Family Good by Dr. Archibald D. Hart

19.) Pinteresting: Pinterest Strategies for Brands and Bloggers by Tabitha Philen

20.) Best Essential Oils Guide by Mary Muller

21.) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (Hmmm. Not sure what I think.)

22.) Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo

23.) Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi by David Crowder (Quirky and insightful. I found this quite thought-provoking and bought a copy for two of my favorite college students.)

24.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

25.) Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails by Dr. Scott A. Johnson

26.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Absolutely loved this book!)

27.) Water Walker by Ted Dekker

28.) How Am I Smart? by Dr. Kathy Koch

29.) Galatians For You by Timothy Keller

30.) All You Want To Know About Hell by Steve Gregg (Mr. Gregg’s books and radio show, The Narrow Path are incredibly insightful. You will be challenged.)

31.) In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.

32.) You’re Smarter Than You Think by Thomas Armstrong, Ph. D.

33.) The Sinner’s Garden by William Sirls

34.) The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

35.) What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro (Be warned: I am now able to read your body language! A little. Engaging, interesting read.)

36.) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

37.) The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller

38.) Four Simple Steps to Happy, Healthy Holidays by Dave Kwiecinski (A short ebook filled with practical tips and encouragement that you can use any time of year.  You can check Dave out at his website, davefitness.com!)

This is one resolution I am planning to carry over to this year. Maybe I’ll make it this time. Maybe I won’t. But I’m sure I’ll spend some blissful hours curled up in my big purple chair, visiting exciting places with imaginary friends. I know I’ll obsess over some new nugget of knowledge until I’m satisfied I’ve learned all I desire to know about it. So whether I actually succeed or not, my life will be enriched. And isn’t that what resolutions should be about?

How about you? Do you have any resolutions this year? Have you had a failed resolution that still made your life better? I’d love to hear about it!

*If you haven’t read Christa’s blog, I highly recommend it. She is a gifted writer and photographer. She is thoughtful and artistic, and happens to be an all-around wonderful woman. Give her a visit!

5 thoughts on “A Failed Resolution: Why I Still Count it a Success

  1. My, what an eclectic reader you are, Rebeca! I am impressed by the wide range of topics. You are surely a wiser, more intelligent, more insightful woman than you were in 2013, influenced as you were by all these books. Though you may not have met your numerical goal, the personal growth which resulted is more valuable anyway!


    • Being mindful of what I was reading really helped me choose a more interesting variety. I already have quite a selection to try to get through this year! Thanks for reading, Nancy. I hope you have a blessed weekend!


  2. I enjoyed your list, and as a previous voracious reader myself was surprised I had read so few on your list! I need to expand my horizons. No, no resolutions here. I am trying one nee thing: reading the same book in the Bible 20x! I read an article on the benefits of getting so close to a book. I’m on about my 11th reading of I John and find something new and exciting every time.


    • Oh, yes! I have read some articles on the benefits of internalizing books of the Bible that way. (Check out Keith Ferrin). Last year I read Philippians 15 times. It does really give you a fresh insight. Thanks for taking the time to read, Anita. Have a fantastic weekend!


  3. Pingback: The Elusive Magic Number | Building Standing Stones

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.