Thursday 5 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions. Are they a good idea? By Annie Burrows

As the New Year bursts into life, I've been thinking about resolutions.  And challenges.

Last year I set myself two challenges - the first of which was a reading challenge.

I found it on Goodreads, in the Harlequin group, and it really intrigued me, as it was an A - Z one (and those of you who've been following my blogging endeavours know how much I like doing things in alphabetical order.)

The first reading challenge I signed up to was to find a female lead in a romance book for each letter of the alphabet.  And then, in a fit of enthusiasm, I signed up to a male lead, an author, and a title for each letter of the alphabet as well.

Through the course of doing this reading challenge, I learned two things.

First, if you want to really stand out on the bookshelves as an author, choose a pen name beginning with Q, U, or Z.  Because you will be almost unique.  I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a romance written by somebody with those initials.  In the end, I remembered that Julia Quinn writes Regency romances, and bought "Dancing at Midnight", but then was still stumped for a U and a Z.

Another person doing the reading challenge suggested some Z’s, and I plumped for “Gnome on the Range” by Cindy Zane, an author I’d never heard of before, but who can resist a title like that?  And it really did feature garden gnomes, too, so it was a win/win situation.  And was a fun read.

That left me with only an author starting with U to find.  I wondered if my local library would be able to help.  But even the librarian with her computer couldn’t find anything in the romance section by anyone beginning with U.  In the end, I picked a thriller with a romance thread (though it turned out to be a lesbian one which came as a bit of a shock!)

Anyway, with the help of other readers doing the same challenges, the librarian, and a website called which lists books alphabetically by themes, I managed to complete three out of the four challenges.

Which brings me to the second thing I learned.  Which is about myself.

Even though I completed three out of the four challenges, I didn’t manage to find and read a male lead beginning with a Q, a U, or a Y.

So although my score over the year was 101 out of 104 completed, instead of feeling proud I’d got 97.1 percent (verified by my handy mathematician) I feel as if I’ve failed.  Because I’m a perfectionist.  I set high targets for myself.

Which probably explains my almost constant state of feeling disappointed with myself, and what I’ve managed to achieve.  Instead I think of all the things I haven’t done.  Should have done.  And constantly beat myself up about them.

So maybe my challenge this year should be to focus on achievements rather than failures.

My other “resolution” was to get my weight under control.  Since I reached a certain age, my weight had started to climb no matter how little I ate, and I realised I was going to have to confront the dreaded “e” word – exercise.

A friend of mine recommended a local zumba gold session, (which is a polite way of describing a class designed for the more mature citizen).  She promised me that the music would not be too loud, and that nobody there would be under the age of 40, nor superfit, nor dressed head to toe in designer sports wear.  So I tried it.  And didn’t hate it.  And managed to keep going for the whole year (apart from the weeks I was out of town on holiday)

And I did get my weight under control, getting right back to my pre-certain-age weight.

And now it’s January again, the time to make new resolutions.  And do you know what?  I can’t face taking on another reading challenge which will make me feel like a failure for only getting 97.1 percent.

Nor, to be honest, can I face going back to zumba.  Even though it worked, it wasn’t an activity I got any pleasure from.

So – what do you think?  Should I take on any challenges this year?
Or should my resolution be to maybe just accept myself as I am?

Annie's latest release, "Once Upon a Regency Christmas" which features a heroine who also believes she is far from perfect, can be found at Amazon and other etailers.


  1. That reading challenge sounds great fun, Annie! And you did really well with the Zumba too but if you can't face going back it's not right for you. Could you find another activity to replace it that you enjoy more? Maybe walking or cycling with your mathematician?
    My upcoming blogpost deals with a similar theme... ;)

    1. We tried cycling - but never really got into a regular routine with it so that didn't work!
      I just hate exercise, that's my trouble. I'd much rather be sitting reading a book...


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