Resolved to not make New Year’s resolutions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2020

By Stephanie Reister

Rowan Public Library

With numerous broken New Year’s resolutions on my record, I’m resolving to not make any at the beginning of this year.

I like the idea of starting the calendar fresh with a couple of ambitious goals. But the rebellious side of me usually yells, “Don’t tell me what to do, New Year!” then eats a Little Debbie snack and drinks Cheerwine.

To more reasonably ring in the new year, I’m reading a couple of books from Rowan Public Library. Since I’m bad at keeping resolutions, I picked up “(It’s Great to) Suck at Something” by Karen Rinaldi. She uses surfing, her creative spirit, and her cancer battle to give an edgy perspective to the self-help genre.

Rinaldi has been dedicated to surfing for almost 20 years, but admits to still only being a mediocre surfer. Her attitude is to let go, be yourself, and do something you love even when you’re bad at it.

I know I falter at times because I get preoccupied with my old nemesis – perfection. Rinaldi says, “Perfectionism is so, so comfortable. … Striving for perfection is a glossy way to say: afraid. Afraid to be foolish. Afraid to have to start somewhere. Afraid to suck.”

She’s right, plus the picture-perfect lives created on all forms of media these days make us believe we have to excel at everything. All of that perceived amazingness can paralyze us from trying, failing and ultimately flourishing in life.

To offer encouragement, Rinaldi coaches, “… if you suck at something long enough, you will suck a little bit less at it.” And maybe that’s enough.

“The Book of Mistakes” by Skip Prichard is a story that highlights nine mistakes that readers can overcome to achieve goals. The mistakes each have their own chapter with a list of tips on avoiding them.

A couple of the mistakes stood out to me on the subject of making resolutions. “Mistake #2: Allowing someone else to define your value” speaks to setting your own worth and goals.

The chapter discusses being true to oneself by ignoring the labels that are casually placed on us. When we believe the labels others assign to us, we end up accepting them as our value.

We waste our own potential by following other people’s expectations, which usually involve the word “can’t.” So, we likely make resolutions based on the opinions of others.

“Mistake #6: Allowing temporary setbacks to become permanent failures” answers to the fears of imperfection and failure. The story points out that an obstacle can actually be a stepping stone to success.

“Excuses are the weeds that choke progress. Setbacks are the seeds that sprout opportunity,” says one of the characters.

RPL is filled with books reminding us that being human means being imperfect. It’s those imperfections that make compelling stories, the ones we seek out to understand ourselves and other people.

I was mistaken at the beginning of this column. I do have a resolution for 2020. Kick my fear of imperfection to the curb and unashamedly suck at something. Maybe this is one I can keep.

January Scavenger Hunt: Snow Animals at headquarters and South, through Jan. 31. Can you find these snow animals hidden throughout the children’s room? Complete the challenge and get a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234 or 704-216-7728.

Scavenger Hunt: Whiteout! at East, through Jan. 31. Missing! Answer clues and riddles to solve the mystery of where two Siberian tigers are hiding after they escaped from a nearby zoo. Discover their hiding place and be entered into a raffle contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, call 704-216-7842.

Songbird Storytime: Headquarters, Jan. 4, 11 a.m. This is an interactive program of music, reading and learning for ages 7 and under. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany participants. For more information, contact Chelsea at 704-216-8269.

Winter Tea and Tales: East, Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Snuggle up on a cold winter day and enjoy a storytime, craft and light refreshments. Children will have the chance to win a prize for wearing the most creative winter accessory such as mittens, scarves or hats. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.

STEAM into Adventure: Symmetrical Snowflakes, South, Jan. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Make a snowflake picture with various materials and talk about symmetry. This STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) program is geared for ages 6 to 11. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more details, call 704-216-7729.

Reader’s Theater: South, Jan. 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Be an actor without the pressure of memorizing a script! This theater style conveys the story through vocal and facial expressions. This program is designed for ages 8 to 13. Questions? Call 704-216-7729.

Exploration with Aida: Robots, headquarters, Jan. 11, 11 a.m. Learn the basics of coding using Cubetto, Ozobot and Dash robots. This program is designed for ages 10 and under and will be held in the HQ Children’s Room. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact Aida at 704-216-8234.

Escape Room: Trapped at Hogwarts: Jan. 6, 4-5 p.m., South; Jan. 7, 4-5 p.m., headquarters; Jan. 9, 4-5 p.m., East.  A secret room has been discovered inside of Hogwarts – can you escape before time runs out? This program is designed for teens in sixth-12th grade. Questions? Call 704-216-8229.

Wednesday Writers Club: East, Jan. 8, 6 p.m. Love writing? We do too! Join the East Branch for a time of solo writing, group sharing, and peer-to-peer reviews. Encouragement, coffee and snacks will be provided. This program is designed for adults 18 and up. Call 704-216-7840 for more information.

Job Readiness on the Go: East, Jan. 9, 2-4 p.m. A Career Connections Specialist from Goodwill will be onsite to provide Job Readiness on the Go, which consists of successfully completing employment applications online and on paper, creating a resume, learning interviewing skills and completing assessments to help select a career based on your personality and skills. Call 704-216-8259 for more information.

Bullet Journaling for 2020: Headquarters, Jan. 11, 3-4 p.m. Feel unorganized? Do you want to take charge of your life, habits and health? Learn about bullet journaling and how you can turn a blank book into your personal planner, health tracker, budgeting tool and journal. Bring your own book and use our tools, stencils and inspirations to keep it all together for 2020. Call Abby at 704-216-8248 for more information or email

Displays: Headquarters, YSAP Rowan (Youth Substance Abuse Prevention), and Salisbury Symphony; East, Disney memorabilia by Cathy Woods; South, South Rowan High School first semester student art presented by Jackie Elliot.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.