My 2015 Resolutions

This is the blog where I set out on paper (virtual paper), how I plan to pursue my life in the coming year. And not just in the field of social media.


 FYI:   I’ll tell you flat out I’m NOT planning to lose 20 pounds (though my doctor thinks that would be a good thing).


In response to Joan Z Rough’s blog last December 29, entitled My Intentions For A Happy Year Ahead, I began to look at New Year’s Resolutions differently. Here’s what Joan said in that blog:

A single word or phrase, on the other hand, is not a directive of what I must do. It is simply something to think about and watch for as I navigate through life with the hopes of being a better person.


I’ve been following Joan for a few months and her words resonated with me. I thought for a bit and the word CONNECTION kept appearing. Here’s what I said in her Comment section:

I find it easy to look inward, to listen to my body, to know my truth. This coming year I want to look outward more. I want to feel more connected to the larger world, and especially to the people in it.

Thanks, Joan.

So, where to start?

I thought of the “looking outward” part, beyond myself. 

Like this?

eagle landing


I chuckle to myself. Yup, the eagle is certainly connecting to her outside world. It’s a good thing, too.  One can fly alone for only so long.

I turned to Mr. Webster:

[box type=”info”] con·nec·tion noun \kə-ˈnek-shən\ : something that joins or connects two or more things: the act of connecting two or more things or the state of being connected: a situation in which two or more things have the same cause, origin, goal, etc. [/box]



This year I want to look at the quality of my acts of connection as well as the quantity.

I want to notice how I connect and how I don’t. What is it I do to enable connection and, equally importantly, how do I disable (?) connection?  How is this the same as setting a boundary?


I want to look at how I connect
in my personal life as well as my social media life.

Just what are those points of connection, those things we hold in common (as Webster says, “the same cause, origin, goal,”) that bind us to one another?

I already feel a sense of tribal connection through social media. And, in some cases, these two worlds — the personal and the social — are merging.

1.   I’ll continue with my weekly Wednesday blog.
I’ve made connections with a number of people through my blog this past year. Four of them will help me turn my Chincoteague house into a writer’s retreat for one week in February.  Now that’s the kind of merger I love.


I’ll continue to use my blog to highlight stories of cultural difference. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and (closer to home) the controversy between the “free-range” and “helicopter” parents, my mission feels even more important.

Cultural differences don’t only cover food, clothing, and holidays.  As I read recently, cultural differences are important BECAUSE they often involve feelings of anger and mistrust; I want to be a catalyst for conversation when anger and mistrust arise.

 And, if I get 100 subscribers to my blog by year’s end, I’ll feel like I’m on my way.


 2.  I’ll continue to post links to provocative articles on my Facebook Author Page AND do it more consistently.

Connection here is a bit trickier. I see my FB Author Page as a landing page for my former students and colleagues in Kazakhstan. While I want to post regularly, I don’t engage often there. But I love getting comments and I will reply or at least LIKE a comment when I see it.

I’m experimenting this year with the option FB gives us to “Boost” each Page post. While they have certainly boosted my “reach,”  I’m eager to see if the number of Likes on that Page will be “boosted” as well. My secret goal is 500 LIKES by year’s end.  But shhhhh; that’s just between us.


3.  I’ll continue with my participation on Facebook with my personal Facebook page, particularly the groups We Love MemoirsTravel Memoir Writers, and RPCVs. During 2015 I’ll look into expanding the number of groups I’m involved with.

I find it easy to connect on Facebook. Not only have I met many new people through these groups, I’ve reconnected with friends from my many past lives in a way I would never have imagined even ten years ago. Of all the social media outlets, Facebook is the place I feel most myself; it is my “happy place.”


I have no measureable goal here, secret or otherwise. I’m content with the number of “Friends” I’ve accumulated and have no plan to see that number increase.  But, I will admit that I love the “poke” that Facebook offers; I get a little jab of “connection” with each one — just like when Dale Percy pulled my pigtails back in fifth grade.


4.   I’ll conquer Twitter this year. Maybe.

Connections are as likely on Twitter as they are in a very large cocktail party. Right. But the contacts one makes at cocktail parties (and on Twitter) may lead to a connection at a later time.  A great example:  the four women who will gather with me in Virginia in a few weeks are coming together because I met one of them on Twitter, then met the rest of them through her blog. And, they are women I’d like to get to know better.

There are some magical apps out there to help friends RT (retweet) blog links.  Just as I want to RT more often (I’m setting three times a day as a goal), I want to make it as easy as I can for friends (acquaintences and strangers even) to do the same.

I want to join in conversations on Twitter this year. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by social media. So far, it’s been fun for me; I want to keep it that way. But if I can find one conversation a week and add to it, I’ll feel like I’ve taken a big step.

Finally, remembering that old adage, “Man plans; God laughs,” I will continue to stay open to what the universe has in store.


Who knows, maybe I’ll even lose those 20 pounds.

How about you? What’s your take on Connection? Is it a challenge for you?  What helps you connect?


[box] Interested in reading At Home on the Kazakh Steppe? I hope so. Just click here if you are outside the USA. It’s the universal Amazon like for the PAPERBACK and eBook versions. If you want the LARGE PRINT or eBook versions, click here. While Amazon makes it easy, you can always order the book from your local independent bookstore. Just tell the owner the book is available through Ingram. And, once you’ve read it, leaving a review on Amazon will help bring me closer to being able to take advantge of some of the promotions.  🙂 [/box]

4 Responses

  1. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply


    I’m happy to know that I inspired your search for an intention for the year ahead. Connecting with ourselves and the people around us, is one of the most important things one can do to make life joyful. Through connection we learn about compassion, kindness, and living in the moment.

    Due to being an introvert, I have difficulty making connections in large groups of people, but I can usually spot those I’d like to connect with at another time in the future.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Indeed you did Joan. I love your comment “Through connection we learn about compassion, kindness, and living in the moment.”
      Connection as a means to an end? I’ll pay attention to that. Thanks. I was hoping you’d stop by.

  2. Kathleen Pooler
    | Reply

    Janet, you have an ambitious but do-able list of intentions here. The thing that strikes me the most about this post is the clarity and specificity of your vision. Of course, your trademark sense of humor adds another dimension (as always :-), meaning no matter what the year brings, you will thrive. I love your concept of seeking quality vs quantity with your connections. it goes along with my need to simplify and concentrate on the things that matter the most. Well done, my friend. May all your best intentions come to fruition this year!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Kathy.

      Keep It Simple, as you know, has long been a mantra for me. Too bad it’s not one we can simply “do” and then cross off our list, heh?

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