2015 Hogwarts Professor Resolutions: Reading 75 Books?

I’m a sucker for New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve heard at least as often as you have that very few people keep the vows they make at the end of December — as few as 12% have success according to one study (that’s an almost 90% fail rate, of course!) and I’m betting it’s lower than that, really. Who wants to admit failure to a pollster or researcher, especially when more than half of the original participants said they were confident they would be successful? Not me. (For the study and advice about increasing your chances of making 2015 resolutions that work, check out Quirkology.com’s New Years Resolutions page).

What are my 2015 Resolutions? Michael Hyatt and Steven Covey say I’m not supposed to share them ‘indiscriminately’ and typing them into HogwartsProfessor is about as indiscriminate as I could get! Not to mention the sad truth that my track record for following through on public commitments here is something to lament rather than a point I wish to make even worse.

Here, though, are three things I have done successfully in the past as New Year’s Resolutions — and three goals I am already working on for 2015:

Three things I’ve done as New Year’s Resolutions in the Past:

1. Not once, not twice, but three times I have run at least one mile every day for the calendar year. You can read about the American runner who has run run every day for forty years as of tomorrow (he’s number three or four on the global list with Ron Hill in the UK making 50 years earlier this month) in today’s Wall Street Journal. Why just a year? That is how long you have to run to get on the Streak List. (At one point, I resolved to get the most single year entries, knowing I could never have the longest streak, because an entry is made for even discontinued streaks. That was a failed resolution, praise God; streak running messes with your mind in ways I found remarkable.)

2. Once, while in Japan as a Marine, I resolved to eat no fish, no flour, and no oil for a year. It was a long year — my wife insists I was sick through most of it, which, of course, rather defeated the purpose of demonstration in healthy eating I was trying to make. I did wind up being nominated by the Marines in Japan as Armed Forces Athlete of the Year (I kid you not) but that probably has more to do with the company I kept back in the day than with a narrowed diet. And it certainly caused my body fat to plummet; I wound up at the ‘undetectable’ or ‘below 4% body fat per Navy Corpsmen caliper measures and USAF electronic calculations and technology. Pretty scary looking, too, believe me. “I got better.”

3. This last year I read a passage, usually a brief paragraph or ‘epigraph,’ from St Maximos the Confessor that was emailed to me every day by DailySaintMaximos. This out-of-the-blue shot of sobering wisdom was a delight, if sometimes a harsh reminder of how out of joint my life and thinking is with the awareness of the sublime in the Christian Fathers. Incredibly, by sending two passages several times a month, I was able to read the four Centuries of Love by St Maximos the Confessor. The good news? In learned yesterday that just by not unsubscribing, I’ll get to read four more centuries in 2015. If you want to join, just write DailySaintMaximos at gmail dot com and ask to be included.

Three Real Goals I have for the coming year:

1. Finish my Red Earth MFA in Creative writing at Oklahoma City University. One semester to go!

2. Publish three Harry Potter critical works at Unlocking Press. The good news here is that this is anything but a stretch; we have manuscripts that are complete or in revision.

3. Revitalize HogwartsProfessor.com. I think you’ll be surprised and delighted by the changes here in the near future. I say that tentatively only because I have learned the substantive truth in the bumper sticker adage that ‘the only person who desires change is a two year old with a wet diaper.’ But there are new and exciting plans in the works for HogPro. Stand by!

  • One thing I won’t be doing is taking the LibraryThing Challenge75 books in a year? Egad. I’d much rather re-read one book 75 times attentively. De gustibus.

Please do share in the comment boxes below your favorite resolutions, failed and realized from the past as well as your not-too-personal goals for 2015. I hope they include checking in with us on a daily basis! Whatever your plans, a Happy New Year to you and yours. Thank you for your time in residence and contributions to the conversations here at HogwartsProfessor.com.


  1. Jim Smalley says

    Looking forward to being the beneficiary of your 2015 resolutions John! Congratulations on the MFA, as I know we can look forward to some amazing superversive fiction from you.

  2. Funny. I never had to challenge myself to read 75 books a year. During my self imposed years of no television, I would more than double that. Even now that I discovered the need to have cultural references to interact with other people in a way that they didn’t consider me the weirdest person out there, I still read more than 75 books a year.

    And I still find television lacking…but it does well to waste my time.

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