Behind Closed Doors: What Went Wrong?


Reexamining the resolutions that didn’t take.

For the past decade, I’ve written my column on resolutions I planned to make in the New Year, the many well-intentioned goals I can never seem to keep. But this year I thought I’d try something different.

This time around, I’m breaking down the resolutions I set for last year, looking at where the heck I went wrong and offering myself  realistic alternatives. And if I still don’t stick to the revised resolutions? Oh well, there’s always next year — another chance to get it right.

1. Wear smaller scrubs. Why does the obligatory drop-a-few-pounds goal remain atop the resolution list year after year? Because it’s so friggin’ hard, that’s why! What’s more, losing weight just gets more and more difficult with each passing trip around the sun. I can have a stomach virus and still gain three pounds.

Alternative resolution: Be happy in my own scrubs.

2. Stop being a hoarder. I blame the pandemic for exacerbating my hoarding tendencies. Remember what happened to toilet paper back in 2020? You know what they say — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Not only did I fail to rein in this habit, it’s only gotten worse. Readers, out of my sheer anxiety for running out of necessary supplies, the OR I’m scheduled for tomorrow has been fully stocked with supplies I’ve squirreled away: Bouffants, laps, dressings, gloves, sterile drapes, prep sticks — and an extra pair of clean medium and large scrubs back behind all those useless extra-smalls.

Alternative resolution: Watch the A&E classic Hoarders when I’m feeling bad about my habits to remind myself I’m not that bad.

3. Practice patience. If I wasn’t able to do this 30 years ago, there was zero chance I’d do it at a point in my life when my threshold for BS is the lowest it’s ever been and the stress of the job is greater than I can ever recall. If my memory serves me correctly, I broke the patience resolution at 07:30 a.m. on January 1, 30 minutes after my first shift of 2022 began. I walked into the stock room for suture only to find the last box empty on an empty shelf...

Alternative resolution: Join an MMA gym to relieve some of my stress in a healthy way, bring the BS threshold up just a bit and perhaps find a new career for my post-nursing years.

4. Travel more. After 18 years as a travel nurse, I think it’s time to retire my suitcases and stay put for a while. I have five years of “stuff” (See Stop being a hoarder) in an apartment on the West Coast that needs to find its way to my home down south.

Alternative resolution: Turn down travel nursing assignments and embark on a pleasure trip to Italy, Greece or Spain (or all three!).

5. Arrive early. As much I hate being late, I’m far from always punctual. I was even late getting this column to my editor! But tardiness still stresses me out — especially in the OR, where I want my room set up and ready to go. Even if the surgeon is late 98% of the time, there’s that 2% chance he won’t be late on the one day I’m running behind. Going to work is not the time to stop and smell the roses.

Alternative resolution: Show up early for work but employ an I’ll-get-there-when-I-get-there mentality and stop to smell the roses when going anywhere else. Life is too short to rush around without enjoying what’s right there in front of you. OSM

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