In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: New for '08: a lifetime of guilt

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— In case you're already feeling guilty about New Year's resolutions - that you didn't make or keep any - I have some good news for you. New Year's resolutions are out. Passe. Bye-bye.

Instead, the hip, cool, groovy new thing to do is embark on a spiritual quest by making a life list. A life list is a pact with yourself of goals you hope to accomplish before you die. These goals can be the simple old standbys: "lose weight, drink more water." Or a little more complicated: "run a double marathon with Swami Origami."

The good thing about life lists, or at least the ones I've read, is that they don't seem to be tied to how much money is actually in your checking account or how realistic or attainable it might be. For example, if your goal is to visit the moon, feel free to write it down. Some people have very time-intensive goals like building a house, earning a master's degree or becoming quadrilingual (isn't bilingual enough?). Men's Journal advocated adding to your life list activities such as "climb an active volcano" (why?) and "eat a living thing" (Ewwwww! Why?)

The bad thing about life lists is that instead of having a year to feel guilty about what you did or did not accomplish, you have the rest of your life.

Phew, what a relief.

To make a life list, you may need the help of a life coach. A life coach is a fancy term for a person that helps you set your goals and then holds you accountable during weekly phone calls. In other words, you are paying someone a lot of money to behave like your mother. If you need the phone number of a great mother, let me know.

The final step is to post your life list online at 43Things.com. This popular Web site, with over 1 million members, acts as a kind of online cheerleading group to help you achieve your goals. Popular goals include skydiving and, oddly, "pull a prank involving 100 lawn gnomes." Still, the Web site proclaims a life list helps you live a richer life and that pondering your life list gives you focus and momentum.

It all seems so complicated, doesn't it? In the good old days, you could just drink to excess, wake up with a pounding headache and then watch football. Now, you get to wake up with a pounding headache and feel guilty you're not training for that double spiritual marathon or jerking lawn gnomes out of the grass.

Nevertheless, not wanting to seem like an old fuddy-duddy, I decided to jump on the life list bandwagon and make one. In no particular order, here it is:

- Heli-ski.

- Invent calorie-free chocolate cake clothes that repel dog and cat hair.

- Dance the lead in "Swan Lake." Once.

- Have a front-row seat at the Academy Awards and look fabulous.

- Go to Tahiti.

- Spend a month in a small atelier in Paris with a laptop and unlimited money to buy croissants and espresso.

- Ride a horse every day.

- Have all writers and artists earn the same amount of money as football players and famous celebrities. (Note to Steamboat Pilot & Today: I now charge $2.5 million per column).

- Always be upgraded to first class.

- Wear a thong and look good in it. Once.

- Take my boyfriend to the U.S. Open and have front-row seats.

- Take the summer off and travel with my son.

- Have the memory and body of a 25-year-old with the wisdom of a 53-year-old.

Now that I'm done making my list, I'm exhausted. I think I'll take a nap and then call my mother.

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