Woody Guthrie’s new year’s resolutions

Woody Guthrie’s new year’s resolutions
Folk troubadour Woody Guthrie wrote 33 new year’s resolutions at the outset of the year 1942.
(Woody Guthrie Archives)

As we close the book on 2012, which among other things included the ambitious yearlong multifaceted salute to Woody Guthrie on the 100th anniversary of his birth, Pop & Hiss will take a page from America’s most celebrated folk singer and songwriter. Two pages, actually, that contain 33 new year’s resolutions that Guthrie concocted just as the year 1942 was about to begin.

They range from whimsical (No. 3: “Wash teeth if any”) to serious (No. 27: “Help win war – Beat fascism”). Here are several highlights, complete with Guthrie’s idiosyncratic grammar, spelling and punctuation (or lack thereof):


31. Love everybody

25. Play and sing good


23. Have company but dont waste time  

18. Stay glad

15. Learn people better

13. Read lots of books


8. Write a song a day

And Guthrie’s No. 1 resolution for the year ahead of him?

1. Work more and better

You can read all 33 in Guthrie’s own handwriting here in this reproduction of pages from his journal in which his thoughts about his goals for the coming year were accompanied by light-hearted drawings inked into the margins. A tip of the hat to Tom Morello for his tweet flagging Guthrie’s list.


Happy New Year.


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