With the new year just starting, it's traditional to make resolutions, and there's more than one way to approach that task.

You could promise to give up your favorite guilty pleasures, at the risk of losing your resolve by February.

Or you could set impossibly ambitious goals -#8212; founding your own sovereign nation in some remote part of the world, for example.

But there's a better way. When asked to tell us about their aspirations for the new year, our readers tended to set modest, practical goals.

"I'm resolving to swear less, not that I do it a lot, but I have small children," said Scott Green of Santa Rosa, father of daughters ages 6 and 4. "They're picking up what I say now, and asking me what I mean."

For Megan Ortega, a professional dog walker who lives in Petaluma, her personal and professional goals are remarkably compatible. For 2013, she resolved to run every day, and succeeded.

"Even when I'm doing 13 mileswalking dogs, I'll still do a run," she said. "For my next New Year's resolution, I've thought long and hard about it, and I want to run a full marathon this year."

Ed Shoop of Sonoma set himself a goal that is more philosophical in nature.

"I am 69 years old," Shoop wrote, "and I resolve not to forget that, and pair that with the fact that someday I will be dead, and I don't know when. Therefore, if there is anything in this life that I really want to do, I'd better do it now!"

Karen Lockert, a Forestville artist, set her sights on making every day count.

"The big goal?" she wrote. "Spending more time on myself and my health -#8212; walking, cooking healthy food and enjoying the scenery."

Some of those who responded to our call for New Year's resolutions set some very specific goals.

Singer and songwriter Larry Potts of Petaluma aims to finish recording his fifth album and writing the second draft of his memoirs.

"I hope to have the album out by the end of 2014," he said. "The good news is that I'm singing a tune in a film titled 'Decoding Annie Parker,' starring Helen Hunt, to be released in the U.S. this summer."

August Roth of Santa Rosa, whose hobby is building model ships, has spent the past eight years, off and on, working on a scale replica of the 18th-century Royal Navy vessel HMS Victory.

"The rigging is the problem, or the tedious part," Roth wrote. "My goal is to finish it completely this year."

Francie Aguilera of Santa Rosa was not afraid to let her imagination soar when her wrote down her goals.

"I would like to win a Mega Millions jackpot and pay to have all the parking meters in Santa Rosa permanently ripped out," she said.

For a more practical goal, Aguilera has an idea for a new business.

"New Friends Week is the third week of May," she wrote. "My goal is to launch a new cyber biz on May 25, 2014, called BESTBFF. It will be a subscriber-based service for people looking to connect with someone on a daily basis for friendship via text, email or cell phone. (This is for strictly platonic friendship only!)"

One reader demonstrated that it's not too difficult to come up with a goal that is both spiritual and practical.

"My aspiration for 2014 is to revise my church songbook," said Yolanda Martinez of Santa Rosa. "I have been in charge of the Resurrection Parish Hispanic Choir for 31 years. Throughout those years, we have accumulated songs for all occasions."

Martinez has been updating the song book every year, but this year, she plans a complete overhaul.

"The present songbook has been a cut-and-paste job," she lamented. "Since singing is my favorite hobby, and I don't anticipate leaving the choir anytime soon, reorganizing the songbook is a project I want to tackle."

(You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. See his ARTS blog at arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.)