Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever had a successful new year’s resolution. I’ve set health and self-improvement goals only to have them forgotten. I only remember them the following year when I sit down to write down my new list of resolutions. That being said, I can understand if I’ve already lost your confidence, but before you write me off, consider this. Past failures can still yield helpful experience. Because this is a writing blog, I will assume your resolution may be writing oriented, but I think these steps can apply to whatever goal you hope to achieve this year.
You need to have a specific goal. Tailor it down as much as possible. Let’s say you hope to write a book by the end of the year. At first this may sound like a specific, trimmed down goal, but what does that look like day to day? It is easy to lose the vision of your goal if it is too grand and encompassing. Rather than having a resolution to write a book by the end of the year, make a specific goal like writing at least 10 hours a week. This more specific goal requires immediate action, which is a great way to get started on your new year’s resolution.
Have a plan
Your chances for success increase greatly when you have a plan down before the new year begins. You should already know what your first day of action is going to look like. Schedule in what days you plan to write or what hours of the day you will set aside to sit down and get busy. Do you need time to read and study up on your topic? Have a plan for that too. The more intricate your plan is, the more likely you will accomplish your writing goals.
Be willing to change habits
Whether you realize it or not, every hour of your day is booked. You may not have planned out each hour, but they all go towards something. You may need to cancel those hours you have set aside for the couch and pencil in a meeting with your desk. You have an old lifestyle for 2013. If you plan to just add a goal to it, then you will fail. You are going to have to cut out something and replace it with time working towards your resolution. May I suggest for your first cut that you being with the couch.
Tell encouraging people
I don’t know why it is, but too often when I shared I wanted to write a book I would receive negative feedback from a majority of people. They weren’t mean, they would just give an incredulous look and say something like, “Oh… that’s nice.” I knew exactly what that meant. They might as well have said, ‘Yeah, right. Good luck with that.’
Tell your dream to those who will encourage you along the way. It’s OK to have your head in the clouds for a little while, especially at the start. Eventually you will need to come back down to reality. That’s when you get your less than encouraging friends and family involved. (If you notice, these are the same people who are more likely to give you the constructive criticism your resolution will later need).
Bad weeks and unfortunate days are ahead. Seasons will come and go that will make your new lifestyle feel like a breeze at times or a challenge during others. You may not meet your small goals on some days. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Too often people believe that their first failure means they don’t have what it takes to succeed. They get discouraged at their lack of progress and lose interest on keeping their goals. Remember that mistakes are opportunities to learn, not indicators of your likelihood of success. Forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on.
My New Year’s Resolution
Initially, my new year resolution was to finish book 3 of the King’s Elite and dedicate more time to my blog. That was too broad. I’ve now trimmed it down to one word. Focus! My resolution is to be more focused and intentional this year. I’ve laid a plan down that requires daily involvement and confronts my bad habits. Do you have a New Year’s resolution? It’s not too late to have one. Share it in the comments below.