New Years Resolutions are often met with eyerolls. It’s a classic tale of promising to Not Do The Thing or to Do The Thing, a promise that lasts all of five seconds, and is forgotten about by the end of January. No surprise, I am guilty of this. And I bet you are too.
Why is this? Well, according to Jen Miller, there are three major reasons why resolutions fail:
Jen Miller, How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution
- It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
- It’s too vague.
- You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.
With that in mind, here’s my first goal for the coming new year:
Be Fair & Realistic About Writing Goals
Often we fail to meet our goals because they are not realistic. We don’t think about the effort it takes to achieve a goal or if we are ready to acheive it.
Over the last few years, I set myself writing goals that I was not ready for. I would tell myself things like ‘finish the novel by Christmas’ or ‘finish the novel this month’ when I hadn’t the drive, time, discipline, or skill to do so, and then I would punish myself for not doing it by telling myself that I was a failure.
However, I genuinely think I am ready now. I’m in a much better place mentally than I was two, three, and even five years ago. I understand the mindset I need to be in to start writing and how to get myself into it on days when I don’t want to write. I’m doing away with my perfectionist attitude and instead I am adopting a completionist one.
Why do I think I’m ready?
Because I’ve already started. In November, I wrote over 60k. In December, I completed six ‘sets’ of writing (three chapters of one work, one chapter for two other works, and a short story.) That’s not including the weekly blog posts I’ve been doing. I’ve written so much more these past two months than I do normally. Technically, I only have one New Year’s Resolution which is to keep it up.
Be honest with yourself. Are you ready to take on the challenge you’re setting yourself?
Which raises an important point:
there’s No Reason To Wait Until The New Year To Change Your Life
As Steve Errey points out in his article, there is absolutely no point in waiting until January to start a new habit if you genuinely want to make a change in your life. If you’re waiting, then you probably don’t want to commit to these changes anyway and your resolutions will fail which, if you’re like me, will result in a week of negative self-talk before pretending the whole affair never happened.
Speaking of negative thoughts, here’s another thing that I want to stop doing in the New Year, and something that I would encourage you all to do too.
Here’s some things I constantly tell myself about my work, which I am going to stop telling myself this year:
- I can’t write this because no one will read it.
- I can’t write this because it’s stupid.
- I can’t write this because it’s not marketable.
- I can’t write this because it’s not good enough for traditional publishing.
Yeah. Is it any wonder I keep abandoning projects and falling into crippling depression?
Enough of that.
This year, it’s I can write this, I know I can, shut the f up.
…or maybe something a little nicer, but you get the idea. I can write. I will write.
If any of that sounds familiar to you, try to do the same. If all you can think about everyday is writing, then you are a writer and you can write. Stop being so gosh-darn mean to yourself.
So what’s my writing goal?
A Specific, fair & Measurable Writing Goal:
There’s no room for vagueness. When setting a writing goal, think about what makes you feel like you’ve achieved something. For me, it’s completing chapters. Not scenes. Not word counts. Actual chapters.
So my goal this year is *drumroll*
Complete four chapters per month. (Or: Write 4 sets of 2500 words.) How I do this will depend, but generally I want to stick to:
- 2 x chapters of an original novel
- 2 x other work
Other work includes: blog posts, fan works, and original short stories. After I complete a chapter of any story, I like to break away from it for a little while, hence the allowing myself to include ‘other works’ into this category. It’s a good way to refresh the brain.
Susan Weinschenk on Psychology Today says that successfully building a new habit means picking a small action, and connecting it to a habit you already have, which is why I’ve made my resolution to write less than what I have been doing the last two months.
We can’t operate at 100% capacity all the time. Find yourself your strongest point and then reel it in, tiger.
If You’re Ready, Go For It
Whatever your goal is for the coming year, if you’re ready and you have something specific to aim for, go for it! There’s no harm in trying. Just be kind to yourself. If you miss January, you can establish your writing goal later in the year. There is no set time for making postive changes in your life.
Happy New Year everyone.
You read to the end! I tip my hat to you.
If you liked this, let me know 🙂