Happy New Year, everyone! Since it’s the last day of 2014, I thought we’d talk about writing resolutions.
But first, let me start with a crazy fact. According to a University of Scranton study, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. For many people the new year begins with all the best intentions for making a change or doing something they’ve never done before, but within a week or two of having made them, most resolutions are broken or abandoned.
I’ve been there, too. What I’ve found is that, when I have made resolutions that actually stick, they have a few things in common. In today’s episode, I want to share with you what a good resolution is made of along with five tips to help you make writing resolutions that stick.
What makes a resolution work
- Choose a resolution that matters. There has to be something important at stake. Figure out what you’re passionate about and what you really want to accomplish. When a resolution is tied to a high-stakes goal, you’re more likely to see it through.
- Choose one small thing to change at a time. Ease yourself into the new habit you’re trying to create. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’ll be more likely to follow through if you feel like you can actually be successful. This concept is called building mastery and it’s super-important for keeping up your motivation.
- Don’t expect yourself to stick with the same resolution all year. Remember that you will change as a result of the resolutions you’re making. Be ready to add challenges if your resolution starts feeling too easy , or to scale back if you feel like you’re in over your head.
5 tips to make writing resolutions that stick
- Celebrate and take stock of where you’ve been. Be proud of what you have already accomplished. Use your past successes to help plan your future ones.
- Honor your present reality. It’s so important to recognize what your life requires right now and what you can handle. Don’t make a commitment to something that’s going to make you crazy before you can finish it. Know your limits and your needs and make sure you account for those things when you’re setting your goals.
- Look ahead to your big dream. Write that big dream down and save it somewhere so you can refer to it when you need a dose of perspective or motivation to keep at it.
- Make S.M.A.R.T. goals. This means setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive. See below for more details.
- Evaluate and adjust your goals accordingly. Don’t get stuck in a pattern that’s not working. Figure out what does work and make changes that will keep you on track to achieving your dreams.
Setting SMART Goals:
- S: be SPECIFIC – What is it that you expect your resolution to help you accomplish? Are you going to write a novella? a book of short stories? a memoir?
- M: have MEASURABLE goals – How will you know you are accomplishing what you’ve set out to do? Are you writing a certain number of words per day? or for a certain amount of time?
- A: make ATTAINABLE goals – Make sure you can actually succeed. Break your goals down into manageable parts so you can check them off the list and see your progress.
- R: be RELEVANT – Whatever your resolutions are, make sure they are leading you toward your big dream (see number 3).
- T : set a TRIP-WIRE – Give yourself a deadline, a specific point at which you stop and take stock.
What’s your writing resolution for 2015?
Sharing our goals makes it all the more likely that we’ll actually reach them because we’ll have the support and encouragement of our fellow writers. So tweet your writing resolution using the #DIYMFA hash tag by clicking this link. Or, if your resolution doesn’t fit in a tweet, tell us in a comment below. Share your resolutions with your friends and family, too, and ask them to help keep you on track.
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.