How to Make Your Writing Resolutions Stick
by Marcia Peterson
If you made writing resolutions for the New Year, don’t abandon them now, as the first month comes to a close. Use the following strategies to help you keep the promises you made to yourself. Your writing success this year is worth it!
1. Record your progress. Log your daily word count, self-promotion actions or whatever marker relates most to the resolutions you’ve set. It helps to make it fun, using wall charts, smart phone apps or even a picture of a thermometer that you fill in with colored ink as you make progress toward your goal. Chronicling your efforts is motivating when you’re doing well (it’s so fun to see the path of progress) and also when you’re slacking off (you’ll want to fill in the spaces with good work).
2. Get other people involved. Announce your goals to someone else and now you’re accountable for your declarations. Try to arrange regular check-ins, which will keep you motivated to keep on top of your work. It’s also more enjoyable to work on your resolutions with a friend, or perhaps a team of friends.
3. Put up reminders. When building a new habit, such as increased writing output or regular marketing efforts, it helps to remind yourself of what you need to do each day. Put up notes on your mirror, your car dashboard, or your refrigerator. You can also use alarm clocks, online calendars, or cell phone messages to keep you on track. Maybe a friend would even be willing to call or e-mail you at certain times of day to check in on your progress.
4. Take some action. If your goals overwhelm you at any point, remember that small actions amount to big results over time. Can you do one thing today toward your goal? Could you write for just fifteen minutes this evening? Don’t give up on your resolutions when you’re feeling discouraged or time crunched. Take a little step or complete just a part of project.
5. Set up monthly reviews. Just like kids get reports cards, we should too. Periodically evaluate your progress on your resolutions and give yourself a grade on each one. What’s working well? What could you improve on? It’s up to you how often you want to check in with yourself—perhaps monthly to be sure you’re on course. Each time you review your efforts to date, think about how to make the remainder of the year even better.
6. Adjust and adapt. Life gets busy and personal goals sometimes aren’t met. But, it’s never too late to regroup and get back on track if you need to. Just dive back in to the plan you originally set up, or make alterations to your resolutions that fit better. Forgive yourself for any perceived failures and move on. There’s plenty of time left!
7. Reward yourself. On the other hand, be sure to recognize and honor all the good work you’re doing. Create a system that offers frequent rewards, so that doing the work becomes more fun. Small but desirable prizes for reaching mini goals provide extra motivation to get the job done. Acknowledge your good work and treat yourself nicely!
You can maintain your New Year’s resolutions with the right strategies to keep you on track. Keep thinking about where you’ll be at the end of the year, when you’ve reached all of your goals. It’s exciting, and you can look forward to this successful outcome.