12 Resolutions

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Today is my brother's birthday (Happy Birthday, Scott!), last week was my daughter's, next week is my nephew's. In preparation for the holidays my family has made 55 dozen pierogies and I'm gearing up to make about 10 batches of cookies. So far there have been two school plays, two school concerts, and did I mention it's basketball season for my son? Plus our family is on their second round of colds and sore throats. So, yeah...December is a bit hectic. I confess, my writing has suffered.

I'm convinced that the month of December is why we make resolutions on January 1st. It has nothing to do with the first of the year -- it's because the sheer craziness of December makes us throw all our good intentions by the wayside. So, how many of you are still actively working on their 2016 resolution? Is anyone raising their hand? I know I'm not.

That's why this year I'm revamping the new year's resolution. I think resolutions are a good thing. I work well when I have a concrete goal or deadline in mind. The trouble with new year's resolutions is they are often so vague they're easy to abandon or so LARGE they become overwhelming. That's why I'm taking a hint from a "How to Clean Your House for the Holidays" article I recently read when making resolutions this year.

1. Break it down. Things like "publish my book" are just too big. That's why I'm breaking down my goals into manageable chunks that are achievable in a reasonable amount of time. Ask yourself, "What can I do in 30 days, keeping in mind that my crazy, everyday life will continue?" It always helps to have something you can cross off a list, not something that stays on the list forever, taunting you.

2. Assign different things to different months. This year I'm not having a year long resolution. Each month I'm going to set a new resolution. Hopefully, some goals will be met by the end of the month or, if they are something I want to continue indefinitely (like writing daily) they will have had enough time in one month to have become a habit.

3. Let goals build on one another. You have incentive to finish one goal if you know an upcoming goal relies on your completing an earlier goal. For instance, you can't seek pitch your book at a writing conference (March goal) until you've finished your book proposal (January goal).

4. Be flexible. Let's not go crazy and set all 12 goals tomorrow. That's almost as difficult as setting one HUGE goal on January 1. Have a few goals in mind but, be prepared to shift your goals as your writing career changes. You may want to throw in a "Complete a short story" in for your April goal when you learn about a fabulous contest.

I'm easing back into a good habit with a January goal of writing daily. I'd love for you to share your January goal.

Jodi M. Webb is writer living in Pennsylvania who also is a WOW blog tour manager. She'll be sharing her monthly resolutions (and how they're going) in her blog posts throughout the year. You can find her blogging about books at Building Bookshelves


Unknown said...

What a perfect resolution! Monthly, succeed or reset. Or...set a new goal to piggy back the ultimate one...e.g.publish! I'm a Licensed FL mental health counselor and that is exactly what I would tell any client that feels they aren't making their goals so they won't sabotage their desire to do what they love if they fall short of their goals. It's a self-esteem zapper to abandon yourself just because life in life's term can throw us curve balls. So bravo for such excellent encouragement and advice!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Jodi--I am hoping that by the time January hits, I will have finished the first draft of my WIP.

Good luck on achieving your goals. Writing daily is a great one.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Jodi ~ so true about December craziness making us want to create new year's resolutions! I love the idea of building goals on one another. My January goal is to start small. Instead of diving back into my novel, I'm going to pull up my short stories, polish them if needed, and actually submit them for publication.

Marcia Peterson said...

Jodi, I am right there with you on the Dec family bdays. Twin sisters are today, older daughter is 12/23, younger daughter is 12/27, and husband is first week of January. Various holiday relative gatherings on the days in between! I exhale about mid-January every year. ;)

Anyway, your tips are really good. I actually did the monthly thing with non-writing goals all this year, and it worked out well. It helps to have a focus each month so that certain things done. Flexibility/forgiveness if something needs to be moved ahead, of course.

Happy holidays!

Mary Horner said...

Good tips, Jodi, and I love the idea of flexibility because sometimes that's the only thing I can accomplish during this hectic time of year!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a monthly resolution, and I'm committed to doing that in 2017. Here's hoping it will work out better than my 2016 goals.

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