Don’t Make Resolutions, Set Goals

The year 2018

We’re a week into the new year and many of us have already broken or severely undermined our resolutions already. Things will only get worse for some as the year progresses. Others will completely abandon their resolutions as unachievable. But there is a way of achieving (or coming close to achieving your resolutions). Don’t make any resolutions.

Resolutions are essentially promises we make to ourselves that we eventually can’t keep. But a resolution can be seen not as a lofty promise but as a set of reasonably achievable goals which can be adjusted based on feasibility and realistic expectations.

Set yourself a goal or series of goals and then set out to reach them. If a goal seems unachievable, re-evaluate it and adjust your outcome/reward. If it turns out you can’t reach it, no harm, no foul, just put it on your to-do list and skip it for the time being. Move on to the next goal.

If you’ve decided to finally write that novel you’ve had bouncing around in your head, then set yourself a goal of writing it. Set yourself a goal of writing a chapter a week. If that turns out to be too much, pare it down to a chapter every two weeks, or a chapter a month. If that’s too much, then pare it down to a paragraph a day. (Think of it as writing a novel in flash fiction installments.)

Get into a routine; it’ll become second nature. Eventually, you’ll be running on automatic and have that novel written and be ready to move on to the next one. And if something happens and takes you away from your routine, the habit of writing regularly will become ingrained. You will naturally be drawn back into a comfortable writing habit.

Just remember, life happens and stuff gets in the way. If you set reasonably achievable goals (baby steps along the way), when you get sidetracked, it won’t be difficult to get back on track. And if you begin to doubt yourself, you can gain some inspiration from New Year’s Resolutions for Writers.

For other resolutions/goals, check out Making your New Year’s resolution stick.

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