I have always hated the whole resolutions bit that happens around this time of year. Almost no one ever follows through with what they set, and after the first week, most have given up on the things they had been so set on only a short time before.
I don’t write up a list of New Years Resolutions. I write goals. And not just once a year, but countless times during the year. I go back through everything I had written and re-evaluate all of it to see what’s been accomplished, what is underway, what might need to wait, or what just isn’t important anymore. It’s always bothered me that people only really resolve to look at their lives when the year is up and the new year is about to begin rather than all year round.
Are you really only worth looking at once a year to see if you’re where you should be? Is it really only important to check in once every 365 days to make sure you’re doing okay? It seems absolutely absurd to me. Almost no one can set resolutions at the beginning of the year and follow through all year – especially when a lot of those people forget what they even decided to be on their list.
You are worth so much more time than a quick list scribbled on a notepad to be forgotten in a day or two. If you are serious about your resolutions, don’t call them that. Call them goals. Set dates for when you want to achieve those goals, check in every week or two, or every month, and make sure you are still on track. You know that whole bit about how goals without deadlines are just dreams? It’s true. And you will never get what you want without working to make it happen. You won’t instantly lose weight just by willing it to happen, you won’t get that promotion unless you prove you’re worthy of it, and you won’t take that trip unless you take the steps to schedule it.
Resolutions are like these strange imaginary things that people talk about this time of year, and before they are even done writing their list, they already know they will not follow through. Do yourself a favour and write an end date next to those “resolutions” so you have something to strive for. Don’t just assume it will fall into your lap, and don’t write your list out of habit. If you are serious about losing weight this year, do it. If you are serious about quitting your job this year and starting your own business, get on it. Take whatever steps you need to in order to make it happen, but don’t just let that list of goals be a waste of time to even write.
I want to finish designing, drawing, colouring, and have a full deck of Tarot cards printed and ready for sale before the end of 2016. Sounds awesome, right? It’s not as simple as telling you that, though. To make it happen, I need a list of the cards I need to finish, a deadline for when I need to have the designs finalized and sent to the printer, and some sort of plan for how to make it happen. Right now, that means an average of one new card design every 5 days until it’s time to get it all printed and ready for sale. I have my date, I have the breakdown of how it’s possible, and I even have a tentative list for the order in which I’m doing the deck. Without all of that, it would just be some random thing I dream of doing, like so many other projects I’ve thought of that have sitting in jotted down notes because I never bothered working at them.
Pretty simple, right? Just break down each of your “resolutions” into smaller pieces and goals with dates and deadlines and see if it’s even possible to do what you plan, or if maybe you aren’t aiming high enough.
My first book. It was supposed to have been published a few weeks ago, but I pushed it for fear of it not quite being ready for the critical public eye. I plan to release it in 2016, and hopefully before this time next year. I don’t have as clear a plan with this as I do with my Tarot deck, but I do have a tentative release date in my mind that I am working towards, as well as a list of things that still need to be done. I do have dates set for each phase, and as good a plan as any to get it all done. The next phase of editing will start next week, after a month long hiatus from the book, and then I can start doing the real nitty gritty bits of the editing to make it perfect. I have plans for all of the other little bits, like the formatting and some chapter headers for the printed version, and I am already in the process of getting some of those little details done. The only way it will happen, though, is if I stick with it and make sure to honour those dates I have set unless there is no way I can possibly do it.
If I don’t do anything about the book, obviously it will never be ready to publish. And without deadlines, it’s easy to just keep pushing the publication by a week or two or months or longer.
So I say it again. Do yourself a favour and stop writing resolutions for the new year. Write your goals and plan to succeed instead. You’ll thank yourself later when it starts to pay off.