Why I Don’t Make Resolutions

The last MFRW Author post of the year! And check out the other blogs on the hop! 
Every year, on December 31st, I write myself a letter. When I open the letter from the year before, I can look back over the changes, challenges, and accomplishments I’ve made and experienced, and I can help orient myself towards new goals and ideas for the upcoming year. The letter is informal and no one else will ever see it, but it is my way of opening my mind to a new plan and a blank canvas. For me, this letter, amorphous as it may be, is a much more effective than resolutions. 

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I’ve written myself resolutions in the past – lose X number of pounds, get all As, read X number of books, and I find that the moment the limitation has been placed or the goal has been made solid, is the moment my drive disappears.

Most of the time, I love solid goals. Write 2,000 words. Read 100 books. But when it comes to New Year’s, the pressure is suddenly tenfold, and I often find myself overwhelmed, as if well if I can’t do it for the new year, I’ll never be able to accomplish it. The truth is, I don’t need some special date or day to set goals or plans for myself, and doing so on the special date makes me not want to accomplish them, in some twist about problem-with-authority type way.

Instead, I write myself a letter. And in it, I say the big picture dreams, the goals, and plans that I am aiming for, rather than each of the individual steps along the way. I will not write write 10,000 words a week because that’s an unrealistic goal. Instead, I will write complete Series X and start Series Y because that gives me an ambition, without tying me down to deadlines and plans I may not be able to stick to.

Because I’ve learned over the years of doing this – coming up on anniversary number four of being a published author – that things don’t go according to plan. Maybe I won’t get an agent this year. Maybe another press with shut down. Maybe I’ll be offered a job I can’t say no to. By limiting myself to the smaller details, the little goals, I am forgetting that there are a dozen ways to skin a cat, and I often lose sight of the big idea.

mountains-2186080_1920Instead, my new year’s resolutions are about the big idea. Write more, work harder, focus on my career, but they don’t tell me how, because telling me how is the sticking point and always the place where I lose.

2017 has been a challenging year personally, professionally and politically. I have struggled and succeeded and I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t my best year. Sure, I had books come out, but I also had presses shut down, near misses and many other ups and downs. There is no way to predict what will happen next year and I’m not going to try, but I can certainly say to myself that I will keep my head high and my nose to the grindstone, that I will fight for my career from a dozen different angles, and that I will try again when what I’m doing doesn’t work.

I set concrete goals for myself every day. I’m a planner, a plotter, and an organizer. It’s what I do. But I also know all too well that things don’t always go to plan, and that you have to be open to new ideas, ways of thinking and approaches to battle. That’s why I don’t set resolutions. Instead, I set my compass to the final goal, to the big idea, to the great evolution, and I open myself to all the different ways I might get there. Because when I do that, there’s a much better chance I’ll actually achieve what I set out to achieve, and isn’t that the point of a resolution? 

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Wishing you all a happy, wonderful and lucky new year. Much love, and many thanks for reading this 52-week blog challenge! I look forward to seeing you in 2018! ♦

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2 Comments

  1. Well, the idea is that you have to do whatever you set your mind to do. It can be specific, it can be vague, it doesn’t matter. If you act towards your goal, odds are you will achieve it. And, yes, you are right: life is kind of unpredictable, so you never know what’s going to happen. Some times, because of an external factor, something beyond our control, we cannot accomplish our goals. But this shouldn’t make us feel guilty… the idea is that if you gave it your all, 100% so to speak, then there’s no point in having regrets. I believe that this is one of the so-called “secrets” of success: that you can give it your all and still fail. And we should be okay with this.

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