With 2013 almost in our dust, it's time to look at what we hope to achieve in the shiny New Year just ahead. If you're a writer, your New Year's Resolutions may be a big step toward achieving ultimate success.
In the crazy and sometimes frustrating universe of the publishing industry, we need to hack a trail through the jungle of letdowns and rejections. Setting New Year's Resolutions is one form of goal-setting for the coming year that can be an important step in your overall outlook on accomplishment, progress and self-esteem.
But how do you go about setting solid, achievable resolutions? Consider these five tips to help you craft meaningful goals. (Of course, even if you're not a writer, these tips may still work for you.)
The Golden Rule of Resolutions: Effective goal setting happens when we choose goals that we believe we can truly achieve, that we are able to keep in front of us on a daily basis, and that continously help us keep sight of the major achievements we hope to gain.
1. Identify Your Motivators
Begin by thinking about what excites you in reference to your goals for the coming year? What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy spending time doing? Maybe you'd like to read more books, learn a new software system, or join a new book club or writers group. What resolutions would be fun and motivating, yet at the same time help direct you toward that more exciting future you envision? How will your resolutions dovetail with your long term goals and dreams? Resolutions shouldn't be tedious chores, they should be things you enjoy doing or truly want to achieve.
"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming,
we lose the excitement of possibilities.
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
2. Start Small and Keep Building
To reach the finish line in a race you first have to take a lot of individual steps, each moving you closer to that ribbon at the finish line. But you don't begin as an olympic athlete, you start as a novice with the initial goal of completing your first run, one foot in front of the other. Whatever your goal, break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. For example, don't set a goal of "winning the Boston Marathon" without building a series of goals to get you there. Review your progress at least once a quarter, and adjust your goals if necessary. Setting your goals impossibly high will often lead to failure, disappointment, and a decreased desire to keep striving.
"It is better to take many small steps in the right direction
than one giant leap forward only to stumble backward."
- Chinese Proverb
3. Seek Out a Support Group
Goals are always easier to achieve when you have others cheering you on. Share your goals with your family and let them know what they can do to help support you. Ask about friends', coworkers' or peers' resolutions, and if they're similar to yours, decide what you can do to encourage each other.
"We = Power" -- Lorii Myers
4. Embrace Defeat
Setbacks are a certainty, but remember--That's okay! Don't allow a setback to give you an excuse for ditching your resolutions as too hard or unreachable, and don't allow them to become a reason to beat yourself up. See setbacks as learning experiences. Next time you'll be more empowered and better able to succeed.
"Many of life's failures are people who didn't realize
how close they were to success when they gave up."
- Thomas Edison
5. Reward Yourself
Even small steps are worthy of reward and just as important as the big ones! Don't think "I should have been doing this all along," and instead, praise yourself for striving toward positive change. Achieving goals should never be too easy or you haven't challenged yourself enough.
"Practice makes progress, not perfect."
Setting a goal to drink more water every day may sound trivial, but staying hydrated leads to sharper thinking, avoids fatigue, helps reduce headaches and contributes to better overall health, which may greatly increase your creative capacity. Resolving to get more sleep each night can generate the same positive effects, as can starting an exercise program. Resolutions (and goals) aren't always about achieving great things but creating the groundwork that will help get you there.
"For last year's words
belong to last year's language
and next year's words await another voice."
- t. s. eliot
Care to share one or more of your New Years' Resolutions? Please tell us what you hope to achieve in 2014 in the comments below.