To Resolve, or not Resolve, that is the Question
Like you, I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s Resolutions. I will even venture a guess that I’ve been thinking about them more – not that this is a competition.
December was a month of soul-searching for me. Having finished a draft of my first novel during NaNoWriMo, and learning a few lessons in the process, I thought I should be ready to edit with just as much dedication. I first gave myself a week off to revel in my accomplishment and replenish my creative juices. I picked up a book for the first time in over a month – and devoured it. Then another. It felt good to read someone else’s words again.
When the week was over I knew it was time to edit, but I wasn’t ready. Veteran NaNo winners said to take a little time off, start again in January. I thought back on words from my partner about self-imposed deadlines being exactly what they sound like… I had the power to change my self-imposed deadline. Just as I had the power to continue to give myself a break from my blog.
I decided to enjoy the festive month of December which started with my 40th birthday and ended with a champagne toast and a kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Through all the milestone celebrations I pondered what 2013 would look like and let me tell you – I am so thankful I wasn’t blogging. If I had been blogging I would have already committed myself, publicly, to 92 resolutions.
It all started by realizing how much fun I had challenging myself in November – and thinking maybe I should have a year of challenges as subjects for my blog. That might have looked something like this:
4 weekend challenges a month for all 12 months – then write about the past weekend challenge each Monday
- purchase one new board game each month and have a game night
- learn to cook a new cultural food each month, with friends
- discover a new charity each month and volunteer for a half-day
- discover Ohio, aka ‘random road trip’, once a month
Find month-long challenges to participate in – then write about my progress each Tuesday
- LetterMo in February – write a letter a day, handwritten and mailed with a stamp
- NaPoMo in April – write a poem a day for 30 days
- Photo Book Challenge in June – create a book with a photo a day for 30 days
You see where I’m going with this right? Right off the deep end!
I hadn’t yet written a goal about becoming a runner to get in better shape. Not to mention that I was intrigued by the 365 Photo A Day Challenge. Just imagine, a photo a day for a year? CRAZY! INSANE! But I knew that so I thought… I’ll just take a photo a week and that gives me something to post on Wednesdays.
Thursdays I would write about some new thing I was learning that didn’t fit into the 30 days challenge spectrum, like Fencing or Archery. Both sports that have always intrigued me AND my characters may need to develop these skills so it’s really like research for my book. Right?
That leaves Fridays which could be an update on my progress with my book – wait, my book. Oh yeah, what about time to work on my book? Then I flashed back to my own words of wisdom from over a year ago:
Thankfully I didn’t post any of these thoughts as they occurred to me. Instead, I told myself to breathe. I told myself to inhale and exhale and get through the month of December without writing any posts about challenges or resolutions. I told myself to Just write it down before it disappears (rule #8) and think and breathe and keeping reading.
The reading part was easy. I follow a lot of bloggers and it’s what everyone writes about as we cross from one year into the next. Just today, Diane McKinnon wrote about Wildly Improbably Goals on Live to Write – Write to Live.
Remember, Wildly Improbable Goals are the goals you set that seem just about impossible—the ones that get you scared and excited all at the same time every time you think about them.
Frustrated every February when you feel overwhelmed and vow to never make a New Year’s Resolution again? Yeah, me too. I’ve always been a resolution maker, but often felt like my tireless list of goals just wasn’t working out for me anymore. And, if I cut the list to just a couple of things, it wasn’t enough … For two years now I’ve been able to focus all year-long without feeling like a failure and without getting stressed!
Then there’s Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, whose advice earlier in the month still resonated: 7 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions. Then as if conjured by a spell, she appeared on The Today Show as my girlfriend and I sat sipping our coffee this morning.
I’m part of the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions; I’m a big believer in the power of small changes to make us happier … Making resolutions is fun and easy; keeping them is tough. After all, 24% of Americans fail on their resolution each year.
So what does this all mean for me? Simple. It means I’ve been thinking a lot of New Year’s Resolutions.
To Resolve, or not Resolve, that is the Question
I’ve come to my own conclusion and am feeling pretty good about the culmination of all this thinking and breathing. I’ll tell you about it real soon, no self-imposed deadline on when. Right now I have to get back to editing my book so I can present another few chapters at the Greater Cleveland Writers Meet-Up Group tonight.
What do you think? Do you set resolutions or challenges? Adopt a theme word for the year? Do you any other advice for me before I post my One Word Theme and my Two Wildly Improbable Goals for 2013?