The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. -Melody Beattie
It’s reported that almost half of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent achieve these goals. There are many reasons for failure:
Lack of planning
Tackling too many changes at once
Adopting others’ resolutions
Making resolutions that are too vague
Making resolutions that aren’t practical/realistic
Making resolutions that are overwhelming
Failing to make these goals a priority
Not committing the necessary resources
Making resolutions that feel punitive
Not emotionally invested in the outcome
While some people completely discourage the idea of making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals is an important skill to develop. Learning how to set realistic goals helps to 1) identify priorities, 2) develop strategic plans, 3) target resources, and 4) evaluate outcomes/efforts.
As the New Year approaches, use these tips to increase the odds of making and keeping resolutions:
*Take some quiet time to reflect on what you wish you’d done differently or hoped to accomplish.
*Use a calendar to look at existing commitments.
*Set a new goal for each month of the year, such as January – I will write for 10 minutes every day, February – I will set up monthly critique sessions with a trusted writing partner, etc.
*Recruit an accountability partner to help you monitor your progress throughout the year.
*Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve most and why does it matter?”
*Before committing to a goal, jot down what will be required to achieve that goal and then honestly determine if you are able to commit those resources.
*Use the S.M.A.R.T. approach to set goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
*Embrace resolutions that are empowering, such as taking an online course or learning a new skill.
*Commit to goals that force you to stretch and grow and venture outside your comfort zone.
*Look for healthy writer habits to establish (i.e. monthly data backups, stretching/walking every two hours, drinking more water).
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some popular resolution prompts for writers.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?