The Christmas tree is reflected in a storefront window, overlapping a coffee tree at the Coffee Tree coffee shop in downtown Loveland, Colo. It’s sparkly and fun, just like New Year’s resolutions should be to make them easier to carry out.
By Shelley Widhalm
New Year’s Eve is sparkly, bubbly, colorful and fun—and then there’s the countdown.
For me, Jan. 1 is both a letdown and an exciting time. First, the holidays are over, presents are unwrapped, and it seems like a long time to Valentine’s Day (and lots of candy) and even longer to spring.
January is my least favorite month (short days, too much snow) until I remember it’s the month for … Resolutions! I love goal setting because of the whole self-improvement thing, but it’s also a way to accomplish something and to have an excuse for self-reward.
What are your resolutions for 2020? The usual of exercising more, eating less, finding a new job, increasing your reading or learning a new skill or hobby?
A Writing Tangent
My resolutions are around writing—to publish a couple of my novels, to write a short story a month and to do more professional writing. I also want to improve my blog so it’s fun and exciting. This is how I originally started this blog:
Writing is essential to a business to market its products and services, build brands and reach customers.
But is it necessarily something that you want to do?
Sure, that’s all right, but it’s not fun. Why? Because you can read those sentences pretty much anywhere, maybe with a word change or two. As a note, I just went on a tangent off the subject of resolutions, which typically doesn’t make for good writing. Professional writing needs to be straight like an arrow, moving from point to point with enough details while avoiding overwriting.
So back to the point of making and keeping resolutions. Statistics show that only 8 percent of those who make resolutions follow through with their plans. Being part of that group can be exciting and also rewarding by the end of the year.
For those who want to make writing a goal for 2020, for example, can set a schedule for writing, such as a half-hour a day or two times a week. They can find a place to do the writing. And they can reward themselves for accomplishing the goal to continue the momentum.
Focusing on Resolutions
For resolutions in general, here are a few good steps to take:
- Pick a resolution that makes you feel excited and is something you want to do. Don’t pick something that you think is good for you, like exercising an hour a day when 15 minutes is better to get used to it.
- Opt for one to three resolutions instead of a long list of everything you ever wanted to accomplish in life. Lists are difficult to manage (I made a 30-item to-do list, and it took four months to get through it). Plus, being selective can help you focus your efforts on what you really want to accomplish.
- Break the resolutions into smaller steps that can be accomplished each week or month.
- Be specific in your goals, such as planning to blog once a week, posting it on the same day to be consistent and build traction.
- Identify your most productive time of day to work and fit your goals into that time frame, even if it is for a half-hour for three or four days a week. A lot can be accomplished in small chunks.
- Place a written statement of your goals in a prominent place, such as on your desk or the fridge. Seeing the resolutions will be a reminder, and even if you are busy at that moment, you can visualize how you will carry them out.
- Create a checklist of accomplishments toward your goals, marking the time you put in each week. This is a way to make sure you’re meeting your goals and figuring out if any adjustments need to be made.
Working on your resolutions is a reward for moving toward self improvement. Reward yourself every quarter or for certain accomplishments. Soon, the resolution will become routine and eventually a habit. And once a habit, it will be something that will get noticed.