Unless you absolutely have to start your goals or resolutions on January 1st (which most of us don’t) why not choose a different starting point? Why not make yours January 15th or a completely different month to give yourself a bit more time for ideas to form? This way you are more likely to stick to them. Anyway, “according to statistics, only one in five of us fulfils our resolutions” says Sara Maber in her article Make peace with your year (Psychologies magazine, January 2012).
For the last few years, I’ve started to think about goals and other changes just before my birthday month, April (just by fluke really). That’s when I came up with the idea of My Writing Notebook (this blog) with a goal that I would be a better writer in one year - and I’m thrilled that many other smaller goals have come from that one big goal. I don’t necessarily have to pick the same date to start a new one next year either. I have a great idea for another writing project that I’d like to start about March time…
The Pressure of Resolutions
There can be a lot of pressure at the end of the year to think of resolutions or goals to set yourself. Unless, you have been planning this for a while and know exactly what you want (I take my hat off to anyone who has already set their goals for 2012) most people have been busy in December and it’s the last thing you have given any thought to. In the rushed moment tonight (as the clock strikes midnight!) you might conjure up a cool resolution. This might make you feel good for a short while and give you a great response when someone asks “so, what’s your resolution?” but is it really what you want? Can you really stick to it?
As a writer, your aim will probably be to write more and write better (that’s a given), but before you have the chance to really think about what else you want to achieve in the coming year, you might get swept into something that you struggle to keep up with. Then at the end of the year, you realise that you didn’t move anywhere on your ‘board of life’ or ‘master plan’ (if you even have one). You know you need to change something – do more of this and do less of that - but you are not feeling like you can fit the jigsaw pieces into your master plan just yet.
- Have a brainstorming session with yourself – Write a word or phrase in the centre of a page such as ‘writing’, ‘being creative’, ‘moving forward’ or ‘life thoughts’ and spend some time drawing spider legs from the centre and writing words around it. Leave this for a few days and then go back looking for ideas.
- Write non-stop for a set number of minutes – In a notebook or a sheet of paper, write anything that comes to mind without correcting or editing and keep going (see blog post warming up before the real writing) . Your thoughts could be a mixture of what you did or didn’t do last year, as well as hopes and dreams for the coming year. When you return to what you’ve written a few days later, look for messages between the lines which may spark some ideas.
I’m not feeling the pressure, I’m just writing
Congratulations to everyone who has completed a year of blogging (I know there are a lot of you out there who have worked really hard); however, I am feeling a little less pressured. Where everyone is now wrapping up their 2011 blog posts, and frantically trying to think of something new to start on January 1st (good luck) I’ve got four months to go on mine….pheww, the pressure is off…or is it? (121 days left…and counting).
I would still like to set some general goals today though - nothing too specific (and possibly not even measurable) but here goes. My general theme as I move into 2012 will be to:
- Take every opportunity that crosses my path
- Follow my interests
- Spend time with those who are important to me
- Look after myself
Happy New Year by the way.
- Resolutions – Don’t start! (coachdeanhebert.wordpress.com)