This year, I’m going to make New Year’s goals instead of resolutions. It’s a refreshing change because I always found the concept of resolutions to be bound by time and circumstance anyway. It’s easy to say that you’re going to do this or that when you’re sipping the bubbly at midnight on January 1, but harder to keep that resolve once you drag in the house at 5:30 after a busy day of work on January 4. The rubber meets the road when the “holiday high” wears off, and you’re back to the time constraints and stress of everyday life. It takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline and determination to dig in when all you want to do is collapse in the recliner, forget the world, and watch TV all night. In order to succeed, we’ll have to:
- Set clear and definable goals. I need to know what the end looks like so I’ll know when I’ve “arrived.” My New Year goals are to reach more readers with my writing, and to get in better health. I’ll know I’ve achieved these goals by significantly increased sales rankings on Amazon and improved results on my annual physical.
- Determine what action is needed to start the path toward achieving those goals. Everything starts somewhere, whether it’s starting it new or continuing what you’re already doing with a clearer focus. To reach more readers, I need to be visible to them. Therefore, I need to take a twofold approach: I need to promote my work aggressively (but not obnoxiously), and continue to write and publish work to “expand my shelf space.” Specifically, I need to find avenues of promotion that reach suspense/mystery and scifi readers, and publish Fracture (Book 1 of The Earthside Trilogy) by December 31, 2016. Where health is concerned, I need to continue the diet and exercise program we started in May.
- Release the bounds. The surest way for me not to accomplish something by a certain time or date is to say I want to do it by a certain time of date. I guess that’s the Lord’s way of reminding me that my times are in His hands, and things will happen when He determines the timing is right, not when I think it’s right. That’s true for all of us. Life change is a process that can’t be bound because it usually takes years to accomplish. Patience is virtue you must integrate with your best efforts, because it takes time for things to grow. There’s a good possibility that I won’t build a big enough niche audience to hit the Amazon best seller list by December 31, 2016, because it could take several years to reach that level. As long as those rankings are going up instead of down, success is happening (albeit in small ways), and I need to keep working with it. And we all know not to despise the day of small things.
- Be accountable. I think the reason Rick and I have succeeded so far with the diet and exercise program is because we’re accountable to one another. We eat and exercise together, so if one of us falters, then we have to explain it to the other. Action replaces excuses when you have to justify your failures because you learn from them, and you don’t tend to repeat the same mistakes. That being said, we do slip every now and then, and shouldn’t beat ourselves up over it (or berate those who choose us as accountability partners), but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes and discipline ourselves to do better.
And be accountable for your success as well!You should rejoice over progress and can reward yourself for a job well done.So go ahead and order a pizza for dinner this weekend if you did all of your workouts this week – as long as you’re ready to get back to it on Monday!
- Commit to doing our best every day. In the grand scheme of the universe, January 1 is just another day like anything else. New Year’s Day is a man-made concept that we’ve defined as a “start,” but the truth is that every day is a new start. I think the biggest reason why people fail to meet their resolutions is because they don’t realize that they have to continue to commit to those resolutions every day after the confetti is cleaned up. Take one day at a time and resolve to do your best at the beginning of each day. Yesterday is over, so learn from it and move on. That alarm clock is a chance to start over every day – so take that chance and run with it to build a better life! Why wait for another January 1 when every day is a chance to keep moving toward the goal?
That’s all today. I wish you a safe, blessed, joyous and Happy New Year!