Yet here I am, at 4:30 am (I’m writing this post on December 31), thinking about my New Year’s resolutions for 2014. Do you know what my problem is? Every year I make several resolutions because having just one makes me feel like such an under-achiever. So I pile them up and by mid-April, I can barely remember one that I committed to.
The same thing happens to me every year: I have grandiose ideas about wanting to take on new challenges and to produce more, but after about six weeks, my best intentions become just that, intentions that are never fully realized.
My other problem is that I start off with too many resolutions. So I ask myself, how many resolutions can a person make and actually stick with, right?
There are experts who advise people like me to stick with just one. Then there are those who recommend making 10 resolutions.
What I Should Do vs. What I’d Love to Do
Perhaps the crux of this New Year’s resolution habit I have is that I always resolve to do what I should be doing instead of what my heart desires. So I’m wondering if I were to sprinkle my “should-do” resolutions with a few “wouldn’t-that-be-awesome” resolutions, would I have more success at sticking with a few of them throughout the year?
A Look Back at My Resolutions for 2013
• Last year I resolved to return to daily meditation. I spent money on an eight-week mindfulness class to help me get back into the habit. For the duration of the eight weeks, I did pretty well. I only missed one class; I meditated most days, and I attended the all-day meditation session. But when the program ended I stopped meditating, however, I did enroll in a Tai Chi course and I plan to add a QiGong class this January.
• I also resolved to walk the dog every day, and that didn’t happen. She needs her walks, and so do I.
• I resolved to lose a few pounds, and I did, but that’s because I joined a 21-day cleanse program that helped me to break some bad habits. Unfortunately, the bad habits have returned, so I’m doing the cleanse program again.
• It was my goal to publish a book on how writers can be more efficient while using social media, and I did write that book (it will be available by February 1).
Looking back, I guess I did okay in 2013, but I feel as though I could have done better.
• Too often, I’m scrambling to write my blog posts. I’ve tried mind-mapping applications, and I must confess, I don’t understand why they are all the rage. I think I’m just to linear of a thinker. Last year, I started with a three-month editorial calendar, and it really helped me organize my blog topics at the start of the year. But once the three months expired, I was scrambling every week for a new topic. This is exactly what I advise writers not to do. So I resolve to prepare a blog editorial calendar on a quarterly basis.
• My normal routine is to get up at 5:30 am and start working on my clients’ social media accounts. This routine makes getting my own writing projects done on a timely basis nearly impossible. I already know that I am at my creative best before dawn breaks. So I resolve to get up at least by 5 am Monday – Friday to work on my blog and my next book.
• I will publish a new book in 2014. This book will be similar to my new book for writers, Avoid Social Media Time Suck (available Feb.1) but it will be geared for businesses. I’ve been asked by numerous people to write a social media book for businesses and with Nina Amir’s help, I am going to do it. (I will hire her for her coaching expertise. She happens to be the best nonfiction writing coach on the planet.)
• I want to be more focused in my business. Until now, I’ve been helping clients setup their social media accounts, managing their accounts, or training clients on how to use them. This year I will tweak my emphasis and provide one-on-one consultations that show writers how they can use their time more efficiently on social media, reach a wider audience, and still have plenty of time to write.
• I will stick to an exercise routine of walking my dog, Tai Chi, QiGong, weight-lifting, hiking, cycling, and Yoga. I love all of these activities, and I feel it’s important to include resolutions that are immediately gratifying to accomplish.
• I will return to play my gong and meditating. Yes, I have a gong, and it’s beautiful. When I play it, followed by a short meditation, I always start the day with a sense of purpose and a sense of knowing what I need to do first. An added benefit is the beautiful resonance of the gong and its healing sound waves. (Can you tell I’m a California native?)
Making resolutions is the easy part. Making them stick throughout the year is my greatest challenge. Here are a few suggestions that I’m going to try this year.
- Kino MacGregor wrote a wonderful article for the Huffington Post on this topic. She advises to take a moment every day to reflect on your resolutions and your progress. MacGregor says that it’s important to note positive and negative steps that you’ve taken toward your goals. In other words, just be honest with yourself about your progress.
- MacGregor also recommends remaining positive about your resolutions. Sharpen your focus on what you will do. She says, “What you direct your attention to determines what you will experience.”
- I’ve often heard that it’s important to make one change at a time. So instead of playing the gong, meditating, walking the dog, going to the gym, and writing a blog post on Jan. 1, I will phase in my changes. I also think that if I can phase them in and stick with them for 21 straight days, I’ll have a better chance at achieving my goals.
- I love this next suggestion. I think I found this idea on the website WebMd. I know; it’s not the best source for information but I think you’ll like it. Watching funny movies can help to improve our will power. There was actually a study done to prove the theory and the results were that the control group who watched a Robin Williams standup comedy routine involving M&Ms, just-based cookies and a bowl of radishes. The bottom line here is that the group that watched Robin Williams doing a stand-up comedy routine lasted longer at performing a complex tracing project than the control group who had watched a movie about dolphins. Apparently, the group that watched the Robin Williams film also showed more restraint at not eating the plate of warm cookies or bowl of M&Ms and instead ate radishes.
So here you have my six resolutions and four tips to make them stick this year. Now that you know what my resolutions are; please share some of yours with me as well as some tips on how to get me through the year!
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About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
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