Don’t Make This Mistake on New Year’s Day
It’s a start-of-the-new-year tradition to come up with resolutions, often having to do with losing weight, reducing clutter, or spending less. Unfortunately, surveys show that only 8 percent of folks who make resolutions actually follow through.
That’s why today, you’ll be setting goals—not resolutions—as part of your Goal Fulfillment System (GFS). As I mentioned yesterday, a GFS is a systematic way to implement your most important writing goals for the coming year, and it gives you tangible action steps to work with.
So, how are goals and resolutions different? Resolutions are more or less about changing who you are. Goals, on the other hand, give you something to aim for that can help you improve your current life situation.
Here are two ways to help you follow through on your goals this year. Especially if you plan to succeed at the writer’s life …
1. State everything in the positive. For example, don’t focus on your current lack of freedom (if that’s the case), by saying your goal this year is to leave your day job. Instead, declare that you want to launch a new career as a freelance writer. Think about how you’re ready to be your own boss and take command of your time.
In years past, resolving not to be or act a certain way just had me thinking about whatever bad habit I wanted to avoid. For example, several years in a row, I resolved not to talk like a sailor, and it never did any good. Then, I read a quote on how “profanity is a crutch for a weak vocabulary.” So I made a goal to “speak powerfully.” Because of that, my whole outlook changed, and I focused on learning new words to express myself. As a result, the quality of my writing improved.
2. Come up with a guiding word for the year. Instead of a resolution, think of a word that can guide your actions and lead you to your goal. That way, you can apply it to everything you do throughout the year. It’s not nearly as constricting as a resolution.
Having a guiding word for the year has pretty much changed my life. For example, last year, instead of resolving to “not do things the hard way,” my guiding word was “easy.” So whenever I was faced with a big decision, I thought about what would be easiest. In entrepreneurial terms, that often boiled down to outsourcing what I couldn’t or didn’t want to do … like website management, basic admin tasks, and cleaning the house … so I could free up more time to write. (Have a word in mind already? Share it here!)
Both of these steps are crucial for constructing your Goal Fulfillment System. Always remember, your mind is the most powerful tool at your disposal. If you fill it with positive thoughts and an ever-present guiding vision (or word, in this case), then … how did Dr. Seuss say it? “You’ll move mountains!”
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