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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Published: December 31, 2013

17 Responses to “Don’t Make This Mistake on New Year’s Day”

  1. My new motto for the year is "Money Loves Speed" which I unashamedly stole from Rebecca Matter. :-)

    Guest (Shawn Dady)December 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

  2. My new motto is "Simplify My Focus". I am new at copy writing and would like to take it all in now. That seems overwhelming, though. I am choosing the key pieces I will attend to this year. They include signing up for the 2014 Boot Camp. I hope to meet you there.

    Guest (Pat Casello-Maddox)December 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

  3. Forward. Move forward with my writing business; forward to getting paying clients. You reminded me of an expression I heard many years ago in a speech, "Forward into the new day." Once I move forward with my writing, it will be a new day where the things that mean the most will have priority in my life.

    Flying WriterDecember 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm

  4. Love the word of the year idea. I was already planning on "why not" as a motto. Instead, I think I will adopt "Fearless" For 2014! Have a blessed year!

    Guest (Cheryl )December 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  5. My guiding word for the year is SEEK.

    Guest (Rhonda Kimmons)December 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

  6. word for the year; FORWARD

    Guest (Frank Byrne)December 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

  7. My word is PROCRASTINATION! I use it to overcome bad habits. Whenever I plan to do something not useful to me, I say, "I'll do that tomorrow." Then, I start something that is useful to me. I won't spend a lot of time planning or thinking about the useful thing. Aristotle said, "Well begun is half done." I will just act on the useful thing. I wrote this instead of watching TV. It was useful to me and I hope, to you.

    Guest (Ray)December 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

  8. I'm sorry. I'm just cracking up. All I know of you is your writing and your picture, but to imagine that you ever swore like a sailor is just unimaginable ... funny, but unimaginable. By the way, my guiding words will be "Wow the reader".

    Darren StoutDecember 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm

  9. My word for 2014 is 'positive.'
    I want to think more positively about everything I'm doing in 2014. If something is a challenge, I want to find what's positive about it. If a decision is difficult, I want to look at it positively. ie: How can I change a negative into a positive?

    Guest (Annette)December 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm

  10. My word for the year is "Forward!" I've been holding on to too many things that are from the past and without those burdens I can move forward and find the new things that I should be doing now. Just in the month of December I created a niche for myself in academic writing and developing that further is one of my goals for the year.

    LynneJanuary 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

  11. My guiding word for 2014 is "LIMITLESS."

    Toni PearsonJanuary 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  12. Expansion - time to allow myself to do things I never thought possible and better myself in every possible way.

    Alyssa BarnesJanuary 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

  13. FREEDOM!

    Suzanne BallJanuary 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  14. Focus... or to carry it further, Focus on The Positive. I live my life being positive but I sometimes loose focus of what is really important, so that is what I will work hardest on.

    MadisonJamesJanuary 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

  15. Time to not allow life and circumstances to get in the way and make that change.

    My words are "launch" and "next"

    To launch my copy writing career. Next is what will give me momentum so everyday I ask myself what I should be doing next to make progress. If I keep saying next it means I have to keep moving.

    Monica MJanuary 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

  16. I chose VICTORY as my word for 2014. I created bookmarks and signs to remind me - one is always in my purse. Also, a smiley face covers the O to encourage me to smile, have fun and be confident. Happy, prosperous new year to all!

    writeforlifeJanuary 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm


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