Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Out with the Old Resolutions, In with the New Goals

Cleaning emotional house is sort of what this turning-of-the-year holiday is all about. We reflect. We anticipate. We rue. We rejoice. It’s all part of that “year in review" thing we do in late December and early January. No doubt this reflection is the impetus for the old custom of “making New Year’s Resolutions”, which, if they’re lucky last a week or two. Maybe even three if you bought into the debunked theory that it takes 21 days to turn a behavior into a habit.

But it didn’t become a habit in 21 days, did it? Not even with a resolve to do so. And it fell off your radar with some regrets, but let’s face it, with no real surprise.

The dictionary definition for "New Year’s Resolution" that best fits is “a firm decision to do or not do something.”

Why does that “resolution” fall short of becoming a habit? New research indicates that it will likely take more than two months for a new behavior to become automatic, to become a “habit”. Whew. That would explain a lot about why those resolutions fall by the wayside and that making New Year’s Resolutions is the butt of many jokes.

Still hope does spring eternal and the buzz of good intentions brings the hope this year will be different with resolutions made.

But what if we didn’t make resolutions? What if we set goals? SMART goals--specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound?

Here are some of my goals for 2015. Some of them I expect to become habits (like drinking more water and exercising) while others are goals to meet and be done with. And given a sound mind in a sound body, I am focusing in personal goals on my health. And if I lose some weight, even better.

1) Walk an average of 10,000 steps a day at least 5 days a week for six months.
2) Return to WBV water aerobics class for at least three days a week through Mid-May.
3) Plan weekly food menus and shopping lists for six months to control food costs and portion sizes.
4) Make a daily list of tasks that can be accomplished that day.
5) Keep 16 ounces of water at my computer desk during morning writing sessions.
6) Get up and get active for the five minutes between pomodori writing sessions.

1) Write for six pomodori at least five days a week.
2) Use the tomato timer to attack clutter piles for two pomodori a day for at least two days a week for eight weeks or until piles are gone.
3) Complete first draft of Prime Rib and Punishment by the end of January.
4) Send edited draft of Prime Rib and Punishment to editor by mid-February.
5) Send revised draft of Prime Rib and Punishment to publisher by end of February.
6) Complete first draft of Potluck by the end of February.
7) Send edited draft of Potluck to editor by mid-March.
8) Send revised draft of Potluck to publisher by the end of April.
9) Post two book reviews to Amazon each month.
10) Use 9-step plan to organize Ancient Grease, book four, by the end of June.

Is this too ambitious? I guess we’ll find out. At the end of six months, I’ll take a look at where I am with goals without beating myself up. I’ll make revisions, additions, deletions, and set up the next six-month goals.

I’ll let you know how it goes. What are your goals/resolutions and how do you intend to meet them?

Next Week: More on Twitter for Writers

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