We all love a new start. Is the day you begin by nursing a New Year's Eve hangover really the best time to kick it off? People seem to think so. Or maybe you're one of those ironic souls who resolves to not make any resolutions. You'll start 2017 in a catch-22 of your own design.
Of course, I'm talking to a bunch of writers. What are the odds, you'd like to have better writing habits in 2017? New Year's resolutions are notorious for failing. A fourth of them won't make it past the first week. However, improving our work habits is not unattainable. And starting in January is not a prerequisite.
How can you ensure your resolutionary success?
|This time for sure!|
I'm going to make it!!
This is my year!!!
...I have to pee!
Don't leap into this full belly flop. You don't have to write 50,000 words in a month á la NaNoWriMo. If you don’t think you'll realistically do more than 100 words per day, start with that. You can add to it later as the habit becomes more natural. The important thing is to give yourself benchmarks with which you can succeed. Success will reinforce the habit.
Sweet, delicious incentive!
Give yourself an off-day. It could be fixed (every Monday) or flexible (once-a-week) or even one of each. Many resolutions fizzle out because we don't account for the fact that we're going to run out of steam eventually. Even if you're only on the 100-words-per-day plan, designate a day for staring at the sky. You'll be more productive if you do.
We're social creatures. It's always easier to keep goals that others are keeping with you. Joining a writing group comes with this as well as many other benefits. You can read all about them here.
Try, try again
I'm gonna get back on track any minute now.
But Will This REALLY Help Me Keep My Goals?
It's easy to stick to a resolution as long as that's the central focus of your life. If you're anything like me, though, you have the attention span of a magpie. I want to engineer goals to be successful even when my focus is on other things: kids, work, car repairs, Red Ryder BB guns, tax returns, escaping flying monkeys, etc. Because I'm not developing better habits in a vacuum. I'm implementing them in a life already-in-progress.
Reeeally shoulda went
before I left the house.