The story is common: the new year rolls around and you realize that another year has passed. Another year of not losing that weight, or pursuing that dream, or investing in relationships. And that new year, like a flashing indicator of your passing life, brings a lift of hope you can change. So, you make a resolution or two or ten. This year you’ll stick to it.
But you won’t. Most people don’t. The millions of unused gym memberships are a testament to this. Next year the cycle will repeat itself.
But it’s not because you’re weak. It’s because resolutions are the worst way to change behavior.
Believe me, I’ve been there. I want better things for my life, to stop bad habits. I resolve and resolve. But resolutions never work.
But goals do.
Study after study (look it up) has shown that making small, daily goals are the best way to form healthy habits. So, I’ve outlined my big goals and the small daily changes I want to make to get there. I don’t expect to get all of this perfect tomorrow, but I hope by midyear I will be in the habit of doing my daily goals.
Major Goal #1: Publish Two Books in 2018
This is an audacious goal. The publishing processes for O Negative was cumbersome and draining. I have numerous books I completed over the last few years, some nearly ready for publication. But they need work. Some need more TLC than others. This will take work every day.
Daily Goal: Spend an hour to two hours editing.
I have not been great about being consistent with this in the last few months. I will fail to hit this goal every day. But I will try to get as close as possible to it. The days I don’t live up to my goals, I will disregard and get back into it the very next day. Effort is most important.
Major Goal #2: Wake up at 5 a.m. daily
This is a major problem for me. I have a day job which requires my full attention and a family I want to love and cherish. So, the morning is my best time to write. It is the time when my mind is sharpest. But I struggle to get out of bed. Every day.
Daily Goal: Wake up ten minutes early every two days
To get to 5 a.m., my body must adapt. Every two days, I will try to wake ten minutes earlier than I did the day before. So, if I wake up at 7:30 a.m., I will try to wake up at 7:20 for two days. Then 7:10 for the next two days. On and on until I reach 5 a.m.
Major Goal #3: Write one to two new first drafts
I have written one first draft a year. But drafting a book is like a muscle, and I come to a new book every year feeling weak and atrophied.
Daily Goal: Average one hour a day writing new material
With one hour I can get daily practice. And those words will add up. Drafting some days instead of editing would be acceptable.
Major Goal #4: Write one blog post a week
This should be the easiest goal to reach, but one I have found most challenging.
Daily Goal: Spending fifteen minutes each day planning, writing or editing a blog post.
Blogs don’t need to be fancy, deep or profound. They can be simple updates on my writing or excerpts from something I’m working on. Most of the time, I hope it is fresh, interesting content. I want to keep my readers up to date on my writing and let them get to know me better.
I don’t resolve to do any of these goals. I know I will fail and that I won’t reach every daily goal. But I will try to stick to them daily. Changing behaviors is all about the right perspective and momentum. If I can chip away at my goals every day, albeit imperfectly, I can achieve my major goals.
I hope it will be a good year for everyone. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook what goals you plan to pursue this year.
Onward into 2018!
What I’m reading: