“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
On the first day of this year I wrote a treatise on why implementation is so much more important than resolution, especially when it comes to things you want to improve or change over a standard course of time. I know for myself that’s always been the hardest part, the idea of sticking with the plans I make for the year and getting them done. It’s also easier to decide on two major issues and focus on them instead of a long list that is easy to avoid because it’s so large.
At the beginning of this year I wanted to 1) publish another novel, and 2) spend more time with my children. Last year I published my first novel and I was so excited to have it out in the world that I wanted to buckle down again and produce another work that would make me proud. By February I had gone through several massive edits, decided on my cover art, and completed my first resolution. It took serious dedication, which meant setting a goal each and every day, and then accomplishing it.
While it was a labor of love to get through that manuscript, to edit it, and to finally produce it, my second resolution was even more difficult because it wasn’t really quantifiable. There was really no final physical product, just an approximation based on past time spent and ongoing time spent. So I made it relatively quantifiable by making more plans with my kids. I scheduled more playdates, played more games, and created more activities where we were all stars and extras at the same time.
But unlike the resolutions to lose weight and to be better organized that most people tend to favor, the two I chose were attainable with attention and focus, and they have long-term sustainability because they bring me great joy day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong, though. I am still committed to working out, but I’m not resolving to do it because I know I’ll get frustrated when I miss a week if I do that. I know I’ll get it done most weeks, but if a week passes without exercising I’ll still survive. And if things get a little cluttered in my personal space it’s all good. I can organize them in my own spare time, when I feel like it, not because there’s a metaphorical gun to my head saying I have to do it.
So, make your resolutions ones you’ll appreciate rather than ones you think you should have because everyone else is choosing them. Have attainable goals and a set outline of how to achieve each one of them. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. And keep those resolutions simple, that’s the real key. The simpler they are the easier it will be for you to want to accomplish them. Stop wishing this year, and start really planning. You never know where it will take you.