Friday, January 30, 2015

Just Pick Three And Make ‘em Work

By Velda Brotherton

The first week of 2015 revealed many, many posts on Face Book and various groups declaring long lists of resolutions. Some even admitted they hadn’t kept the previous year’s. I’m always amazed at people setting goals so high they can’t possibly keep them. So why not try to be practical and not expect quite so much of yourselves?

Let’s face it, we all know deep down what we are capable of, so asking so much more of ourselves seems futile. Why not have a heart to heart with the inner you, the centered you, whatever you want to call that self who dwells in the core of you?

Here it is the end of January. Have you done anything this month toward the resolutions or goals you set when we left 2014 behind? If not I advise you first, to sit down with your list and take a really good look at it. Pick what you want to accomplish in your career more than anything else this year.

This will be number one. Be it write a book, learn a new craft, become an expert in your field. So tomorrow, first thing, sit down to that blank page and type Chapter One and start writing. Or go online and get instructions for that afghan you wanted to make. Or arrange for classes that will help you become that expert. No excuses, no ands, ifs, or buts. Arrange to change your career, advance in it, or retire and take up something new.

Second, pick one item on your list that relates to your personality, attitude or interactions with people. Throw the rest away and concentrate on that one resolution. If it’s be more kind, thoughtful and gracious to both friends and strangers or call someone with whom you’ve had problems recently and make up. That’s a good start and this is something you can do all year. Make new friends, treasure the old ones.

Third, choose a single crazy wish, call it from your bucket list if you want, and make sure you arrange to accomplish that desire. Make reservations, set a date, invite a friend or relative, hubby if you have one, to go with you.

Now, don’t you feel better having set in motion three major resolutions? What happens to the others? Throw them away, you weren’t going to keep them anyway.

A few years ago my career in writing took a plunge when the New York publishers went from thirty or more to six. Heads rolled, editors were fired, writers dropped. We fell hard and tail between my legs I whimpered for a while, then said to heck with this, and began writing for the regional, nonfiction market.

While doing that I wrote fiction, one novel after another. My goal? Get back into writing and being published in fiction. Finishing one nonfiction book, I went to work marketing it and wrote another western historical romance. After a few years of working toward my goal while selling nonfiction to small publishers, I managed to meet the acquisitions editor of a fast growing ebook publisher. By the time she’d bought my historical romance, the house was also releasing books in print. I now have four books with them, one with another small publisher, another with yet another small publisher and a four book contract with an up and coming new house. Those books I wrote over the past few years have all but one found a home, and it will soon. Because that’s on my list.

I’m telling you this for a reason. Tenacity and a love for writing allowed me to set goals I was able to keep. Each year I would turn out two or more novels, determined to meet that goal to continue to be a published author in the fiction field. I could have also added a lot of impossible resolutions for myself. But when I couldn’t keep them I would have felt like a failure.

So I don’t believe in long lists, whether at the beginning of the year or anytime we feel down and need a boost. Try three and don’t quit till you accomplish them. You’ll feel so good, so fulfilled, so content. It’s not too late to revise that resolution list. Slash it deep until all that’s left are the three items you most want to complete in 2015.

Let me know what three things you’ve picked for this year. It will be fun to watch you achieve your goals.



Charles Gramlich said...

I don't really make "resolutions," I make plans, and know that I won't always be able to achieve those.

Liane Spicer said...

I stopped making resolutions years ago because they would just move from one year's list to the next.
"Lose 30 pounds!"
"Save X dollars every month!"
"Repair my field watch!"
So I've been using a task list instead. The list is always current: I'm continually adding items and crossing out others as I complete them. I find that works for me, albeit far from perfectly.

I like your idea of choosing one item from those different areas of your life, though.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I generally don't make New Years resolutions but I do think of ways to improve my happiness and my personality. Two years ago, for the first time in decades, I made one resolution. It was to come out of my comfort zone and try something new.

Amazing things can happen when you come out of your comfort zone. It allowed me to expand the genres I wrote in and explore small and/or not-traditional publishers. It got me actively promoting my books using all media available to me. It is indeed wonderful when you can pick one new year's resolution and accomplish it.

Velda Brotherton said...

Some great suggestions here. I'm glad so many people have given up resolutions for things more solidly based for their lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I didn't choose any resolution for my writing because I felt I'd put myself forward in that area. My husband and I made one absolute resolution that we would NOT break any resolution made under any circumstance. Then we made a single, reasonable resolution. Every time we start to break it, we remember that the major resolution was to keep it and so far it's been easy. You're right about making resolutions that you are unlikely to keep.

lindathorne said...

Somehow I left a message above under "anonymous." Meant to use my name, so I'm posting again to stay this.