It is my most sincere hope that you enjoyed your holidays. I can honestly say that this was the most perfect Christmas I have ever experienced. It was a delightful surprise.
With 2014 coming after us like we stole something, I’m finding a lot of my conversations are taking on a familiar shape. It’s hard to believe I’ve only lived to see 24 Januaries because I swear I’ve heard the “new years resolution” ramblings at least 1,000 times.
(image via Flickr)
I would love to encourage you to be better in the coming year than you’ve been in the last, but can I just be honest with y’all? I hate new years resolutions. Hate, hate, hate them!
They’re not realistic.
They become a competition and you spend too much time comparing yourself to others.
You always fail at them and then just give up. And sure, the cool thing about failing is that you’ve at least tried but for many people, a failed new years resolution is like the one river that’s uncrossable. I mean, these are people who can write novels in a month and get published in their first five years of writing and yet, for some reason, a little new years resolution is just the unforgivable failure.
Granted, I have some lofty goals for the year (what can I say? I’m a dreamer) but I also have a more realistic way of looking at my one-year aspirations.
Here are some reminders I know I’ll need to keep handy as I dream for the coming year.
- Be Yourself. Get cozy with this idea because you will never master a single thing you’re trying to do in your life if it doesn’t fit you. I feel like a lot of people only make new years resolutions because they want to look like they’re trying. That brings me to number two:
- Stop Caring What Others Think. How many of your goals are really for you and how many are just to look better to those around you?
- Don’t Put a Time Limit on a Real Dream. I feel like a lot of people mix up a one-year goal and a real dream. For example, this year, I have two stories I want to have published. Will they both get published this year (or at all)? Possibly, but I’m not going to stress myself out if they don’t because there is always next year. Yes, I am determined to do my best there but it is not something that utterly needs to happen in 365 days. Shoot, it could even be five years from now but I’m not going to put a cap on a situation that must happen naturally. Now, there is also a story I am self-publishing. That is a one-year goal I’ve set for myself in 2014 because it is something I have the means to see through at this time in my life. See, it’s great to resolve to take steps towards those goals with literal lists like “Edit My Final Draft”, “Seek a Literary Agent” and even “Seek Publishers”, but to throw “Get my Novel Published Before July or Bust!!!” on the list, I feel like you’re setting yourself up for disappointment… Don’t limit anything you do, not even the time it will take to do it.
- Less Talking, More Doing. Hey guys, did you know my hair is black? I don’t need to talk about it all day or every day because it’s just a fact. So if we don’t spend so much time talking about the real things that make us who we are, why do we make such an obnoxious effort to advertise our resolutions? Just do it. Stop talking, stop begging for others to approve it and just do it. Make a reality, not a resolution. If you’ve resolved to do something different, turn it into your reality. If I wanted to dye my hair purple, that would be something I resolved to make happen. Then I would make it happen because I have the means to do so. It would be a realistic goal I could achieve and feel good about.
- Be Thankful. No matter what happens, remember to look at each day for all of the good things that happened, not the bad and without regrets of what could have been.
I’m down to quit these lofty resolutions like “Go to Paris”, “Reach the Bestseller List” or “Walk to Work Everyday” unless you can truly make that happen this year (and if you can, God bless you!) Otherwise, stick to reality. Make your Parisian trip one of your five year goals or plan to walk to work most days or just be happy knowing you’ve found the right agent. This way the goals will be reached naturally, the pressure is off and you’ll skip the post-new-year month of self-loathing failure. Boom.
(image via Flickr)
Now, let’s go get 2014. Let’s desire to be better this year than we’ve been before. Let’s dare to dream big and keep an open heart about what’s to come.
A new chapter awaits -Sara
P.S. What are some of your goals this year?