Welcome back. We haven’t talked since last year! (Yeah, it’s an oldie–but a goodie, right?)
Do you have shiny new plans for 2017? Notice I didn’t mention New Year’s Resolutions. That’s because people make them, break them, and then feel bad.
Resolution = wrong word
A “resolution” sounds like a one-time thing. Flip a switch, and voilà. Wave a magic wand, and presto. In reality, projects, plans, and personal changes are dynamic and require ongoing input and effort. Changes manifest over time.
Even if instead of “I’m going to lose weight,” you say “I’m going to start exercising,” or instead of “I’m going to finish my book,” you say “I’m going to write every day,” there are “off” days and setbacks that can make you feel like you’ve failed your resolution or are not upholding your commitment. Instead of a one-time event, making a change or succeeding at something is a process.
View the big picture, break it down, and make a plan. If you need them, set deadlines. (These work better for writing than for metabolism, which has a mind of its own!)
January 1st of a new year may be a convenient marker, but you have all year to work on or re-implement your project, plan, or personal change. Just don’t fall into the trap of “tomorrow”: when tomorrow comes, it’s today, and tomorrow is still a day away. And so it goes that tomorrow never comes, and you never get anything done. Set goals with dates attached. Stay flexible (life happens). Celebrate the small steps and the milestones.
New beginnings: timelines and outlines
In my case, starting up new projects or making substantial changes in January in Edmonton just doesn’t make sense. The other seasons–when there is light and warmth–work better for new beginnings.
However, I do make general plans–kind of like an outline. Now that I have book obligations (unlike my pre-published days when I was working on my first manuscript), I put book projects and writing events on a timeline and yearly calendar. Some deadlines are tighter than others, and some dates are critical. These have to be met, whereas others have more flexibility.
My wishes for 2017 are modest. That’s because I’ve tried to have a normal life for the past ten years. So the big change, the grand plan, is to have a normal year, which includes:
- not working 20-hour days
- completing and publishing two books (IRONCLAD, DRUYAN) by Words in the Park time in October (while not working 20-hour days)
- blogging and continuing with author/artist/musician interviews (I need a musician)
- trying to make first-time-ever guitar videos
- planting a new garden for 2017 (make my recipe book finally?)
- a fitness program using Blue Lotus’ 5-day/week tailored training program (I hired Leslie as a personal trainer)
- a road trip, a writing retreat, or something similar
- time off in the summer
- a big if: Ontario trip to visit family and the Great Lakes (good writing/blogging material)
Planned for us in 2017
- interviews and special posts
- writing, editing, publishing
- parenting and education
- gardening and cooking
- weather and seasons
- photography and nature
- outdoors and travel
Do you have aspirations, blog ideas, or plans for 2017? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Related: Wrapping Up a Successful 2016 including 2017 projects, plans, and events.
See also: Three Practical Reasons Why Creativity-Based New Year’s Resolutions Are a Very Bad Idea (And What To Do Instead) in Ryan Lanz’s blog–A Writer’s Path–where Pekoeblaze discusses intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. (Added Jan. 23, 2017.)