HAPPY NEW YEAR!
New Year’s resolutions, I find, are always a bit dangerous. You’re happy after Christmas and New Year’s relaxation and fun times and you feel elated. The sky’s the limit!
There’s always something about the way the New Year makes us feel – it’s not just another month, another day, it’s a new year; a blank slate. What we achieved or didn’t achieve last year is irrelevant; we forgive ourselves our previous shortcomings and draw a line under previous achievements, because we can. Because the new year is exactly that, and will be full of new adventures.
As much as the New Year and its fresh connotations are a good and positive thing, I also find it a bit of a trap. The event of creating goals for oneself for the following year comes around and you feel compelled to join the gang; to write a list of bigger, better things to achieve the next year. It can be fun, and it certainly inspires a positive drive to that gloomy “back to work” episode.
However, as many people who make resolutions (not just writers and creatives) can no doubt attest to, these goals more often than not fall by the wayside. I’m sure you’ll all recognise that feeling of falling behind, or not getting where you want to be fast enough, or the crushing feeling that you may as well give up.
I’m a big list maker, so I can relate to these feelings often. I fall into my own trap by putting far too many things on my weekly lists; including goals that may need more time given to them than I plan in my spur-of-the-moment “I’ll do that this week” list contenders. At the end of (or indeed during) each week I then feel stressed or depressed that I didn’t end up doing the things I wanted to.
SHOULDN’T WE DO THIS ALL YEAR ROUND?
It’s not a case of not bothering making New Year resolutions to prevent disappointment; we all need to make goals and strive to be better. But we should be doing that all year round; not just at New Year.
There’s no real need to draw a line under previous achievements, nor a need to make big resolutions just because it’s the thing people do at New Year. Of course, everyone functions differently, and making big goals may work for some, but I find that I need to back away from that and instead concentrate on what I need; what works for me.
DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Over the past few years I’ve been learning loads more about myself, and I’ve found that I need to make small goals, continually – much like making weekly lists – but ones that are relevant to me personally and which are definitely achievable within the given time-frame. I’ve found that making small goals to improve my well being helps with general enthusiasm and determination, and making smaller writing goals (often) helps build up to bigger achievements.
LITTLE AND OFTEN
I think we all know what our major goals are in life, or even what our major goals are for any month or year. But instead of listing them at the start of each year, I strive to continually self-improve, continually learn and continually make small goals to better myself and my work. By doing this I am happier more of the time, and more productive with it. Sometimes we need to make negative goals into positive ones. Read more about this here!
So, I guess what I’m saying is don’t feel pressured to make major resolutions each year. Instead, make smaller resolutions all the time. Chip away, digest in chunks, and work your way to success bit by bit. Have those major goals in the back of your mind, like back-burning fuel, but be realistic each week and each month. And remember to forgive yourself if you stumble a bit. I’m hoping that by doing this, I’ll achieve even more this year.
First up, I’m aiming to get a children’s story idea down as a rough draft this week; the inspiration for which struck me whilst out walking during the Christmas holidays. Perhaps I might share my small goals with you all on this blog, and let you know how I get on. If you’re doing the same, let me know!
How do you deal with New Year resolutions, and goals throughout the year? Do you find major goals work as resolutions, or are you with me on the “little and often” method?