New Year’s Goals: Do you even remember them?

Back in January I set goals for the year. In years past, I set very specific goals: finish novel, save money for a new house, train dog to eat the neighbor’s flowers, et cetera. Most of which I failed to accomplish by the end of December.

Cue the pity party music and drolling woe-is-mes. You know, all those things that make a person unbearable to be around. And the party rages on until I reset the cycle by setting new goals. See the pattern?

This year I took a new approach and focused on three words, Fortitude, Adaptability, and Follow-through. The way I figured it, as long as I kept those three words in the forefront of my thoughts, it would positively effect my daily life. Everything I accomplish would be pluses, and the lack of specificity would make it almost impossible to fail.

Here’s how it’s going so far.

My fortitude faltered somewhere around the beginning of summer. The evil bastard part of my brain that speaks harsh words and untruths had nearly convinced me to throw in the writing towel. There was no time for this hobby of mine, it would say. By the end of summer my fortitude strengthened and I found my way back to pen and paper, the evil bastard properly bound and gagged. My output is back up, and there is no question that I intend to write through to my grave day.

That’s right about the same time my adaptability kicked in and had me bending about like a master Yogi. I had to create ways to get writing time. Set small goals, in lieu of large ones. Carve out new writing digs. Dust off old ones. It boiled down to being satisfied with multiple small output periods (SOP) a day and one or two large output periods (LOP) a week. I used to balk at SOPs, figuring they didn’t do me any good. The math shows otherwise. Four SOPs a day at 100-150 words yields between 400-600 words a day versus the alternative to not write at all. Four hundred is more than zero. So long story short (too late), I sucked it up and now do SOPs.

My first real act of follow-through came late this year. A novel isn’t finished after the first draft, or even after light revisions. It comes after weeks and months of cutting, rewriting, deleting, pasting back in, five empty bottles of scotch, and a plethora of paper cuts. So I cracked open my first manuscript and attacked with red ink. It looked a bloody mess and still does. I won’t lie. It’s like pulling teeth. Sans the Novocaine. Those are the moments I look to the future, to the pretty polished manuscript you’d never guess needed braces. In the end, it’ll all be worth it.

That’s my track so far. Good and bad, but making it through. How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to cheer your successes as well as commiserate any set backs. I for one have had them both.

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