Some may drop out because they're not a good fit for the exercise routine, which is certainly acceptable. The others probably drop out because they're not seeing the results they expected. But what were those expected results?
Resolutions are lofty dreams. "I will make the NYT Best-Seller List." Or "I will make enough money writing to quit my day job." Or even, "I will finish three books this year." What people need to do is set goals. Around my house, resolutions are things I make for my husband.
The difference between a dream and a goal is that you can measure the latter. You can control it. You have absolutely no control over most dreams. They're nice, and they make a great starting point. But you have to break them down into measurable bits. The key word here is measurable.
Let's look at that last one. "I will finish three books this year." How? Let's look at the very basics. How much do you have to write to produce three books? First, based on the genre you write, you need to know about how long each book will be. My mysteries run about 85,000 words; my romantic suspense books come in at a little over 100,000. My romantic suspense books sell better than my mysteries, so assuming I'm still thinking I can crank out 3 good books, it makes sense to write 2 romantic suspenses and 1 mystery. That's 285,000 words.
There are 365 days in the year. There are 12 months in a year. Fifty-two weeks. Each week has 7 days. Each day has 24 hours. Everything that you have to do in your life has to fit in there. Family, day job, household routines—everything. Writing is one part of that day.
I'm no math whiz, but 285,000 divided by 365 comes out to about 781 words a day. That's every day. If you want one day a week off, then it's more like 910 words. If you're writing 5 days a week—well, you get the drill. Is that reasonable for you? Because you CAN measure it. You can look at how many words you write each day and see whether you're meeting your goal.
And goals need to be flexible. If you can't handle 800-900 words a day, then you decide whether you can find another hour in your day, maybe by getting up an hour earlier or staying up an hour later, or working through your lunch hour, or (gasp!) not playing on Facebook or watching television! If you can't handle that, then you can change your goal to something you can manage. And it can go the other way, too.
The important thing is to look at your goals regularly. Daily, once a week, once a month, three times a year. Get a 'goal buddy' and egg each other on. It doesn't have to be for writing. I now have a FitBit and I've found the "My Fitness Pal" website which sync together. They track exercise and food. They make those dreams of losing 10 pounds into goals because you can measure them. It's not measuring what the scale says, it's measuring how many steps, how many flights of stairs, and what food actually goes into your mouth. Stick to those goals, and the scale will follow.
What kind of goals do you set for yourself? How do you track them?
Don't make resolutions. Set goals. Click to tweet.
|Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She's the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.|