New Years resolutions are almost a joke these days. I’ve never been much of a resolution-setter myself, for no particular reason, but when I have set resolutions, they have rarely been big ones, and I have rarely kept them.
I think that the stigma that New Years resolutions have makes it that much harder to keep them. I mean, I was watching the news on January 1st and they were already giving statistics on how many people failed at their resolutions by the end of the first week. They can’t even give us one day of hope? It was depressing.
On Saturday, my husband made me stay home with him all day to take down Christmas decorations and prepare for the year ahead. He even made a cute little evite and sent it to me the day before I got home, inviting me to “Stay at Home Saturday!”
After the Christmas ornaments were nestled all snug in their boxes and the apartment looked presentable, he sat me down to talk about my goals for the next year.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have never done anything like this before. Apparently people do things like this for their jobs, with their bosses, but that’s not how we roll in the music industry, so I was completely new to it.
He had me start out with lofty goals, things I wish I could get done this year, even if they seem out of reach. Personal and business, whatever I could think of. Things like, finish and polish my novel, live off of only freelance income, learn to play guitar.
Then we added some more practical yearly goals, like working out three times a week, having quiet time five times a week, taking four courses to enhance my writing and editing skills.
Then we broke it down into quarterly goals, like gaining three new clients each quarter, having a working marketing plan by the end of the first quarter, taking one writing or editing course each quarter.
Next came monthly goals, breaking it down even further. 2,300 words a week on my novel (about 10,000 words a month) until it is finished, have meaningful contact with fifteen potential clients each month, gain one new client a month.
And lastly, we worked on my goals for January. Have my portfolio website up and running by the end of the month. Create an excel sheet to keep track of clients I want to contact/have contacted. Work out Tuesday and Saturday of each week. Get new tires.
I even went as far as writing out a weekly schedule, broken down by the hour every day.
This was no flimsy New Years resolution.
This was a plan.
I can honestly tell you that I never would have done something like this on my own, and I probably would have told you that I’d do anything before sitting down to make a list of goals for myself. But wow, once I did it, I felt great. I mean, I have a list of things that I can sit and look at and say, I may not get all of these things done, but I have a plan, and I’m pretty sure that the way I have it planned, I can make a lot of progress.
Not to mention, if I hadn’t taken the time to think through these things with Marshall, I probably never would have thought of a lot of them. And they would have sat in the back of my mind only to come up in daydreams, when I remembered that I had always wanted to play the guitar.
So if you have a New Years resolution this year, I’m proud of you. And I hope you haven’t broken it already, like the news says you probably have. But if you want something a little bit more involved, more detailed, something that feels ambitious yet concrete, I’d strongly recommend taking some time to sit down and turn it into a goal. Line it out with a few other goals you have, even, to add to the list. Even if you never plan to look at them again, just try it. You certainly won’t regret it, and you might be really glad you gave it a try. I was.
-the New Year me