New Year’s Resolutions – Succeed by Keeping them Realistic

2020 goals
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I just googled “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” and found several that appeared on almost everyone’s list.

  1. Lose weight (on every list I checked)
  2. Get in shape (a/k/a exercise more)
  3. Get organized
  4. Spend less/save more
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Learn a new skill or hobby
  7. Spend more time with family and friends
  8. Travel more
  9. Enjoy/live life to the fullest
  10. Adopt a healthier lifestyle (i.e., reduce stress, sleep more, eat healthier)

These are all great goals. Unfortunately, for most people, they fall by the wayside pretty early in the year. (Strava, the social network for athletes, analyzed 31.5 million global activities online and found that January 12 is the date when most people report failing their resolution.)

To-do list
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

I’m more of a planner than a resolutions kind of girl. I live by to-do lists. We all hear that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). I’m great at goal-setting, but not so hot at the “attainable” and “realistic” parts of the formula. So I take my to-do lists a step further and put everything into daily schedules. Extreme, I know, but it works for me. I tend to be overly optimistic on what I can accomplish, and when I break the day or week down by hours, it becomes quite clear that I’ve got way more on my to-do list than can possibly be accomplished by one person (and still hope to get any sleep). I also find that some of the items on the resolutions list above, like exercise, spending time with family and friends and enjoying life to the fullest, don’t happen if I don’t consciously schedule them in.

My New Year’s routine starts with making a list of what I hope to accomplish during the year. I’m currently in the midst of three different writing projects. I’ve plotted and done research for a series for Love Inspired Suspense set in Pensacola, Florida. I’ve discussed it with my editor and was in the process of putting together the official proposal when I was asked to write a book for a K-9 search and rescue series (also Love Inspired Suspense). So the Pensacola one will be put on the back burner until I finish the SAR book. I also got my rights back to my first Love Inspired Suspense series and will be editing those books and writing two more, expanding the original three-book series into five books, then indie publishing them.

Here’s what my “Year at a Glance” tab looks like.

Yearly schedule

Three of the column headings are the projects I mentioned above. The others are social media/promo, business, and other engagements. During this initial planning process, I realize that about one third of what I hope to accomplish will have to be pushed into the following year.

When I finish a rough overview of each month, I move to the next stage. Using a calendar, I plug in appointments, speaking engagements, recreation, etc., then figure my daily output on my writing projects, allowing for knocking off at a reasonable time to go bike riding or hit the gym with hubby. This is the point at which I realize I’m still being overly optimistic and have to spread the tasks out a little further. I’m now finished with the first three months. I won’t complete the calendar for the second quarter until I see what has to be moved from the first.

Strategic planning, 1st quarter

So there you have it. I’m making it public. During 2020, I hope to complete two and a half books for Love Inspired Suspense. In my indie-pubbed series, I plan to finish revisions on two books and write one new book. That is all barring the unexpected. Unfortunately, there is ALWAYS the unexpected. That’s what the “cut and paste” function is for.