Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Christmas Is Over, Now What? Part 2

Christmas is over, the new year is two days away. About this time of year, people start making New Year's Resolutions, setting goals, sometimes making decisions about their lives that may or may not be productive throughout the year.

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I never gave a thought to "new year's resolutions," and from what I saw of older people around me who did, it seemed pretty silly. Those resolutions never seemed to come true, or were even talked about much beyond New Year's Day. So why bother?

As I got older, with a husband and children, I tried to set some goals for myself, or even for the kids, to  have something to work towards. Again, it never seemed to work out the way I wanted. And then I began to wonder why. If you take the time to set out some goals for yourself, why don't you accomplish them? I decided  to start asking people about their resolutions, and if they actually followed through with them during the year. What I found surprised me.

One person told me that in the middle of a New Year's Eve party, standing in front of a gigantic table loaded with delicious, extremely rich food, she told everyone around that her number one resolution for the next year was to lose weight. That year she gained 25 pounds.

Another young lady told me that at midnight on New Year's Eve, she looked around and saw most of her friends kissing their boyfriends, while she stood by, "kissless." Her number one resolutions was to not only get a boyfriend, but to be engaged or married by the following New Year's Eve. The following New Year's Eve, she did have a boyfriend...but not the kind you'd want YOUR daughter kissing!

A male friend told me his resolution for the coming year was to invest for the first time in the stock market, because many of his business associates were making a lot of money. When I asked him if he knew anything about the stock market ( I don't), he said no, but it seemed easy to learn about. He lost a lot of money that year.

What does this all add up to? Making decisions on the spur of the moment, calling them "New Year's Resolutions," and not putting any thought into what that resolution actually means. It appears that a good many people, of all ages, make their "resolutions" exactly the same way. They get caught up in the excitement of the New Year's moment, and whatever comes to their mind becomes a "resolution."

If you have something you truly want to do during the coming year, why make an off-the-cuff decision about it? Why not take the time to think about it, make it a goal to be accomplished, and then think about what it's going to take during the coming year for you to accomplish what you want?

Suppose you have a story started, and you want to turn it into a novel, finish it, and get it off to a few publishers by December 1st. That's your goal. What are the steps, or objectives, you need to take to accomplish that goal? You need to think that much time do you actually have to write each day? Don't set a certain number of words or pages for yourself that you have to struggle to get down. Be realistic in what you can accomplish on a daily basis, and each step will become much easier.

The point is: when you make a New Year's Resolution, give it some time and thought. Is this really what you want to accomplish this coming year? Is it a realistic goal, given your personality, your attitude, your willingness to overcome whatever obstacles might come up during the year, including things like your "real" life: outside job, family, children, etc.  You need to consider all of this before commiting yourself.

If it is important enough to say, This is my goal, then it is important enough for you to take the time to think it through, and come up with the steps you need to take to accomplish the goal. Just be sure you are realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure by deciding that you HAVE to do something each day that simply may not be easily done, due to your other obligations. And LIFE! LIFE has a way of coming at us at the most inconvenient times and under the most inconvenient conditions, so be sure to make allowances for the things you can't control, and make the most of those things you can control.

Make a goal plan, follow that plan to the best of your ability, but don't let it get you down, and don't allow yourself to become discouraged if you fail to do something in the time you've set for yourself. Remember, without failure there is no success. Hmm...somebody famous said that, but I don't remember who!

Happy New Year, everyone, and Happy and Realistic Resolutioning!!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.


  1. My policy is don't make any New Year resolutions. That way there's no promises to break and no heartbreak when things go wrong.

  2. Good idea! I've gotten to the point of setting some goals for myself, but I don't call them "New Year's Resolutions." I don't know, there seems to be something about that phrase that just promises to go wrong!

  3. New Year's Resolutions? I stick with the simple, easy to do ones.

    Goals, I give myself plenty. It feels nice to check them off my list as I accomplish them.

  4. I set a goal for myself each year, but it's more something to aspire to and keep me motivated than something that can come back and bite me in the butt. Last years goal was to finish up as many of my unfinished stories as I could. I didn't set a specific number that I would have to reach to feel successful.

    I also set a goal of having my YA novel ready to pitch by May when I will attend my first conference. I don't make goals like "get an agent by. . ." or "sell my first book by. . ." because I can't control those things.
    And I don't call any of these things New Year's Resolutions, because that just seems like dooming them to failure from the start.

    Happy New Year, Mikki!

  5. It's important to have goals, but it's also important to realize that even if that goal is not within your control to accomplish, it doesn't make it any less a goal. If the only goals we set if life were those we knew we could accomplish, I don't think we'd ever get anywhere. If you already know that everything you want in life is something you can easily accomplish,where is the impetus, the motivation to really get "out there", and work your tail off to accomplish it? It's too easy to say, Oh well, I can do that anytime.

    I think we need to have goals to work toward that we are unsure of, in terms of succeeding.If I only set for myself that which is under my control, it's less intriging, less inspiring, much less apt to make me want to work harder than ever to acchieve it.

    For me, anyway, knowing that what I really want is not necessarily something I can control only makes me work harder to not only achieve that goal but also to find new and innovative ways to go about succeeding.

    Happy New Year, everyone!