Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Resolutionaries

I went to my gym last week and noticed that the number of new members nearly tripled from the usual number I see at this time. As I was doing my 30 minutes on one of the climbers, I glanced at the crowd and knew in about a month or two the numbers would dwindle and eventually the same familiar faces would remain. It’s so typical, and sad. I don’t go as often as I should, but I do go every week. Why to do some pay for a gym membership and then give up after a month or two while others have the motivation to continue, at least somewhat regularly?

The same could be asked about writers. Many people say, “I could write a book.” Many start and only a few complete one. Of those who complete a book, only a small number have the courage to send their work out and try to get published. Rejection usually follows for new writers. And those who get rejected, dozens or hundreds of rejections, continue to stay motivated for as many as 3, 5, 10 or more years before they are published. What motivates them?

People can find excuses for NOT doing things, and NOT accomplishing goals. The ones who succeed don’t allow excuses or anything to stand in their way. I recently took Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer’s Workshop,, a course I recommend every serious writer to take. It was very helpful for establishing my writing career plan, setting specific goals, focusing on the steps needed to accomplish these goals, and understanding the why, what, how, and where relating to these goals so I knew the changes I had to make. A lot of work and very worthwhile.

A couple of tips for success:

~Write down specific goals. Write them down and post them somewhere so you can see them daily.

~Break the goals down to manageable chunks. Accomplishing small goals will encourage you to work toward the bigger and harder goals.

~Make changes, set a plan or routine and stick with it. If it’s a writing goal, set a page count. Write the pages down on a calendar. Use a timer to make yourself sit in the chair and write. Turn off email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Watch less TV. Get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later.

~Set short-term and long-term goals. 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, 5 years, etc. Make a list.
Make a NOT-do-list. Find things in your daily routine that you can STOP doing to give yourself more time to write (or exercise).

~Treat/reward yourself when you have a success.
Be bold, take risks, have the courage to try something new. Meet people, network, take a class, etc.

~Besides making a list of your goals, make a list of last year’s accomplishments.

~Don’t get discouraged by other people’s successes. This is tough. You’re goals are you’re goals. Keep the focus on your goals. Observing how other people became successful is good if you use it as a learning method, a guide, not as a means to get discouraged.

~Take action, don’t give up, evaluate and revise goals as needed. These achievements are under your control.


Nancy Henderson said...

Great post, exactly what I need this time of year. I just bought a new planner. I'm in the process of writing out my weekly, monthly, yearly goals. And I need to get to the gym too! LOL

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Nancy. Great going. The planner really helps me too. I wrote my goals and posted them on a bulletin board. I also write my word counts in the planner and project when I should be done with a WIP. The gym? I am going to one closer to home so I do go more often. But it's tough some days.

Regina Carlysle said...

This is perfect for January. I learned a long time ago that HUGE New Years Resolutions are too much for me. I set smaller goals. If I really want to lose 20 lbs. I'll set a goal of ten. Same with writing goals. Instead of 10 pages a day, I set a goal of 3. Usually I'll meet that goal and actually do more. It's a system that works for me. If I set my goals too big, I end up feeling as though I failed and that's NOT good for me. :-)

Amber Skyze said...

Great post Kathy. Like Nancy, I just bought a planner and have been setting small managable goals. I wish I could say I've been getting words on pages, but I'm not. I am editing so I'm moving forward in one aspect. :)

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Regina, Totally agree with setting your goals too high. Achieving small successes help me stick with the bigger ones. Setting big goals are fine, but set small ones too.

Hey Amber, Great that you're moving forward. Don't worry, the words will come. Hang in there, sweetie.

Titania Ladley said...

Some very good and encouraging words, Kathy. I'll have to check out the Bob Mayer workshop, sounds like it would be well worth it. LOL, what a cute cartoon!


Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Titania, Yes, the workshop was very helpful. Forced me to get my act together.

Anita Birt said...

Goals and motivation. I shall set small goals because I'm facing a major health issue. One hour a day to start. Motivation is something else! That means concentrating on a story line and keeping at it. I shall do my best. Thanks for the blog. Make me smile at myself.

Autumn Jordon said...

Great post, Kathy. I think your advice about not being discouraged by the success of others is right on. You don't have my life and I don't yours and we don't have someone elses pressures. It's important to set our own goals, strive toward them and celebrate when we achieve them. Very important!

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Anita, Taking care of your health is very important. Start small and work up is fine. Persistence makes a difference.

Hi Autumn, Ditto everything you said. Couldn't have said it better. So right!

Mary Kennedy said...

This is a wonderful post, Kathy. Love the idea that setting goals and meeting them is "under our control," because so many other thingsin life aren't. (like our writing careers! )And yes, I hear ya about the gym--you're right, it's always packed right after the holidays, and then the numbers dwindle.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Mary, Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to think we have something under our control. :)