Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If you do, how does it work for you? I'm one of those who gave up after years of fine resolutions and less than fine implementations. Now, when pressed for a resolution, my favorite is, "I resolve to include dark chocolate in my diet regularly." This meets the requirements of being something that is good for me – we all know that dark chocolate is healthy, right? – and being a goal I can easily attain.
For my writing, rather than make resolutions that don't have a chance ("I will write 500 words a day every day"), I prefer to list reminders – those things that I forget when deep in a project or feeling as if I haven't accomplished anything beyond being frustrated. Rather than "I will write every day" it will be "Do something for a writing project every day." That allows me to include writing a blog for Active Rain, finding articles in the newspaper, or clipping something from a Smithsonian magazine. Heck, it even counts if I only Tweet once on Twitter! It can also be networking with other business owners, visiting a museum or craft show with a friend, or drafting an article to contribute to the local business journal. All of it feeds into the writing and publishing.
A reminder can also be, "Stand up and walk away." I don't know about you, but I tend to keep after something that isn't working, whether it's a sentence or a software program, until I'm ready to use my laptop as a Frisbee®. Persistence is good – it's one of the characteristics that makes a successful real estate professional. Dogged head banging against brick walls is not good. So I have to remind myself to put space between me and the nemesis du jour so that some fresh air can blow through. There's always something else that needs attention.
"What can I do that makes a difference?" That's an important one. Is there anyone who doesn't want to make a difference, to feel that the world (or some small corner of it) is better for you having been here? This is one that can easily get lost in busyness, which is why it's on my reminder board. It doesn't have to be a big thing; sometimes all it takes is a phone call or a card that says, "I'm thinking of you."
One of the most important reminders is a question: "Am I still having fun?" Some days the answer is a growl, but I know that's situational and will pass. Other days it's a chair wiggle, a grin, and a flip of the head; that's good. If the answer ever comes back a flat, battleship gray "No," there will be changes ahead. Because it just isn't worth spending what little time we have doing something that saps the spirit.
Am I still having fun? Absolutely! And I hope that you can say the same all through the year ahead.