Ready, set, new year

If you have a dream to write or create, you probably have your sights set on the new year as a good time to recommit to your goal.

You probably also believe that once we’ve passed through the holiday ring of fire, you’ll have cleared a lot of new space, time, and energy that has otherwise been occupied with shopping, events, and clearing your desk for the holidays.

Glorious guilt and procrastination

And, surprise, surprise, there do tend to be a few glorious days in January of peace and quiet… but usually with the essence of guilt and procrastination swirling around the edges.

Because even though you’ve promised yourself you’ll get started right away on your writing or art or dream, you don’t.

It’s not what you think it is

But don’t feel guilty. It’s completely normal. You see, once you actually have that big block of time you’ve been longing for, the raw, naked fear comes bounding in and masquerades as wanting to sleep in or take some time off after all the hubbub. What’s wrong with that? “Yeah, I know I said I would write today but it’s new year’s day and I just want to get a little more sleep. I just want to spend the day relaxing for a change.”

It looks like needing time off (and you probably do actually need it) but it’s really fear.

Here’s the thing

(And, yes, we’ve talked about this before.)

Resistance comes up around anything worth doing.

We tend to recommit — at least mentally — to the concept of doing those things in the form of new year’s resolutions.

Guess what?

Those resolutions trigger even more resistance.

Which leads to more distractions, and smokescreens, and procrastination. And stress. And self-doubt.

No more stories

There’s ALWAYS something.

Always.

So.

How about instead of making resolutions, we decide to make new life decisions about setting ourselves up for a long-term, sustainable, regular practice of our art? No more grand sweeping gestures and big talk but instead an actual realistic, attainable plan to take small, daily actions to move you toward your goal?

For instance:

  • If you want to write, commit to writing for 15 minutes a day. (We’re offering a “Start The New Year Off Write” special for my Writer’s Circle to help with that. Code: WRITENOW to save $20.)
  • If you want to move your business forward, commit to doing the hardest tasks first (usually marketing, right?), for 15 minutes a day, every day.
  • If you want to paint, set yourself up so that you can paint a little bit every day. Use the two-second rule to make sure your watercolors and sketchbook are close to hand.

Find the smallest increment of absolutely do-able, sustainable, accomplishment you know you can meet, and commit only to that, nothing more. If you find yourself not doing it, make it smaller. And let me know how it goes.

Your turn

Click here to share your thoughts. I love reading your comments and insights.

Build your writing habit

Join the Writer's CircleIf you’re a writer looking for community and support on your writing journey, join our next session of the Writer’s Circle, which starts soon. It’s like a giant sandbox where you get to experiment with your writing habit, see what works, see what doesn’t, and have fun playing alongside other writers committed to showing up and doing the work. Find out more and register here: http://JustDoTheWriting.com

 

Warmly,

 Jenna

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Comments

  1. I was just thinking about my new year’s resolutions when I found this post. That is some very good advice. Setting yourself a goal that’s a little simpler, like writing 15 min a day, can help get anyone going. Some days you’ll be able to just write for 15 min. Other days you’ll be able to write more. Being realistic makes it more attainable, and it will be just as sweet at the end of the year when you are able to keep it.

    • Jenna says:

      SO true, Brittany. When we set attainable goals, we set ourselves up to succeed, which creates a positive mindset and in turn leads to more not less of what we love. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Shauna says:

    It’s so true. We look for the sweeping gesture and the grand finale and the “Great American ___” and become daunted, while those who become turtles are the ones who move forward and make it. Tiny, manageable bits — I moved forward when a friend gave me “permission” to write my favorite parts first, the scenes I can see vividly; it’s okay to string them together later. Who knew that was allowed? No one at film school ever told me I could do that. :)

    • Jenna says:

      Shauna, great idea to write your favorite parts first, I love that. Isn’t it funny how deeply we absorb the “rules” and then need permission to move outside them?

  3. Tineke says:

    You know what? I already started trying the 15 minute thing a little while ago and it truly does work! I feel less over whelmed and will actually sit down and write or paint or sing…whatever inpires me at that moment. It’s so much easier to commit to a small time frame and accomplish SOMETHING than to have big ideas and big chunks of time set aside that you let life sweep you away from. I have noticed that using this approach gets me in front of my project more often and for longer periods of time once I start. Cheers everyone!

    • Jenna says:

      Fantastic! Good for you Tineke. Isn’t it amazing what that small shift in one’s approach can do?

      • Tineke says:

        It really is! It’s a working progress but I just feel so much better….not guilty all the time that I didn’t work on that “thing” again. :)

        • Jenna says:

          That’s what I’m talking about! Rock on with your bad self. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] goals for myself so that I can narrow my focus and truly accomplish something. It’s like Jenna Avery says in her blog (another that I follow), “Instead of making resolutions, we decide to make new life […]

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