New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. It’s true, these beginning-of-the-year promises to ourselves often get broken. But that doesn’t mean that resolutions should be written off entirely.

The new year is full hope and promise. Everything is possible! And although the material difference between December 31st and January 1st is negligible to say the least, it feels like a clean slate.

Because I believe that successful writing is all about how it feels, I would love for you to create some New Year’s resolutions to help you start this year off on the right foot.

A resolution is different than a goal, and very different than a plan. It is something that we resolve to do (and usually that takes deep resolve to keep doing). I suggest choosing something that you want to become a habit for you. Something that will make your life better.

But here’s the catch: Don’t choose a resolution that is so completely different from what you are doing now that you can’t sustain it past January 15.

Instead, choose something that can be implemented in “incremental upgrades” (as my business coach Cailen Asher calls them). These are small adjustments, micro-changes– not sweeping changes–that get you closer to living out the life (and career) you want. You implement one and then make sure it sticks before you implement another.

For example, if I want to take care of my body more, an incremental upgrade might be scheduling monthly massages to help my sitting-induced back problems. This is a small change much easier to implement than, for example, going to the gym every day (though going to the gym everyday might be where I eventually want to end up).

When I am doing regular massage and it has become part of my normal routine, then I can implement another incremental upgrade, like walking 10,000 steps a day. Or better–walking 2,500 steps per day more than what I’m doing now. Once this is solidified, regular, and routine, then I can upgrade again by adding another 2,500 steps per day.

I want you to create a New Year’s resolution that can be implemented in incremental upgrades. Here’s an example: I resolve to put writing at the center of my career.

What kinds of incremental upgrades can you create to live out this resolution? Some ideas:

    • Schedule just one hour per week that is an absolutely non-negotiable date with your writing (then later upgrade by another hour, and another).
    • Create a 24-hour waiting period before taking on any new commitments. During that period, ask yourself if the new commitment helps you keep writing at the center or pulls you from your writing.
    • Schedule in a weekly reading time (reading is essential to writing!) and keep it as an appointment.
    • Choose two weeks early in the semester where you will do a writing sprint to push an almost-done project out the door.

Remember, you do one of these upgrades at a time–not everything at once! See how it works? If you create a life-changing resolution–but one that can be implemented in small upgrades–you will be creating a resolution that sticks and that has a real life-changing effect on your year (and your life).

If you want more ideas on how to upgrade your writing practice this year, join me for the Writing Reset! We’re hitting the reset button on your writing practice so that you can make 2019 your best writing year ever. Join me for live videos January 7-11 designed to give you easy-to-implement strategies for more–and better–writing this year.

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