Is anyone really sad to see the backside of 2013? I’m not. I think the year held a record of lows for me personally…caring for my mother through 3 surgeries, and then succumbing to the surgeon’s knife myself. It’s been a tough year. I know very few authors who can push ahead and write through pain and fear and depression. OK, some can, I can’t, so my 2013 word count sucked. Fewer words written mean fewer releases, which means a dip in my income.
Historically, my New Year’s resolutions are pretty wimpy, designed to prevent failure. My resolution for 2012 was “Do Better.” LOL! I think I was sitting in the hospital with Mom for 2013, so if I made a resolution, I’ve forgotten what it was.
This year, I decided to make a resolution that’s a little more defined. One that will have a concrete effect on my day-to-day life. This year I resolve to be better organized in my professional life. Once I made that resolution, I looked around the house and decided to start with my environment…specifically, my bedroom.
In the closet.(Insert sounds of doom…)
I’m a bit of a hoarder as far as clothing is concerned. What we wear is so personal and imbued with our experiences, our hopes and our pain. I rarely let anything go. Which leads to a very full closet. To top it off, Levi sleeps in one end of the closet so that half can’t hold longer garments like dresses.
Enthused by my decision (and worried about shopping for an upcoming cruise) I jumped the annual gun yesterday and dove in.
Oh my heck…the dust! LOL! There was stuff in there I haven’t seen in years! Maybe decades! Old business wear from when I had an office job, and dog show clothes I no longer need. The pants I wore to my aunt’s funeral seven years ago. A pair of ethnic Taiwanese shirts a friend gave me. They never did fit. The red and black sushi chef jacket Kazu gave me all those years ago…
I had a “keep” pile and a “toss” pile, and a pile of “I’m not sure.” By the end of the day, I’d filled three big garbage bags and still have a stack of “I’m not sure.” Those will probably be tossed. The unexpected benefit? I’ve lost weight and found a bunch of smaller sizes. The Taiwanese shirts finally fit. To my chagrin, my favorite velvet tops don’t. Those went into a new pile for potential alterations.
Next will be the office. And then the hard drive...
I chose this resolution because organization equates time. I can spend an hour searching for a letter or receipt or go straight to the file and pull it out. I can find a specific book on the shelf rather than digging it from a pile. And when my life is organized, my brain functions a little better.
I’m a big believer in setting goals. I learned about short term and long term goals as a kid attending the Mormon Church. Later, I attended a Steven Covey training to learn to use my Day Planner, and that reinforced what I already knew. But I rarely use that knowledge in my daily life.
I am a hot mess. LOL!
And what is a resolution anyway? Well, it’s basically a statement of determination and purpose. I will lose weight in 2014. I will organize my life. I will…probably forget all about this by February.
But take a slightly different look at your resolution. It’s really a baby goal. It’s intent. Yet neither a goal nor a resolution will get off the ground without a plan.
In 2014, I will write a novel.
In 2014, I will to paint my house.
In 2014, I will stop smoking.
Nice resolutions. They’re defined, have a time frame, and frankly, they are achievable, if not easy. So how are you going to carry out your resolution? Is it a viable, realistic goal? One that you can achieve? Do you understand why you're choosing that resolution and how to make it happen?
Write that resolution down. Once you write down a resolution, it becomes a goal. And when you have a goal, you have the beginnings of a plan…a roadmap to where you want to be. Break it down into smaller components. Make mini-goals.
In 2014, I want to organize my life better.
Why? So I can clear my mind,, optimize my time and function better as a writer.
How? I will start in my bedroom, which is my most personal space.
I will sort through my closet, identifying those items I will keep, donate, throw away or sell.
I will then return my clothing to my closet and sort it, making sure it is clean and in good repair.
You can follow this sort of plan with any goal, whether it’s writing a book, losing weight or learning to paint. You might resolve to travel or have an adventure. Make a wish list. If you want to visit the Great Wall of China, write it down and find out what it’ll take to make it happen. Then go step-by-step.
Don’t get discouraged by failure. Things happen. Pounds come back and plans go awry. Writers get blocked and flights get cancelled. Be determined. Be flexible. Don’t set an impossible goal and set yourself up for failure.
In our lives, we always have room for improvement. Unfortunately, we can also be our own worst enemy. So before you casually declare those resolutions at midnight, think about what you want to do and why you’re doing it. Then educate yourself and make a plan.
Out with the old and in with the new.
Happy New Year! May 2014 be brilliant!