Greetings, readers and writers! January and 2018 have both officially started, and I’m sure that a lot of you have started on your New Year’s resolutions. Heck, I’m guessing a fair number have already failed their resolutions. I personally dislike the concept and have come across what I consider a much better alternative. Let’s call this alternative a New Year’s non-resolution.
I can’t take credit for the idea behind the New Year’s non-resolution. A few days ago, I got an e-mail from The Writer’s Life, which is sent out by American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). The e-mail contained a brief article by Mindy McHorse, executive editor for Barefoot Writer, called “Forget Resolutions: Do THIS for Writing Success”. In this article, McHorse discusses why New Year’s resolutions fail and presents an alternative which she has been doing for years.
I don’t really want to get into why resolutions fail (they’re hard to maintain, we feel like failures if we slip up once, etc.). Instead, I want to focus on McHorse’s alternative. It’s very simple but also very powerful. McHorse’s alternative is to choose one word to guide you and your actions through the entire year.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but this non-resolution has so much potential. One example McHorse gives is if your word for the year is “fun.” Let’s say your asked to go to some social event, like an office party or family dinner. When making your decision, you ask yourself, “Will this be fun?” If you think it will be, you go for it. If you think it won’t, you politely decline. This would save you from a potentially boring or stressful event while also guiding you to outings that will truly make you happy because you would genuinely think they’re fun.
McHorse points out that your word can help you in your writing and in your life overall. It’s not as stressful as a New Year’s resolution because there aren’t any huge expectations for you to fall short of. At the same time, using this word is broad enough that you can apply it to every aspect of your life, from work and writing to your social and private lives.
For my first year enacting a New Year’s non-resolution, I’m choosing the word “balance.” My life has certainly been out of balance this past year and, I think, my entire life. I tend to focus mostly–or entirely–on one thing in my life and let others slip through the cracks. Then, as I scramble to make things right, I become stressed and fail to meet my own expectations. By using the word “balance” to guide my life in 2018, I will be forced to remember that my life shouldn’t be all work or all school, that I have to find time for everything, even if it means cutting back on something in order to achieve a better balance.
Which word will guide your life in 2018? Leave your New Year’s non-resolution in the comments below and check out what other writers have planned! To read McHorse’s article and sign up for The Writer’s Life, follow this link to AWAI website.