A Writer’s HAPPY New Year

I finished my 2014 list of goals and exchanged them with a writing friend. We have been doing this for several years. This year, though, making my list (and reading hers) left me exhausted and depressed.

Not the “happy new year” feeling I was going for!

What was wrong? Both lists included so many good ideas! There were things to eliminate (wasting time online, blood sugar crashes from junk food) and things to add (a marketing course, write another e-book).

It sounded like a year long “to-do” list.

Turning Resolutions Upside Down

Then I read a devotional by Elizabeth Crews which included the following:

Almost without exception, all the usual resolutions we make on New Year’s Day are macho, austere, and instantly depressing. Most of our resolutions only succeed in casting a grey pall over the brand New Year. Midnight strikes and we vow to lose twenty pounds, or rise an hour earlier every day in order to master some new work-skill. We promise ourselves we will give up chocolate, or TV, or fats, or carbs—and then suddenly we realize that a whole year of doing without stretches out ahead of us.

But what if we looked at the New Year as a sea of possibilities? What if we resolved to relax more, or sleep more, or play more? What if, instead of resolving to shed ten pounds, we look to add five new friends? In other words, what if we resolved to be more of what we can be, instead of resolving just to be less of what we already are?

How can we apply this positive, even fun, principle to a writer’s new year’s resolutions?

Fueled By Possibilities

I took another look at my 2014 goals. There wasn’t one single fun thing on the single-spaced, two-page list.

Even though I preach all the time about building in renewal time, I rarely do it. I keep thinking I will, when “life slows down.” I realized this week that I have been saying this literally for decades. Several decades, actually.

If not now, when?

A 2014 Resolution Do-Over

I am going through my goals list again. I am adding goals geared toward renewal. I have quite a number of speaking engagements this year. I need to build in several trips–even just day trips–that are pure renewal.

I have a long list of writing and business books I want to read, and a speed reading course I plan to take so I can get through them. But I need to add a list of fiction books (including favorites to slowly re-read) as part of my renewal time.

While the calendar is still fairly blank, I need to pencil in renewal time: an extra day after speaking at a conference for rest, lunch with friends I’ve lost touch with, a special movie, and other things that I find renewing. Your list will be different, but if you don’t make one NOW–and add it to your calendar–the time will get away from you.

Do It Now!

If you don’t fill in some of the blank squares on your 2014 calendar yourself, others will fill them all in for you. Guaranteed.

So take some time and make sure the things on your goals list will help you have a HAPPY new year, and not just a productive one. The nice thing about that is, happy writers ARE more productive writers.

A win-win situation. So this year, have yourself a truly happy new year.

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16 Responses to A Writer’s HAPPY New Year

  1. Thank you, Kristi! Renewal and fun sound so much better than “resolutions” and will be more effective and lead to more productivity in the long run! Happy New Year!

    • kwpadmin says:

      Jane, that is so true. It really DOES boost productivity in the long run. And since we want to last for the long haul, build in that recovery time! :-)

  2. Kate Wilson says:

    This is a lovely, lovely idea, Kristi–thank you!

  3. Sandra Bradbury says:

    Thanks, Kristi for giving us a new perspective for New Year’s goals! I love it and I plan to include some of these in my goals. Happy New Year!

    • kwpadmin says:

      You’re welcome, Sandra. I used to look at the renewal time as “bribes” I shouldn’t have to have to keep going, but after reading books like THE POWER OF FULL ENGAGEMENT, I realize that this God-given, built-in need for recovery time after ANY kind of expenditure (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) is so that we don’t burn out. Renewal time is the smart thing to do!

  4. Audrey McLaughlin says:

    I appreciate the sentiment of this post Kristi. I have learned over the years that “success” is not really success if my life hasn’t had balance throughout the process of getting that success. What is life about or worth, if we never have time to refresh and replenish ourselves along the way? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I also have a question for you…do you have a place where you post the locations of where you will be speaking or presenting workshops?
    Happy New Year!

  5. Andy says:

    Great post and perspective on things. I always try to spend some time re-energizing through out the year, but I think its more happen stance than plan. Will work on pencilling that into my calendar.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Yes, me too! And my “happenstance” wasn’t happening much at all anymore. It’s just so easy to squeeze in one more thing and squeeze out renewal time. We always pay eventually though. I decided I’d rather spend my time off renewing when I felt good than having to take time off for being sick and not getting to enjoy it at all. :-)

  6. Kim Fisch says:

    Amazing post, Kristi!

  7. MizB says:

    Kristi — I agree… definitely good to add in good, fun, happy things to your list!

    For the past couple of years, I’ve started choosing one word to guide my year. And this year, I built my goals off of that word. My word is “Free”. I want to live more “authentically”, and be free to be myself. ;)

    I also loved what author, Arlene Dickinson, had to say about “doing away with resolutions“.

    Best wishes to you in 2014, Kristi!


    • kwpadmin says:

      MizB, thanks for your comment and your links. That article was good…course corrections throughout the year are better than resolutions made (and forgotten) once per year! And she’s so right that it’s easier to spot unhealthy behaviors in others, but hard to see it in ourselves!

      I like your “free” word. Authenticity is fun to be–and to be around! :-)

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