Set Goals, Not Resolutions

By Erica Root

To me, New Year’s resolutions have always been synonymous with failure. And almost always have to do with losing weight.

I see resolutions as adding a habit, or making a lifestyle change. I resolve to eat better, I resolve to lose weight. Goals are something specific. As in, I’m going to lose ten pounds. I am going to bungee jump.

That is why I prefer to set goals at the start of each New Year. After too many failed resolutions, I find it easier to outline goals I want to achieve and then go for them.

Last year’s goal was simple: to run a half-marathon.

OK, so it wasn’t that simple. I had to train, find others to run with me, and then actually run the thing – but – it was achievable. It felt so amazing to work toward my goal that I even wrote about it for GOTG.

With December flying by, I’ve started to reflect on my amazing 2014. I ran a half-marathon (did I mention that?), got my first post published on Girls on the Grid, and became the Vice President of the Feminist Democrats of Sacramento (an amazing local club). The latter two achievements fall under a broader set of resolutions of mine: to write more and be more active in the community. So I guess I am not completely against resolutions. Just ones that come at New Years.

So what’s next? I have a bunch of goals at any one time, but the goal I am setting for next year is very clear in my mind: finish writing my book.

 

Last year I successfully completed National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you’ve ever been even the slightest bit tempted to write a book, you should give NaNoWriMo a shot. It takes place every November and participants are challenged with writing 50,000 word novel by the 11:59pm on November 30.

A year ago November I frantically wrote at least 1,667 words a night to hit the ambitious 50,000 word goal. I was immensely relieved when I did, effectively ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo. Their words, not mine. I even bought myself a commemorative shirt as a means of celebrating.

By the time those 30 days of purging my story into my google doc were up I had reached my word count goal, but not the end of my story.

It’s still unfinished.

In the past year I’ve gone through short bouts of writing, hoping to gradually add to my story; I managed to write a few thousand words while on a flight to DC and a few more when a friend and I tried 750 words a day back in July. But for the most part, my book has been stuck in a sort of limbo.

 

Which is crazy.

 

And it’s making me crazy for not having it finished.

That’s exactly why I need to get it done in 2015. My characters deserve the happy ending I had planned and I intend to give it to them. And I deserve some peace of mind for completing my pet project that has been in the works for far too long.

Now you may have noticed that I didn’t say anything about finding a literary agent, publishing my book, and turning it into the next international bestseller. That’s because if I want to do any of those things, I would actually have to do the first step: finish writing my book.

So while I still have some larger, loftier life-time goals, I am setting just one big one for next year. Who’s with me?

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