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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tackling 2013 commitments – six steps to ensure success

We’re only 10 days into the new year so everyone should be going strong with their resolutions, which I call commitments, right? This year, when January 1st rolled around I mentally reviewed my commitments, designated my start date for this year and continued with the ones from last year. (This year my start date coincides with the day the children go back to school after their holiday break.)

2012-05-28 11.31.58<---- This is me circa 1997ish on my way to Underground Atlanta for New Year’s Eve.

Years ago I realized by assigning New Year resolutions I was only making temporary changes, which normally meant any progress I made would either be reversed by inaction or forgotten. Except, of course, for the commitments that involved inner reflection or change – that’s just the type of person I am. For instance, if I decided to lose weight I would make progress then slack off when December 31st arrived.

Last year my main commitment was organization and minimization, and it’s a commitment that must be continual. For me it involves going through photos, the children’s artwork and papers as well as any other mementos and throwing them away, putting them in scrapbooks or sharing them with friends and family. This is especially necessary since I have three children in school – with two at the same school – who bring home tons of paper on a daily basis, which means I often get the same information three times. So you can imagine how my home office looks when I don’t keep up with the flow.

That said, let’s review this year’s commitment. Yes, I’ve only designated one. I didn’t want to take on too much given how big of a commitment it is along with all of my other responsibilities. My 2013 New Year’s commitment is:

Finish the first draft of my novel and
find an agent for my children’s book
(as well as work on the other books in the children’s book series)

Since those two tasks involve major writing I’ve classified them as one because as I’m researching I come across information that involves or helps with both tasks. To keep myself from getting confused or forgetting what I’ve found I’m keeping detailed notes, links and information in Microsoft Office OneNote. (If you haven’t tried that program you definitely should.)

Here are the steps I follow to ensure continued success with my New Year commitments and I think these steps will help you too:
  1. Beginning in about November or December (sometimes earlier) I mull over what I have been really want to accomplish, but haven’t put in a full, and extended, effort.
  2. I discuss my thoughts with my best friend Frankie and my oldest daughter Amber. By talking about it with them it begins to become a real and achievable goal. Sometimes I ask them what they think about my commitment.
  3. Write the commitment down and make a mental decision to begin and complete. Writing it down makes it more real and mentally deciding sort of spurs your brain into action.
  4. Determine when I’m going to begin. A lot of people attempt to begin their resolutions on the first day of the year. For some, that’s extremely unrealistic because they’re recuperating from the festivities of New Year’s Eve or they’re relaxing and getting ready to go back to work or school. This year, I chose to begin the day my children returned to school after the holidays because I could start with minimal distraction.
  5. Discuss my steps with my main accountability partner. (Nothing like a good friend or cohort to keep you on track.)
  6. Lastly, it’s time to get started. I gather whatever materials, supplies, etc., I’m going to need and jump right in. I’ve already begun researching agents for my children’s book again (tried to get this going years ago), annotated all of my little characters’ names and brainstormed additional ideas for the series. I’ve looked into conference relevant to the craft of children’s book writing and determined an organization I’d like to join. Later today I will make a decision on which fiction novel to finish or if I should begun an entirely new one.
There ya have it. By writing this post I’ve done a few things: inadvertently obtained folks who may hold me accountable, officially wrote my goal down and given myself a boost of excitement to continue on my path.

Do you have any tips and steps you’d like to add? If you do I’d love to read about them in the comments. Also, while you’re commenting, tell me about any New Year commitments you’ve made and how they’re going.

Happy, Successful New Year!

A few years ago, I wrote a book review about Achieve Anything in Just One Year. It really sounds like a helpful book so I’ve included it in the Amazon affiliate widget below along with other books that came up in that category. I also found another post I wrote about  resolutions, which also includes some book recommendations. Hope you’ll find something helpful.
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