I’ve spent a little time reading inspiring blog posts this morning and found a few that supported my view of New Year resolutions.
Most of these have to do with writing but I’m sure the advice works in different areas of one’s life.
First, the post from author K.L Krane who writes “New Resolution for 2019: No Resolutions.” She details her exhausting reading and writing goals for 2018 (which left me way tired) and compares this to a new perspective. Check out her blog post.
This drawing from the talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates what many of us writers do to ourselves. The wisdom given by historical fantasy novelist Juliet Marillier is well said.
In 2018, author K. E. Garland began a new way to create resolutions. She resolved to remember five concepts.
After formulating what she intended to focus on she typed out the ideas on paper and stuck them to her mirror where she’d recite them daily.
Wow, simple, doable, and placed in an area she knew she’d be every morning and evening. I like her idea and am planning to adopt her method and post on my mirror and on my laptop.
Myself? I’m a fan of focus words and intentions. More about that process here.
Whatever you resolve, intend, or conceptualize for yourself this year, believe in your process and I hope you have many happy adventures.
Like many people, I don’t like ‘having’ to do anything. This is why I cringe when people ask me about my resolutions or goals for the new year.
“Goals,” “Resolutions,” the words sound so inflexible. I’m not a big fan of the word “resolution,” because there’s something rigid about it, and goal-setting in the usual sense can set you up for failure and frustration.This is not to say resolutions aren’t helpful, they just don’t interest me.
What I do look forward to is thinking about my intention for the new year. The word “Intention” is defined as “a course of action that one proposes to follow,” or “an aim that guides action.”
Deepak Chopra says:
“An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”
This sounds much more self-directed, more purposeful. Like a journey, with lots of room for discovery along the way.
An intention is something I want to do. It’s a word which represents the type of year I desire. The intention is my own touchstone word, a magical word that becomes an aim that guides my action. I speak my intention (has to be one word for me) and I feel good about all the possibilities surrounding or accompanying that one word.
I’ve chosen an intention for the last four years. One year the word was “Create.” Another year, “Move.” Last year my word was “Refine.”
I had fun writing the word down on a 3×5 index card, drawing the word on the first page of a new journal, adding photos around the word, making wheel spokes out of the center word. For example, with “Create” I attached each spoke to a word that follows ‘create.’ Create joy, create new stories, create gratefulness …and so forth into my own journey.
Last week I mulled over and meditated on a few words. If you’d like some direction on how to do this check out the post by Nicola Gulotta. Some of the words are:
My word for the year is “Breakthrough.” The definition is to advance, step forward, progress, and revolution. I like the sound of that last word, revolution.
Another alternative to making new year resolutions, besides an intention, is to make positive changes in a different way. Read this short article by Melissa Eisner. I chose two of the items to fulfill this year.
Whatever you do or don’t do intentions, spend time with yourself for at least 15 minutes and think about your own journey.
You don’t have to come up with a word. Sometimes enough is enough. And that’s fine.
This may be the year of no resolutions. Not because I don’t believe in them but I haven’t had the occasion to do so. Moving from the outskirts of Denver to downtown took up most of my time and all of my energy.
New Year’s Day began with my arrival to Denver to help my kids move into their new place, a smaller condo in a historic 1929 building which is much closer to their jobs.
On moving day, while I’m at the title company signing documents for the new place, my daughter calls me:
“One of the moving guys reeks of weed, I can’t even understand what he’s saying…”
After I finished laughing, because I thought she was joking, I told her to call the manager of the company and not to let them inside.
My son reminded me to be patient. No doubt he saw the steam accumulating above my head. The virtue of patience is a resolution I’ve had for a few years, and I’m better but can still practice it much more often.
God, the Universe, and Karma gave me an opportunity to see if I’d remember my resolution.
We headed back to the old condo, a ride punctuated with my daughter’s texts that her call to the moving company resulted in being hung up on, transferred, voice mailed, and finally the manager called her back. His response: the guy wasn’t high, he said he took too much cold medication. (I don’t think so).
When I got back, I took a deep breath and made the best of a potentially bad situation. I received a call that the manager was coming over. When he got to the condo, I explained how he could see how a mother would worry when receiving a call like my daughter’s and she was home alone. Sure, he said, he’s a parent too.
Long story short, the boss made things right, brought along another worker, stayed to supervise the move and gave me a 10% discount.
Later that day, my son caught the flu and between his bouts in the bathroom and sleeping, he got his bedroom semi-together. We really needed his help with moving things and reaching high areas since he’s over six feet tall, but we had to do without.
I went into full Mom mode, making soup, a pitcher of manzanilla (chamomile) tea, and babying him for two days.
So I’m the one unpacking and it’s the pits. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have dumped 25 coffee cups and cat figurines my daughter has collected from the segunda (second-hand store). This would have left her with 20 cups, more than anyone needs.
A benefit of moving to a smaller place with closets half the size of the last ones is one can see all the needless ‘stuff’ to donate or throw. There are bags of stuff.
I took a walk around the neighborhood, to find the post office and markets. I was pleased to find a bookstore. The chalkboard was full of great book quotes:
The kids like their new place in this old brick building, but it’s hard adjusting to radiator heat that’s mounted in the ceiling. Nothing like central heat.
One cat, Heidi, likes jumping up to the windows and watching people walk by. The other one, Kiki, is still hiding somewhere.
So today, I’m going to rest, like Heidi, and maybe explore my intentions for the new year later.
In my Yahoo feed I came across a website called “Give it 100 days: Practice something for 100 days.”
Three minutes was all it took to inspire me to try something different.
Participants chose weight loss, ukulele playing, learning to dance, or sing. I’m sure this “practice something for 100 days,” could extend to writing what you’re grateful for in a journal, penning a rough draft for a novel, cooking, love letters. The ideas are endless.
On Give It 100 Days, taking and posting a video everyday to their site is required, although you can do your new thing without a public video. If you’re very determined and extroverted you’ll post a video.
What I decided to do is learn to play the piano. (But no video). This idea fit right in with my intention word for 2014: Move.
I have an old Emerson piano that my daughter learned to play on several years ago. I found her old piano practice books ” Prep Course for the Young Beginner,” and flipped through the illustrated book for 5-10 year olds.
The keys now have taped letters “A,B,C,” on them to help me know where to place my hands. Looks a little tacky but who cares. I’m going start on page one of that young beginners book and give it a try-at least for 100 days.I may just learn a whole song or two.
But back to the three minute inspiration. This came after I viewed Lakiesha’s time lapsed video ” Losing Weight and Finding Love in Myself.” This young woman made a 100 day plan for her health and because she loves herself.
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Ben Franklin
Maybe an hour is a stretch, but I do believe there is a lot of truth in that quote, especially when it comes to daily writing. Over the last year I found many opportunities to procrastinate from my writing schedule. Some days my lack of preparation added to this and caused me wasted time, energy, more gas, money, and late assignments.
This year I used the time after Christmas to think about my writing life for the coming year. I read about setting an intention for the new year from Rose Molinary over at Mamiverse. After I went through her simple exercise I came up with my intention for the year: Create. There are several words to add to this intention, like “Create joy…space…comfort…revisions…manuscripts…query letters…published novels.”
After a few minutes of intentional dreaming I looked at my work space and decided I needed to make a few changes. I want to bring more comfort for daily writing sessions and at the same time stop the time wasters which delay my writing. I found the following changes to my writing space useful. (The laptop, computer, or netbook is a given as is a computer desk).
1-Notebooks, pens, large post-its, index cards, pushpins: A 100 page or more spiral bound notebook for each manuscript you’re writing. Buy three or four at a time. Make sure it lays flat. If there are pocket holders inside all the better for notes or torn out pages from somewhere else. Use one notebook for ideas and writing tips or resources, one to take to writing classes or critique groups, one to journal scenes, and one to use when you begin to revise your manuscript.
Use colorful, large sticky notes (3×3) to remind you of items you don’t want to forget during that writing session. Stick notes on your laptop, printer, desk, binder, notebook or forehead. Use index cards to write down each scene, number them and kept them bundled with a rubber band. Pushpins are useful to stick photos, inspirational quotes, and index cards on your writing wall or bulletin board.
2-Wireless mouse and/or keyboard: get comfortable, you are in it for the long haul. Many of these are now on sale.
3- The Chicago Manual of Style, and/or Strunk and White. Add a dictionary and Thesaurus if you find it faster than searching for a term online.
4-A sturdy comfortable chair. Spring for an ergonomic chair but if not use a comfortable chair with a pillow for your back if there is no lumbar support. If you have a wireless keyboard you can switch to a recliner if you want. For an indepth article on how to ergonomically optimize your workplace read this article by Lifehacker. I didn’t know the pinch in my shoulders came from having my laptop below the correct eye level.
5-Printer paper: Two reams minimum. One quality type for printed manuscript to agent and one economy one for drafts and to print your stuff for critiques or writing class. If you find a sale on paper buy more.
6-Ink Cartridges: Use a printer like HP or Epson that takes refillable ink. This has been a big expensive for me this year and I’m now using another printer. Walgreen’s and Costco have frequent specials throughout the year for refills at $8-12 dollars. That beats non refillable ink cartridges of $26-30 each. If you’re printing out pages for critique groups and drafts you’ll save a bundle when you have refillable ink cartridges.
7-Bulletin board and/or white board. These are available at craft stores and most any large department store. Those fabric covered boards work just as well. You just need a place to pin up inspirational quotes, writing projects, favorite motivational photos, index cards, etc.
8-Three ring binders: At least 2 inch ring size. You need something to hold your printed pages during your revisions.
9-Color folders: use them to hold your printed drafts, writing resources, critiques, edited material, notes, the receipts you’ve spent on your writing. Label them and keep these near your writing area. Use them at the end of the day to file research notes or reminders.
10-Large coffee/tea mug and coaster. If you’re a heavy drinker, look for a carafe to keep your beverage hot or cold. It can hold whatever beverage suits you. No more extra trips to the kitchen for refills. Liquor is not recommended or you may fall off your ergonomically correct chair.
Maybe you have some favorite preparation items to share? I need all the help I can get.
Now get thee to the Dollar Store or Staples and get yourself prepared for a great year of creating and writing.