January is traditionally the month for making resolutions of things we’d like to do during the New Year. As we all know, most of those resolutions don’t happen.
A typical resolution is to write a book.
Many of us don’t even get around to taking a vacation!
We can be like the fictional character Walter Mitty — a very nice fellow who has an amazing life in his own imagination.
Here are some very straightforward tips to make your resolutions into realities.
First, recognize most of our resolutions are fantasies or wishes. There isn’t enough emotional energy to make them happen.
Choose a very few things that are important to you and make a real decision to make them happen, backed up by your sincere desire. You really have to want them. They have to be realistic and you have to believe that you can do them.
Next, get out your calendar and make “appointments with yourself” to work on them. Block out time to focus on them. Include a start and stop time for each appointment. Treat these appointments like an appointment with a doctor or dentist. Avoid changing them unless there is a very good reason, and monitor whether too many “very good reasons” are happening! Get the support and agreement of your family members.
For a writing a book, decide what the book will be about. Then schedule regular times to focus on research and writing. Estimate how much time you’ll need to write the book. One hour per week? Two? An hour every morning?
If you are an employee, you’ll have to find time outside your work schedule. Wake up early. Skip a television program, streaming a movie or playing a video game.
During those times, turn off your smart phone, don’t look at email, avoid distractions. If anyone asks to talk with you, tell them you have an appointment and schedule another time to get back to them.
To get started, write anything as a warm up. Eventually the words will come.
For a vacation, just mark on your calendar when you’ll take a vacation and make appropriate reservations. Don’t schedule anything else for those days. Plan an activity to truly get away from work that is within your budget. If you are married or in a relationship, include your partner when making the schedule and plans.
If you get off the track, force yourself to get back on it again. Remember, this is important to you!
Follow these procedures. Then drop me an email next year at email@example.com to tell me about the book you finished and your amazing vacation for this year!