Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Year's Resolutions - Revisited

It’s March.  Already, just like that? It may have taken you a few months to settle into the New Year, but now that it’s here, you may be wondering where the time has gone!  You may also be wondering, “Whatever happened to those New Year’s resolutions?” Or you may be denying them, as in “What New Year’s resolutions?”  Or you simply may have avoided New Year’s resolutions all together.

Whatever happened to that list of  “I promise I’ll really get to it this year” stuff that’s looking a bit daunting about now, here are some suggestions to get re-energized.
  • BREAK BIG PROJECTS INTO TINY STEPS.  A friend of mine recently reminded me of the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer, of course, is “One bite at a time.” Go back to your list of goals or resolutions for the year and focus on one project at a time.  Break down the project into as many small bite-sized pieces as possible.  Here’s an example.  Many of my clients have mentioned getting stuck on creative projects like putting photos in albums.  This can feel like an overwhelming amount of work, taking all the pleasure out of it.  Break down the project into cropping pictures or arranging photos one page at a time.  Or take a small stack of pictures and sort or purge.  That’s all you have to do.  Breaking any project into small pieces makes it infinitely more do able and a lot more fun.

  • WE ALL BITE OFF MORE THAN WE CAN CHEW.  What looked perfectly reasonable to accomplish two months ago may no longer be realistic.  You know, life enters in---your computer crashes, your car develops a mysterious leak, your child gets the flu.  When you made your goal list at the end of last year or the first few days at the beginning of this year, there was no way you could have anticipated exactly what would be happening every single day.  You can be clear, organized, focused and things still happen to you without your consent.  No need to abandon the list.  Take some time, get quiet and gently look at your list of goals or resolutions. You may just want to re-vamp and update it a bit.

  • KEEP THE GOAL; CHANGE THE DEADLINE.  One of the most important things I ever learned about goal setting was to keep the goal if I really wanted it and believed in it.  I have learned, however, to change the deadline.  If I possibly can, I allow myself to change the due date, moving it slightly ahead instead of dropping the project all together.  Things make take two or three times as long as we had anticipated. Your original deadline may simply have not been realistic.  There are certain deadlines we do need to keep to like registration deadlines or other cut-off dates.  On-going, creative projects may need a little more flexibility.  This is not permission to procrastinate; but you might just be a little kinder. Keep the goal, move the deadline out a bit and keep going.

  • LET GO OF HAVING IT BE PERFECT.  I frequently say to my writing clients, (as well as to myself!)  “Done is better than perfect.”  Finishing a writing project, a draft of a short story or the draft of your novel is more important than having it be perfect.  Being able to attain perfection is a myth if it blocks the creative process. That’s what editors are for, to help with rewriting, untangling and clarity.  For now, just aim to finish what you’re working on and leave the fixing up for later.  Consider this thought from Joseph Chilton Pearce:  “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

  • START!   The hardest part of any creative project is getting started.  Ever notice the draft feature on your e-mail program?  Use it!   Start your reply the moment you read an e-mail and have any thought at all how you would like to reply.  Use your initial energy and first response thoughts to get started.  Apply this same principle to other projects.  Maybe you’re not ready to write a long journal entry.  But at least sit down, note the date and time and open your journal.  Write for ten minutes.  You can always add more later.

  • GET HELP VIA COACHING, MENTORING OR TRAINING.  Eric Maisel author of Coaching the Artist Within and several other books, says that those of us involved in creative work might have no accountability.  It is too easy to work in isolation and then shove a short story or manuscript into a drawer.  Checking in with a coach, mentor or trainer provides accountability as well as support.  If your creative dream or project is stalled and you can’t seem to get it started, get help!
Ready to do a few revisions on those New Year resolutions?  Review these ideas and get yourself re-energized and re-focused for spring!

Take good care,


PS: If you find yourself wanting some support in figuring out how to plan a mid-winter mini retreat, contact me for an informative discovery session via phone or in person. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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