Resolutions or Goals?

What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2020? Have you broken it already?

New Year’s resolutions used to frustrate me. Before the end of January, I had broken them, not just once but multiple times. By February 1, I had given up and fallen back into my old routine. Nothing much changed. I did this for years, maybe decades, before changing my approach.

Today, each new year provides me with a new opportunity: to review and make new goals. How is that different than resolutions? Let me tell you, the difference is great. A goal is a completely different mindset.

Here’s the key. Resolutions are something we keep. If we break them once, we can no longer say that they have been kept for an entire year. It’s a nice thought, but not realistic. Goals, on the other hand, are something we work towards. If we fail, that’s okay. We still have many more months ahead to achieve that goal. For me, this was a game changer!

Last year, I ended 2019 on a frustrating note. Although I had several articles published in the fall, my picture books weren’t selling. I had spent five months in research for one project that I was certain would be snatched up quickly. It didn’t. No one seemed interested.

In November, I read a chapter in a book about how to keep joy during frustrating times. The author suggested looking back on all the positive accomplishments for encouragement. That’s when I remembered my 2019 writing goals that I had written in January. I pulled out the list and began to review them. I was amazing. Not only had I met most of my goals for the year, I had exceeded them! And I had still made notable progress on the ones that I had not quite completed.

How quickly had I forgotten what I had accomplished in a single year. When I look back even further, I am more encouraged. Twenty years ago, being a full-time writer was only a dream. Today, I work as a writer and graphic designer for an international non-profit organization and over the years, I have published more than 1,500 articles, short stories, devotionals, etc. Suddenly, the failure of one little picture book doesn’t seem like such a big deal. There is hope for the future!

So this year, I am writing a list of new goals. What is the next step for me as a writer? What do I want to accomplish this year? Yes, I will fail — probably many, many times. But that’s okay. I will keep going, striving to reach the next step, the next goal. Success almost never comes in a landslide. It comes by taking one small step at a time. So, what are your goals for 2020? I’d love to hear them!


Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt on www.unsplash.com

Published by Carolyn Bennett Fraiser

Carolyn Bennett Fraiser is a published author and creative writing instructor.

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