Make It Your Life

inspiration mutterings and musings writing prompts Jan 02, 2021

Post written by Katie Wall.

As we begin a new year—Hello, 2021!—I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals for this year. Before I share what they are, let’s talk a little about how resolutions are different than goals.

When preparing to write this post, I Googled “what are common new year resolutions?” Here is what came up in the top search result:

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Learn a new skill or hobby
  • Live life to the fullest
  • Save more money/spend less money
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Travel more
  • Read more

Is there anything you notice about this list? How about that each and every one of these is generic; there is no spark of personal interest or drive attached to them. Why do you want to save money/spend less? Why do you want to read more? Why do you want to get organized?

Without this core ‘why’, resolutions are doomed to fail. In fact, 80% of Americans fail to keep their resolutions by the beginning of February. Wow!

This is why, before I started considering my goals for this year, I thought about my values. What is important to me? What drives me to do what I do? What am I passionate about? I’m going to keep this limited to my book coaching, editing, and writing life, but here’s my list of values:

  • It is important to me to help writers discover their deeper ‘why’ and their characters’ deeper ‘why’ - I am passionate about ensuring books have a solid core that will keep the reader engaged and resonate with them.
  • I love making sure every last detail is the way it should be. I value helping writers put their work’s best foot forward as it goes out into the world.
  • There is a story that is constantly in the back of my mind, a story that will change me as I write it and I hope will change my (someday) readers. I value myself enough to write this story.

Now that I am clear on my values, I can create tangible goals that relate to those values. By the end of 2021...

  • I will have a solid marketing routine so I can reach writers who would benefit from my services.
  • I will have a solid book coaching client load that will support my family.
  • I will continue to only say “yes” to projects I feel I am a good match for; this guarantees that I will put forth my best effort on each project I take on.
  • I will have a completed first draft of my fantasy novel.

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the quote at the top of the page—I’ll put it again here:

“It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.” -From “She’s On Fire” by Train

I believe that resolutions fail because they are not anchored by peoples’ values--to their lives. So don’t make a resolution to write 5 pages a day or whatever. Think about what writing means to you, why you do it, what you value about it. Then figure out how to incorporate that into a tangible goal. Break that goal down into manageable steps and then block out time for it: make it your life.

Writing prompt (good for any time of year!):

  • Write a list of 5 resolutions.
  • Throw away the list of resolutions, burn it, whatever.
  • Write a page about why writing matters to you and/or why you write.
  • Reread what you wrote and see what sticks out to you.
  • Create a goal (or a couple of goals) rooted in your ‘why’.
  • Integrate the steps required to reach that goal into your life.

Bonus writing prompt:

  • Create a character, including resolutions, values, and goals. See if a story idea emerges.

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