Last week we talked about how to use the new and classic holiday stories to shape your writing. There are a lot of proven approaches and elements in the Christmas and other holiday stories we love. Always remember that success leaves clues in the material it produces. Did your friends or family share any new or take part in traditional stories for the holiday season?
Preparing for the New Year:
Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, are you looking forward to the next year? Do you need to eat all of your candy before January 1, 2023 to keep to your year of cutting out sugar? Or are you outlining a workout plan to help you lose weight/get in shape? The best thing to do in preparation for the new year is to start looking at what you want to achieve. Sometimes that gaze lands on something too large for just one year, but may fit right in for a long-term goal. I heard somewhere that we’re good at overestimating what we can do in a year, and underestimating what we can do in five years. Or something like that. Either way, sometimes you need to look at the larger goals and work backwards from there. But in order to prepare for your new year (new you, if you like) you should begin by looking back at the year you’ve had and dial in on what worked and what didn’t.
There are some general approaches to prepare for any resolutions/goals you set for 2023. As mentioned above, review your 2022. What did you achieve, who did you help, and how have those affected your life? You can also talk with your spouse, significant other, or family to see if they noticed something that you may have missed in your review. Sometimes we’re our hardest critics and we dismiss achievements as menial tasks completed. For your writing, read something you wrote at the beginning of the year and check it against your most recent writing session. I’ll bet you can see your growth or change in voice. These last few days of the year should be a review of all the things you’ve done, wanted to do, or didn’t realize you needed to do. All of this will help you appreciate how far you’ve come, and will also get your mind looking forward to the next year.
To set Resolutions, Goals, or Lifestyle Changes:
As stated above, sometimes we over- or underestimate our abilities for time. There are a few ways to begin your projections with the greatest potential of accuracy. Get a planner, whether you’ve used one before, a hard copy one is best because physically writing something down can impress it more solidly in your mind. This also helps you scale your goals. If your goal is to write 2,000 words every day, as Stephen King does according to his book On Writing, then what you’ll need to do will vary if you just want to write 500 words a day. Even with the experience, it takes Stephen King about 2-3 hours or more to reach his word count goal. So work backwards from that. If you’re working two jobs and have kids, then maybe the 2,000 words a day isn’t realistic, so adjust to what your lifestyle can handle and find other times to get some extra writing in.
Use the above approach for all of your other goals this year. Look at who inspired you to complete these tasks, goals, or lifestyle changes and work backward. Maybe you won’t be able to lose your extra 30 lbs before Valentine’s day, but you can start working on eating right and exercising to begin the process, and most nutritionists recommend not losing over 2 lbs a week. So shoot for a goal of 12 lbs down, if that’s your goal. Use the achievements of others who inspire you as guidelines but not hard-fast rules. Everyone’s body, mental health, goals, and aspirations vary, so don’t expect to match up with someone one on one.
Take some time to study the people excelling in the field you want to excel at. Start off your year with research to identify what you need to do to further develop your skill set. And once you put your notes into action, adapt to your lifestyle, personal, and financial needs. But the goal for 2023 is to be healthy in your goal setting, execution, and review of what you complete this coming year. Happy New Year! I hope you all have a great 2023! Thank you for reading, and as always, keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs.
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