Making New Year’s Resolutions means that you want to make a change. One look at the Self-Help shelves in any book store and it’s clear that everyone loves the IDEA of change, but real, meaningful change; we don’t love so much. Because real, meaningful change is hard, and being creatures of habit, we resist it for all we’re worth. Luckily, it’s January and that means that there’s lots of how to stick to your resolutions advice floating around the Internet.
I found a couple things that seemed worth a try. First, James Clear’s post about identity-based habits talks about how important it is to change from the inside out. Every aspiring writer has heard that they should start thinking of themselves as a writer and calling themselves a writer. That’s all well and good but Clear’s advice adds a level of concreteness that makes all the difference.
After reading his example, here are my examples:
I’m the kind of person who writes 1,000 words a day
I’m the kind of person who finishes a story a week
If I keep doing this, then being the kind of person who sells stories will follow.
“When you want to become better at something, proving your identity to yourself is far more important than getting amazing results.”
He stresses that you prove your identity to yourself with SMALL wins. Baby steps here, people. I think of it as, first overlaying your new identity onto yourself, then encouraging yourself to GROW into that person.
The small wins are important because of the need for PERSISTENCE. And, to help with that Lifehacker posted an article about Seinfeld’s productivity secret AKA: Don’t Break the Chain.
Of course there’s an app for that and I’ve tried it before, but this is just thekind of thing that works better analog. Actually making big red Xs on a paper calender is surprisingly satisfying. Here’s mind so far:
My daily minimum is to write 250 words on that week’s story. Once I write that, I can put an X on the day. If I write 1,000 words I’m adding a gold star. I have two gold stars on last Saturday because I wrote over 2,000 words that day. Who doesn’t love getting a gold star? Again, very satisfying.
So my first full week is nearly over an my first story of the “a story a week” in 2013 is nearly drafted. Win!