New Year New(s) Letter: No Resolutions
Musings on goal-setting, it's downfalls and how I look to the future instead.
A few days before Christmas. The holiday stress is at an all-time high, and the question, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” flutters between my ears unrelenting. Fair enough. In the moment, I didn’t really have an answer.
I jotted down a few vague goals for the year - Work more on this project, finish this one, try that new thing out, look into that thing. So on and so forth. What I was left with was a long (and ever-growing) list of seemingly unattainable and all-together overwhelming goals. Which, let’s be honest, amount to nothing more than to-do lists.
I sat, looking at this list. What did writing all this down really get me? Sure, there’s science that writing things down makes you 1.4 times more likely to accomplish them. But outside of that, were these really guidelines by which I could live 2023? Not particularly. No one can truly abide by a to-do list (not even The Dude). Their function is to give you tasks to complete, not principles by which to live.
And that was it. That was my moment. From the list, I wrote out what was truly at the core of each goal. What trait, what principle was at its heart? Here’s what I came up with:
Five principles was too much for me to remember, I knew that. I needed something short, something succinct, and ideally, something with alliteration. I narrowed it down again.
Diligence and consistency are similar enough, both calling on that function of dedication, that deep well from which I draw when the couch seems infinitely more inviting than the desk. So too, perseverance and courage relate on a deep enough level. For what is courage besides perseverance in the face of fear? And thus my guiding principles for 2023 were born:
From these three principles, all my goals seemed to fit, seemed like things I could accomplish if, instead of focusing on results, I focus on the principles. Seems like Atomic Habits weaseled its way into my unconscious and is working well, as I had hoped. (Recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.)
To solidify these principles, I sketched out a few affirmations. On these I know I can rely, particularly in those moments of utter avolition.
I remain consistent, even in inconsistency.
I am courageous in the unknown.
I am curious — seeking, trying and learning.
Answering the question, “What are your 2023 resolutions?” — I have none, not really. Goals, yes. Dreams, of course. Aspirations, all too many. I resolve simply to be consistent, courageous and curious in the face of this New Year, and all the joys and sorrows it will inevitably bring.
And of course, I’ll do my best to finish this novel that’s plagued me for years — perhaps every writer’s omnipresent resolution.
Monthly Word Count
Momentum was good for a while. Let’s see if I can pick it back up again in the New Year.
How I found my peak creative hours and the years it took me to establish a (somewhat) regular writing routine. Subscribe to read more.