Sunday, January 9, 2011

The new year- part deux :)

Another new year, and part of the new year bit for me is to be more organized…yeah- off to a great start. Completely forgot about my group blog yesterday- COMPLETELY…sigh. I’m just lucky the blog folks are wonderful and understanding. :)

Now on to today’s blog :)

I’m taking a different approach to modifying my behavior this year. As mentioned in last week’s blog, I wanted to take some time, sort out my thoughts, let things gel.

Well this week didn’t let any of that get done. Or rather, I, didn’t let that get done (step one- take responsibility ;)). Everyone’s life is hectic, and there are always new and existing disasters just around the corner- the trick is to roll with the punches, not against them (and yes, I’m writing that out by hand too ;)).

Sooooooo- I’m trying to pull my thoughts together now, without reflection or a safety net.

My first thought is, why do so many folks (myself included) fail to keep up our resolutions or life changes? I can’t answer for the rest of humanity, but I have to think some folks will be hitting the same problems I do, so here goes:

1) Negative focus. The emphasis here is on the negative aspects of a change ("you suck because you didn't get that done"), rather than the positive. Every step in the right direction should be appreciated for what it is, and steps in the wrong direction should NOT cause guilt. Guilt can cause avoidance, and more repeating of the bad behavior (I’m working on general life organization, health, and writing here so some will apply to all ;)).

2) Trying to change everything at once. Come on- this is a no brainer, but I do it all the time. It takes time to modify any behavior- many experts say about a month of solid change will re-wire the behavior in your head. When you’re focusing hard on too many at once it defuses the entire process. Baby steps.

3) The “first of the year” (or month, or week) phenomenon. I say plooey. It is nice to have an energy focus point, and Jan 1 in our culture has become a huge one. But, when you think about it, EVERYDAY is the first day of a new year. For example, if you are referring to something that happened Jan. 9, 2010- you would say “a year ago” –correct? So then TODAY is the first day of the year that runs from Jan 9th 2011-Jan 9th 2012. Therefore, each day is the start of a new year.

The problem with the focus on Jan 1- is that it’s too easy to let things slide as you get further from that date. You can “blow” your resolution a few weeks or months in, then just forget about it, right? Not so much if each day starts a new year ;).

So what am I going to focus on for my year of new years?

Positive changes with positive outcomes. My big three would be organization, focus, and dedication.

Now see, I’ve got concepts here instead of facts or tasks- there’s a reason. I need to build those three strengths to help get the changes made. So they are step two (one was responsibility- remember?).

Example: organization. Everything is a mess, my purse, my car, my house, my computer. Now, this would be fine if it worked- I am a very chaotic person so some level of chaos is normal- but it’s not working right now. Like when you read a chapter and think, “hmmm that’s not working, what I need to do to change it?”

The mess causes stress and wastes time- it’s not working. So my mindset is to work on organizing everything a bit at a time. Including my writing. I have lots of books going on, and a lot of storylines and details floating in my head or on bits of paper. That just ain’t going to fly. Since my writing and my library/office are a relatively controlled space- I’ll start there.

Now even though each day is a new day (first day of the year and all ;))- I do want to set some goals. Just like for my health where my tangible goal is 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week (it will increase next month ;)). Well, my writing goal within organization will be to spend a half hour a day pulling together scattered notes, or working on organizing the physical aspect of my library office.

Under the focus heading –for my writing- will be spending at least 45 min a day editing/writing/class I'm taking this month. Now some folks do more- but I have to start somewhere.

Dedication- I have changed how I think about my writing, but since it doesn’t pay (yet ;)) it’s easy to not think of it as a job. But it is. So since I intend to start submitting my books again this year, I will spend two hours a week working on business aspects- looking up agents, professional blogs, queries, etc.

Dang- this turned out much longer than intended, but I guess it was what was needed. So how are you all approaching your new year?


  1. I want to get my office organized! But I haven't tackled it yet...

    I think maybe the trick is to break the goals/resolutions into small measurable chunks. An example might be instead of "Edit Book A" (WHich is a huge projecy!) Maybe the better goal is "Edit 10 pages per day". Then you'd have your book ready to go in just under two months which is probably sooner than you would with the huge goal to edit the whole thing...

    So maybe instead of organize my office I should section it off. Today I clean the right side of my desk... LOL Hmm...

    Happy New Year Marie!

    Lisa :)

  2. Okay Marie, again, I think you're channeling me. My motto for the year is clean, horizontal surfaces, in my mind and in my life. Oh, and baby-steps. I know they actually work, but I'm kind of an all or nothing gal, very self-sabatoging.

    Great post and good luck. Let's compare notes next year, same bat time-same bat channel.

  3. LOL_ thanks for the great comments ladies! Good thinking on the baby step chunks Lisa and Boone-LOL- you got it! lets see where we both end up ;)

  4. I think the key word is focus. We're all so fractured with interruptions and general life stuff.
    For me, I'm going to try to focus intently on what I'm doing starting with 5 minutes increments and slowly increasing.

    Good blog. Got me to thinking.
    Happy New Year!
    Mary Galusha