I used to make new year resolutions and, like most people, utterly failed to keep them (at least, I’ve never heard of anyone who did). I have my suspicions as to why.
1. It’s too long a time frame.
It’s a whole freaking year. That’s huge. So we look at the big picture and get overwhelmed and in the end say, “Forget it.” Good thing no one will remember what we said we’d do. Or if they do, they won’t say anything in case we bring up their failed resolution.
And then, the same problem with a different reason:
2. It’s too long a time frame.
This one’s for procrastinators. When we say, “Oh, that’s plenty of time,” and let the time move along with nothing done. Until half a year’s gone by, and then three-quarters and then—oops. Well, I’ll do better next year. There’s always next year.
Here’s my solution. A book is a large piece of writing. And with the added stress of a deadline (self imposed or not), it’s easier to sit and do nothing. Or pretend there’s plenty of time. Or decide that next year is better.
When I was in college, I used to freeze at the idea of writing a ten-page paper. Ten pages! Days would go by and nothing would get written. Finally, I sought help. My counselor asked me the question I’m going to ask you:
Can you write one page?
Yes, of course I could write one page, that was easy. “So write it and get back to me,” she smiled.
I wrote the page and went back to her. She asked, “Can you write one page?”
I caught on. Breaking the paper down into manageable parts, ignoring the size of it, made it possible to complete.
So. Can you write one page? One paragraph? One sentence?
If yes, then you’re on your way. Keep those small amounts in front of you and forget the whole.
And while I have the solution, it doesn’t mean I don’t need reminding. So I’m going to tape a sign in front of me:
Can you write one paragraph?
It’ll get me there.
* Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net