Resolution: the act of determining.
I’ve never been a fan of resolutions. I used to set personal resolutions – lose weight, be more patient, stop picking fights with people – but, like most people, I always failed. Then, when I started writing full time, I thought it would be a good idea to set professional goals. You know – increase my profits, publish more manuscripts, stop picking fights with people. Funny thing though. It doesn’t matter whether they were personal or professional resolutions, I never accomplished them. (Apparently we predisposed to fail our resolutions…)
Here’s the deal: there are only so many things we can control, so why set goals whose achievement are beyond our control?
I can resolve to get more manuscripts published, but unless I want to publish my own books and magazines, I have no control over whether or not anyone will print my work. I can determine to write so many words per day, but I can’t help it if I’m diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or the stomach flu takes me out for a few days. Things happen. Life changes. Why set myself up for failure?
That doesn’t mean I’m just going to slough through the year and hope for the best, though. There are things I want (and need) to achieve, but many of them are lifetime commitments, not yearly announcements. For example:
- Read a book about writing.
- Read a novel for fun.
- Read a non-fiction book because I should.
- Read one book a month because I need to.
- Finish a novel manuscript.
- Attend a writers conference/meeting.
- Keep learning.
I do have a few specific goals (for example, my agent gave me three months to get a re-write back to him), but I consider those deadlines, not goals. I suppose I could call this list “resolutions,” since I’m determined to do these things, but after 30+ years of broken resolutions I’m hesitant to put that label on my to-do list.
How about you? Do you set resolutions or goals? Why or why not?