By now, most people have realized their 2015 resolutions are in danger of falling to the wayside. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutionists are successful in reaching their proclaimed goals. But, with resolve and a little encouragement, you may count yourself among the determined 8% who stay on track.
Here are seven tips to help get your writing resolutions back on the road to success.
#1 Define your why
You say you want to lose weight, quit smoking,
#2 Consider the why-
This is the flip side of your whys. As Noah St. Joan explains in his book, The Secret Code of Success, everything you do is caused by your why-tos weighed against your why-not-tos. Your brain is like an infinite weighing machine: It’s always comparing your perceived benefits (why-tos) against the perceived cost (why-not-tos).
Whenever you’re considering an activity—like edit your novel, answering emails, writing press releases, or reading this article—your brain is going, “Why should I do this? How will it benefit me? What’s it going to cost me? I’d rather be watching TV.” Because our brains are always negotiating with us, our why must be a greater motivator than the alternative.
#3 Enlist the help of friends
The easiest way to fail is to try to do something alone. There are not many examples of people who did great things completely alone. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan had his dad. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.
The way to overcome this mistake is simple: tell your friends what you want and why you want it, and ask them to support you in making positive changes.
#4 Use positive peer pressure
This is the continuation of #3. Ask your friends to tell you when they see you straying from your goal. Your friends are often one of the best ways to stay on track.
Many people will feel uncomfortable about this one, but what they don’t realize is that your friends already know when you are not making an effort; they are just too nice to say anything. That’s why you must give them permission to tell you when you mess up or fall short of what you said you wanted to do. Just resolve to not get mad or be defensive when they tell you.
#5 Recruit an accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone you communicate with at regular intervals (monthly, once a week, even daily) to check on your progress and help you stay on track. The beautiful thing is, you can also be that person’s accountability partner and help THEM make positive changes, too.
#6 Ask experts for advice
No matter what you’re trying to do—write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer—without a solid plan of action, your good intentions will probably fall short. That’s why it’s good to find other people who have succeeded at the thing you’re trying to do and ask how they did it.
There is always someone who likes to talk about him/herself who will share their experience with you if asked politely. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, there are many blogs on all subjects that you can peruse. If you can make use of others’ advice, you can avoid the most common pitfalls, increasing your chances of staying on track.
#7 Don’t set yourself up to fail
This is the worst mistake of all. The truth is, everyone knows how to write a book, quit smoking, or be nicer. Most people don’t believe they can do it—because they’ve tried in the past and failed, or they just don’t believe they’re capable of doing it.
Most importantly, don’t give up. It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time to get your writing and marketing resolutions back on track.