Making Resolutions Last: Pick One Thing

Resolutions. It’s that time again.

I always get really inspired at the turn of the new year. This year I will be smarter, I think, more organized, more efficient, more creative. I will be faster, stronger, more dedicated. I will get better. At everything.

Riiight. I’ll suddenly have an extra 10 hours in every day too, right?

The opportunity for a fresh start that comes with the new year gets me excited. But I can’t do everything. So once I’ve identified and laid out all my goals for the year, I set it down and walk away for a while. Then I come back to it and ask myself, which of these do I care about most?

Because the reality is, I do not have time for all of it. If anything, each year, I feel like I have less and less time for my own endeavors.

I don’t let go of my other goals, like training to run faster and longer, exposing myself to new things, reading good literature, etc. But knowing that these are secondary removes the burden of trying to be everything. It frees me to make the hard choices when necessary to make sure I am always pushing toward that one thing that matters most.

For example—it’s Saturday morning. I know I have a big day ahead, full of obligations, and that once I leave the house I am not likely to get much else done that day. I have an hour before I have to start getting ready.

Will I catch up on the dishes? Go for a run? Relax and read? This can be a difficult and on some occasions an overwhelming decision for me that can result in me doing none of the above. Or I choose on a whim, going for the gym just because I ate a cookie or something. Or try to balance out my time so much that I never make significant progress on anything.

But with a single top priority already designated, I now know exactly what I want to do with this small block of time. My number one priority is to complete my novel. So I will write.

And so, just like that, you can give yourself direction and focus on the thing that means the most to you for the full year. Do I ever chose something else instead of my WIP? Sure. There are times when that makes sense. But it’s a deliberate, thoughtful decision. Is it perfect? Course not. But it is a small choice that will snowball into a major step forward.

So, admit it: you can’t do everything. Don’t let yourself get lured into making a long list of grand resolutions this year. Pick the one thing that means the most to you, and give it all you’ve got. It may not feel like you’re making huge strides every time you put in 15 minutes of work, but as the months pass, you’ll be amazed at how all those small efforts pile up into something bigger.

Tell me … what’s the one goal that is most important to you this year? 

Emily Wenstrom | Read more on Creative Juicer | Follow me on Twitter

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