This year, I’m signing up for the anti-resolution revolution.  It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one.  Lose weight = I weigh too much.  Save money = I spend too much.  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Spend more time with my kids = I’m not doing enough for my kids.  Write more often = I don’t write enough.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I am all about self-improvement, especially improvement that puts us on a path to self-actualization.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done.  Being zen about it, probably everything got done that was supposed to.

Here is my list of what I consider to be my major professional accomplishments this year

  • Completed two picture books.  Both are now on submission.
  • Was accepted into, and completed, the Rocky Mountain SCBWI mentorship program.
  • Drafted a third picture book which is at least halfway to submission-ready
  • Completed PiBoIdMo and ended up with 30+ picture book ideas
  • Sent 20+ queries over the course of the year
  • From those queries, sold one poem and got contracts to write three articles (coming in 2012)
  • Entered a picture book in the MeeGenius Children’s Author Challenge and made it to #16 out of 400+ entries
  • Learned a TON about online marketing and promotion from the contest.
  • Completed four months of group coaching to launch a new project.  I am now about halfway through drafting the business plan for that project (more news on that in 2012)
  • Formed a LLC to support my writing business and other projects I launch
  • Took a two-month course on blogging to build an author platform.  I have now gone from a high of 2000 hits per month on my blog to a high of nearly 6000 per month.
  • Guest posted on several blogs
  • Set up an in-person picture book critique group in Boulder
  • Attended a digital publishing conference and the Rocky Mountain SCBWI regional conference
  • Last, but not least, launched the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months.  This is, obviously, one of my major goals for the coming year.

In addition to work accomplishments, three other achievements deserve mention.  One is that I ran a personal best in the Bolder Boulder 10K this year and felt great.  The race also happened to take place right after I turned 40, which felt even better.

Second, I planned, from start to finish, and then took a six-week trip to Italy with my family for the summer.  This trip was the fulfillment of a major dream and life-changing in every possible way.  Although my kids are still young, I think it will turn out to be life-changing for them to have had such an experience.

One of the things the trip to Italy inspired me to do is the third achievement I want to mention.  I wrote a Bucket List.  I saw how rewarding it was to realize even one dream, so I thought I would capture as many more as I could in the hopes of realizing them all.  I am trying not be afraid of dreaming big.  So perhaps a motto for 2012 is Dream Big or Go Home.

For your further contemplation, here are a few other posts with an alternate take on New Year’s Resolutions

Lynnette Burrows doesn’t let Mrs. Darkside win.

Hayley Lavik is not going to change anything next year.

Prudence MacLeod is going to read books by live authors.

Emma Burcart is going to be kind – to herself.

Jennifer Lewis Oliver has never made a New Year’s Resolution.

Myndi Shafer does have a short list of resolutions, which she made in the Nick of Time.

What is your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?  Good thing, bad thing or in-between?

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Birthdays, Children's Books, Family, Goals, Guest Blogging, Health/Fitness, Holidays, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Travel, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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51 Comments

  1. Spot on. The problem with new years’ resolutions is they usually run out of steam about 9.30 am on the first day. Personally I think it’s better to constantly self-improve, what the Japanese call Kaisen. Make a habit of it – not something that can be awkward or difficult to do because it’s not a habit, it’s what you think you ‘should’ do. Achievements – like the ones you’ve posted here – happen because of steady and hard work.

    I’ve got my own New Year post written already, for tomorrow (it’s already 31 Dec, NZ time).

    Matthew Wright
    http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com
    http://www.matthewwright.net

  2. What a list of accomplishments! So glad you can celebrate them. And thanks for the link to my blog! 🙂

  3. Woman, you’ve had quite the year! Thanks for including me on your mashup list! 🙂

  4. What a wonderful year you’ve had Julie and a lovely vantage point for going into 2012. Happy New Year!

  5. I love the idea of looking back at the previous year and building from there, Julie. Great idea! I’m going to try it out.

    Happy new year to you and your family! 🙂

  6. Your year has been filled with many blessings, Julie. I enjoyed reading what you found meaningful.

    Guess you won’t be commenting on my PPB! LOL! I don’t really make New Year’s reslolutions, and when I listen to the ones other’s make, I find many shallow. I always do a meditation/prayer focused on our global family and healing of the planet. Wishing you much joy in the coming year!

    • Pat – I love the idea of doing a meditation/prayer at the beginning of the year for the benefit of the world. May have to steal that one next year!

  7. Funny you mention your bucket list. I started mine this year too. I’m taking my first trip in January (to hear Wayne Dyer in Maui) from this list. and I have committed to at least one item per year. and I agree, It’s much more fun than making resolutions.

    the trip to Italy sounds divine. travel is definitely on my bucket list.

    • Louise,

      I am so glad you are going to hear Wayne Dyer. Last year, I went to see Eckhart Tolle in person. I tell you, as big of a fan as I am of his books, it was nothing like the experience of being there in person. And you get to see him in Maui??? That’s like killing two bucket list birds with a single stone! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  8. You have been quite productive during 2011, Julie…especially since you have children. That’s a major accomplishment in itself! How exciting that you were able to realize your dream by including your children in your trip to Italy. You will be amazed at how much they will remember in the years to come. Travel is the best form of education (in my book, anyway)!
    I would love to know more about the two month course you took to increase your blog’s visibility. In time. Thanks for sharing your goals fulfilled…

    • Travel IS the best form of education – with that I agree. I think since so many people are asking about the blogging course I took I’ll write a blog post about it soon.

  9. Great, no. Awesome achievements!!! Wow, you deserve all the feedback, rewards, and monetary residuals that come back to you from your diligence and prolific determination. If I had of known about the new “Dark Globe Awards” sooner,,,I would have absolutely nominated you for the writer of the year category. I have not been able to man the keyboard much lately, but, one of my friends from the bloggerhood told me they had been nominated for the “blogger of the year” so I went and found a few of my OTHER frequented site owners were also nominated. Bless You
    HAPPY NEW YEAR

    http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/there-can-be-only-one-t-d-g-outstanding-artist-awards-final-update/

  10. Reblogged this on Hello100blog.

  11. I love this list of achievements. I like a dual focus of a) what have I achieved this year ? and b) what am I working towards in the year to come? I do set goals and love working toward them, I guess they work a little as mini bucket lists for me. I am sooo glad you came to Italy. I know this is something you will never regret. This has ben a year of tremendous fulfillment, Julie. Lovely to read about!

    • Thanks Joanna! Your comments always lift my spirits and make me feel like the work I put into this blog is valuable. I didn’t get too many readers of the Italy posts (certainly not as many as on the writing posts), but they were by far my most favorite to write. So thanks for reading!

  12. I no longer make big, all-encompassing, doomed-to-failure resolutions at the beginning of the year, if I need to make a change (such as eating more healthily) I need to make it when I need to make it, not particularly on January 1. That said, last year I found it a good exercise to think of my writing goals for the coming year, and it was very interesting about a month ago to go back and see which ones I’d not accomplished, and which ones had been accomplished far beyond what I ever had hoped for. I will be listing similar writing goals this year (after I complete my current goal which is to actually get my new blog up and running!)

    Your accomplishments are to be lauded, Julie. I am so grateful that I have become acquainted with you this year, and I’m so looking forward to 12 x 12 in 2012!

    • Beth, I am grateful to have gotten to know you too! I feel I’ve learned so much from you already.

      As I said, I think goals are great. One of the things I plan to do this week is to set my own for 2012. But goals are different from resolutions in my mind. Resolutions don’t take into account that things can change mid-stream, and as I mentioned, I don’t like the negative associations that often lead us to resolutions.

      Your goals, on the other hand, sound very sound and healthy!

  13. Congratulations Julie on a year well done! What blogging course did you take?

  14. I love the positivity of this. You are so right that when we list a bunch of things we don’t like about ourselves and “swear” to fix them starting January first, we are already off to a sad start. Your list of accomplishments is amazing, and a great example of what we need to focus on. We all need to stop and celebrate the amazing things we do on a regular basis. And great job on the race!

  15. The only “bucket list” I have is to NOT kick the bucket! I do however have a plan to lose some weight in 2012. Due to an unexpected health scare 2 years ago when I could have died, I have gained some extra weight that is not healthy for me so the only thing I AM kicking in 2012 is my own butt to get in better shape. To that end I bought a treadmill today and will treat myself to a nice 30 minute walk each evening before I go to sleep since that will be the only TV time I will allow myself…can’t be taking time away from my 12 X 12 writing challenge now can I? Lol…

    • Donna – doing something specific to improve your health is different from “I’m too heavy so I need to lose weight.” I applaud you for your goal and wish you all the best. I have no doubt you will succeed.

  16. I resolve not to judge those who don’t make resolutions.

    I also resolve not to judge those who do make them!

    Oh drat – what camp do I fall into now?

    Happy 2012 to all!

  17. I’m with you. Just say, “no!” to resolutions. And way to go on all your accomplishments last year!

  18. Terrific post, Julie. You’ve had an amazing year. Write on!

  19. Five years ago when I began writing my husband made me write a business plan. On Tuesday I’m going to pull it out and revise it.

    Great post, Julie! So glad we are getting to know each other.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  20. I loved this post. As an anti-New Year-celebrator (never could figure out why I should celebrate the passage of time!), I am also firmly anti-resolution. As Beth wrote above, I make changes when they need to be made, and not on January 1. Your list of accomplishments is inspiring, and yay for you for also starting 12×12 — an event that will give many of us a satisfying list of accomplishments of our own! As others mentioned, I would love to know which blogging course you took. I’m launching mine in one week — a project that has been languishing for a year, but that has finally come to fruition mostly thanks to this wonderful community of writers I found through PiBoIdMo. I owe you guys!

  21. Just had a stupid row with my dh on the phone. So I think my new year’s resolution is to calm down and stop arguing over the stupid stuff in life. You are obviously a very positive person and I can be a bit on the negative side. That is a hard habit to break but I really must try. Happy New Year

    • Ah, don’t we all argue over stupid stuff with our loved-ones. I wish I could get better about that too. I don’t write about those things on the blog, so that’s why you don’t see them – LOL.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  22. Wow! What a productive year! You have been one BUSY lady! I am so impressed by all of your accomplishments! As a busy Mom of young ones, I hope to learn a thing or two from you–on how to balance it all. Happy New Year, Julie! 🙂

    • Natalie – I’ve come to think there really isn’t such a thing as long-term balance. For me, it’s honestly day by day. Who/what needs the most focus or attention today? That way, over the long haul, I hope everything balances itself out. I’d love any tips from you too, since I don’t think any of us has all the answers.

  23. You’ve had a great year, Julie! And I really like your stance on resolutions. I never thought about it before, but you’re totally right! I’m going to try to be positive and make a list of what I accomplished and go on from there. I’m also really interested in how you improved your blog. 6000 hits a month is fantastic. Congratulations! I would love to know some of how you accomplished it. I’m really looking forward to 12X12!

  24. Hi Julie
    You’ve had a great year. And you are so right about the negativity inherent in resolutions. Keeping it positive by looking forward to the 12X12! Good luck with that. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need a hand with it at any point.

    • Thanks Dana! I may very well be asking for a hand somewhere along the line. It’s gotten quite big! Exciting, but a bit scary too. Now I feel like I REALLY have to make good on the pledge to write 12 PBs.

  25. LOVE the motto, Julie! “Dream Big or Go Home” Perfect!!! Mind if I steal it??? 🙂 So much more positive than “Grow or Die” which is what I’d been using!! 🙂

  26. Julie, I love your stance on the Resolution “thing.” It’s so overdone and I think for many unattainable. I stopped making resolutions years ago and have also taken to making lists and setting goals for myself. It feels so much better to say, “I’ve accomplished my goal,” than that “I stuck to my resolutions.” This year on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be looking forward to kissing my husband and children at midnight and working toward the next year in our lives together.

  27. I make a list, but I refuse to call them resolutions! I am someone who needs something to work towards . . . a deadline or a goal always pushes me to try harder.

    Like you, I agree that resolutions often feel like people are trying to “fix” something about themselves, rather than drawing on their strengths. When I choose my goals, its all about building off of something I’ve already started. It’s about taking the next step and telling myself, “I can do it.” 🙂

  28. I’m all for New Year’s resolutions. But like you said, it’s in how you approach the process. Be specific. Stay positive. You are the dose of inspiration I’ve needed. Thanks! And I’ve signed up for the 12×12 in 2012. How cool!

  29. What an amazing list of accomplishments! You’ve made me think about the way I look at goal setting. I’ve always loved making resolutions at the beginning of the year, but I think my process was more like making a bucket list. Personally, I know I get more done if I make a list. I know I won’t get it all done, but seeing some of the items come to fruition is rewarding. I will be approaching my goal setting with a new perspective having read your post.

    • Lynda, I’m glad the post inspired you to think about how you make your list. I have a bucket list too, and I also have goals that are written down. It’s more the mentality behind resolutions that bothers me. It could also be years of failing to meet them – LOL! 🙂

  30. Great goals, Julie! with a little hard work and persistance you’ll check them all off by the end of the year.

    This ties in nicely with my blog post today as well. I hope you can stop by.

    Happy new year and happy writing and goal achieving!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  31. My goodness Julie, no one can say that you’ve been sitting on your hands girls. You’ve achieved quite a bit! Congratulations! And don’t you love Italy. I’ve been there twice and loved it. How nice you could enjoy it with your family! You’re a very encouraging person and I can’t thank you enough for all your support! 🙂

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