• Carly Racklin

I Kind of Hate New Year's Resolutions (Or, My 2019 Goals)

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Greetings, friends - and happy new year!

To christen this new blog on my new website, I thought I'd start with a sort of introductory post, one where I also fill you in on my goals for this bright and shiny new year. Everyone's doing it, or has done it already - looking back, taking stock of their accomplishments and making resolutions to do better, do more, be healthier, and so on. I get it. I really do.

The only problem is that, honestly, I kind of hate new year's resolutions.

Maybe I sound like a curmudgeon. Maybe you can relate. And yes, new year's resolutions have a bad reputation. They get this reputation because people are notoriously bad at actually doing what they resolve to do. 80% of new year's resolutions fail after only two months into the year. It's kind of depressing.

So this year, I'm not making any resolutions. Believe me, I've tried. And it always ends the same way - with me letting myself down. That's not something I like to do.

So here's what we are going to do: make goals. Practical ones. Small ones. Ones that I not only want to do, but feasibly can do, given my mental, emotional, and physical bandwith.

And you might be saying, "Carly. New year's resolutions are goals. You're just using a different word for the same thing." And you know what? That's exactly what I'm doing. Because semantics matter.

Let me fill you in on a little secret about myself - I get really wrapped up in negative associations with things. New year's resolutions have a negative association in my head. They make me think of failure. Of disappointment. That's not fun. So when I try to make new year's resolutions, I can't turn off that association. It sticks, and it sets me up for failure before I even try.

But I sincerely, genuinely, want to do lots of awesome stuff in 2019. And if I have to get by on semantics to not psych myself out, then you bet that's what I'm gonna do. Because I know how my head works, and sometimes you've just gotta trick your own brain into doing what you want it to do.

All that being said - let's look at some of my practical, totally achievable goals for 2019. There are only three.

Finish More Writing Projects

Yes, I know that I'm a writer, and writing things is what I do. The problem is that I'm a really slow writer, and a fairly noncommittal one from time to time. (Most of the time.) I know that my process is my process and I don't want to change that, but I do want to be more disciplined. And after taking stock of all the projects I've finished this year, I noticed that I really have very few complete things to show for myself. And I don't like that.

So here's what I plan to do about it: write shorter stories. Set word goals. Go out to coffeeshops more. Put my dang phone in another room.

See? Simple, practical things. I do have a few ideas for flash and micro fiction stories floating around in my head. I want to get those done. Preferably one a month. For longer projects, I'll set word goals for the week. (I was never very keen on the "write every day" rule. It hasn't worked for me, and it just gives me the same new-year's-resolution brand of disappointment when I've tried.) I want to finish those longer projects too. One of them is my fantasy novella Like the Raven, which I've just started a rewrite of. I really really want to get that one published, or on its way to being published, this year.

The gist of it is that I just want to write more and finish what I write. That's number one.

Read More, Especially Short Fiction

I used to read so many books, and I read them fast. But getting two jobs, one of which takes away the oodles of free mornings I had, makes reading hard. I'm a routine kind of gal. When I get used to something, fitting it in somewhere else is really hard. So when I was banging out two to three books every week because I spent every single morning reading, it was easy to stick to. But without that time, it's been really hard for me to move reading time to another point in the day, because the rest of my day is full of other routines.

Finishing actual full novels is still pretty hard for me right now, but reading short fiction isn't. And it just so happens that I want to write more short fiction, too. And I follow a heap of magazines publishing exactly the sort of stories I want to read and write. So while I have slowly gotten back into books with the help of my Kindle, short fiction is really what I want to start devouring.

My plan is to start small: read one short story every week from a publication I like. It's a win-win, because I want to start getting published by these prominent magazines, and keeping up with contemporary authors in my favorite genres will mean I stay on top of the industry I want to break into. Plus I get to read cool stories.

Who knew setting goals that you actually find interesting makes achieving them seem not that scary?

Get Hired As a Writing Consultant

Hey, you! Yeah, you reading this blog post. You got stories? You like talking about them? You want to make them better? I'm your gal!

In all seriousness, earnestly opening freelance consulting services has been a wish of mine for a while. There are very few things in this world I love more than talking about stories. The fact that I can get paid to talk about them is pretty much the best kind of dream come true ever. The messy, nitty-gritty, deep digging into words and worlds and characters part of the writing process is my absolute favorite thing. And I've helped my writer friends out of the trenches of their stories' tangles many a time, and let me tell you, it's an amazing feeling.

So guess what? I'm a professional story-talker-abouter now. The best part is I'm not even exaggerating. I've been trained and paid for this. And my honest plan for the new year is to not shut up about it, ever.

How's that for a goal worth sticking to?

In conclusion - I still kind of hate new year's resolutions. But I'm doing my best to get around it, and get stuff done in 2019. I'm ready to keep growing, keep learning, and keep making cool things.

One last thing. Another end-of-the-year trend I see that I've abstained from in the past is picking words for your year. In this case, though, I honestly just never thought much of it. But this year I'm not going to abstain. Because I'm a writer, and words are kind of my thing.

So here's my word for 2019: ABIDE

It pretty much embodies all the goals I just listed. It has a couple different definitions, too, which is why I like it. There's freedom in abiding.

In 2019 I plan to press on. To work hard. To trust. To wait. To sustain. I plan to fight and keep fighting, and keep believing. Believing in my words, in my purpose, in my capability. In goodness and kindness and light and love and beauty and hope that finds its way into every crack, every corner, and can't be snuffed out - in everything worth believing and abiding in.

I'm ready for a new and amazing start. Hence why this is the first blog post on my brand new website. My first website! (Welcome, by the way.) I'm excited. Can you tell I'm excited?

So, to wrap this up - tell me, what goals do you have for the new year? What are you excited about? Let me know! Let's make this year amazing. I know we can do it.