The beginning of a new year is perfect moment to start a new resolution. While keeping a resolution throughout the year may be a challenge, there are some ways in which one may increase their chance of success. I would like to share with you some advices on how to keep a resolution to write on each day of the year.
Decide what you will be writing about
The most important part of planning your resolution is deciding on what you are going to write about. Are you a fiction writer that wants to create a new novel? Do you like journaling and want to write down your thoughts on every day? Are you interested in writing articles on a topic you find enjoyable? To properly outline your goal you should be aware of what you want to write about. To make a writing resolution work you should try to write about things that are genuinely interesting to you, or bring you joy, or that you want to share your thoughts on. Forcing yourself to work on a text that you find boring won’t lead you anywhere.
It does not mean that you need to pick only one topic, or only one scheme of writing for your daily resolution. I believe you will have higher chances of success when alternating between different forms, i.e. a journal, blog posts, some fiction. Giving some thoughts to what type of output you want to create will help you a lot down the road, because it will allow you to plan and organise your actions accordingly. If you want to write a blog, you can make a decision to write a post per day, or maybe to write a new post every other day, so you can work on a single entry for two days, etc. In a resolution to write daily it is not important to finish a new piece of writing every day, but to write something every day.
Set a measurable daily goal for writing
Once you know what you will be writing about, or what kind of texts you want to produce, you should focus on determining the specifics of your daily goal for writing. It may be counterintuitive for you, as in the last paragraph I explicitly mentioned that the resolution is simply about writing something each day. But it would be a great help in keeping your resolution to define a measurable goal for daily writing. Some clear requirement that will be easy to recognise when fulfilled each day. A few examples are:
xnumber of words each day
- writing for
xnumber of minutes each day
- writing once a day, after breakfast
- naming one good thing that happened today
- writing at least one paragraph of your newest story
Having a measurable goal will help you by giving an additional confidence boost when fulfilling it each day. The whole concept is based on achieving bigger goals in smaller increments. Virtually no one would be able to write a complete book in one sitting, but doing that step by step is absolutely possible.
It is up to you whether you would like to define a daily writing goal or just stay at “simply writing something every day”. What works for one person may not necessary work for another. However, if you decide to introduce a daily goal, my advice to you is to keep it:
Simple means that the goal should be easy to remember and to validate. It is easier to manage a goal like write 300 words each day than write three new chapters of the story each week, with at least 300 words on workdays and 550 words on weekends, half of which should be a dialogue. The simpler the goal the better it will work. As for achievable, daily goal only makes sense when you can actually make it in everyday situations. Therefore it should be tailored to your needs, taking into account resources that you have available (free time being the most critical resource for majority of people). If you set yourself a goal that is too ambitious, after repeated failures it will only discourage you from keeping your writing resolution. If on average you write 400-500 words in one sitting, do not set yourself a goal to write 1500 words each day. You won’t make it on all days, which will frustrate and discourage you. Instead make a goal of writing at least 300 words each day, which would be below your average words output in this example.
Track your progress
The best chance of keeping your resolution and writing something every day of the year is to keep track of the progress you have made so far, and to use the power of streaks to motivate you even further. You can mark days in calendar when you were able to write anything or those when you met your daily writing goal. If you prefer digital solutions, there are dozens of applications that will help you with that. But remember not to push yourself too much. There may be days when you will be sick, or tired, or travelling, when it just won’t be possible for you to write. It is okay to have a day or two out of the streak if your body or mind needs it. We are not machines after all.
It is not a break in a streak that endangers our efforts. It is not returning to the routine afterwards. This is why you should always get back to your resolution as soon as possible, once the reason for your break had passed. It doesn’t matter if you lost two or five, or ten days, as long as you get back on track afterwards, everything is fine.
Find the motivation inside you
New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to maintain in the long run. Not because they are impossible to keep, but because as the year progresses, there is less of the festive atmosphere and energy left in us, and more and more of mundane reality and responsibilities. It is getting harder to do things with the same level of excitement we had at the beginning of January. We need to keep and protect our motivation, for in many cases motivation is the main drive for changes and improvement, as well as for keeping our resolutions. There are different kinds of motivation, but the one important to us is the internal motivation. It is the strongest one, although fairly difficult to control. It can start fading if we don’t take care of it. What can help is remembering the reasons why you decided to make that resolution in the first place. What did you want to change? What did you want to accomplish? Perhaps you wanted to grow as a person. Or publish your first book. Or improve your writing style. Or impress your friend. There could have been many reasons why you decided to start a new year with a resolution to write more, but remembering those reasons will help you significantly. You can write down all the reasons why you made the resolution and look at that list every time you feel like your motivation is dwindling.
Perseverance is everything
There will be time when you are tired or angry, or annoyed, and the last thing you want to do is to write something because of a resolution you made a few months ago. In times when motivation fails and everything seems to align against you, perseverance is everything. Keep going even if you do not want to. Just do one small step at a time. And then another. And one more. Motivation can only get you so far. Perseverance and discipline can help you in key moments.
It is not possible to mention every single tip on keeping a resolution in writing, after all everyone is different and prefers different approaches to routines. I still hope that you found my advices useful, though.