Following Through on Resolutions

Yesterday in my yoga class, the teacher, Jason, noted that he could feel the expectation in the room. And there a lot of extra grunting and pushing. A lot of sighing. A lot of people trying to do their very best poses. He reminded us that our practice was not about yesterday’s class. And because the class faces a mirrored wall, I saw a lot of people nodding and smiling and breathing a sigh of relief in response.

It reminded me of my favorite writing metaphor: the marathon. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but the new year is always a point at which we take stock of the year we’re facing. And this time around it’s a new decade to boot.

Where do you want to be January 1, 2011?
Where do you want to be January 1, 2020?

More specifically, where do you want to be with your writing on January 1, 2011? Where do you want to be with your writing on January 1, 2010?

Really think about it. And then make a reasonable schedule that allows you to accomplish your goal, not like a person who hasn’t run in over a year and decides to accomplish a marathon next weekend, but like a sane person who sets a reasonable training schedule and some points to hit along the way.

Many of my writers come barreling out the new year gate with huge aspirations. Huge aspirations lead to the expectations that Jason noticed among my fellow yogis yesterday. And huge aspirations usually lead to huge disappointments. You can’t keep it up. Just like you wouldn’t be able to go out and do a 15-mile training run tomorrow if you haven’t worked up to it, you’re not going to be able to start writing every morning at five AM, seven days a week for two hours every morning, if that’s not already your schedule. The better thing to do would be to commit to two or three mornings a week so that you don’t start to resent your new, impossible-to-manage schedule.

Take your resolution in stride. Or better yet, don’t make a resolution. Make a lifestyle choice. Choose to honor yourself and your writing by allocating as much time to it as you would to, say, your weekly television intake. If you watch a drama or two and two or three sitcoms a week, plus the news, chances are you’re at least watching four to five hours of television a week. And that’s a conservative estimate for most of us.

Just consider where you’re putting your time. And remind yourself again where you want to be a year from now, and a decade from now.

Go ahead and make a commitment to bring it in the 2010s!

Until next month.


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