"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions Rescue! How to Accomplish More of Your Goals in 2014

Welcome to a new year, and a new edition of Pen and Prosper.
It’s such a pleasure to have you join me. A special “shout-out” to my new followers…and a heart-felt “thank you” for those who continue to read and support this Blog.

It’s that intimidating time of year again, folks …

You know: when you carry over last year’s left over dreams and factor in the new year’s infinite possibilities, to diligently devise your resolutions for the next 12 months.

It sounds like a long division math problem from back in school, doesn’t it?
Well, don’t let it stump you. It doesn’t have to boggle the brain. And you’re not being graded here.

For some folks, ushering in a new year is an exciting time to explore new horizons, experiment, and reach new heights. Unfortunately for others, it’s a frustrating endeavor that makes them feel as if they’ve missed the mark. Yet again.

Which category would you likely fall in?

According to statistics, about 45% of the population create New Year’s resolutions. Forbes.com reports that only 8% of people actually achieve them.

Before we address how to have greater success in achieving your resolutions in 2014, it’s crucial to examine previous efforts and heed the “lessons” that even failure imparts.

Here’s why.
To loosely quote Dr. Phil, “You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge first.”
So let’s look at a few of the most common reasons I believe people don’t achieve their resolutions. See if any would apply to you and your circumstances.
  1. They’re unrealistically based. How can you win the lottery if you don’t even play? J
  2. They’re not approached with a specific game plan and practical strategies.
  3. They feel more like work than fun.
  4. A lack of proper resources to help carry them out. For example, you want to go back to college, but you don’t have the funds.
  5. Losing momentum. In other words, you start out with the best of intentions, then you “lose that lovin’ feelin'." For bloggers, it can sometimes be the result of working hard week after week, and not getting a lot of comments or followers to feel a sense of validation or a sense of community.
  6.  Our priorities change. Someone loses a job, or a tragedy strikes, or we suffer a financial set-back.
  7. We lack time, discipline, or confidence.
  8. Procrastination. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Sound familiar?

Now that we’ve tackled the “whys,” let’s apply some principles and practices to help you discover “how” to score more than in the year before.
  • Don’t agonize, strategize. It makes no sense to complain about the “battle of the budge” if you refuse to modify your eating habits, or to complain about not getting published, if you’re not researching markets and submitting work regularly. Come up with a viable plan and work it.
  • Recognize that Rome wasn’t built over night. Give yourself adequate time to see results.
  •  Make a list of those goals that are the most important in the next 12 months. 6-12 things would be ideal. Too many and you’ll feel overwhelmed.
  • If you notice a goal that keeps repeating itself each year, it should be re-examined and perhaps revised. Possibly even replaced. Hello?
  • Establish both short and long term goals to keep you motivated. In other words, a short-term goal might be to subscribe to Writers Digest Magazine, to update your site, to pen a guest post at a popular Blog, or to join Pen and Prosper as a follower. A long-term goal might include writing a poetry book, or winning a contest, or finding an agent.
  • Keep a positive momentum going by rewarding yourself for periodic successes. This can be something as simple as treating yourself to a manicure for an article you just sold, or a box of chocolates for a guest post you just landed, or a day of fun for reaching your desired income goal for the month.
  • Write down your goals and game plan in a journal or post it in a prominent place in your office. The more visible it is, the more likely you are to review it, remember it, and follow through each week.
  •   Consider partnering with a goal buddy. This “joint venture” will help to keep you both accountable and supported.
  • Have fun. And keep proper perspective. "The only failures are those who fail to try."
  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat. :-)
Wishing you a New Year filled with abundant blessings and good health.

Are you making any resolutions this year? Which has been the most difficult for you to master?
Do tell.


  1. I have four main goals for 2014, but I will focus only one during the month of January: to get at least two consistent, PROFITABLE freelance writing assignments.

    I happened upon a guy's site who shared a way to get everything you want in life. He said to write down one goal you want to accomplish within the next 30 days. Then, write down five actions you have to take to achieve that goal. And put dates on those goals.

    That has been done and I will be ready to act on January 2nd. I'll work on my other goals after I achieve the results from that project.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 2, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      Hi Marcie,
      Thanks for starting the chat off. This is interesting info; thanks so much for sharing his approach too. Good luck with your goals moving forward.

  2. I sit on the fence looking back and ahead, so I tackle a mixture of thoughts and emotions. Thank you for breaking this down; it helps clarify some things. One thing I've learned this past year is that I need to allow myself more grace. With everything. :) Wonderful info to help us move ahead, thank you!

    Happy New Year! :)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 2, 2014 at 7:55 AM


      It's true; you should give yourself grace. You're doing fine. :-)

  3. I, also, sit on that fence that Karen sits on. I want to find a market for my writing but I can't seem to find any that are an exact fit. My main goal for this year is to find a market for my work.I also intend to study the craft of writing and improve my work. I will continue to read and study the Old Testament prophets.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 2, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      Hi there,
      You are not alone. To quote the Bible, "The wise seek counsel."
      Try Freelancedaily.net for markets or Craigslist.org
      Wishing you the best. Always. :-)

  4. Happy New Year, Jen. I remember when I first began writing. I attended a January Writer's meeting where the speaker encouraged everyone to write down their writing goals for the year. Being a newbie, I wrote unrealistic goals" publish twelve things; six for money and six for fun.

    By December I had achieved my goals. You have to want something bad enough. I wish you and your readers success in all endeavors.

    1. Wow, that's pretty ambitious. And it "paid" off. :-) Thanks, Linda. I appreciate your input and positivity.

  5. There are, and have been several things difficult to master, for example Positioning my blog, making it clear what you can expect to find on it. Since it's not specifically about one type of writing in particular.

    It's more like a Bloggers Guide with info and rescources about several types of writing, and to make it more clear I wrote a Welcome Message that's more Guideing, and made attempts to make it more attractive to read, recently I re-wrote many of the Blog Post Titles to make you as a reader more curious.

    For example: 'Don't read this Blog post, unless..., You want to discover more about...,' etc. etc. :)

    Happy New Year!


    1. Keep that up and you're destined for great things in 2014! Good to hear from you today. Much continued success, H.P.

  6. Happy New Year, and thanks for the thought-provoking post. Rather than resolutions, which I generally do not keep, I set goals. I'm more successful if I write them down and set interim goals to measure my success throughout the year.

    1. Donna,
      How lovely to hear from you. I don't make many personal resolutions, but one has definitely been to try to get more readers to join the "conversation" here at Pen & Prosper--so thank you. :-)

  7. I'm not much of a resolution maker - at my age you realize how futile that can be from past experience. I will say, however, that after a December rest I'm usually raring to go in January. I've already snagged a guest blog and have entered a contest. Ideas are popping all over the place. And I love the idea of partnering and rewarding yourself with chocolate! Happy New (Writing) Year.

  8. Thank, Sue. Wishing you a "sue-per" year filled with fun projects and lots of perks. :-)

  9. After years of lofty resolutions, I've pared my list down to a few realistic goals. It also helps to have some idea on how to go about making them a reality.

    One of the major things on my to-do list for 2014 is doing more guest/promo blog appearances. Bloggers often post on the ACFW loop when they want to schedule people. I've been jumping on those opportunities and already have a half dozen lined up for 2014.

    1. Great feedback, Sue. I'm sure you'll have a successful 2014 with your strategic approach! Thanks for stopping by and sharing. :-)

  10. Hi, Jen:

    My resolution this year was to continue working toward the goals I've set for myself generally. I have my eye on the ball and am thinking long-term, so that is what I'm steadily marching toward. For me, the problem is maintaining enthusiasm and resisting feeling discouraged when things don't work out the way I would have liked, or do work out but not in the time-frame for which I had hoped. Thus, your advice that we not "agonize" but, instead, "strategize," resonates with me.

    Thanks for these tips. Wishing you a happy and successful New Year!

    1. I can certainly relate to feelings of being discouraged; particularly today. :-) Sometimes prayer helps. Good to hear from you on this.