Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You say you’ve got a resolution…well, you know...

Its New Years Day!!!  Last night, you watched the number flip or watched the ball drop or whatever went on in your corner of the world
Maybe you had a party, got together with friends to celebrate.  Maybe you had a fantastic pizza, or the best champagne you could find.  Maybe you kissed a pretty girl (or guy) at the stroke of midnight…or maybe you didn't do any of those things.  It doesn't matter because here you are, right in the middle of the biggest symbol for new beginnings this side of a sunrise and you've got a brand-spankin’ new year ahead of you.

Time to start making with the New Years Resolutions, right?

Well, maybe not…

New Years Day has always been an introspective time for me and, like practically everyone else, I started thinking about my New Year’s resolutions this morning and planned on climbing to the top of my Mountain of Willpower and proclaiming to the world: “This year, I hereby resolve to…”

Behold: Mount Willpower.  Tremble at its steadfastness.

There's a problem with that.  I don't know about you, but sometimes my Mountain of Willpower looks more like this:

Behold..  Um, yah, nevermind…

And there go the resolutions.

This year, I decided to focus on why I make resolutions in the first place instead of actually making any and seeing where that leads me.  It led me to 3 questions and 1 decision.

That's it.  I'm asking these questions across several areas of my life this year and here they are:

Question 1: What do you want?

Do yourself a favor and give this question the attention it deserves.  More importantly, forget about what you believe to be possible (or impossible) at the moment.


Don’t get cute and fire a one off “I want to be rich” kind of response.  That’s a crap answer and it doesn’t do you any good because, you don’t just “Get Rich”.  You’ve actually got to do something in order to get rich. 

This is a one-on-one discussion with the person you want to be and they took the time and effort to show up…you should too.  Really get involved in this conversation and get to the bottom of it.  Go ahead, take as much time as you need.

Here’s my First Answer for my professional life:

I want to write professionally.

Once you’ve got Answer 1 in your pocket, you’re ready for…

Question 2: What skills do you have?

What skills or resources can you bring to the party to help you get what you want?  Go ahead and list them AND BE HONEST! If the answer is “Nothing, nada, Big Fat Zero” that is ok.  Let me repeat that: If you don’t have the skills or resources to get what you want at this time, THAT IS OK.  We’re just doing an inventory here.

When you’re making this list, stay away from “I am” statements.  For me it would be something like this:
“I am creative.”
What we're looking for here is what you can do.

My answer to question 2 goes something like this:
I can tell a good story.
I can craft believable dialogue.
I can get help from my fellow writers in the form of writers groups, blogs, and writing websites (like Magical Words—www.magicalwords.net—if you’re a writer, check it out.  You’ll be glad you did).

 This question serves to lay what you’ve got out on the table so that you can see it and give you an idea of what you've got to work with when you tackle…

Question 3: What is your next step?

What is the one thing that you can do next to bring you closer to what you want?  See why it’s ok if you don't have much in the way of skills at this point?  Your next step is easy.  Go get the skills.  Go do some research.  If you've already got some of the skills you need, figure out what your next step is going to be.  It can be anything as long as it meets this criteria:

It must be something that will get you one step closer to what you want.  It doesn't even have to be a giant step, it can be the tiniest baby-step shuffling of your feet imaginable as long as it moves you forward.


      Now comes the hard part:

The Decision


You know what you want, you know what skills you have to get it, and you know what you have to do to take you just one step closer to achieving it.  Well done!  Seriously.  A lot of folks don't get this far.

But it's not enough.  You actually have to decide to do it and—here's the important part—then go do it.

You'd be amazed at the number of folks that get to this point and…stop.

I don't have exact numbers but I'm sure if I knew what that number was, I'd be amazed…and probably more than a little saddened.

The problem is that chasing your dreams is hard.  No, let me rephrase that, chasing your dreams is really hard.  They wouldn't be called dreams if you could just reach out and pick them off the dream tree.

An actual Dream Tree would have more sparkles…and maybe less apples.

Dreams require a lot of work if you're going to catch them and thinking about all that work simply stops folks.  Here's the thing though.

You don't have to eat the entire orchard in one bite.

It's that simple.  Every time you decide to take that next step, you've plucked an apple.  You've brought yourself that much closer to your dream.  Sometimes those apples are hanging right there in front of you and sometimes you've got to get a truck, put a ladder in the flatbed, and step up past the “Don't Step Here” sticker and get up on your tip-toes to reach it.

The work will be worth it.  Keep plucking.

Now go write.