Breaking In The New Year

It’s the last day on January 2013. I know, where did the last four weeks go, am I right? There’s been loads of new years blogs, talking about resolutions and what you should aim to achieve this year – they go around like wildfires in the first two weeks of January. And now, on January 31st, 2013, let me ask you. How are your resolutions going?

 I never make resolutions. I never really needed to. I’m not the sort of person who loves having a clean slate for a new year. I understand people who do – it’s a great kicking off point, a point in time defined by society that everyone knows about. It certainly is a fantastic time to decide what you want to do over the next twelve months. But I think that if you want to do something, start immediately. If you want to write, write. You want to learn a language? Do it now. Don’t wait. Start exercising? Eat better? Why wait until the end of the month? Start right this second. That’s how I look at things, anyway.

 I know a lot of people aren’t like that. And that’s okay. I have a lot of respect for people who do make resolutions and even more for the people who manage to stick to them. I think it’s awesome to have a goal, a deadline, a drive to achieve something. What I get a little concerned about is when people aren’t realistic about their goals. At the beginning of a year, anything is possible. That doesn’t mean that you should expect yourself to achieve everything.

 ‘I’ll finish that script, start writing those other two, plus three short films and get one of them produced and maybe toss around ideas for a TV show.’

That sounds awesome. But it’s not a realistic goal, really. Maybe if you were writing full time and had no engagements anywhere else. If you have got enough drive to achieve that much, by all means, go for it! That’s awesome. But for the rest of us, that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. And when you get to the end of the year and you’ve only finished that script and written two shorts, you might see that as a negative thing. That’s a brilliant thing! That is a fantastic effort and something you should absolutely be proud of.

The other thing I don’t like so much about resolutions is that you lose a bit of flexibility if you stuck to them 100%. If you want to finish your script before you do anything else, what opportunities are you closing yourself off to in the meantime? Life can throw anything at you – don’t shut them out because you think you should do something else in the meantime. If you’re substituting one project for another – excepting commissions and/or other work you’re being gloriously paid to do – ride it out. Go with it. You never know where it might take you.

This is my suggestion for an End of January Resolution. Keep it broad. Keep it simple. The only resolution that I would make this year would be ‘WRITE’. It doesn’t matter how much or how little. As long as I keep writing, that’s the key.

So what’s your End of January resolution for the rest of the year? Make it a verb. Choose something that will make you happy. Then go for it.

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