If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. —Andrew Carnegie
I’ve always been conflicted about making New Year’s resolutions. On the one hand, I know that the failure rate for these resolutions is high—roughly 80% of them fail by mid-February. On the other hand, I tend to be very goal-oriented and it’s hard for me to resist writing something definite at the top of the fresh slate that January 1 hands over.
Last year, I accidentally stumbled onto the secret to a successful resolution. I had been feeling disconnected from friends, so my resolution was to “invite more people over for brunch.” This was a goal that I managed to achieve before the end of January. The reason, of course, is because I chose a resolution that was both achievable and joyful. In reading up on the science of motivation, it seems that the most important factor in whether or not people do something is that they have to want to do it. For example, if you tell yourself that you need to get in shape, you’re less likely to achieve that goal than you would be if you found an activity that you loved to do and committed to doing it more.
The most important factor in whether or not people do something is that they have to want to do it.
I know many people have goals around writing, whether it’s to finish a draft of something or simply to get in the habit of writing regularly. If you’re feeling resistance around writing, I suggest examining your mindset. Try making the writing itself as enjoyable as possible. Settle in with a cup of tea or coffee, light an aromatherapy candle, or simply take a moment to remind yourself that this is something you choose to do, not something you have to do. This is a gift you’re giving yourself—the gift of time and serious attention to your thoughts. You deserve it.