A week or so before Christmas I was hit by two blog posts that worked together to change how I approaching the new year. I don’t think either would have affected me by themselves; it was only in tandem that they are transforming my days. Maybe checking them out will transform yours as well.
The first was a guest blog post on Donald Miller’s Storyline blog from Susan Isaacs entitled Where Are You Going? Isaacs talked of a workbook exercise at Miller’s Storyline conference that changed things for her. The question? “Write a brief statement describing where you’ll be in one year, three years and five years if you don’t change anything.” I translated that underlined portion as “if I keep NOT doing what I am NOT doing now.”
What was I NOT doing? Isaacs talked of a one-woman show she had never produced due to her “perfectionistic procrastination.” I thought of the books I hadn’t written. My I’m No Mother Teresa book will never be written beyond the first four chapters already done and released on this blog, because the Internet and about 50 other books have made it unnecessary. But what about my Finding Balance in the Circus of Life book, based on my well-received retreat topic? And then there is my 29¢ Baby Jesus Christmas story I want to turn into an illustrated book (but I lack an illustrator—and money to pay one). And there’s the unnamed fiction book I’ve gotten 30,000 words written on. What of them?
Later that day, I read Michael Hyatt’s blog post on How to Become a Morning Person. Most of Hyatt’s advice include the standard formula given to transform yourself in this way (go to bed early, set out your clothes, etc.). But his first point—”Decide what’s at stake”—seemed to hold the key for making the transformation stick. This sentence played in my mind: “Write down on a sheet of paper what becoming a morning person would make possible.” Building on that was the comment from Matt McWilliams that said, in part, “. . . Have a reason to get up! It’s not just about getting an early start on work or being up longer. Write the book you’ve always wanted to write . . . Make this the most exciting part of the day!” (emphasis mine).
So I’ve gotten up early about 10 mornings since the blogs posted and spent an hour or so writing my balance book. The progress has averaged 1200 words each day I write, which excites me. There’s been days when I wonder if I can really do this, but I slog on.
As I was writing yesterday morning about the need for a singular focus in our lives, it occurred to me that my new year’s (or milestone birthday, or spiritual retreat) resolutions don’t usually work because I am asking myself to multitask, to accomplish multiple things at once without sustained focus on any of them.
So this year, there will be one resolution: To complete the balance book. When that is complete, I will pick another goal.
I expect I will make other positive changes in my life as I seek to make this goal a reality. For instance, I am already getting up earlier most days of the week to get to my writing immediately. And I’ve found it easier to go to the pool for exercise right after that, so I am exercising more consistently. Who knows, maybe I’ll even lose some weight as a result. But the only resolution will be the completion of the book.
What have you NOT been doing that will still be NOT done unless you choose to do it in 2013? Pick one. Make it your singular sensation to complete it this year. I’d love to hear what your resolution is so I can pray for you. Share it in the comments section or on Facebook!