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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Abandon New Year Resolutions

Rosanne's 2012 Vision Collage

New Year Resolutions are worse than a waste of time. Depending on what statistics and studies you look at, anywhere from 78% to 92% of the people who make resolutions fail to keep them.

New Year Resolutions train you to break promises to yourself, which is the opposite of what writers who want to move through resistance need to do. We need to know we can trust ourselves.

We need to know that when we make a commitment to write, we will keep it No Matter What. That’s why I recommend short commitments for Product Time – no more than 15 minutes – so you consistently honor them no matter what else happens.

If you haven’t made New Year Resolutions, you’re ahead of the game. If you’ve already made New Year Resolutions, I encourage you to officially cancel them (so that you don’t end up eventually breaking a promise to yourself). Replace resolutions with something far more likely to lead you to the satisfaction of success.

Instead of resolutions, create a New Vision for the coming year.

New Year, New Vision

You don’t need promises you expect to break; you need a vision to guide you.

Start by identifying what you want to experience in 2012. What do you want to accomplish? What skills do you want to develop? What do you want to explore and what do you want to discover? What are you willing to let go and what do you want to embrace?

Use specific, sensory-rich words to respond to the previous questions. Describe what you want to see, hear, taste, smell and feel physically and emotionally.

  • What colors and shapes do you want to predominate in your life in 2012?
  • What sounds do you resonate with? What’s your theme song for 2012?
  • What flavors and scents do you want to enjoy in 2012?
  • What do you want to touch and hold in 2012?
  • What emotions do you want to prevail in 2012?

Gather pictures and objects that represent what you want to experience this year. Create a collage or sculpture or give the pictures and objects places of honor in your writing space.

Step back from the specific, sensory details and focus on the big picture. If you hold true to the vision, what will 2012 be for you? Name your year. For me, 2012 is the Year to Relish Life.

What will 2012 be for you?

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4 Comments on “Abandon New Year Resolutions”

  1. Sarah Irene Dye January 29, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    I’m enjoying this exercise. It always helps to find new ways of framing goal-setting-type-stuff that make the prospect exciting, like you’re opening up possibilities, rather than unpleasant, like you’ll have to flog yourself into getting whatever it is done. Thanks.


    • rosannebane January 30, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      My thoughts exactly, Sarah! “Strategic planning” sounds intimidating to me (although I know some people love it and I’m fortunate to have people to help me with this). “Vision” is so much more inviting a word and concept for me. If you create a collage or other visual, I’d love to see photo (if you want to send one).


  2. Cheryl January 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    I facilitate a monthly meeting of professionals who are striving to find balance in their lives. The topic for our upcoming meeting has eluded me until today. Your suggestions for defining our visions for 2012 are outstanding and resonated with me immediately. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and appreciate your time to write them. Thank you and Happy New Year!


    • rosannebane January 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks! It so rewarding to hear that a post resonates with readers. Please let me know how the Vision exercise works for your group.


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