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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.

Resolved: No More Writing Resolutions!


broken promise canstockphoto3091066 (2)Question: What’s the difference between a New Year’s resolution and a broken promise?

Answer: About three to six weeks.

Research shows that 78%  to 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail.

Resolutions are destined to fail in part because they rely on will power, which cannot last.

Applying will power is repeatedly making a decision to do or not do something. But you have a limited cognitive capacity for making decisions. When you deplete this capacity, you experience “decision fatigue.”

Just like you can’t hold even a small weight without eventually exhausting your arm muscles, you can’t keep making decisions without exhausting your prefrontal cortex.

If you haven’t created a habit by the time your will power is drained, your resolution will fail and your writing resistance will actually increase.

If you want to acquire new writing habits or change anything else in your life, for goodness sake don’t call it a New Year’s resolution!

Making a New Year’s resolution is a set-up for failure. Repeatedly telling yourself you’ll do something and then not doing it is teaching yourself not to trust yourself. Eroding trust in yourself increases writing resistance and makes it more difficult to take action that will serve you.

Therefore, resolve to make no more resolutions! Instead, I recommend you discover your New Year Vision, which we’ll explore in our next post.

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  1. What Writers can Learn from Failed New Year’s Resolutions | Bane of Your Resistance - January 7, 2016

    […] How’s that New Year’s Resolution working for you? Or did you, like me, resolve to not make resolutions? Either way, you can increase your chances of writing success by examining why resolutions often fail. […]

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