HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Today I’m talking about your book. And how serious you want to be about it.
Alright, with a brand new year comes a lot of New Year's resolutions.
Whether you jump on the bandwagon and list all your best goals for the new year, or you scoff at those promising themselves that, yet again, they’ll try to lose 10 lbs or quit smoking, resolutions are everywhere.
And a majority of those resolutions will be abandoned just two weeks into the year!
That’s not very motivating, but hear me out.
What’s so important about New Year’s resolutions? Why do people love them so much?
I think it’s natural for people to want a season of renewed motivation. Afterall, life is all about cycles - the seasons, the changing tides, life and death.
Some argue that it shouldn’t be Jan 1st that finally gets you to focus on your goals, but why not? Discipline and getting things done is a learned skill. The problem lies with those who promise themselves they’ll do something, and don’t take action steps to accomplish it.
Let’s talk about something that may seem odd: change an unrelated habit to accomplish your goals.
Cleaning your house can make you write more.
It may take time, but trust me, things like this are like magic.
Cleaning may not immediately affect how much you write, but for me it was keystone habit--a tiny (okay, not so tiny because I still despise cleaning) change in my routine that rippled to other positive changes in my life.
I started using the 1-minute rule, which forces you to immediately tackle those easy cleaning issues before they pile up into a full-day cleaning spree. I talked about this last week, but use it--it’s AMAZING. Essentially, if a task takes less than 1-minute, do it now. Do you leave your shoes by the front door when you come home? Takes less than 1-minute to do it now, so quit being lazy and get it out of the way.
Getting these tasks done immediately gave me a boost of confidence and suddenly there was a lack of guilt dragging me down--if I was about to sit down to write, and glimpsed those shoes on the ground, I would have a mini internal debate. I know I should have put them up earlier, but did I have time right now? I wanted to write. I’d get to the shoes later.
It’s a distraction.
Eliminating those distractions meant I could focus on other things. Even if I wasn’t using physical energy every time I would spot those issues, it was mentally pulling me away from my writing.
There are a few reasons why cleaning could have affected how much I write, but this keystone habit has also affected other areas of my life. I feel more productive, so I task myself with more. I challenge myself to wake up earlier. To journal.
Using keystone habits helps you tackle your goals without you even realizing what’s happening because you’re replacing a bad routine with a good one. Replace the right routine and your goals get themselves done.
Keystone habits are covered in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I told you guys I would talk more about this book! It has so many things that apply to writing, I highly recommend it. This post is not sponsored by that book…
Now that we’ve covered how changing your other habits can help you come through on your resolutions, let’s talk about other general life habits that can help you be more productive, and help you write your book this year!
If you’re resistant to self-help kumbaya, then prepare yourself. Because...
These are little mantras are designed to improve your mood, lift your confidence, and spark some motivation.
Basically, you’re brainwashing yourself.
But it works.
Most writers fill their heads with negative comments all the time.
When you take time to tell yourself positive things, you’re not only stroking your own ego, but you’re displacing those negative thoughts--if you spend 5 minutes telling yourself how awesome you are, that’s 5 minutes that it’s impossible for a bad thought to get in.
Do this every day and you can kick those bad thoughts to the curb!
Now, I’m entirely new to affirmations, and I haven’t had the strength to tell anyone I’m whispering positive phrases to myself when no one’s looking...until now...but I can already feel the effect of it.
Say them outloud. Write them in a journal. However you do it, just try. Whatever phrases you use, they have to mean something to you. Don’t just say the words. Feel them!
My writing is strengthened by constructive criticism from others and from myself.
I have everything I need to write my dream story.
I can find inspiration at any time.
Google for more affirmations that speak to you. Seriously, something happens when you say these things out loud, using “I” and “me.”
Fake it 'til you make it!
Yes, this is boring. I’ve talked about routines before and I’m sure you’ve seen it a million other places. But here, I’m not talking about writing routines, although you should have that too. I’m talking about self-care routines.
You are the writer. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you can’t do your best writing.
The most prolific people utilize routines to help build a habit of productivity and creativity.
Write down your ideal morning and evening routines.
The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day, and how you end your night can affect how well you sleep, which affects your energy levels the next day.
Personalize your morning routines to suit your needs and your availability.
Some ideas for morning routines:
Journal. Write down three things you’re grateful for. Seriously. Try it.
Yoga. It’s a great way to sneak in some meditation, and aligns your mind with your body first thing in the morning.
No social media in the morning. It’s a time-suck for most of us.
Some ideas for evening routines:
Take a bath. When’s the last time you’ve done this? If you don’t like to take baths, then you might be doing it wrong. Add epsom salt or magnesium flakes and some yummy smelling suds, and light some candles!
Meditate. This is a great way to wind down after a hectic day and helps you quiet your racing mind.
No screens on after bedtime! Whatever time you go to bed, keep the screens off for better sleep!
Again, personalize it to whatever makes the most sense to your life. Meditation might be taking the time to make a great cup of coffee. As it brews, take a deep breath of that delicious aroma and let yourself be. While it’s not the same as a few drops of lavender in a diffuser, it can be just as relaxing to a coffee lover first thing in the morning.
In last week’s vlog I talked about using rewards as a way to train yourself to enjoy deadlines. Here, I’m talking about a random, just because treat. Make yourself feel good. Recharge. Have you been dying to get your nails done?
Do you miss curling up to a good book and reading ALL DAY LONG? Sit down and enjoy that time for YOU, guilt-free!
Has it been way too long since you’ve had a haircut? Do it! And then go on a date and rock that beautiful new cut.
Sometimes your lack of confidence in writing can stem from other areas of your life. Take the time to balance your life so you can tackle your writing resolutions with confidence.
Alright, that’s all I have for you guys today, I hope that was super helpful! Let me know if you have any tips for finally getting that draft down on paper, and what you've found works for you.
Until next time, Happy Writing!