Why Reviews Beat Resolutions

What writer doesn’t love a strong theme? This is time of year when New Year’s Resolutions are fizzling out…so why not think ‘theme’ instead?

When you think about it , for a lot of us this is a most pesky time of the year to make a resolution. The weathers stinks, viruses thrive and there are tax returns to deliver … we may make resolutions forgetting context, which make us feel dissatisfied and which exist as goals in strange vacuums…

BUT by way of motivating yourself for the year ahead – and making your tax return a more creative exercise – why not use this period to productively review the past year and the one we’re just starting? It puts your goals and planning in context, includes big picture and small process thinking and is fun to do… so much more likely to stick.


Finding Your Themes

Start with what was last year’s theme. You may want to do this on a professional and personal basis, or just chuck the two together. 2017 here professionally was a steady march, nothing unduly exciting, but consistent unspectacular progress. Possibly because personally the year was a year of recovery – mostly joyous – from 4 successful operations. It takes a while to clear the morphine.

If you find this theme thinking a challenge, just note down key events and ask yourself ‘ What was going on here, generally?’

You can expand this further by taking your top three or four most notable events from last year, and asking ‘What were these about – and what is the opposite of what they were about?’

Here again 2018 is going to be professionally a year of new direction, not quite reinvention, but a trip up a route not travelled before. And personally, now I’m firing on cylinders again, it’s going to be about focus. Laser-like. (Yikes a cliché! Well…torch on full beam at least).

So what was last year’s theme for you – and what is the one for the year ahead? Imagine, realistically, what you would like to happen.

(A quick mindnote here: You’re using abstract thinking here and this gives your goals meaning – they’re much more likely to keep you motivated. When circumstances change and goals need shifting, your theme will still continue to  give you direction. So while we need both, your theme can create a backbone for those rib like goals)

With your theme for next year in mind, ask yourself, what do I need to do more of? And now we get into the planning nitty gritty to set those goals.

Give yourself up to 3 habits you’ll do daily and schedule them.

Do the same for weekly and monthly. Doodle or draw these habits and they’ll be much more likely to stick. Get yourself a calendar and mark up your actions to stay accountable to yourself.

This is a pretty good team building exercise for the team or even the family for the year…

And I got the idea for this from the fab teacher Doug Neil over at Verbal to Visual.

May all your reviews be productive ones!

This months useful links:

The wondrous Joanna Penn has come us with a method of writing quickly which also keeps you fit. Will be reporting back on experiment doing this. healthy writer dictation tips

Get on the sofa, curl up with cup of hot chocolate or something else you fancy and get your reading knashers into this amazing list: 100 best websites for writers 2018

Finally,hoping here to spend more time listening to podcasts this year. Just discovered this one and love it, from two copywriting queens. http://www.hotcopypodcast.com/