It's the new year (Happy New Year!).

Many gyms, weight loss programs, and educational programs focus on catching the people who like resolutions. I have never succeeded at resolutions. Never. That's too many years to not succeed at something. 

Instead, I recommend you consider one, two, or maybe three watchwords for next year. By watchword, I mean the idea of a rallying cry. What words can I use to choose what to do? How will those words help me choose what not to do? 

I have a difficult time saying no to many possibly useful ideas. Yet, I know I need to say no, so I can say yes to what I want to do.

Here's how I think of my watchwords:

  • What principles do I want to use to focus my life and work in the coming year?
  • What one or two words will help me choose what to do and what to avoid?
  • Do I want to consider any words that help me experiment?

Here's how I find those watchwords.

Option 1: Look for the Obvious Word(s)‚Äč

One of my obvious words is "focus." I can use that to focus on my writing. This year, I wrote more words than I had ever written. (A good thing.) I'm quite happy with the number of words I wrote. I'm not as excited about the fact I didn't write too many more fiction words. Also, I didn't write every single day. 

That's why one of my watchwords for this next year is "focus." That focus helps me decide:

How will this choice help me finish more fiction?

I might choose to finish a couple of the nonfiction books that are oh, so close. (I am sure I will.) 

I might choose to create more workshops. (Again, totally positive I will.)

However, I have more options when I rethink how much of what kind of writing I choose when I use the word "Focus."

Option 2: Look for Words that Trigger a Habit

Do some words help you see and maintain a habit? I use the word "schedule" for that. I schedule time in my calendar to write. Up until now, I have lumped all writing together. I realized I wanted something different this year, so I broke out my fiction and nonfiction writing. 

I'm not yet perfect at creating and sticking to my daily fiction writing habit. (I decided to reinforce the habit by giving myself a star on a wall calendar every day I write fiction. Yes, I appear to be about six years old.)

Option 3: Use a Word That Reflects Your Values

I have two major values in my life: learning something and having fun. While I still have to work at writing fiction, I learn something every time I do. I almost always have fun when I write almost anything. I have learned several circumstances when I don't have fun writing fiction. I've been keeping a writing notebook, similar to my engineering notebook when I was a young software developer. 

Because I write down the circumstances when I don't have fun, I can see my patterns. I can create options about how to work through that particular problem.

My rallying cry for this year is: Focus on Fiction.

Given these ideas, what might your rallying cry, your watchword be? Hit reply and let me know.


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Till next time, Johanna

© 2021 Johanna Rothman