Forget Resolutions

I’m not a fan at all of resolutions. I think they’re lies we tell ourselves in order to wash away our guilt from the previous year. We promise to be good. We promise to achieve X, Y, and Z. And if we don’t? We’ll be back next year at this same time, making promises up the wazoo again.

So here’s what I’d recommend. Instead of spending this year making useless resolutions, make an earnings plan. Spend the time you’d waste wishing away those ten pounds actually doing something. Instead of empty promises and inertia, spend five or ten minutes with a calculator deciding how much you want to earn in 2010. Pick a number – any number. Yes, if you want to make $100K, choose it.

Got your number? Now divide that by 12. See that new number? That’s how much you have to earn monthly in order to reach that $100K. By my calculations, that number is $8,333 and some change. That’s how much you have to bill monthly. And yes, it’s possible.

But funny thing about goals is that unless you’re accountable to them, they’re no more useful than resolutions. So here’s what I want you to do. Once you figure out a monthly number you can live with, one that makes you giddy with delight but not dizzy with anxiety, tell someone about it. Tell a few someones about it. Find a way to be accountable for that monthly target. No cheating on this one – if you don’t own up to what you did or didn’t do, you’re as good as toast.

I’ll make it easy for you. All this past year I’ve posted my very own monthly accountability post right here. Go on, look. I’ll wait. It worked very well to keep me on track and always looking to my monthly target. So I’m continuing that into 2010. And guess what? I’m inviting you to visit here at the end of every month to report your own progress. If you commit right now to telling the good and the bad of your month, I’ll return the favor. You’re in good company here. We’ve all had super months and some pretty lousy ones, so sharing is our way of supporting and giving the much-needed pat on the back.

So who’s in? Let’s start right now. What’s your intended earnings goal for 2010? Let’s commit it to writing, shall we? Let’s not worry about how we’re getting there. That will come in time. Right now we want to challenge ourselves and take hold of our earning potential.

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  • Devon Ellington December 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I disagree about resolutions. REsolutions are a way to set the bar for yourself. Something to aim towards. One of the reasons we're in such a mess is because we're encouraged to lower our own bars, that it's "okay" to lower/not meet expectations, that nothing is our actual fault.

    Bull pucky.

    It's time to stop settling for mediocrity, on both personal levels and beyond.

    Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions work together and shore each other up. When you live a holistic life instead of a fragmented one, each shores up the other.

    That's why I set up the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

    I've got the questions up for 2010. I'm posting my accountability on December 31 for this year — and I'm hard on myself, because I did not meet my goals — and here I thought I'd put in such a productive year.

    I pull no punches on where I fell short this year and why, and on January 1, I answer the 2010 questions and see how what I learned from where I fell short can be applied to make 2010 the best year ever.

    Resolutions take courage, and too often, we are encouraged not to take risks.

    Why do you think content mills get away with so much? Because people, across the boards, are encouraged to lower their own personal bars.

    Goals are the steps we take to achieve our resolutions, which in turn, are the foundation of our dreams.

    I let myself get mired in things that weren't a priority of my heart this year, and, although I managed to keep my head above water financially, I felt trapped and frustrated. I willingly gave up my safety net, and that gave me a huge sense of freedom, but I didn't utilize it properly.

    I do not intend to get stuck in that quicksand for 2010.

  • Wendy December 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Like Devon, I'm a big fan of resolutions, but in my opinion, don't bother making them if you don't have any intention of trying to follow through with them.

    Most people I know, that make resolutions, do it simply for the sake of making some. They either don't bother following through with them or they do it for a couple of days and quit because they didn't see immediate results.

    I usually make one or two every year; sometimes more. I know that I'll fall off the wagon a time or two, but that only gives me more fire and determination to push through. Stubbornness can be a good quality, eh?

    I'm still figuring out a business plan for next year, so when I get that done I'll have more of an idea of what my expected income goal will be for 2010. I have no qualms in believing you'll hold me or anyone else to those goals, Lori; nor do I have any reason to doubt that you'll meet your own.

  • Lori December 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    That's the difference between you two and the rest of the world – you put action behind your resolutions. In general, we don't. We just say "I'm losing ten pounds!" or "I'm getting a better job!" but we don't move toward that. We just state it and forget it.

    Devon, I totally agree that resolutions take courage. They also take commitment and a plan. It's why your triple play has worked so well for so long (you guys, DO go see Devon's site. It's inspiring). I think resolutions alone are a huge waste of time and a good way to kick ourselves ahead of time for that failure to meet that resolution.

    Wendy, stubbornness is an excellent quality. It takes guts and the inability to accept "no" for an answer to reach success. And please, hold me to my goals, too. We're in it together, eh? 🙂

  • Devon Ellington December 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Lori, I get what you're saying. What's at fault here isn't the concept of resolutions, but the lack of courage, commitment,and dedication many individuals have to actually build the lives they want.

    That's within THEM, not within the concept of "resolutions."

  • Lori December 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Bingo, Devon. 🙂

  • Jenn Mattern December 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I'm personally a fan of resolutions, but then again I don't set a goal without also mapping out a plan to make it happen. Whether that's knowing how often, when, and where I'm going to work out to work towards those 10 lbs lost or it's figuring out what to raise my rates to in order to meet new income goals, the key is not going into the new year (or new day for that matter) blindly. Goals are great, but you need a plan if you ever want to get beyond that.

  • Diane December 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I'm a big fan of resolutions too, but that's the linear aspect to me – I like to have lots of things to tick as I go along as it gives me a mental pat on the back and the motivation to continue. If I don't stick to my resolutions I've stopped beating myself up about it, but it's still a cross rather than a tick. The list ethic works very well for me and resolutions are natural listees.

    Saying that, I also do the numbers game. I decide how many articles/stories/fillers etc I completed last year and how many I can realistically complete this year, and I do the same with earnings. Getting a day job made me a bit lazy but I had other stuff going on at the same time and needed the regular income as I couldn't concentrate on getting additional work/income in at the time. We have a contractual bonus that they nearly didn't pay last year and I had to replace that sum of money elsewhere. I replaced it, and then we got the bonus as well, so in effect I earned extra last year to what I expected.

    So, my work "resolutions" for the coming year include: complete 1 article/short story/filler/chapter per month (= 12 each for the year — minimum), 4 magazines, 2 brochures, 1 website, 4 competition entries; + at least my regular annual salary + the bonus + the bonus again + a bit more that I haven't yet decided, but probably at least the bonus again.

  • Lori December 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Jenn, I agree. Resolutions, as Devon says, are not the problem. Applying action to them is. I tried reframing it not as resolutions, but as business plans. Sometimes it's easier for people to wrap their minds around a plan instead of a promise. And I'm like you – if I say it out loud, I'm going to back that up with some serious action.

    Diane, I think these are both excellent tools to get motivated and stay that way. Mental lists, for those of us uber-organized types, are deadlines that must be met. 😉 And I love setting a quantity goal. Whatever works is great!