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A Writer’s Five Never-Fail Tips for Tackling the New Year

I always approach the turn of the year with a sense of anticipation and excitement that is akin to how I used to feel about the start of a new school year. It’s a time of transition and uncertainty and, with the chaos of Christmas behind me and a fresh new year unfurling at my feet, I thought I would share my approach to setting out to surf along the crest of 2019:

1. Set Goals, Rather than Resolutions. While resolutions are all the rage at this time of year they don’t inspire me: going to the gym “twice a week” might sound like a good idea, but I need to tie it to something specific, like the goal of keeping my current weight, energy and health constant so I feel strong and vibrant. And, frankly, whatever supports that overall goal, is going to get my attention, whether it’s going to the gym, eating healthily, or getting enough rest.

2. Plan for Variety. I tend to be highly focused on my work and if I’m not careful I can wake up one day feeling grumpy because I haven’t done anything but work for the past week or three. So, although I set 10 business and writing-related goals every year at this time, I also set personal goals around taking time off, spending time with friends and family, and making my home environment agreeable.

3. Stretch. A good plan for the year ahead needs to push me beyond what feels reasonable and my goals tend to focus on my opportunities for improvement. For example, I want to grow my business, which requires more robust financial processes. So, one of my goals this year is to undertake 50 hours of business-related financial learning, and another goal is to implement better processes. Numbers challenge me. And I’m working on that!

4. Be Reasonable. I might want to make a million dollars, create a viral video, and go on a global book tour with the best-selling novel I want to write, but I only get 168 hours every week and there are other things I also want to accomplish. I don’t much like that word “reasonable,” as it reminds me of sensible shoes and boring food. But I’ve learned to drag my expectations out of the stratosphere and settle them somewhere between the Earth and the Moon so they stretch me, without discouraging me.

5. Leave Room for the Unexpected. I didn’t achieve all of my goals in 2018, and that’s OK. Other things happened instead. I wouldn’t give up the two-week trip I took to Costa Rica or the unexpected speaking opportunities that came my way, or the new mobile App Crossman Communications is currently polishing. Surprises happen and being able to hold my goals loosely ensures I don’t miss other opportunities that a benevolent Universe sends my way.

I’m looking forward to the next turn of the wheel and can’t wait to see what shows up in 2019. It will be fascinating! And what about you? I’d love to hear your approach to taking on a New Year. What works for you?


  • This is great advice. One of the complementary things I started doing a few years ago is listing five things that made it a significant way up my “growth curve” in the preceding year: habits I wanted to change, habits I wanted to develop, skills I wanted to learn. I’ve come to believe that goal crediting is a necessary balance for goal setting.

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