No apocalypse, huh? Guess that means I actually DO have to consider New Year’s Resolutions sometime soon. (Not to mention actually getting those Christmas cards in the mail…)
I don’t really do resolutions any more. Honestly, I still go through stacks of stuff every once in a while and find some old notebook or scrap of paper or blank book with one page used, and on it is scrawled the New Year’s Resolution List from some unknown year. And yeah, they’re usually the same. Lose weight. Start exercising. Find time to write. A sad testament to my inability to accept the facts that 1) since I didn’t do it the previous year, I’m probably not going to do it this year, and 2) I can’t keep track of lists, so they don’t actually help anything.
A few years ago, a friend told me about the New Year’s Holiday Letter to Yourself, and I have to admit I love the concept—and it’s a WHOLE lot more effective than those resolutions. It’s kind of a combination of a story-form of resolutions and the whole “visualization” theory. Don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds.
Pretend you’re doing a holiday letter talking about all the fabulous things that happened during the year—just pretend it is next December. The one caveat—the letter needs to be hand written. Not done on the computer, phone, tablet, or whatever. Break out the pen. Put everything in terms of success, not plans. Stay positive. Be enthusiastic. And specific. Whether it’s going somewhere exotic on vacation, or losing that weight, put it on the page.
Wow—2013 was an amazing year. As a special treat for getting that second manuscript to my agent, we decided to use some of our extra savings we built up courtesy of the new job to take the kids to EuroDisney! It was a fabulous trip that gave me some great ideas for the next book of the series. Everything went so smoothly, but I have to admit the best part was having to buy a new wardrobe before I left since my new dance classes have just been melting the weight off me.
Okay, that’s probably a bit condensed, but you get the idea… It’s not, “I wrote every day from 4:30 to 6:30, no matter what.” Or “I worked out for 45 minutes three times a week without ever missing a scheduled workout.” It’s the results you tout. The second finished manuscript. The extra money you’re comfortable spending. The weight being so easy to lose.
Then, put the letter in an envelope for yourself to open New Year’s Eve of next year.
The mind is an interesting and odd thing…and a very powerful one. It’s along the lines of the power of positive—or negative—thinking, mixed up with the “universal abundance” theory. If you tell yourself something, your brain, and the Universe, will work to make sure it is true. Especially if you’ve written it out long-hand. (It has something to do with the brain/hand connection.)
No, I’m not saying if you write, “Wow, I jumped out of bed and tripped over stacks of gold coins and large-denomination bills!” that will be what happens at 8 a.m. January 1st. But, I will say that things start happening. And for some reason, I don’t lose these letters. In fact, I don’t even forget what I wrote in the letters. Give it a try, and, next December 31st, let me know what happened.