Starter’s Day

Friday, January 12th has been called “Quitter’s Day.” By Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, most people have quit on their New Year’s resolutions. To keep from being a statistic, many don’t set goals. “If I don’t set goals, I can’t be accused of quitting,” goes the logic. Some say, “It’s too hard to keep them, so why bother setting goals or new year’s resolutions?”

I say let’s call today, “Starter’s Day.” For twelve years, I have been picking one word to focus on for the year. My word this year is focus. I’m focusing on the most important things: relationships, writing, reading, fitness, food, and fun. If I don’t determine this is the year to do XYZ, then where will I be next year? You might think I would be right here, stuck in the same place. However, life doesn’t work that way. If I don’t work my muscles, they atrophy. Next year may be too late to start eating healthier. If I don’t finish the book this year, it may never get written.

After my One Word Can Change the World blog, many of you mentioned you were going to pick a focus word for the year. If you did that, kudos to you. If you still know what word you picked but have not focused on it as much as you had hoped, you are not alone. Most people did not pick a word, set any goals, or resolve to do anything different. And the ones who did have already quit on their goals, but as Jon Acuff says, “You are not most people.”

For the first two weeks of this year, I have focused so much on my book Finding Joy, that I have not been riding my bike. And for no better reason than the ole “it’s the holidays” I have slacked on the “no sugar” pact I made in August. I am holding firm on no caffeine, but I allowed sugar to creep back in via its cousin maple syrup.

My #1 priority is to finish my book and to keep this blog going, which means for a time my life may get a little out of balance. However, my health, fitness, and relationship goals are important as well. I can’t say, “I will ride my bike and spend time with my family after I publish all the books I want to write.” Somehow, I must keep all the plates spinning, even if some of them spin a little slower for a time.

If this is you, I say, let’s re-focus, reset, start again. We can do it together. It is never too late to get started or recommit. Doing something is better than doing nothing. If you set some goals, take this time to re-evaluate. Make your goals realistic and based on your past. If you finished three books last year, maybe your goal to read 52 this year is a bit too ambitious. Can you combine two goals like exercising with someone you want to spend more time with?

Let’s focus on our why. My why is, I said I was going to write. I want to be the person who does what she says she is going to do. If you picked the word healthy because you want to be around to play with your grandchildren, it makes staying focused easier. Let’s also focus on daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks and chart our progress with something visual, like a calendar.

If your word is organized, you may pick an area of your home to get in order each month, so December doesn’t sneak up on you and you find your house looking the same as it does today. Also, preparing for setbacks and distractions will help us stay on track. Appointments and errands arise, pipes break, and friends call. If we plan to get a task finished by Thursday and something comes up, we still have Friday to get it done.

Are you in? Are you ready to do this? Let’s start again today. Let me know how your year is going in the comments below, or feel free to email me. Here’s to a new year, a new you!