Courtesy of Storyblocks.com
Setting resolutions for the year to come is a staple New Year's tradition. But the trouble with New Year's resolutions is that when the person inevitably screws up, it's easy to throw in the towel and wait till the next year to reattempt change.
If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. About two-thirds of people who make New Year's resolutions give up before the end of January. But what if, this year, you tried something different? What if, instead of setting resolutions with no room for mistakes, you chose to set goals that you could work toward the whole year through?
Here are the first two of ten tips to help you set the right goals and actually achieve them.
1. Choose the right goal
Consider your strengths -- not just your weaknesses.
As a child, you may have been taught that you can do anything you set your mind to. And you can be anything you want to be if you want it bad enough. But if you've ever watched an audition episode of American Idol, you'll know that this isn't necessarily true.
The real formula for success is to strengthen your strengths, and work around your weaknesses. When we set goals to improve areas where we have some talent, we achieve way more than if we put the same amount of effort into improving areas where we struggle. Part of this is because doing things that we're good at makes us feel good, so we're more likely to put the time and effort into becoming even better.
Focusing on our strengths also sets us apart from the crowd. If we spend our time improving our biggest weaknesses, we'll likely become average, at best. But when work at making our unique strengths stronger and stronger, we have the potential to become exceptional.
As a writer, take some time to figure out what your strengths are. Do you know how to write engaging dialogue? Or develop surprising plot twists? Or inspire interview subjects to reveal new insights? Your strengths may guide the type of writer you become.
Follow @redhens to see the remaining 9 tips as they're posted, as well as other advice to help you improve your writing.