According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology (2012), New Year’s resolutions have an abysmal success rate of only 8%. http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
What this means, of course, is that 92% of all the New Year’s resolutions that will be made six days from now, are never going to happen. The majority of these resolutions will fall by the wayside within the first couple of weeks.
I was looking back over my old posts recently and I saw where I had made the declaration on New Year’s Day in 2016 that I was going to finish writing my memoir by the end of that year. And it never happened.
About 80% of us intend to write a book someday, according to what I have read. And, for the vast majority of people, that “someday” for writing a book never comes.
The first time I tried to write a story about my life, I was in my twenties. I thought I was ready to tell my real-life horror to healing story, but I wasn’t even close to being ready.
Today, four decades later, thanks to all the healing therapy that I have had in recent years, I know that I’m as ready as I will ever be to share my story with the world. But even so, writing my memoir is still very hard. It is all too easy, on any given day, to come up with one excuse after another for putting off writing. “I’ll do it tomorrow!”
But tomorrow never comes. All we have is today.
Sometimes, like when I made a determined New Year’s resolution, I would get all excited and write like my brain was on fire for several mega productive days in a row. But sooner or later, something always happened that seemed bigger than my ability to write, and I wouldn’t get any writing done that day.
Sometimes the problem might simply be a headache. At other times, I was just too tired to write. I might get some worrisome news from someone I love, or maybe see something on the national news that upset me. Some days I was too busy running errands, or doing laundry, or taking care of our rescue dogs.
There were also many times when I was planning to write a part of my story that was especially painful to think about, and on that particular day I would rather think happier thoughts and enjoy where my life is right now. For all of these and many other reasons, I kept setting my manuscript aside, intending to come back to it tomorrow, or next week, or next month — or next year.
This has been my reality for far too many years. Trying and failing, and trying and failing, and trying and failing again, to write a memoir. Even on those days when my writing was going great, I was rarely capable of keeping up the momentum for long. Usually, one solid week of writing every day was the best I could manage at a time. Which is pretty much the longevity of the average New Year’s resolution!
Writing so sporadically kills the continuity, too. I kept losing the “flow” in my writing. For this reason, even though I tried really hard to pick up where I had left off, I found that I couldn’t do it, after too many days of not writing had gone by. Which means I kept starting my memoir all over again. I haven’t kept count, but I probably did this hundreds of times.
More than anything that I may ever accomplish in this life, I want to finish and publish my memoir. Lord willing, I don’t want to take my story to the grave!
But I am not going to make another New Year’s resolution next week, only to fail before the month is out. And that’s okay, because I don’t need to make any more New Year’s resolutions to write my memoir. Why? Because 111 days ago, on September 7, 2018, I discovered an entirely new way of getting myself to write, every single day.
So far, this new way of building a daily writing habit is working perfectly for me. For the past 110 days, I have not missed a single day of meeting my memoir writing goal. (I haven’t done today’s memoir writing yet, which is why I say 110 days, instead of 111. But I have no doubt that I will meet my writing goal for today, before I go to bed tonight.)
I met my writing goal even on November 20, when my doctor told me that I had skin cancer and needed surgery right away. I met my writing goal on Thanksgiving, as we traveled to be with family. I met my writing goal on December 6, when I checked into the hospital and had surgery under general anesthesia. I met my writing goal on the day after my surgery, when I was in pain and feeling very woozy. I met my writing goal while my husband and I have been battling a miserable flu of some kind for the past couple of weeks. Through headaches, stomach aches, and coughing fits that almost made me pass out, I have met my writing goal every single day.
And then there was Christmas! That’s right, I met my writing goal on Christmas eve and on Christmas day.
When people came to visit, I met my writing goal. When we had places to go and errands to run, I met my writing goal. When I got some very bad news about a precious loved one (please pray for my Aunt B, she now has severe dementia), and when I read things in the news media that shattered my heart, I met my writing goal. Even when I was writing very hard things, I still met my writing goal. Regardless of what has been going on, even on the most challenging of days, I have met my writing goal every day for the past 110 days, without missing one single day.
I have never been able to do this before. It’s like a miracle — and yet, this method is completely natural — which is why it works so well!
This new way that I have found to reach my daily writing goal, doesn’t just work for writing. This method works for any kind of goal that you may want to implement in your life. Five days after I started my memoir writing goal on September 7, I added two daily exercise goals and one daily housework goal. And I haven’t missed any of those goals, either, since I started my three additional goals on September 12. For the past 105 days, through all of the ups and downs: cancer scare, surgery, being sick, bad news, and the holidays, I have met every one of my four daily goals, every single day.
Not only have I met my goals every day — on the vast majority of days I have actually exceeded my goals, usually by a tremendous amount.
With the exception of having the flu and my recent surgery — which turned out NOT to be cancer, yay! — this is the best my life has been, EVER. Thanks to all the planks I’m doing and the miles I’m putting on my exercise bike, my muscle tone is the best that it’s been in decades. Best of all, I have written so much further than I’ve ever written in my memoir before — and I am still going strong!
So — how is this even possible? When 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, when approximately 80% of us want to write a book and never do, and when the vast majority of exercise programs fall by the wayside within the first month — after all the years that I have tried, and failed, over and over again, to write a memoir and to get my muscles in better shape — HOW am I doing this?
Here’s how: I bought a book. I read it. And I did what it said.
I have read countless self-help, how to write, how to overcome writer’s block, and how to stop procrastinating books, within the past half century. And yet all of those books failed me, just like my New Year’s resolutions always failed.
But this book actually works. Here’s the Amazon link for Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. It is available in the Kindle e-book version, paperback, and audio:
Take it from an expert in trying and failing to meet an important goal: forget New Year’s resolutions. Whether your goal is getting in shape, cleaning up a terminally messy house, writing a book, pursuing higher education, or whatever you want to accomplish, if Mini Habits can work for me, I believe it can work for anybody.
What’s so different about Mini Habits? The science behind it, that’s what’s different. Mini Habits works, because this is the way our amazing brains were created to work.
Thank you for stopping by. God bless, and have a Happy Mini Habits New Year!