Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year's Resolutions. Bah. Who has the time on Jan. 1? With the kids out of school, and still decompressing from the holiday whirlwind, I barely have the mental fortitude to make a grocery list, let alone list out my life goals for the coming year.

You didn't make any either? Don't worry....

According to a New York Times article, a third of the people that made New Year's Resolutions will break them by February, and by July more than half will have abandoned that hangover-induced list.

I prefer Anytime Resolutions. Better known as Goals.

Want to join me in putting more Happily in your Ever After? It's simple--follow these 3 steps:

  1. Pick five areas of your life to improve.  More than that, you lose focus. Check out this bit on Oprah's website. I structured my goals around the "Absolute YES list" which has made it easier for me to say NO to all the things that don't relate to my goals.
  2. Use S.M.A.R.T. goals--
    • Specific: Don't just put "Lose Weight", but put "Lose Twenty Pounds", or better yet, "Lose 3 Pounds a Month." Studies show the more specific your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
    • Measurable: Break your goal down into measurable steps. For example, one of my goals is to achieve PAN status with RWA. As my publisher puts out the royalty reports each quarter, I can track how my promotional events are working for me in my efforts to sell my book. Then, I can adjust (or sob over a glass of wine) accordingly. 
    • Attainable: Pretty obvious, but worth repeating. Make goals that stretch your limits, but are achievable with solid effort.
    • Relevant/Resonate: This is where most goals fall flat. Visualizing that goal should give you a tingle of excitement. Six years ago, my goal was to get a publishing contract. I visualized my book-signing party, where I was swanning around in a designer gown, champagne glass in hand, as I greeted my guests on the front lawn of the Pink House (a historic, reportedly haunted Victorian in my hometown, which you can see here) . Well, I did get that contract and champagne (yay!) but no designer gown and Victorian landmark signing party. Maybe when I hit my five-year goal: appearing on the NYTimes Bestseller's List. Someday I'll have that drink on the Pink House lawn!
    • Time-Bound: Have an end-time for your goal. This helps you avoid goals like "Exercise More Often," as this is a life-style change, not a goal. A fitness goal would be "Get Fit Enough to Run the Disney Marathon by January."
  3.  Post Your Goals for Accountability! Publish them on Facebook, on your fridge, bulletin board, bathroom mirror. Everywhere. Even your blog. ;)
Without further ado, here are my 2104 goals...

1. Fitness/Health--

  • Attend kickboxing/bootcamp classes 3 or more times each week to be ready for obstacle race in February, then schedule race for summer/fall.
  • Strive for five fruits and veggie servings every day. Track how many on my fit app daily.

2. Writing--

  • Write for 45 minutes every weekday until Novel #4 is completed, and send to my editor at TWRP (then cross my fingers for contract #4!).
  • Attend one writer's conferences this year.
  • Read (or listen to) 52 or more books this year (1/week). Then review them on Goodreads!
  • Hold two contests for my readers (one in Feb, one in Oct), revise blog/website to include reader enhancement experiences, increase newsletter subscribers to 200.
  • Create four webinars (one/quarter) to give back to other writers, and four vlogs (one/quarter) just for my readers to enhance their reading experience with me.

3. Family--

  • Write/work on writing related things during the week, and on the weekend before the family is awake. Then, it's technology blackout until Monday morning.
  • Focus on the QUALITY of the time spent, vs. the QUANTITY.

4. Leadership/Volunteer--

  • Designate 8 hrs/week to handle leadership responsibilities for the organizations I lead. Stick by the parameters so the organizations don't take over every other goal on this list.
  • Cut volunteer hours to 5/week.

5. Say NO--

  • Last but not least: Say NO to the people, things and distractions that take away from my goals this year. And after you say NO, don't feel guilty. This is a YES list. Not a NO list.Cherish friends and family in my life that add to my Happily My Ever After. The ones that suck the joy from my life...this is a new year and a new Dylan. I will be purposeful about with whom and how I spend my mental energy.

What are your goals? Feel free to share them on this blog! Because goals are the way to...
Happily my Ever After,


  1. I really enjoyed your article, and the sharing of your own goals for everyone to see, Dylan. You are so brave! I already had a mental list of my own goals for 2014 before your recent program for Sunshine State Romance Authors (which was fantastic!) and before reading your blog post, and I was really surprised at how many 2014 goals we share in common. You have really helped me to make my list more SMART and given me motivation to not be one of the third that breaks them by February! :-) Thanks!

    1. :) Glad it helped, Cheryl! And I know you won't break your goals by February--this is YOUR year!!! :)