I believe that the typical understanding of NYRs have people predisposed to fail, since it's practically impossible to maintain a whole bunch of life changes simultaneously. I take a different approach to NYRs - I look at them as goals to work on over the following year and accomplish by December 31 of the new year. So instead of saying, "I'm going to eat healthy and work out 60 minutes every day," I could say, "I'm going to lose 60# by December 31." Then I'd look at my end goal and break it down into more realistic, manageable chunks. That way, if you fall off the wagon on February 1, no big deal - you can just get back on it the next day!
You can't handle EVERY NYR this way, but it certainly helps with some of them.
Like everyone else, I've been thinking about my NYRs. Here are a few that I've come up with:
- Publish at least 52 blog posts by December 31, 2012 (that's at least 1/week). I don't think that all (or even most) of these posts will be about writing, or books, or grad school. I honestly don't think that process is interesting enough to write about that frequently, at least not to me. And if I come up with more posts than that, then great - but I don't want to over-commit and predispose myself to failure.
- Finish the first draft of my novel. Which novel, I didn't specify - I'm crafty that way. I thought about saying, "Write every day," but again, I think that leaves me predestined to fail.
- Submit at least six different stories to twelve different journals. I thought about saying, "Sell at least X stories," but again this might condemn me to failure, only because my success in that would depend on forces outside myself. NYRs are about the self, not external validation.
- Be more punctual. I'm always tardy, and that's disrespectful of other people in my life and makes me look unorganized. This is the one item that can't be quantified as of December 31 - I'll just have to do better!