Raise a glass, then make some plans

Happy New Year! Still hung over? I’m not. Though we did head out to Pittsburgh to celebrate First Night. That was an awesome trip, let me tell you.

So, now it’s 2019, and it’s time to start thinking of what we’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months.

No, wait. We need to do something first. Something that a lot of people skip right over in their haste to be a smarter, brighter, more successful person in the next year.

We need to celebrate what we did in 2018 and give ourselves a good healthy pat on the back. Because no matter how you’re feeling, I bet you did a ton in the last year to be proud of!

Let’s sit down with our journals, and chronicle what we should be celebrating about.

Celebrate

What you accomplished. Even if you don’t think it’s a lot, I bet it’s really a lot. Start writing a list of things you did, big or small. Did you remember your aunt’s birthday, for once? Did you survive that damned flu that never seemed to go away? Did you send a scary email you didn’t want to send? Did you go to that party, even if you weren’t sure you really wanted to go? Did you freaking move? Did you start a blog, or write a book? Did you find an awesome new recipe? Write it all down.

The good habits you started. I actually did well with new habits this year. I started the Flylady system, I’m drinking more water. I’m taking a multivitamin and I’m using a treadmill for about fifteen minutes a day.

This one is important because small habits are the hardest things to establish and the best way to improve your overall life. So what new habits did you start?

Anything that was just freaking awesome. These would be things that were just great. A nice vacation, a really good day, an unexpected windfall. Just list the great things that happened today. If you had a hard year, then this list is doubly important. I had a really hard year, but I still managed to make a pretty big list of great things.

Plan

Now that we’ve celebrated what we did in 2018, we have a better idea of what we want to accomplish in 2019. Now, we know what, looking back, we’re most proud of. Ask yourself these questions.

What do you want to accomplish this year? Big or little, write down everything you want to do.

Now, I’m sure you know what happens next. Take all of the things you want to do, pick one, and break it down into actionable items. That makes it far less daunting.

What do you want to do better? Do you want to write better, keep a tidier house? Take better care of yourself, or someone else? What parts of your life is causing you pain? Make a list of anything you’re not in love with.

What do you want to stop doing? We’ve all got bad habits that we want to cut out of our lives. Write down a list of things you want to stop doing. And, write down why you want to stop doing it. Knowing the why is the most powerful tool you have to make sure you actually quit.

What do you want to experience? This is a fun one. Do you want to stay at a bed and breakfast, or go to Florida? Is there maybe just a local festival that you always say you’re going to make time for but you don’t? Life is more than just to do lists. Make plans to actually live this year.

Based on all that, what’s your word of the year? I know this seems a little silly if you’ve never done this, but I can promise you that choosing a word to guide your year is transformative. In 2017, my word was Create. I created a ton of stories, books, and content. It was rather exhausting, but it was great. In 2018, my word was Learn. I learned all sorts of new things in the last year. Some things I didn’t really want to learn about, but that’s life.

For 2019, my word of the year is Brave. I’ve got some personal stuff going on that will require my bravery. But I also have some writing decisions that I’ve been afraid to act on. I need to be brave in 2019. What do you need?

What are you celebrating this year? What do you want to be celebrating next January? Let us know in the comments below.

Deciding To Start contains some of the best blog posts from the first two years of Paper Deciding To StartBeats World, updated with new information and new insights. It covers such topics as inspiration to start writing, advice on the tools you need to get started, how to be a writer while also being a full time human being, and inspiration to keep going.

If you are a new writer, trying to find your feet on the path, these essays are intended to lend you a hand and give you a light to help.

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