I don’t. I gave them up for Lent, and never looked back. (cue laugh track…)

No, seriously – I don’t “do” New Year’s resolutions.  I used to believe that span of time between December 31st and January 1st was magical, a time for me to dig deeply into my own psyche and figure out what I needed to change in order to get what I wanted out of life. But consistently failing at any such change has made me warier of that ol’ New Year magic.

I do set goals. I’ve been a goal-setter since 1985, when I received my first Franklin Day Planner. My writer’s heart rejoiced – I do love my office supplies! And I set work goals for years and years on end.

My personal goals I tend to set in September, that back-to-school time when the chill of autumn sweeps in and the new school year beckons.  But this year something new has been added to my goal-setting/revising (because I revise my personal goals all year long). It’s something I got from Susan Meier and I believe it’s the one, the ONLY reason we lemmings in our resolution-making never seem to follow through.

Motivation. Every writer knows that after a goal, your character has to have motivation or that goal becomes meaningless. Pfft! Gone! And where’s the excitement in your book? Also gone. When I read this in Susan’s workshop on Goal Setting, I almost passed out. How simple. How obvious. How truly true.

So you’ve got “lose ten pounds” on your resolutions list. If the motivation isn’t there, if you’re happy being slightly overweight, if no big health issue is cropping up and FORCING you to be motivated, then honey, you’re gonna drop going to the gym by early February. Gym rats look at the newbies in January with resignation, knowing by March 1st at the latest they’ll have their gym back.

By the same token, if you have no motivation to write, then guess what? You’re not going to write.

Each writer’s motivation for writing comes from a different place. For me, this was the year. I turned 50 in February, quit my day job in March because I could, joined the FF&P chapter in June, got diagnosed with a acoustic neuroma in August, and sold in October. But I started my push to selling in January by searching out agents and sending them queries. Everything else combined to motivate me, to make me take the steps that led me to the pitch session that led me to the contract offer.

So if you’re serious about finishing that novel and submitting it and SELLING it, then you’ve got to find the motivation that will work for you. It’s there, you just have to find it.

Do you regularly make New Year’s resolutions? Are there sufficient motivations behind your resolutions to help you get them done? I’d love to know!