Happy New Year!
I’m interrupting my normal every Tuesday scheduled blog for a New Year’s Day post. Actually, a re-post from last year, because 2020 was such a muck-up that I need a do-over!
I’ve kept my health, physical, mental, and financial, together through the political and pandemical madness of the past year, but what a challenge! My heart goes out to the millions of Americans whose businesses and incomes have been destroyed by pandemic restrictions and rioting, as well as to those who lost family members and friends this year to Covid and the despair of isolation.
I did manage to accomplish my 2020 goal of writing three manuscripts. Convincing the Countess came out in November in the Mistletoe & Mayhem anthology. Fated Hearts, my retelling of Macbeth, released last Tuesday. And The Comtesse of Midnight will be released next April 13th in the Storm & Shelter anthology, now available for pre-order.
What will 2021 bring on the writing front? I’m finishing up a novella for Christmas 2021, and I have a sequel to Fated Hearts in development for an autumn 2021 release. And I’m determined this year to work on two other challenge projects, a series set in the early 1790s, and a historical mystery.
On the personal front, we have a remodel in the works for our 60-year old kitchen, and, God-willing and health allows for it, we plan to visit Poland.
For the rest of my “resolutions”, here we go:
2020 2021, can you believe it?
I’ve heard talk that these Twenties are going to roar like they did in the last century. I hope so!
Normally I would set out a list of goals for the year. But, given that this is a new decade, I’m setting some simple, but not easy, resolutions for the whole decade, God willing I live that long!
Here they are:
- I’m going to go on a diet–a “low-bad” diet.
- I’m going to focus more on habits than goals.
What the heck is a “low-bad” diet, you ask?
A couple of weekends ago, the Wall Street Journal featured an essay by journalist John Tierney and research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister. They have a book out The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It.
It’s not really news that negativity is awful, and it’s everywhere. I could say it’s getting worse (Twitter, anyone?) but it’s always been with us.
We humans are wired for survival to pay more attention to the negative–the tiger lurking in the bush, the lack of rain that ruins crops, or the downpour that sweeps away our shelter. But doom and gloom can take a terrible toll on relationships and health.
And business, as well, and not just as a matter of destroying reputations. Long before the official social scientists began their studies, Norman Vincent Peale and Napoleon Hill recognized the importance of positive thinking and behavior for those who want to succeed at any endeavor.
Negativity abounds in journalism, politics, and social media, and a steady diet of it is depressing. I sometimes find myself diving deep into the toxic swampiness of those realms. I have to tell myself to:
If it’s something you’re interested in, here’s a digest of the authors’ points of action for their “low-bad diet”:
- “First, do no harm.” Minimize the negative. Don’t escalate conflict. Give the benefit of the doubt. Don’t hit “send” until you’ve cooled off and thought about the consequences.
- “Remember the Rule of Four…a negative event or emotion usually has at least three times the impact of a comparatively positive one…It takes four good things to overcome one bad thing.”
- “Put the bad moments to good use.” Learn from the failures, the mistakes, the bad things that happen.
- “Capitalize on the good moments–and then relive them.” Celebrate, share your joy, and rejoice with others in their happy events, even if you feel a spark of jealousy.
- “See the big picture.” There are problems in the world, but humans are in general richer and healthier than they’ve ever been. If you doubt that, keep in mind that sometimes (or maybe often) good news/bad news stories are linked to political bias. (My observation from thirty years of watching the back and forth.) But not always. Here’s an article with some good news stories.
Habits, not goals
I have targets for the year in terms of books to be written, but far more important is keeping to the system to get there.
This notion comes to me courtesy of James Clear and his book, Atomic Habits. I’ve followed his blog almost since its inception, and he has some very wise advice: showing up and writing consistently, is more important than writing perfect pages; getting steps in daily is more important than running a 5K; adding a vegetable a day is better than crash dieting.
I highly recommend his book, but if you don’t have time for that, subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
Here’s what I’m planning in the way of habits:
- Keeping up my weekly blog post, daily word counts;
- Stretching daily (I really, really need to do this!) and daily walks with my dog;
- More vegetables, less processed carbs;
Bookwise, I have three in the works for this year, plus planning for another series that has taken longer than I expected.
What about you? Do you have big plans for
Image credits: getStencil.com