Some people don’t like new year resolutions and I get it. Setting goals that are too high based on an arbitrary date on the calendar can make you feel worse than when you started. But for myself, I do like resolutions. I like having something to work on and I try not to make it unrealistic. To me New Year’s Day can be like a book publication date – a launchpad, where everything officially starts (even if you’ve been setting the stage behind the scenes for months).
Here is my resolution – I’m going to talk to more people this year. Now, as a publicist I talk for a living – I talk to authors, I talk to journalists, I talk to producers and publishers. But put me in a queue at my local supermarket or in a crowd at an event and I don’t chat with the people around me. In fact, I am always a little suspicious of those that do (and maybe you are as well). But this year I am going to be THAT person that strikes up an unexpected conversation in a line or on a park bench. Why do I want to do that? LUCK!
In Richard Wiseman’s book The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind, he finds that the main reason that some people seem to get luckier than others is that they have more encounters with other people – and each of those encounters could turn into something amazing. So, this year I am going to be talking to random people about whatever. And if you are waiting in line to pay for your beans at the supermarket and the guy in the queue behind you starts talking to you about the price of pasta – that could be me.
As a resolution, this is more about getting into a good habit than a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goal, and habits rather than goals might well be the way forward for you this year as well.
One of our Cameron Publicity and Marketing clients least year was Psychologist Dr Jon Finn who write a book called The Habit Mechanic (you should buy it). In the book one of the strategies that he talks about is how making a habit of physical exercise, such as going for a walk or to the gym every day, can help you think more clearly and achieve more. Too often authors hide away, forcing themselves to sit at their laptops even when they are not inspired. Maybe getting out for routine exercise every day is just what you need to get your head around that book that you are writing.
Or you could resolve to join and take an active role in a writers’ group or organisation – or even create one yourself. As an author you are very fortunate to have wonderful communities of (mostly) supportive writers and readers at your fingertips. Author groups are everywhere and there are countless people out there who are going through exactly the same challenges (and victories) as you and are willing to help. If you are not already a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) that is a great place to start. But you can also find a writing community at your local book festival, library or bookshop.
So this year why not make it a habit be as active as possible: join author communities and organisations, look for new book ideas and book writing advice away from your laptop, go to events so that you can meet readers (or arrange events yourself) and even talk to strangers. You never know where your next encounter will take you!