New Year Resolutions: What to Write Instead
Welcome to 2022!
You undoubtedly have big dreams regarding what this year has in store for you. When you take a look back and celebrate what you did in 2021, don’t feel bad if time blurs together one big homogenous blob. You’ve been through a lot in the last 21 months since the world turned upside down. In fact, 2020 taught us that we are not always in control of accomplishing our goals the way we hoped. If you're like me, you probably had to let go of a few things.
On March 15, 2020, the day before lockdown began in my state, I was in the hospital with my newborn baby girl. I was so happy to be getting a new start on life! But the instant I set foot in my home, everything outside shut down. My husband was deemed non-essential and sent home without pay. My book launch that week was completely overshadowed by the news. (Yes, I had a baby and launched a book at the same time. 0/10 do not recommend.) Besides, my book was about a time traveler trying to prevent a plague and felt totally inappropriate to market at the time. My kids were home from school full time, so my writing schedule was completely thrown off course. And all my new and shiny goals from just two months earlier were completely flushed down the toilet.
That's when I realized that goals are subjective to circumstance. Does that mean we can't rise above difficult situations? Of course not! But I'm a huge believer in the fact that if it's not completely in your control, there's probably a deeper principle that needs to be focused on instead. Because if I can make sure the roots of a plant are healthy, that will be the best way to ensure the fruit grows.
So, if resolutions aren't the root of success, then what is? Goals are good to set, but there needs to be something deeper in our control than the outcomes. Despite our best efforts sometimes, the results just will not turn out the way we want them.
I had been struggling with this idea for a few months when I started reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. (This book is completely mind-boggling and transformative. If you're looking for a success mindset, this should be your next read.) I finally had an aha moment.
"I shouldn't be writing New Year's resolutions. I should write New Year mission statements!"
What is a Mission Statement?
Let's take a look at the difference between resolutions and mission statements:
Resolution: a firm decision to do something.
Usually tied to schedules, outcomes, and performance meters.
Mission Statement: A detailed statement of your fundamental purpose for being.
Usually a definition of what you value and the principles you want to act on.
Why is this such a better idea? You are in control because you can always act on your values no matter the curveball. A mission statement is flexible and can apply to any circumstance. Resolutions to achieve a particular outcome can be derailed by a slight twist in the environment, your health, or even a mood. (How many times have we cared less about our diet than that craving for dessert?) Basing your future actions on what you truly and deeply value and believe will help you be true to those principles, no matter what happens.
In the Seven Habits book, Stephen Covey says a mission statement should focus on who you want to be, what you want to contribute to the world, and the core values that will govern your behavior in life. Essentially, once you have these three things determined, you can analyze everything in your life through the filter of your mission statement and make adjustments to help you fulfill your true values and goals.
How to Write a Mission Statement
There is no right or wrong way to write a mission statement, but here are a few ideas to help you get started:
The best mission statements are simple statements that are 3-5 sentences long. They focus on the positive by telling what you care about or will do, instead of what you dislike or can’t do. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:
What do I think is most important in life?
What achievements would I want someone to say in my eulogy?
What characteristics do I want to be known for?
What brings me enjoyment in my life?
How do you want to influence the world?
What principle would you teach the world if you could?
Why are these things important to you?
Once you've thought about this, you can start plugging your ideas into some of the following templates to see what fits.
"I value ___________ because____________. I can live by these values by ______________."
"I want to be known as someone who is _____________. I can become this by ___________."
"I want to achieve _____________. This is important because________________."
"The best contribution I could have in the world is ______________________. I'm capable of this because ___________."
These mission statements can be written for your personal life to help you govern all of your choices. You can also meet as a family and create a mission statement for your family unity. Or coworkers for your business. If you are doing a group mission statement, it is imperative that the entire group contributes, otherwise it won't be adopted by everyone.
Writing a mission statement is one of the first steps in my coaching program for your author business plan, so if you'd like help setting up a mission statement and building a business based on your values in the new year, I have openings and would love to meet with you!
I genuinely can't wait to see what this new year brings for all of us!
I’m Rachel Huffmire, I’m an author like you, applying these same principles to my own books. I have worked as a bookstore manager, acquisitions editor, the marketing manager for a small publisher, and now, I’m the founder of Author Capital, a coaching group that focuses on the business side of self-publishing! So, if you're ready to take your writing to the career level, click here to learn more about Author Capital's online courses and coaching packages.