In these first days of January, resolutions are pondered, discussed, attempted and dismissed. It’s already January 5th, which means many who started a resolution a few days ago are already discovering the difficulty with keeping it rolling.
The waning hath begun.
The only resolution where the waning didn’t happen to me was back in 2010 when I endeavoured to write three pages in my journal each day for a year. That resolution led to me hatching an escape plan to save up, pare down, quit my job and travel. And by January of 2011, that’s exactly what I had done. I landed in Paris and on the second day, locked eyes with the blue-eyed butcher that became my husband in July 2013.
All this is detailed in my book: PARIS LETTERS
This lovely little memoir explains exactly how I saved up enough cashola to hit the road. It also shows how I came up with a viable business on that road, which was my little Paris Letter subscription service. Now, from Paris, I send mail to little old ladies, middle aged men, tweens on the verge of teen, and 30-something ladies on the verge of burnout.
Why did my journal writing resolution work when so many others had failed? The answer is startlingly simple:
It felt good.
I loved writing my three pages a day. It was like a coffee break. A hiatus from my overwhelming busy life. A pal I could talk to about anything. Somewhere to list my grievances, groceries and goals so I could feel the thrill of a calm and quiet mind.
Journal writing can be rather luxurious.
And it led to a life in Paris. Had I made a New Year’s resolution to live in Paris in a year, I probably would have given up by the end of the second week in January. Too overwhelming. But since the resolution of writing was a daily pleasure, I stuck to it. And of course, in a year I was living in Paris. Life is funny.
That’s the secret to success:
Pick a resolution that doles out daily pleasure.
It’s the fuel you’ll need to stick to it. I still write three pages in my journal every day and it’s still a total pleasure. It has become my constant foreground when all my backgrounds changed. I went from California to Canada, France to Italy and many places in between, single to married, writing junk mail to creating fun mail, and starting a blog that led a book. And all this time, my notebook was in front of my face turning my thoughts to ink, and eventually that ink turned into reality.
I haven’t really come up with a better resolution.
Last year I decided to Stay in the Now. I wanted to be all Eckhart Tolle about the whole living in Paris thing. But the resolution didn’t have enough juice behind it and I soon forgot about it altogether. This year, I’m still mulling my resolution. I started to declare one, then enthusiasm waned. I declared another, enthusiasm waned again. I used to feel like a big fat failure when the waning began, but now I realize this waning isn’t FAILURE, it’s FEEDBACK. And the feedback is that my resolution isn’t quite right yet and I need to keep noodling and refining and pondering.
What about you? How is your resolution coming along? Have you nailed it?