Mid-December is a time of great anticipation. Little sugar plums anticipate Santa's arrival, bigger gingerbreads await college admission news, and for me, it’s a time when I purchase a new calendar full of empty squares. It’s a time to think about a whole new year ahead – a time to map out my writing goals, and set some writing New Year's resolutions.
This year, I'm enlisting a secret weapon to move my resolutions from goals to habits. I'm going to use Habit List - a high- tech, but easy to use app ($3.99 on I-Tunes, http://habitlist.com/) that will track my goals, remind me to meet them, and give me cool stats on my success.
At 24 Carrot Writing we advocate setting two writing goals a month – one craft goal and one butt in chair writing goal. We encourage you to reward yourself for hitting your goals with well-deserved carrots or rewards. The Habit List app can be a fantastic asset in helping you become a 24 Carrot Writer.
Let me run you through how Habit List would work using a daily craft goal.
Let's set a goal to read one picture book or one chapter of a middle grade or young adult novel every day:
1. Set that goal or “habit” in Habit List.
2. Select the frequency "Every day" (you can pick options like weekly, monthly, every 3 days, or every Tuesday).
3. Ask Habit List to remind you to complete your goal at a set time every day (in my case by 8pm every night – right before I might have opted to turn on the TV!).
Habit List becomes my own little sugar plum fairy. Maybe pinging my phone instead of dancing visions in my head, but helping me hit my goals nonetheless.
Now you get to revel in every success.
When you complete a habit or goal, mark it off for that day, and Habit List will track your progress.
The satisfaction of checking off a daily target is invaluable. In a career where we can wait months for feedback, and face rejection more than acceptance, being able to hit “completed” on Habit List becomes balm for the writing soul.
You did it. You accomplished a writing goal. Success!
Habit List will even let you gloat. It tracks your total completions, your current running streak of success and - for those competitive types - it shows you your longest successful streak.
Habit List lets you see how often you've met your target on a weekly basis or a monthly basis.
This steady practice of goals will shift your plans from targets you anticipate hitting, to habits you automatically accomplish every day.
Set two attainable habits for January – one craft and one writing. Then, assess your progress on your Habit List app and add a second set of habits for February – keep adding and building on your successes each month.
This time next year, you will open your Habit List app to discover that you have made being a 24 Carrot Writer a wonderful habit.