5 Fool-Proof Ways to Stick to Your Writing Resolutions this year

January is my favorite time of year. 

The slate is wiped clean. You get to hit refresh on your life and embark on shiny, new, and exciting goals.

The possibilities for the year feel endless.

Unfortunately, most people never reach their goals. As soon as February rolls around, most resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, completely forgotten.

If this is usually you, it's okay. Most of us start out this way.

It's really hard to reach big yearly goals, which is why I've put together this list of five fool-proof tips for you to dream big this year and actually achieve success with your resolutions.

Let's dive in.

1. Break up big goals up into smaller, doable chunks. 

Your giant resolutions become less daunting and intimidating when you think in daily, weekly, and monthly terms.

For example, if your yearly goal is, "Write a novel" then your monthly goal might be "Write 10,000 words a month." You'd definitely have a novel by December, even if you took a few weeks off.

But let's break that down even further.

Ten thousand words a month breaks down to 2500 words a week.

Let's go even smaller.

Your daily goal (let's say you just want to write Monday through Friday) would be about 500 words a day. 

Totally doable!

2. Make your goals specific.

Instead of having "write novel" on your daily to-do list, make it really specific, like this: "write 350 words for my novel between 1 and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday."

The more specific you can make your goal, the more likely you are to actually work on it because you know exactly what to do.

3. Look at your goals every single day.

This means you need to write your goals down, or type them out and print them, which is another hugely underestimated way to have success when setting goals.

So write down your goals and then put this list where you will see it every single day.

Make a point of reading your yearly resolutions daily. This is really important. No more forgotten resolutions.

Get a corkboard, whiteboard, or a notebook for these goals. Every day, whether your meet your goals or not, look at those goals.

4. Reward yourself for meeting your goals.

Do this for major milestones or if you've had a great week or month of progress.

Watch your favorite show or have some free time if you meet your daily goals.

Go somewhere nice to eat or splurge on something nice for yourself if you meet bigger goals.

5. Don't beat yourself up when you experience setbacks. 

Sometimes life happens.

Look at the first day of each month as a way to get back on track if you fell off to the wayside the previous month.

Don't try to catch up if you miss a day or a week. Don't think about yesterday or tomorrow. Just focus on reaching today's goal.

I wanted to start writing my second novel by the first of January. But I also have to remember that I'm nine months pregnant. I simply don't have the same energy as before. Not to mention there are last minute things to get done before the baby gets here. 

For you, it might be getting sick or dealing with family stuff. Or something else that requires your attention.

I'm not talking about a television marathon.

But sometimes things come up. When this happens, adjust your goals if necessary and keep going. 

And on good days, when you can, write a little bit more. You never know when you might need those words. 

My 2012 Writing Resolutions Broken Up Into Manageable Bites

1. Write second novel starting in January and finish by end of June. 

I will write 500 words daily (Monday thru Friday), most likely in the late morning or early evening. I will write 10,000 words each month until I am finished. I will use Camp Nano in June to catch up or do any extra writing in order to finish on time.

2. Revise first novel starting in March and finish by end of April. 

I will spend one hour each weekday researching, revising, and editing. This means five hours each week and about 20 hours a month. I will do this for two months but will adjust this goal if more time is necessary.

3. Write third novel in Camp Nano August. 

I will plan the first week or so and begin writing (500 words a day) in July. I will continue writing in August (1667 words a day). I will finish by end of August. 

4. Revise second novel starting in September and finish by end of December. 

I will spend one hour a day, five days a week, revising and editing. This means 20 hours a week. I will do this from September until I finish, with the exception of November.

5. Start writing fourth novel during Nano '12 in November. 

I will plan two weeks before and write 1667 words a day in November. I will have 50K words by Nov. 30th and will finish at my regular pace in December. 

6. Keep up blog. 

I will post at least once a week and update once a week.

I keep all goals written in a notebook and my big goals written on a whiteboard.

I keep daily, weekly, and monthly goals for everything in the notebook and check things off every day. 

I'll be posting a page with these goals on this blog.  It will help keep myself accountable and see how much I can really achieve. At the end of the year, I will compare how much I did to my list of resolutions. Wish me luck :)

What are your resolutions this year? How do you plan to achieve those goals? What's going to be different this year for you?