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It’s a New Year, the first blush of endless possibilities. For creating, for transformation, for improving the lives we already have. Like the first page of a new book, today holds the potential to lead to an amazing story, or a disappointing one. The only difference is that we have some control over how our story goes.

I’ve made resolutions every New Year’s Eve since I could write, and last night was no different. After the preceding three-month trifecta of stress, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to change how I approach the obligations and even the pleasures in my life. Organization and time management are key!

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I haven’t blogged or even looked at social media for more than a second for at least a month—maybe longer. The reason: I’m not good at splitting my attention. This holiday season was all about family, which meant my passion for writing and engaging with other readers and writers had to take the back burner, along with two books I had intended to publish by the end of the year. (Those two books are very close to done, I just need covers, but more on that on the next blog.)

I’m eager to return back to my trusty keyboard and get back to work. I was happy to store all the beautiful holiday decorations away, as I usually am by this time of year, because it means I’m starting fresh on a new chapter in my life.

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So do I keep my New Year’s Resolutions?

To be honest, not all of them. When I was young, we would write them and put them in envelopes to open the following New Year’s Eve kind of as a surprise to everyone what we had resolved to do. It was an entertaining way to pass those last hours of the old year, but not very useful to hide away your resolutions so even you forget about them.

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Thus, I took to posting them in my office where I could see them every day, figuring that daily reminder would keep me focused and motivated. Unfortunately, when you see something every day, you tend to stop seeing it at all. It becomes part of the background.

So this year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. Instead of just making resolutions, with general statements like, “lose weight, save money, get organized,” etc., I have made a plan for each resolution with mini-goals beneath that first general goal. For example, I’d like to do some home improvement/decorating this year, so below that resolution, I listed the projects I hope to get accomplished. Then I made the next, very important step. I added deadlines. Yikes! I know right? Deadlines are terrifying!

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How it feels, coming up on a deadline.

However, unless someone is paying you, you can generally ignore them, and this detailed plan of mine has as much a chance of being ignored as any previous year’s plan, so I added the last feature and put a bunch of reminders in my phone that will pop up at the appropriate times during the year to motivate me to get to work on those self-imposed deadlines.

But this year’s resolutions aren’t all about “doing.” Some of my resolutions are about “thinking.” And that is the point of the title. It’s time for me to be bold. Not that I’m a timid person by any stretch of the imagination, but as a perfectionist, I can often become crippled by my self-doubt and harsh internal critic. I tend to be overcautious in what I do and how I do it in order to avoid failure. This has led to many missed opportunities in life, and it also keeps me from creating at the rate I’d like to create. Not just with my writing (although that is the most important) but also with many other hobbies I like to pass my time doing.

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This year, I want to be bold and run the risk of failure and criticism without fear. I will publish books that I’ve worried about their reception, and take what reviews might come, remembering that any review means the book has been read by someone else besides me, which is already an accomplishment in itself.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I will put books out there that are unedited, or haven’t been through extensive revision, but I will not do as I have done up to this point and spend months agonizing over tiny things or worrying that parts of the book will put some readers off. I will share the genuine story as much as I can, and stop worrying about what people will think. And more importantly, stop worrying if it will fail.

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Even as I avoid it like the plague, I understand that failure is often as important, if not more so, than success. It is in failure that we learn those life lessons that stick with us the longest. Avoiding failure, as I have always tried to do, not only keeps us from achieving everything we’re capable of, it also means we live an incredibly boring life in the process.

So this year, I resolve to be bold, (and spicy 😉 ) like those chicken wings we had for our New Year’s pajama party. Only, I’m no chicken. Not this time. I’m changing the way I think, and I won’t let fear of failure paralyze me anymore, even if it means I have to repeat a mantra in my mirror every morning to retrain my brain on how to approach life. I’m not expecting miracles here… I’m demanding them. J

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I thank all of you for being a part of this by reading, liking, and commenting on my blog. Last year was an amazing experience for me when I started getting followers, and likes on my posts, and comments! Knowing that I have an audience forces me to be held accountable to someone besides myself, because thus far, I am my own worst enemy, and this year, I aim to change that (hopefully not by making worse enemies, lol).

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Good luck to you all in the New Year! 2018!!!! Woohoo!

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Just as a side note, I’d like to try a new tradition among my family in those hidden envelopes we used to use for resolutions. It would be fun to write a letter (in our actual handwriting) every New Year’s Eve about what went on that year for us, and what we hoped for in the coming year. Sealing that away to read on the following New Year’s Eve would be far more interesting and fun than reading a bunch of forgotten, failed resolutions.

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