Hey there! Welcome back to this series about making the next year your Best Year Yet.

Last week, we talked about choosing one word that we hope will sum up the next year. Mine was romance.  Other people’s words included writing, writing and networkingexploration, restoration, regeneration, completion, change, and focus.

Some people don’t make resolutions, period, which is fine. In fact, a lot of people choose a focus word in lieu of resolutions. But if you’re into new year’s goals, or you’re just curious about other people’s, read on!


How to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions

I understand the argument against resolutions: when they don’t work out, it’s disappointing, and there’s a danger of feeling like a failure.

One good way to stick to them is to not make more than 10 (and no cheating by making resolutions that all have several bullet points beneath them.) I am the kind of person who takes on more than she can handle, anyway, so keeping my list at 10 items or less helps me.

I recommend making at least one resolution that’s fun…and I have several. If you lay out a plan for the year that’s basically a long, grueling slog, you are going to rebel. And you probably should rebel, because that’s not going to give you the best year of your life.

Make your goals quantifiable. “Have better and more friendships” is a fine goal, but vague. “Do something fun with friends once a week” is much more tangible — and much more likely to lead to positive change.

Finally, set rewards for yourself! My friend Jennifer has emphasized the importance of this to me, and she’s right. For instance, if you love bubble baths, reward yourself with a bubble bath after doing a solid hour of writing at night. On a chemical level, your brain will make the connection between writing and pleasure, and that will reinforce your good habit.

Do you want some ideas or inspiration for resolutions? I have a list of 101 New Year’s resolutions right here!


My Resolutions

Here are my 10 New Year’s resolutions. Of course, they’re super ambitious, since they’re mine. I’ll give you a few updates over the course of the year to tell you how they’re going.

But guess what? I’m going to be happy even if I don’t achieve any of them. After all, I live in a world filled with great books and natural beauty, I have people who love and who love me, and I have this kickass blog. Why shouldn’t I be happy?

Two things that aren’t on here are 1. break my habit of drinking wine at home, and 2. break my Facebook addiction. Why? Because I’ve already done them! I still use Facebook for my author page and to share big announcements, but I’m there once or twice a week instead of checking in dozens of times a day, and I’m not spending hours in private groups.

Giving up these habits was like getting rid of a boot that was pressing down on the back of my own neck, and I think it’s going to free me up to have a much happier and healthier year.



The Year of Romance

1. Enjoy 52 (mostly cheap!) dates with Mr. Donovan.

This is definitely my #1 goal, because it goes along with the theme of the year. It’s also the easiest and the most fun. (I have a list of cheap date ideas over here.)

2. Celebrate all holidays and special days.

Also fun! This is another romantic goal, because I’ll be doing most of the celebrating with Mr. Donovan.

3. Do 52 random acts of kindness.

I tried this year and fell off the wagon. Even though I didn’t complete the goal in 2017, making it and attempting it put more love out into the world.

I love this goal. It brings me a lot of joy. It’ll be a little different doing it on a budget, but as I’ve blogged about before, some random acts of kindness are free.

4. Do something fun with friends every week.

This is actually a VERY HARD GOAL. It’s so hard that I almost took it off my list! It’s easy to get caught up in work and boring chores, and sometimes hard to organize with other people’s schedules.

But I’ve become more and more of an extrovert, and it means so much to me to get together with friends, so I’m leaving it on there! (Cue the theme music from Cabaret: “What good is sitting alone in your room…?”)

5. Share at least 1 photo on Instagram every day of the year.

This is another goal I’ve had before and haven’t quite stuck to it. I don’t get discouraged about things like that. Do you know how many times I had to try before kicking my Facebook addiction? Well, I don’t know, either, but it was a lot of times. 

I love capturing my days in this way, and this goal encourages me to look around and notice my own life instead of living in my head. My IG account is here, if you want to follow — I’ll try to follow back!

6. Get in the best shape of my life.

Yeah. I thought about taking this one off the list. We all know it’s both a huge challenge and a huge cliché.

But I really want to do it, so what’s the use of pretending that I don’t? Besides, I know that exercise is one of the most reliable ways for me to get into a good mood.

There actually are numbers attached to this, but there is nothing more irritating than hearing about other people’s goal weights and such, so we’ll skip over that.

7. Complete and publish my book of writing prompts.

Oh yes! I’m so excited about this one! It’s sort of a sequel to Master Lists for Writers, and I’ve been working on it for so long.

8. Complete and publish the sweet contemporary romance.

This one isn’t going to be self-published. It has an aggressive schedule, and I’ll hit it because, well, I have to.

9. At my day job, get one of our books on the USA Today bestseller list.

10. Publish The Equinox Stone.

This is the sequel to The Phoenix CodexSince I have two other book projects, it’ll be a challenge, but it is half done already.



It may take you a while to figure out your resolutions. I went through a couple of drafts before settling on these. And even if you know what they are, most people are pretty private about theirs, so I won’t be surprised if you don’t want to share them in the comments section. If you do want to, though, I’ll cheer you on!

And if you just want to wish me luck on mine (I need it!), or share your thoughts about resolution-making in general, please feel free. Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week!

Want to read part five in this series? Go here!