Episode 11: ​​Resolutions Shmezolutions (aka: why calling goals resolutions sets you up for failure)

Show Notes:

Welcome back! I have a great season two coming your way.

In this episode, learn how to reframe your New Year’s resolutions into actual goals you’ll stick with, because 9-12% of people actually stick with their “resolutions.”

Also, listen in to snag a 10% off coupon for anything in my Toucan shop.

If you like what you hear, please consider sharing this podcast with a friend or on social media, so amazing listeners just like you will find me.

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Full Transcript:

Transcripts are created by Descript. Please forgive any spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors!

Hey Toucan. Welcome to season two of the podcast. This is officially episode 11. I was really trying to decide if I should. Start the numbering over or keep doing the season one episode. Two or season two episode one, rather. And I decided to just keep the numbers going. That way when I reached certain milestones, like 25 and 50 and a million, then I can really keep track of that.

These are the kinds of decisions, my friend that keeps me up at night.

I don’t know if I sound different to you, but I’m recording this season on a brand new microphone that I actually won from one of my online mentors. I never win anything. But I was incredibly lucky in 2022. I won quite a few things. The most important though, was the hearts of my listeners *sigh*

You are really just the best.

I’m so excited to be here today to talk about what’s on everyone’s minds right now, the second day of the year, when this episode airs, now I’m not talking about cookies, or feasting foods, or how I shouldn’t have had so much bubbly last night. No, I’m talking about new year’s resolutions.

I don’t know about you, but that word resolutions has come to have some negative connotations with it for me. Breakable aspects you might say. Resolutions are kind of nebulous and wishy-washy they’re dreams and hopes for a better future self. I typically write my resolutions on a piece of paper and then promptly forget about them.

I’ll happen upon the paper six months in and Ooh, I didn’t do any of that. On that note.

How often do people actually stick with their resolutions? Well, because I’m a data nerd as well as a word nerd. I’ll tell you.

According to discoverhappyhabits.com nine to 12% of people actually stick with their resolutions. The top reasons for giving up are:

  1. Unrealistic goals.
  2. They didn’t track their progress.
  3. They forgot. Like me.
  4. Or they had too many.

The first two (unrealistic goals and not tracking) coincide beautifully with what I want to teach you today.

This week is all about transforming your nebulous and wishy-washy resolutions into actionable and measurable goals.

We’re going to break it down to make it stick.

But first you might be wondering what I think the difference between resolutions and goals is.

So to me, resolutions are kind of like, well, this is what I would like to do for myself in the coming 365 days. But I don’t really have a real plan other than do something every day.

Goals are like, boom, baby. I’m going to get this done by doing this every single day. And this, by the way is a measurable thing. Something that shows you where you stand and how you’re doing something measurable. And while I loathe the term smart goals, because I’ve been working in corporate America for far too long, it is important to have measurable targets to work toward.

Now, I’m assuming if you made a new year’s resolution, it’s probably a big deal goal or BDG for you. You probably want to accomplish it very badly. Lucky for you. I have a five-step process to help you nail your big deal goal.

Ready? Let’s check it out.

Step one. Describe your goal. Write down everything you know about it. Dream big here, the bigger, the better. Draw pictures create a vision board. If you want. Personally, I’m not into vision boards, but if you respond well to them, by all means, explore this goal. The ins, the outs, the ups, the downs, the wrong sides out and right sides in.

Go deep.

Step 2. Break it down. Look at your definition and your description of your big deal goal and brainstorm ways to break it into smaller targets. We’ll look a little more deeply into this in a bit.

Step three. Get clear. Get clear on why this goal is important to you. Again more on this later, I’ll dig into most of these steps in a little bit.

Step four. Check in. Once you’ve established your goal and your littler targets, check in with yourself monthly or quarterly, not only to refresh the goal in your mind but also to see how you’re tracking against the measurements you devised in step two.

Step five. Celebrate. Rewards are the key here, my friend. Create some milestones and rewards for when you reach them. Think of a big deal reward for your big deal goal when you accomplish it. Not if, but when. Make it enticing and you’ll bake in some extra motivation from the get-go.

Okay, let’s see this in action.

Pretend one of your resolutions is to finish your book.

You’re a busy author. You’ve been listening to the podcast. You’ve been inspired by my magical words of wisdom. And now you want to tackle the book. You’ve been longing to write. Maybe you even have a habit tracker for daily writing because someone probably told you, “Real writers write every day.”

So you have your cute little habit tracker. Maybe you even drew it yourself in a bullet journal or something. Or perhaps you’re using one from. One of those expensive planners you bought with the hopes of being more organized. By the way I’m talking about myself here, I have yet to find an actual planner that works the way that I like to plan and the way that my brain likes to plan. Hmm, maybe I should create a, Toucan planner.

However you’re tracking your new habits, it isn’t enough. Finish my book, the resolution with a check mark every day you show up to write is not how you want to keep track of your progress.

To stick with this goal. You need some targets to hit. You need something tangible to look at. You need to write a certain number of words per day or per writing session or write for a certain amount of time each session, or maybe you want to go by page number.

If you’re big deal goal is to finish your book by the end of the year, you need to break that down into bite sized, manageable pieces. First of all, to make it less daunting, and second of all, as you’ll learn in next week’s episode, you can start to create some levels of success that’ll inspire and encourage you to keep going.

Remember what I said about unrealistic expectations? This is where that comes into play.

You shouldn’t pick an arbitrary word count goal to hit each writing session. It needs to make sense for you and the time you have in your busy schedule to write. Now I am here for you, my friend, to help you figure out your daily or session target.

Consider the average length of a novel is 90,000 words. Your goal is to write 90,000 words by the end of the year or whatever your timeframe is. From here, you can break that goal down into smaller pieces. How many words per month will you need? How many per week, how many per day? The answer to that, if you’re tracking from January 1st to December 31st with no time off, is only 250 words per day. Totally doable. Right?

And if you were fully onboard with the Toucan20 method—you know, set your timer for 20 minutes, write your little buns off rinse, repeat as time allows—you might already have some data collected.

If you don’t, grab your quick start guide to writing more in less time and start using one of the trackers in it right away.

I’ll link to it in the show notes or simply visit YouCanToucan.com/guide.

Start tracking how many words per Toucan20 you can write.

Even after just a week, you can figure out your average per session. 30 days is even better. And by then, you’ll have an amazing streak to keep you going.

Now pull out a calculator and a piece of paper or download the free BDG workbook linked in the show notes and follow along with me.

Because math is not my strong suit. I’m here to help my fellow non-maths people. You want to write 90,000 words by a certain date. Write Both your final word count goal and the date you want to finish at the top of the page.

Divide 90,000 words by the number of months or days left until the end date you’ll have your smaller targets.

So now you have your big deal goal, 90,000 words, and you have your bite-sized piece targets. So now you can go forth and conquer your novel 20 minutes at a time.

And by the way, this episode is brought to you by the Toucan20 deluxe tracker tool. Which has a calculator in it that will help you figure out how many words per day you would need to write to finish your book.

It also has a calculator that will show you when you’ll finish your book. If you were to write a certain number of words per day, and guess what listener. You get 10% off when you use the special podcast listener code PODCAST10 I’ll link to the deluxe tracker in the show notes or visit You Can Toucan dot com forward slash deluxe tracker.

This episode is also brought to you by fruit. The number one preferred diet for Toucans, fruit. It’s a yummy.

All right. Now you have your goal defined you have it broken down into manageable pieces. The next thing you want to do is commit to your goal. In order to commit to a goal, it has to be important. Which means you need to understand why you want this goal. I’ve talked about knowing your why in previous episodes but I’m bringing it up again here because it is so important.

So why do you want to accomplish this goal? What will it mean if you don’t stick with it? What are the stakes? How do you feel about this goal? How will you feel if you don’t succeed? How will you feel when you do succeed? Get clear on how important this goal is to you.

Don’t think too hard. The best responses are your first responses.

If you’re writing a book to prove to yourself or some Nebbie naysayer in your life that you can by all means, use that as your why. If you want to finish your book, because it’s been languishing away on your hard drive or in your notebook, or partially chiseled on your stone tablet for years, use that. Stay shallow, go deep, whatever works for you to really realize the importance of this and define it for yourself.

Don’t spend hours on this activity. I would say five minutes. Set a timer for five minutes and just get after it.

All right. So now you have your goal described. You have your targets. You’ve committed. And now you can get started. But after a while, you need to check in, otherwise you’ll fall into the forgot about it. Reason for failing at your resolution.

Checking in is very similar to the get clear step in understanding why you want this goal.

What good is it to do this work, creating this goal and breaking it down and getting clear. If you don’t revisit how you feel about it from time to time. You could do this monthly, but since we’re busy authors here, quarterly is just fine.

Check in with your goal.

Does it still light you up? Is it still important? Does anything need to change or be adjusted? What have you already accomplished? Again, don’t spend hours on this, just five minutes to jot down a few things about your goal as you’ve progressed with it.

Finally the last step is to celebrate. Create some milestones to work toward and some rewards that go along with each one. Be sure to celebrate with those rewards too. Don’t forget to do that. Milestones for your 90,000 word finish. Your novel goal could be percentage complete 25%, 50%, 75%. A hundred percent

Alternately, you could jot down some milestones while you go say, you know, there’s an epic scene coming up and you’re a little nervous to write it because your negative voices are telling you, “There’s no way you can pull that off.”

Put that scene as a milestone. The rewards here also should be bigger and better for each milestone you reach.

So here’s a quick recap of how to transform your resolutions into goals that you’ll stick with.

Step one: Describe it

Step two: Break it down.

Step three: Get clear.

Step four: Check in

Step five: Celebrate.

I know there was a lot in this episode. So luckily I have a free workbook for you to make this so much easier.

The big deal goal workbook has a worksheet to help you with every step I covered here today. Use the parts that resonated with you the most and commit to your goal. There’s a link to the workbook at the show notes. Simply go to You. Can Toucan dot com forward slash 11. The number 11 that’s one, one.

We have a great season two coming your way, including a mini-series about project management for busy authors, complete with some project management tools that I’m super excited to share with you. These episodes and tools will help you with creating the writing life of your dreams. That’s what I’m all about, right?

So in next week’s episode, you’ll learn about success and how to set yourself up for it. That’s all for this episode, set your timer. Go write.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. If you liked what you heard, please consider sharing this podcast with a friend or on social media. So amazing listeners, just like you will find me. Set your timer go write!

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Claire L. Fishback

Author coach, project manager, published author, amazing wife, dog mom, artist, twin, and your host and guide to discovering your path to the writing life of your dreams!

Youcan the Toucan


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