The Back-To-School New Year’s Resolution

Every year, as a freelance writer, I create five goals at the beginning of the new year. These goals help steer my professional focus for the coming months. But, let’s be real, many of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions and we’re probably feeling one of three ways: completely guilty, struggling to keep hope alive or desiring new motivation. I have three kids, and for me, the end of the summer and the beginning of the new school year is like another New Year’s holiday for us. Whether or not you’re affected by a traditional 9-month school calendar, it’s hard to miss the back-to-school ads and back-to-school pictures all over social media. You can’t help but get caught up in the spirit of new school clothes, freshly sharpened pencils and cooler, crisp mornings. I like to take advantage of this momentum by taking inventory of my professional goals through what I call my, “Back-To-School New Year’s Resolution”. I do three things – I evaluate, prioritize, and revamp.

I confess, I watch The Dr. Phil Show from time to time. One of his most famous lines he asks his guest who are facing hardship or difficult situations is, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” I have adopted this philosophy as I evaluate my own professional freelance goals at the beginning of the school year. I take a look at how each goal is (or is not) “workin’ for me”. Is the goal too grand? Should I break it down into smaller increments? Is it too complex? Should I make things more simple? These are the questions I ask before moving to the second phase –revamping.

Sometimes the goals you have at one point in time are not the goals you need to keep later on down the road. One year, I created a goal to acquire five new projects for my freelance business, but one huge and exciting project came in and soon began to take up all of my time. Well, there really didn’t seem to be a need for those other four projects, so I revamped. At first it was hard to abandon my original goal, but I soon realized it’s ok to revamp, mix it up or move things around. By doing this, I was able to better prioritize how to tackle each goal.

Many of us have a million things on our to-do list that needed to be completed yesterday. That thought alone can be overwhelming. The act of taking a look at each item on my list and beginning to simply prioritize it in order of importance becomes a victory in itself. I feel like I have a more fine-tuned game plan that is less overwhelming. It gives me new motivation to do more in a more efficient timeframe.

New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep, but with this mid-year check-up, I feel like I get a second chance to accomplish my goals. Between the leaves changing color and the smell of pumpkin spice all around, this “Back-To-School New Year’s Resolution” is all about taking steps to regain the drive I had back in January.

ABOUT Arris Shabaglian

For more than a decade Arris has worked as a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. She has also taught university level courses on the art of communication, public relations and journalism. Arris is a Pinterest addict who loves a good night’s sleep and a nice cup of coffee. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three kids (hence the need for a nice cup of coffee).