With the hum of the yearly holiday parade beginning to die down, many of us are chewing over our resolutions and intentions for the new year. Transferring unmet resolutions over to this year’s list is always a bit of a gut punch.

But this year can be different. There’s all kinds of advice you can find on keeping resolutions, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here, but here are three simple elements I have found crucial to success in moving forward with my goals:

1. Make your plans long before you will act on them
In my own experience 90% of plans I make in the heat of any given moment are terrible. Should I eat the other half of that burrito? If it’s in front of me, the answer is always yes, even when I know I’ll regret it. Take flossing for another example. If I delay the decision-making about whether or not to floss until right after I brush every night, I will almost always be able to negotiate with myself and talk myself out of flossing. However, if I make an agreement with myself that I’m just going to floss (using every rationalizing technique I can muster) then I don’t have to expend any decision-making energy or experience the anxiety of all those mental gymnastics, I just floss and don’t really think about it. Okay, weird example–I feel strongly about flossing, but that’s a whole other bucket of marbles. My point here is that if you plan ahead and agree with yourself that you will do something, if you get it on a calendar, work it into your routine, etc., you’re way more likely to actually do it.

2. Create accountability to carry out your plans
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. At the bare minimum, just tell your most trusted friend or relative what your plans are and tell them you’re telling them because you want accountability. If you’re a writer, tell people what you’re working on and be sure to mention your major milestones. When you know people will ask about where you are with your project, you are much more likely to make progress than if nobody knows what in the world you hope to produce by tapping away all those hours at your keyboard.

3. Believe that you can do it
Here’s one that a lot of people don’t think about, yet is crucial to success of any kind. You have to believe that your efforts will result, eventually, in your success. You could also call this “having a positive mindset.” Here’s a definition of positivity that I like: positivity is the belief that things can change. There will be bumps in the road, unforeseen problems, delays, and failures. But in order to make progress on any goal, large or small, you must to believe that your efforts will eventually result in your achieving that goal. The path to publishing a book begins with this first step of believing that you have the chops to tell your story well.

Now then, when you actually sit down craft your most-important-things-to-do-for-real-this-time list, do you have something to the tune of “get my book off my hard drive and out into the world”?

If so, read on.

Publishing a book by means of self-publishing, working with a hybrid press, or some combination of the two is wrought with choices and options. Should you hire a marketing guru? Should you hire a proofreader? Where do you get an ISBN? How can I ensure a cover design that sells? For many self-publishing writers, the process is a black box of mixed messages, best practices, marketing strategies, and jargon. But the process does not have to be confusing or stress-inducing.

If 2020 is your year to bring your book into the world, do consider contacting me for a free no-strings-attached discussion about whether Golden Ratio Book Design might be the right fit for your manuscript. As a book designer with 10 years of experience, I not only work closely with authors to provide quality book design, I help provide clarity about the process of book production, printing, and publication.

Books are meant to be read and enjoyed. Give the world the gift of your words. And happy writing in 2020!


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I help authors bring their books into the world with advice about book design, self-publishing, and creative productivity.