Publishing Fear FreeRiding Fear FreeWriting Fear Free

2014: The Year of the Horse

Are you ready for the Year of the Horse?
Are you ready for the Year of the Horse?

I had a post about my resolutions for 2014 all ready to go, but I tossed it in the virtual trash can. I hate New Year’s resolutions. HATE them.

Why? What’s your problem, Becton?

My problem isn’t with the concept of resolving to improve something about yourself or your lifestyle. And it’s not with deciding to make these goals at the beginning of a new page on the calendar.

My problem is with the time frame: 1 year. That’s:

  • 12 months or
  • 365 days or
  • 8765.81 hours or
  • 525949 minutes or
  • 3.156e+7 seconds or
  • 3.156e+10 milliseconds or
  • Yes, I could go on. I found a time calculator on Google.

A year is a long time, and usually resolutions are big. (Ex: I resolve to eat healthier and publish 14 books this year.) I have to wait 1 year to attain my goals. That’s a long time. (See the breakdown above.) I cannot celebrate until I have eaten healthier in a flawless fashion for 365 days and published all 14 books.

That ain’t right, people!

One of the most valuable things I learned while helping write Riding Fear Free is that all people focus so intently on the end goal that they forget all about the small steps necessary to attain to the goal. They get depressed when they don’t instantaneously succeed at the BIG goal. How do you counter that? By celebrating every single success, each small step that leads to the goal. That doesn’t mean you go out and buy a new toy every time, but you take a moment to acknowledge that you completed the next step. Stop and enjoy!

And what’s more, you might have one goal at the beginning of the year, but by June, you might have changed your mind. Why? According to Dwight V. Swain, it’s because “you yourself change in the interim between the time when inspiration first becomes apparent and the later date.” (Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer, 280.)

And I still haven’t said a word about what happens when we inevitably fail to live up to our goals. Because I’m totally eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts for Valentine’s Day.  That doesn’t fit into the eating-healthy resolution. What if I don’t publish 14 books? Well, too bad. Better luck next year. This year was a big fat failure.

Making realistic long-term goals is not inherently bad, but once those goals are made, the focus must shift to small steps that lead to the big goal.

So my resolutions for the year of the horse are to celebrate each step that leads toward my goals and to move past any mistakes without beating myself up about them. As Anne Shirley said in Anne of Green Gables, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Don’t forget that every year is fresh with no mistakes in it. That means you have

  • 12 months or
  • 265 days or
  • 8765.81 hours or
  • 525949 minutes or
  • 3.156e+7 seconds or
  • 3.156e+10 milliseconds

of new beginnings.


  • Right after scheduling this post I mostly killed my website. Thank you, Tabitha, at GoDaddy for resurrecting it. Now it’s temporarily using a new theme. What do you think?
  • I fully intend to wear PJs and a tiara to ring in the new year.
  • Oh yeah! I completed the last of my major edits on Moral Hazard yesterday. To the copy editor! After the holidays…I’m not that mean, Kelley.

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