Half the month and almost all of 2012 is gone. Most will tell you (and I am sure you too believe) that this is the time for taking stock - analyzing your '12 successes and failures, highs and lows.

I differ.
December is the month of closures. (Feel free to tweet that)
Now is the time to sort through your experiences, unfulfilled promises, abandoned projects and impossible dreams and decide which ones deserve to be kept and give respectful closure to the rest. 

Your goals this month should be different from the goals you set in any other month. This one should acknowledge the upcoming milestone - the new year. Aim to carry with you the lightest burden you can into 2013, and discard what you can't.

I am starting 2013 on a clean slate (or as clean as possible). What about you?

I have shared some goals for December below (no personal ones). You can adopt these or make your own - either way, ensure that your December sets the tone for a successful 2013.


Goal #1: Clean Your Email Inbox

I think our email inboxes can often tell the stories of our lives. There is all sorts of stuff in there - official emails, personal emails, newsletters from different websites, social media notifications, job offers, marriage offers and $100000000 inheritance offers.

We read some of the emails we receive, mark some as spam, relegate some more to folders and leave the rest unread. Result? Inbox (4528).

This number is not something to boast about the way my younger brother does,"I hit 1000 unread emails!" (almost all are spams that ask him to enter sweepstakes or win $500 for nothing).

But, we aren't in school and we do have useful emails in our inbox, which is exactly the reason why we need to delete all unread mails. Here's how this works. Your brains looks at the number (4528!) and you subconsciously think "I've to read those. I'll get around to it". Your brain counts that as another task, or another 4528 tasks. Your are, without knowing, stressing your brain out.

So, go ahead and delete everything in the spam folder. Then go ahead and delete all the unread mails in your email inbox. If you didn't read it back when it first arrived and didn't find the time to read it until now, it is probably not worth reading. So, don't hesitate. Select all -> Delete. (If you are paranoid about deleting any important email, run a quick glance through the subject lines before hitting delete.)

Step 1 towards closure completed. You can now begin 2013 with a clean inbox.


Goal #2: Revive Abandoned Project X

Most people wait until the start of the New Year (i.e., for the 1st of January), before getting to work on their goals.

I recommend and swear by something different. You should set some of your goals for New Year in December. These are goals that you know you'll have difficulty keeping up with. Starting them in December will help you build momentum and continue right into the new year and beyond.

Coming back to Goal #2. Was there something you planned for 2012, but never got around to doing or completing?  For instance, I had planned to write an ebook to give away on my blog here, but work pressures and other commitments led to impossible delays and the ebook is still unwritten.

Revive that abandoned project and start working on it in December. 

Remember to only revive a project that is worth reviving. For instance, I had also planned on building a Facebook page to advertise myself as a writer. Now, I don't really need that extra publicity and don't have the time to keep updating that page. So, that is a project best left abandoned.


Goal #3: Build A Resource List

I am a great fan of resource lists. I have sheets and sheets of MS Excel filled in with different resources. Here are some examples of resource lists that you can build:

-Blogs that: Accept guest posts + Have a 5+ page rank + Have a huge email subscriber list

-Fashion magazines that assign stories to freelance writers

-Businesses I can pitch my content marketing services to

These are examples - you should build lists that are completely in-sync with what you want to achieve next year. For example, you may want to get published in 10 different parenting magazines next year, so build a resource list of parenting magazines that accept freelance writers.

You should aim to make the resource list as specific as possible, based on your goal. For instance, the fashion magazine example could be further specified to "Fashion magazines that assign stories to freelance writers and pays at least $1 per word".

These resource lists are a gem. I am not a big fan of online resource lists, though they are helpful. The one's that you build yourself are personalized for you, for your needs and will serve you best in 2013.


Goal #4: Join 750words.com

I joined 750words.com three days back. It is one of the simplest, cleanest websites I have come across in the past few months and it totally blew me away. 

If there's one thing you need to do to make yourself a successful writer, it is: write a lot. If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, 750words is your key to hammering those words out.

750words has a very simple concept. You visit the website every day, write 750 words on a distraction-free page and come back the next day to write 750 more. If you feel up to it, you can take a monthly challenge to write 750 words every single day of that month. (I've signed up for January.)

It seems so simple, and yet there is an invisible something that motivates you to go to the website and pushes you to write and that generally sets the tone for the rest of your day.

There are several users of that site who've completed their NaNoWriMo successfully, because of the push, motivation, addiction...whatever you call it, that 750words has.

Go check it out yourself and add it to your December goals - it will set the momentum to continue writing in 2013.


Goal #5: Up The Ante

During the International Freelancers Day Conference, I had attended Ed Gandia's keynote address and he introduced the concept of setting goals in the panic zone. I don't know if that was the exact terminology he used, but it articulates what he had to say, so it should serve our purpose.

The panic zone is basically the zone where you go into full-blown panic and denial. For instance, if you are earning $30,000 this year, I'd think the panic zone would be a goal of $75,000 next year. You, on the other hand, might find yourself panicking if you set a goal of $50,000 or you may be unfazed by even a goal of $100,000. So, it's entirely relative.

An increase or change from your current status quo that makes you think, "OMG! I can't do that!" is the perfect panic zone goal.

Once you've identified this goal, detail out what all you'd need to do to achieve it and start working on it from this month. 
December resolutions are the new New Year resolutions. Have you made yours yet?
Feel free to tweet that.

Your Turn

Have you set any December goals yet? What would be a great December goal for other freelance writers? Share your thoughts and advice in the comment box below.

Don't forget to click the social media buttons below and share this post if you found it useful. Also, subscribe to this blog's feed (the subscription option’s given in the sidebar) to receive an update when I add another post. Thanks!

Author: Urooj Kazi is a freelance business writer. To hire her to write content for your business, visit this website's Contact Urooj page.
 


Comments

Richard Myers (Rick)
12/13/2012 06:18

Hi Urooj,
One of my December goals is to secure my first writing assignment. After my shift at work today, I have three glorious days off and will be seeking my very first gig. I'm confident that I can find someone out there to give me a shot. I am armed with both Stephen Davies book, as-well-as Julie Scott's and hopefully something in one or both of their publications is waiting for me.
Also, I am hoping to put up a blog or some sort of website and have done some improvements on the snorefest that is my Linkedin profile.
Once I can secure my first assignment, it will be All-Systems-Go!
Somehow, I am having my Linkedin notifications find their way to both Yahoo! and Gmail. Sometimes they are duplicates but it seems mostly to be an even split. I wonder what is responsible for this occurence, as I didn't transfer my email from Yahoo! to Gmail. Just another technical mystery for my untechnical mind to deal with ;)
Thanks, Urooj
Rick

Reply
12/14/2012 04:31

Hi Rick,

What an awesome goal! Good luck!

I personally think all LinkedIn profiles are snorefests (Don't tell Michael I said that - LinkedIn's the only social media site he enjoys. :))

As for your LinkedIn notifications issue, I am sure you tinkered with your LinkedIn account settings and added both emails in.

I am really looking forward to reading your update when you land your first client. Go Rick! If you need any help, you need only ask. :)

Best,
Urooj

Reply
Richard (Rick) Myers
12/14/2012 07:01

Thanks, Urooj. As they say here in the Ozarks, I'll "give ya a holler" if I need some assistance.
Rick

12/15/2012 18:19

Urooj, another gem of an article!

My personal goal is to complete at least three e-books in 2013 (one non-fiction on networking and two fiction) and publish them myself.

Also, I read the part about clearing out the unread messages with some amusement until I realized just how many messages I had stored up like walnuts for a squirrel. This one might take a little time to (ulp!) implement ... ;)

Reply
12/16/2012 06:36

Brian, we share personal goals!

As a matter of fact, I am slogging away on the first ebook right now - got plans for at least half a dozen in 2013. All will be non-fiction, self-published and self-marketed. I'd love to compare notes on the self-publishing industry as we go along.

Those unread messages - funny, how they pile up when you aren't looking.

Reply



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