Replacing Resolutions (Guest Post)

Photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel

Replacing Resolutions

by Steph Beth Nickel

We’ve all heard the statistics at how short-lived New Year’s Resolutions are.

This year let’s try something different.

Let’s decide what we want to achieve by this time in 2024. Remember to be kind to yourself and set realistic goals.

Here are six of my goals:

  1. Complete Paralympian Deb Willows’s second memoir.
  2. Write and self-publish a novel.
  3. Work with my editing clients.
  4. Fulfill my responsibilities as the editor of FellowScript.
  5. Fulfill my responsibilities as one of Kathi Lipp’s interns.
  6. Get healthier.

To achieve our goals, we must break them down into small, achievable steps and set a flexible date to complete each step. Flexible because we will inevitably have to reschedule some of our goals.

Here is an example of steps I could take to accomplish the goals listed above:

Deb’s Book

Work on the book at least three times per week until it’s ready to submit to the publisher.

YA Novel

Complete the novel.
Get input from alpha readers.
Complete rewrite.
Have manuscript edited.
Buy book cover.
Have manuscript formatted.
Research how to upload the book to a single distributor or multiple distributors.
Upload the manuscript to distributor or aggregator.
Get the word out.

I have chosen not to date these tasks, but I have listed them in the order I intend to complete this project. Of course, there will likely be some overlap.

Editing Clients

Work on editing clients’ projects five times per week.

FS Responsibilities

Proofread submissions as they come in from the Columns and Acquisitions Editors.
Pass them along to the Design and Layout Editor.
Finalize the magazine.
Train a new editor.

FellowScript is a quarterly magazine. So, I cycle through these responsibilities four times per year—except the last one of course.

KL Intern Responsibilities

Keep up with ongoing responsibilities.

Get Healthier

Exercise 3-5x/week from January through December.
Drink more water from February through December.
Eat more fruit and veggies from March through December.
Limit desserts and sugary drinks from April through December.

While I may incorporate the listed goals before the stated start date, it’s best not to try to incorporate everything at once.

Setting fixed deadlines may be best for some people. I, on the other hand, function better if I have flexible deadlines for the majority of the things I have on the go. That way the fixed deadlines I have don’t seem as overwhelming. Plus, there is more margin for day-to-day tasks and those unexpected situations that are sure to pop up.

What are some of your goals for the coming year? Have you broken them down into doable steps? Do you work better with fixed or flexible deadlines?

Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

As an editor, Steph Beth Nickel has the honour of coming alongside writers to help them polish their work. As the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoirs, Steph has been blessed to work with this amazing woman. And as a future self-published author, with the Lord’s help, Steph has taken brave steps toward publication.

If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at

You’re invited to visit her website:

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here:

5 thoughts on “Replacing Resolutions (Guest Post)

  1. Sandra Orchard

    All the best for the new year, both Stephanie and Janet! I was going to say that a big goal for me is to dejunk, but realized that’s the misnomer that keeps me from clearing things out. Since I love to do crafts, I can see so much potential in the things that have accumulated in my craft room, and as a writer, in the piles of files in my office on every topic you can imagine from aspects of writing to firefighting and forensics. 😉 So…you’ve inspired me to rethink my goal to evaluating how likely I am to repurpose or make use of item A,B or C and make concrete plans to do so, and pass along the rest.

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Happy New Year, Sandra! I love how rephrasing your goal will allow you to make progress in achieving it. There’s no “junk” there to get rid of–it’s all valuable, so the question becomes whether it’ll be valuable to you or to someone else 🙂

    2. Steph Nickel

      Happy New Year, Sandra!
      I’d love to hear how it goes as you choose what to keep and what to pass along.
      Have a joy-filled, blessing-filled year.

  2. Janet Sketchley Post author

    Thank you, as always, Stephanie, and Happy New Year! I think this focus on achieving goals instead of resolutions/intentions without action plans is helpful.

    If even this seems too much for anyone, there’s a post on Holley Gerth’s blog encouraging us to make “micro goals” — gentle, achievable, self-care goals that may look ridiculously easy but will keep us moving in the right direction. Now that you’ve read and benefited from Steph’s post, hop over to Holley’s too:


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