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2017 is here! What are you vowing to change or do differently this year? Me? Nothing. What’s the point? I already know I’m not going to stick to it, so I’m not wasting my time pretending anything will change. But what I will do is start fresh. New year – new beginnings.

The new year is like spring cleaning – out with the old and in with the new. This has been my focus for the new year – getting rid of old, tired stuff that clutters the house, the mind, and makes me loath cleaning. I’ve held on to some things because I may need it later (even though I hadn’t seen or touched it in years). I’ve held on to the things because it’s “special” as I ask myself (who gave me that again?) I’ve held on to things because, well, you’re “supposed” to. Really? No more. I’m ushering in the new year with a clean slate starting with the Christmas decorations.

Christmas Some of those beloved Christmas decorations didn’t make it back to the attic this year. They made their way straight to the curb. Like those Christmas lights I bought three years ago. Sorry people, they have to go. I hate faded Christmas lights. I absolutely can’t stand them. They’re creepy, dull, and they look a hot mess next to the brand new ones that replaced the set with the blown out bulbs. Trash! My adorable little angel with the clipped wings – trash! The snowman whose hat I had to paperclip to his head because  no one would notice, right? Trash! The red berry wreath that no longer has berries, but little white styrofoam balls on the end of each stem . . . uh . . . definitely . . . Trash! It may costly to replace these things, but the money will get spent on something anyway, it may as well be spent on decorations.

Clothes All those too small clothes I’ve held on to for motivation to lose weight? Trash! Actually I donated them, but still, those old clothes are out of the house. That tactic has not worked for me in several years, I don’t think one more go at it will make a difference. Face it, intentionally losing weight and getting in shape only happens one way and that’s with effort. Staring at my too small clothes does not motivate me to get in shape, it only ticks me off because I can’t fit my old favorite clothes anymore and leads to being an excuse for me to eat chocolate to make me feel better. Gone! Gone! Gone! I will wear what fits and when my clothes get too big,  oh how much sweeter shopping for smaller sizes will be.

Dishes I’ve held on to wedding sets, hand-me-downs, and discount finds long enough. While separately all of these pieces are beautiful and perfectly functional, together I have a garage sale happening right in my kitchen cabinets. Gone! Chipped and broken met the trash, good condition has moved on to a new, happier home. New dishes that are more functional for our family have replaced my old hodgepodge collection and have already made a huge difference in my kitchen. I haven’t turned to something more fancy, just something more practical and durable. Just what this house needs.

Old Projects (Home & Work) I’ve weeded through all the projects I said I would complete for 2016 – both writing projects as well as home projects and . . . yeah . . . about that . . . I have a pile of manuscripts on my desk waiting for me to push them into the next phase and I have checked off maybe two or three items from my home project list. The point is my 2016 accomplishments weren’t enough.

I’m not being a negative Ne-Ne, I’m simply stating that there were several other projects I could’ve completed that I didn’t do. Whether it was publishing a new book or repairing one of the closet doors, these projects didn’t get done and there’s no real reason why. I’ve reassessed my efforts in the previous year and have had to be honest with myself and accept that I just didn’t follow through on things the way I should have. As a result, I revised my project goals and plans for home and work, tossed the ones that were either unnecessary or unrealistic and put plans in place to make them happen before year’s end. Wish me luck.

Procrastination Gone! Gone! Gone! I’ve made my lists, checked them twice, and each time I’ve looked at those lists and been tempted with distraction, I have forced myself to turn back to my list and get to work. It’s hard ignoring the urge to do something else that distracts from what I should be doing, but the gratification of accomplishing a day’s work can’t be ignored. I will do my best to keep up the good work, but just in case I don’t,  I’ll keep you posted (wink-wink). Seriously, I’ve preached about lists and schedules before. Life really does flow a lot smoother when tasks are mapped out on a calendar or on a to-do list. Sticking to it is where I tend to fall short but I’m constantly focusing on fighting the urge to stray.

I guess if I have to say I’ve committed to something in the new year it would be weeding out the clutter. I’m decluttering in order to make room to be successful. I firmly believe that a cluttered room, office, or home clutters the mind. It’s no coincidence that since I’ve started weeding out the clutter I’ve been able to begin making progress toward my goals. With a clear home and work space, my mind is free to create and focus – clutter free.

Be brutally honest with yourself as you reflect on your writing this past year and jump into 2017 with your new writing goals. Weed out, reassess, reflect, and execute. Sometimes you have to focus on other areas in your life in order to progress in your writing. Share your successes and struggles to motivate other writers, but to also obtain support in your own writing.

Happy New Year and write on!