I've been engaged in a semi-secret project for the last year. Last March, I was inspired to write a haiku, and I promptly decided I wanted to write a haiku every day for a year. I just completed the year yesterday. Part of my personal challenge to myself was publishing the collection, even if poetry is not the most popular genre out there. The main thing I have to do now is assemble the back matter and format the collection. I've already added Life at Seventeen Syllables a Day: A Journal in Haiku to Goodreads. It should be available in both paper and Kindle formats next month.
I'm also engaged in a month-long challenge to make this a "Meatless March." After reading Meatonomics last month, I realized the current practices of the food industry are not sustainable in the long run. Therefore, in order to make the future a little better for my son, I'm practicing lacto-ovo-vegetarianism this month. So far, it hasn't been too bad. It helps that after being on Weight Watchers in 2012, I've learned to eat a greater variety of vegetables and have some recipes I like. The hardest part is juggling different meals for everyone in the house (ironically, my husband is on the South Beach diet) and going out to eat. The restaurants I've been to this month specialize in meat or seafood, so they don't provide much selection for vegetarian entrees. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to continue this diet long-term.
Being able to set and reach personal goals is vital to success in both writing and life. It can take a lot of discipline to make the changes necessary to meet these goals, and it's hard changing your habits. Some studies have shown that willpower can break down over the course of a day and that trying to stretch your willpower over too many projects can also lead to breakdown. (Hum, that could explain a few things...) So perhaps it's best to focus on a few personal goals and get them out of the way first thing in the morning. (Then you can go eat chocolate, right? I'm not ready to give that up yet!) A couple of personal traits that seem to help me keep on track are my conscientiousness and my stubbornness. The only downside is that if you really want to develop a stubborn streak, you have to be short. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
What tricks have you found that help you accomplish your personal goals?