Like an idiot, I bought the dress without the party invitation

Every year, I make variations of the same three resolutions; lose weight, get out of debt, and write an entire book. Every year, I wonder why I fail:
…I have tried positive reinforcement (The RWA Conference is in NYC this year!)
…I have tried negative reinforcement (Where’s a quarter jar?)
…I have made goals with vague outcomes (Write Anything!)
…I have had goals with measurable results (Write 500 words a day)

Like with all the crazy diets out there, I have tried them all. One of my favorite spins on resolutions was the year of visualization. A lot of life coaches, especially connected to sport athletes, spoke of the importance to image your success. The point was to see yourself getting from this spot to the point of success. The part that hooked me was that they encouraged visual aids. Yippy!

As a new writer, I believed success and status came to those who won the RWA Golden Heart contest. The dream seemed a bit more attainable since I actually know some of the finalists and previous year winners like our very own “Jane” Asa Bradley. But instead of investing in more writing courses, giving up TV time to write more in the day or doing anything that would actually assist me in getting words on the page, I went shopping and bought a dress, which I couldn’t afford and can’t fit into, to wear to the RWA awards banquet.

dressIsn’t it beautiful? I hung it against my door as my visual aid for the rest of the year. Then the following January happened, without the completion of the book, so the dress was bitterly shoved to the back of the closest, never to be revisited until I wrote this blog. But as a silver lining, due to this post, this dress finally served as a reason for getting actual words written on the page.

So what is this year’s trend for New Year’s Resolutions? I believe we have reduced it to its bare essentials by eliminating full thoughts and details and replacing it with the pursuit of a single word. The idea is to pick one word that encompasses your resolutions; love, money, happiness, freedom, etc. If nothing else, it should eliminate feelings of failure because it’s your definition of your single word so you decide if you accomplished your goal or not.

Want to give it a try? What is your New Year’s Resolution word?

Mine is PURPOSE.

About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on January 26, 2015, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post… it made think about my own situation… I don’t know if I am trying too hard or I am not trying at all… So, taking your advice my resolution is going to be 2 words: “No Regrets”


  2. What an inspiring post! I love the dress! I can see why you bought it. I guess my word is “finish” because I have so many projects to finish including my book(s). Thank you, Jessie, for giving me focus!


  3. It’s so hard to give up the big dream—lose the weight, look amazing, become a famous author. The trouble with this dream is that we put so much pressure on ourselves that we doom ourselves to failure. Our goal is so high that nothing less will do. We’re terrified of failure but equally as afraid of success. What if we lose weight but can’t keep it off? Or we win that award and the book doesn’t sell? Or sell enough? Or we can’t write the next book? It’s easier to not finish the book than to finish it and realize it isn’t going to be the overnight bestseller we dreamed of. I think the key is to give up the Big Dream, and take the pressure off. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend, with kindness and understanding. So what if you can’t fit into that dress? It’s nothing but material. Write because it’s fun and you love it.

    As for practical advice, what finally worked for me, and this is after many many years of trying to finish a novel, I wrote it is a novella first. Once I got the beginning middle and end down, it was easier to fill in the rest and make it longer. Now I just have to finish editing the beast and get it out there. I also gave up the Big Dream. I’m not skinny and I won’t be attending any awards ceremonies but if some people read and enjoy my work I’ll be happy.

    Good luck Jessie, you have lots of people rooting for you.


  4. This brought tears to my eyes. Because of all the people I know, you work harder on becoming a better person than anyone else. I love you, Jessie


    • Thank you Nancy! Because of you I got through one of my most difficult years and never gave up the goal of being a writer.

      You have one of the most ambitious writing goals this year and I know 2015 will be your year!


  5. It’s never wrong to buy a pretty dress! My word is definitely breathe. I hold my breath when I get anxious or stressed or excited. So telling myself to breathe is code for “relax, you can do this.” 🙂

    Also, when you end up wearing that dress to your award ceremony, be it the GH or the RITA, can I be your date? 😉


    • Breathe is a great word and perfect for all your wonderful goals this year!

      You can absolutely be my date! As I hope to follow your footsteps in the near future, I would approach the shove to the stage when I freeze 🙂


  6. Yay for words! Yay for purpose and pretty dresses! It’s hard to get things done, even things we want to do. But every moment of every day is another chance to start doing. We’ll throw our own party 🙂


  7. Beautiful dress, Jessie! I’m doing the one word resolution too. Mine is MOVE! Move my body, move my mindset, move on to better habits, move to a place with acreage…Yep, much of what I am working on fits that word. In the process, I remind myself to be gentle with me and I hope you will do that for yourself also. When I look at your photo, I see joy, enthusiasm, beauty, and love of life shining in your eyes. That’s a perfect fit for anything you wear!


    • Thank you Genie! I love the word MOVE and I hope you reach all your goals. I also thank you for your comments on my photo, you are great for my self esteem 🙂


  8. You can do it.

    Often you never know what is going to click. A mentor. A dress. A class.

    For one writer I know it was a Media Bistro ‘Finish the Damn Novel’ class. Best $600 she ever spent, she said. Not because that book was great. But because she knew she could finish a book. She went on to write and publish many others.


    • Thank you! I love hearing success stories about other aspiring authors and the moment that finally “clicks” for them. For me, it’s not the dress but it will be something one day!


  9. You don’t want to know what my word is this month. Not repeatable in this space. Anyway, take heart, millions of us have aspirational clothes in our closets. Currently have a pair of J. Crew pants hanging in mine. I just had to buy them! Someday!
    But here’s the funny thing about reaching those (clothing) goals… sometimes once you get there it’s just not what you expected at all — too saggy in the butt, or the rise is all wrong. Which is okay. Because it’s all about the journey of getting there.
    Here’s to your successful 2015, Jessie! I am rooting for you.


    • Thank you Jamie! Aspirational Clothes, I feel like that is a seed to starting a whole new clothing line. 🙂

      Whatever your word is, I hope you achieve it!


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