Tag Archives: resolutions

Reaching your Goals: in writing and life.

As the first week of the new year comes to a close, I want to share an observation about resolutions.

  1. The health club is packed.  Everyone and their grandma wants to get in shape this year.  However, not everyone and their grandma will.  By mid-February, Anytime Fitness will be half as busy.  By the beginning of summer, only a few diehards will remain.  Only a handful of resolutioners (yep, that’s my new word) will be bikini ready in twenty lifetimes, let alone by the end of 2012.

Why?  Because it takes more than a whim to reach a goal.  It takes proper goal-setting, perseverence, motivation, skill, ability, training, support (human and fabric) and time.  To name a few.

Guess what?  Becoming a writer is no different.  Minus the sports bra, of course.

To keep you on your resolutionary path, I’ve pieced together tidbits from past posts.

  1. Assessing Success.  Make sure your goals are specific, measurable and attainable.  You can’t succeed if you never define what success means.  Likewise, reaching a goal is impossible if you set your sights on attaining things completely outside your control.  In other words, failure is guaranteed when we dream of wearing size one pants on size six bones.
  2. What’s Your Writing Weight?  Understand the process. Take  time to learn the nuances involved in reaching your goal.  Weightloss does not occur overnight.  Neither does publication or good parenting or better organization.  Only by understanding the journey, can we prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
  3.  Didn’t Feel Like It.    Don’t hit the snooze button–figuratively or literally.  Some days it’s nearly impossible to get up and get going, but don’t give into the temptation to take the day off or buy into the excuse that your muscles (brains or butts) are too tired, too sore or too stressed to work out.  They’re not.  It only seems that way when you’re nestled under the covers.  Once you get started, you’ll always be thankful you did.
  4. Getting Back Up.   And when it feels like you’ve done everything humanly possible to reach your goal and the only alternative you have left is to throw in the proverbial towel, don’t.  Success never comes out of quitting.  Instead, take a peak at your goals and seriously reflect on your reasons behind setting them in the first place.  Redefine them if you must, but don’t walk away from the challenge–and the dream–that prompted you to set your goals in the first place.

How do you prepare yourself for goal setting?  What tips do you have to help others reach and/or maintain their goals? 

Curious minds want to know.

New Year. New Word.

I have a wonderful cyber friend who doesn’t write New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, she picks a word that speaks to her and will motivate her throughout the upcoming twelve months and into the years beyond.

My word for 2012: Challenge.

As in the verb, because life holds enough challenge in the noun form.  It is a challenge to find time to write.  It is a challenge to stay in shape.  It is a challenge to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and neighbor.  Doing life well is a definite challenge.

Which is exactly why I challenge myself to do better and be better in 2012.

I challenge myself to take my health seriously.  My genetic package is less than stellar, and so far I’ve cheated extra pant sizes by sheer luck alone.  Yet, thin and healthy are not synonymous.  High blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels and a history of heart disease loom in my future, as do obesity and diabetes.

I challenge myself to be a better writer.  Always a little on the ADD side of normal, I get lost in my own head on a regular basis.  I am a whimsical writer in the sense that I work on whichever project strikes my fancy.  So far it’s panned out, as I always have multiple projects in multiple stages that I can work on when the mood moves me.  However, I’m at a point where I shouldn’t take a year to spit-shine one manuscript.

This year, I challenge myself to be a better communicator.  Sometimes I leave things unsaid or say things I shouldn’t.  Conflict gives me the hives, so I confront it as little as possible.  Likewise, I’m a wishy-washy decision maker at best, which can frustrate even the most patient of souls.  The upside is that people think I’m sweet, if a little flighty.  The downside is…well, it’s unspeakable, and henceforth my need to communicate better becomes the utmost challenge.

I challenge myself to be a better wife and mother.  DH’s promotion comes with a change in time away from home and a different level of stress.  The end of the school year brings our first graduation and a new driver into the family.  It also burdens our calendar with more events as the little boys sample sports and develop their passions.  Long story short, getting lost in my own head for an entire day is no longer viable while raising a family of six.

Life is a challenge.  One I challenge myself to face with grace, dignity and determination.

Anyone else up for a challenge?  What one word describes your upcoming year?  What goals do you hope to accomplish?  What steps must you take to get there?

Curious minds want to know.

Assessing Success

Most resolutions include some form of weighing.  Usually nekkid on a scale, hoping the holiday extra-helpings have disappeared from our hips.  I do have a small niggle in the back of my mind that wants this to happen, but I’ve learned long ago that weighty resolutions and I don’t mix.

I think one reason weight is a common goal is that the outcome is so tangible.  I can easily measure if I have a) lost weight or b) have skinnier buns.  Tape measures and scales tell it all. 

So how do we weigh the failure or success of other goals/resolutions/lists/hopes/dreams?  Writers often say: I will get published this year.  Mothers can say they want to parent better.  Dieters state a desire to lose weight and slobs can vow to clean up their acts.

Yet all of these goals are generic.  They are indefinite and therefore immeasurable.  I learned all about goal setting and data tracking years ago as a job coach for the developmentally disabled.  Without definite expectations that can be tracked, goals can never be reached.

A better goal for the mom would be, “I will quit yelling when I am angry.”  This is measurable.  Losing ten pounds is not ambiguous, but rather has strict expectations that can be reached.  Or not.  Likewise, the disorganized individual.  Like me last year, he could set the goal to organize a specific area.  Closets, dressers, office, etc.  Trust me when I say this can be measured with great accuracy : )

Another necessary component to assessing a goal is the level of control one has over the outcome.  “Get Published.”  A writer has no control over this.  Not unless they plan to self publish.  Then, by all means set it and stick to it.  We are not agents and editors.  We do not have the power to place our books on the printing press.  We only have power over the process.  A better goal would be a submission goal.  “Two times per month.”  This is attainable and most undoubtedly within our control.

The last major factor a goal should have is realism.  Losing 200 pounds in one year is unhealthy and unlikely.  Fifty two (a pound a week) is best.  Setting a 220 pound weightloss goal is a guaranteed set up for failure.  Fifty would be appropriate and realistic.  Any extra is a bonus. 

It has definite expectations that can be measured, the outcome is within an individual’s control and the goal can realistically be attained. 

Weight is not my goal for the upcoming year, but weigh is.   As my word of the year, I hope to live by the guidelines I set out for this fabulous word.

To weigh something is to assess its value.  This year, I will deliberately weigh my actions and reactions as well as the events that occur–to me or because of me–and how they impact those around me.  In other words, I will be more mindful of my life and how I live it.

I have also decided to create my own version of NaNo’s Big, Fun and Scary Challenge.  My 2010 Challenge to myself is officially titled Words, Whimsy and Writing.  Each word has a personal goal and writing goal. 

Words

  1. Integrity.  Personally, I want to be true to myself and those around me.  My blog is a start to that.  By sharing it with others close to me, I have left myself open to scrutiny on both public and private levels.  If you’re not sure what integrity means to me, check out the quote from William Backus on my side bar. 
  2. Consistency.  My goal is to write consistently (4 times per week minimum).  I did it during NaNo and it worked well.  I plan to keep up a routine that gives me time for all the important things in my life without shorting any of them.  Too often in the past, I have been a binger and a purger where my writing is concerned.  It’s all or nothing and that gets me absolutely no where.

Whimsy

  1. I will golf with my husband this summer once per month.  I love spending time with my DH and need to open up an avenue that allows us to extend our relationship beyond raising kids.  I don’t want to wake up next to a stranger in thirteen years when Youngest flies the coop.
  2. I will write and submit a short story, poem or article for publication.  These are outside my typical writing goals and should add an extra spark to my writing life.  It will give me something to do when editor’s block sets in!

Writing

  1. I will write thank you notes.  Ach, my achilles heel.  I say thanks, but often forget the paper copy.  Everyone needs to feel appreciated for their efforts and a simple card shouldn’t be so hard to figure out.  After all, I’m a writer.  Right?
  2. I will write another complete novel.  It may be during NaNo if I can’t fit it in elsewhere.  Ideally, however, finishing two would be the bomb!

Each of my goals are attainable, within my control and measurable.  Yet, I cannot execute any of these goals without weighing the impact on others or the process of reaching the goal itself–hence my word of the year.  Let the introspection begin!

How do you assess your success?  Do your aspirations have realistic and measurable outcomes?  If not, think about how you can improve your goals to better ensure success.  After all, nothing is worse than setting yourself up for sure failure. 

Best wishes in 2010!

Word for the Year

Tis the season for resolutions.  In the past I have made them, yet I never seem to stick to them.  Maybe because I’ve never really taken myself them seriously.  Two years ago, a fellow scribe and great cyber friend introduced me to the concept of a word of the year.  Last year I gave it a try, along with taking the NaNoWriMo Big, Fun and Scary Challenge.

I finished the year a lot more satisfied with myself as a person and a lot closer to my goals as a writer, a mother, a wife, a sister and friend. 

My word was No.  It forced me to consciously deliberate every committment I was asked to make.  “Can you…?”  No.  “Can you…?”  No.  “Can you…?”  Yes.  Before it was one yes after another and a tired and cranky, over-extended me.  I have been much more effective this year at my extracurricular projects and a lot less stressed.

That little word freed up time for me to write and be a better person.  I shall forever remain fond of the journey it took me on and hope I never forget the power of just saying NO.  It makes YES so much sweeter.

My 2009 Goals were as follows:

BIG
1. Learn to say no! (See, it was so powerful it actaully made my list.)  I am thankful to have allowed it into my vocabulary.
2. Restructure business to maximize income and minimize time. Puts less stress on DH- prolonging lifespan.  Still working hard at balancing my love for my job and my effectiveness in terms of time and finances.  I hate that BIG is not easy. 

FUN
1. Visit out of state sibs at least once this year.  I did visit my sister, but failed to travel to my baby brother’s home.  However, both of them, along with my nephews and my little sis came for a visit this summer so I consider it a success.  Josh, I know you won’t.  Hopefully I’ll get to Atlanta in 2010.
2. Submit 2 mss/week. Yikes! With time off for good behavior/crisis, this will total 100.  I learned a lot by failing at this goal, which ended up being deliberate halfway through the year.  For many writer friends, sheer quantity of submissions seems to be the norm.  It’s a numbers game.  I believed that, too, until I started submitting.  Then I realized it was a quality game.  I am much more deliberate and thoughtful about submissions than I have ever been.  I hope the agents and editors thank me for not innundating their mailboxes with inappropriate manuscripts.  Condolences to those I have.
3. Reclaim 17yr old body. AKA bikini ready by summer. 5 lbs. Lots of toning.  Yes, then no, now back to working on it again.  Darn holidays are so hard on the rear end.  Not to mention the extra padding is nice in the winter.

SCARY
1. Start a website or blog. Uber scary for the technotard.  Success.  One I was petrified to attempt and one I now love with a deep passion.
2. Organize my closets- again. And again. And again.  The again implies an ongoing process that never ends.  I guess that’s what happens when you have four kids, a hubby and a dog.  Not to mention that I’m a serious closet pig.  Out of sight and all that jazz.  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.  Sadly, I will spend the next three weeks doing it yet again!

So there you have it.  My 2009 in a nutshell. 

I am currently deliberating between two new words for the year and am seriously considering the Big, Fun and Scary Challenge.  I would like one writing goal and one personal goal in each category with a word that ties the essence of my year together.  It’s a lot to contemplate in a short time, but I still have a day to figure it out.

Maybe your comments can shake something loose.

If you partake in goal setting, resolutions or words, please share them with the rest of us.  If you don’t, I’d like to hear why not.  I love hearing different perspectives and learning everything I can from each one. 

Please have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.  I want nothing more than to share another year with you all!

cheers and warm fuzzies~ cat