For 2016: Resolutions? Goals? Neither?

AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve pondered many things. Life, mine in particular. Family relationships and friendships. My relationship with God. And the ending of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, which calls to mind resolution making, goal setting, or maybe neither. I’ve decided on the neither group, and I’ll tell you why a little later.

2015’S GOALS

Last year instead of making resolutions I set goals. My decision to set goals instead of resolutions is found in my history of not keeping resolutions. As for last year’s goals, I didn’t carry out many of them. Rather than send myself slogging down that path again, I decided last week to focus on the positive and not the negative in my life, including those goals. That also includes some difficult familial relationships, some friendships, and our friendship here in the NW with the sun, a relationship dreadfully lacking in harmony for too long and highly problematic for those of us suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, i.e. we would not make good moles.

ONE WORD 2016

Taking note of the time to select my One Word for 2016, I pondered that for a few days. Several words made it to my final list–committed (sounded like a journey to a home somewhere), persistent (fits in with my current reading of Jordan Rosenfeld‘s book, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence), dedication (meh!), and then it came to me.

*Drumroll, please.*

INTRODUCING MY ONE WORD FOR 2016 ~~ INTENTIONAL

Don’t you like the sound of the word “intentional?” I do, and here’s why. It has nothing to do with the real sound. It’s the definition. Intentional, according to Dictionary.com, means:

1. done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.

2. of or relating to intention or purpose.

 

Unlike resolutions, it doesn’t necessarily include a promise to do one specific thing or a longer list of things. Unlike goal setting, it doesn’t set a bar I must strive to reach for several things. Or as my husband said, “It means when you set your mind to something, you get it done.” I can do that!

RESOLUTIONS, GOALS, OR NEITHER

And now you know why I have chosen the neither group. I’m going to spend 2016 making up my mind to do that next project–after all I have several “leftovers” from 2014 and 2015–and when I’ve finished it, I’ll do the next one. Each one done with intention. Easy peasy, huh?

My intentional self also plans to address many things with this “can do” attitude and with a positive attitude. I’ll keep you posted along the way.

For the near term, I will be finishing up my Timeline Story Series in the next couple of weeks, adding some new memoir reviews you are going to enjoy reading, and lots of other items on the horizon, including a free ebook of motivational quotes for writers from writers coming soon.

But before any of that, I have good news to share–an inclusion in an anthology. Book launch is Friday, January 8th. You’ll be hearing more about it then.

What about you? What are your thoughts on resolutions, goals, or neither? Have you been pondering anything spectacular for 2016? Selected your word yet? Let’s talk over coffee, OK?

Planning Ahead for 2015 While Building in Flexibility

If you read my last post on January 1, you know what happened to my 2014 goals. When I sat down to set out my goals for 2015, I kept in mind what last year did to my plans. I kept focused on what I committed to in that same post on January 1. My goals for 2015 are simpler and shorter than last year’s, beginning with a focus on the mandate I set for myself of facing frustrations and interruptions with flexibility.

Photo by ScottieT812 
Photo by ScottieT812 

While I will never meet the physical flexibility seen here, I realize I need more attention to flexibility during my daily scheduling.

Goals for 2015 include:

Goal #1:

As mentioned above, more flexibility in dealing with daily demands and schedules. I have more than writing to attend to each day: family relationships, preparing meals, household chores, laundry, errands, exercise, and professional reading.

In order to get these all done, I need to realize I cannot commit every day 100% to writing. In 2015, I intend to select one day from Monday through Friday and devote it to my book. The schedule will be kept free of distractions.

Goal #2: Thanks to the artists and writers cooperative where I had registered for a writing class held September-November, I will be able to restart that class in April. Surgery and recovery interrupted my attendance, and the group was fair in extending a large part of my registration fees to join back up in January or April. I chose April to ensure I was fully healed. Returning and finishing this class is important to me.

Goal #3: Work diligently at building platform as I anticipate completing, publishing and marketing my memoir. My newsletter has gained some momentum but not what I’d like to have seen so I need to educate myself on how to increase readership. I’m also leaning more toward using Twitter as my primary social media outlet, and I’ll need to come up to speed there. Sitting on a shelf nearby is the idea for another eBook for my newsletter subscribers, but that is not a definite goal for 2015.

Goal #4: With completion of the class addressed above, I hope to have finished the second draft of my memoir. It is my further hope that I will be able to work with my class instructor in finalizing that draft and readying it for editing and later publication. However, this is not a deadline item and will never be as there are too many changes that can occur in the editorial and marketing process.

Goal #5: In 2015, I want to increase my participation in this writing community I so thoroughly enjoy. My ability to get around and read every blog post has fallen by the wayside, and I’m looking to find a better method for reading and commenting on others’ work. I also want to continue my efforts in supporting other writers by reviewing their memoirs here and other genre on Goodreads and Amazon.

These are all the 2015 goals I intend to set out in black and white. As I said in my last post, there is only one me in each day I’m given and only so much time in that one day to work at the things calling my name. To attempt more would be the closest thing to implosion of a human I can think of at the moment.

I leave you with a quote from William Edgar Stafford, Poet Laureate of Oregon from 1975-1990:

I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery. I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector. I want the experience of the butterfly.

Stafford’s words speak to the way I want to live 2015: emerging, discovering, experiencing.

How will 2015 play out for you? Have you set goals, made resolutions, or cast a list of to do’s in stone yet? Share how you’re forecasting your new year.

A Review of 2014 Goals | A Look Back Before Moving Forward

Photo by Wendy Longo photography 
Photo by Wendy Longo photography 

Last year at this time I set goals and not resolutions. At the time I established the goals, it seemed a long list for one human.

As I review that list now, it turns out those could not have been truer words.

Christmas Day 2013 found my husband in excruciating pain that would last until back surgery in March 2014. At the same time, what I thought was allergies turned out to be a respiratory problem with a long recovery time.

With Bob’s home chores falling to my shoulders as well as his health care and my own, the writing life seemed to disintegrate before my eyes.

About the time the dust began to settle, I had the opportunity attend the annual Willamette Writers Conference. Local Portland writer and teacher, Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbirdand several other books, facilitated two of the sessions I attended. I had met Jennifer before but not in the workshop environment. Jennifer excited me with her mode of teaching, her excitement about the written word, and her palpable desire to help others achieve their dreams.

By the end of the next week, I had registered to take one of Jennifer’s upcoming classes at a local writers’ cooperative. I made it to two sessions, and a bomb dropped the last weekend in September. Pain I hadn’t experienced since spinal fusion riddled one side of my body. A multitude of tests showed no reason for the pain. I had to decide whether to continue the class or taking care of myself. The latter won out. Dropping out was a huge disappointment.

Finally we insisted on another test, and a diagnosis took me into surgery. I am recovering well, and I feel better than I did 18 months ago. That in itself is a bonus.

I share all this with you to underscore the truth of goal-setting, making resolutions, resolving to adhere to a set daily schedule and/or to do list: [tweetthis]A writer’s “other life” doesn’t always cooperate with the plans for the writing life.[/tweetthis]

Lesson learned: I am one person with one life with days presented to me singularly to accomplish what I can. When all the parts of my life and days gifted don’t mesh, I will attempt to be flexible and set frustrations aside knowing there will be tomorrow.

Based on this newly ingrained bit of wisdom, I will be setting goals for 2015 and selecting a word to focus on as I move forward through 2015 while remembering what 2014 has taught me.

What about you? What did 2014 teach you that will impact how you plan as a person and/or a writer for 2015? 

What to Do When Life Interrupts Writing

I could just as easily have titled this post “Writing Life and Goals Interrupted.”
Silhouette of woman running

When I posted recently on my goals for 2014, my enthusiasm and intention to hit the track running full speed ahead and keep up that pace was undeniable.

Life had other plans.

Often life does. Somehow it manages to stay far enough in the background that you don’t sense it moving in to your plans.

2014 started out with interruptions.

My husband and I were both hit with health issues. For him the issues he’s facing are enough to change the “who does what” around our home. I have assumed the tasks he usually does on top of my own. My appreciation for what he does regularly is growing daily.

Each day I have looked at the list of goals I carefully wrote out, and I’ve despaired that I’m falling behind. But I don’t want my husband to feel guilty. So, I say nothing and my mind whirrs with the schedule that’s already off.

But wait — should our goals be so rigid they make us miserable? 

Where does it say that attainable goals should be met on a given day, unless an outside source has set a deadline?

Is it healthy to be so inflexible as to ignore circumstances around you in favor of goals?

One can strive to complete the goals, ignoring life’s needs, or
one can be flexible enough to adjust those goals to fit them into
the current circumstances of your life. 

I would rather have not been faced with choosing to adjust my goals or set some of them aside temporarily. But it would have been my greater choice not to have my husband ill.

When thinking of goals, we must also think of flexibility, patience, and resolve:

  • Flexibility to accept and adjust;
  • Patience to wait out the current circumstances; and
  • Resolve to return to our goals and continuing striving toward the finish line.

Self-discipline

Do you have thoughts about the rigidity of goals or resolutions? Are you willing to make adjustments and allow the circumstances to take over temporarily?