Planning A Year

happy-new-year

It’s officially 2017. I hope everyone’s New Year so far is shaping up as they had hoped. I’m sure there’s lots of new goals and resolutions and hope out there. Whatever you’re aiming to better or do this year, good for you; and if you have no resolutions, well, then, good for you too.

After talking about my accomplishments, half accomplishments, and failures of last year’s goals on Friday, I spent the last couple days thinking over goals and resolutions and trying to organize myself for the new year. Normally I don’t do resolutions, I just do goals, but this year I seem to have written a few things off as resolutions.

Which brings me to something interesting I saw. The other day I was searching Google images for something relating to goals and resolutions. In a lot of images I found they were crossing out the word “resolutions” and replacing it with “goals”. Or they were simply saying “goals, not resolutions”. That took me a little be surprise and I wondered, “why?” Why do they say goals not resolutions?

Naturally, I looked into it a bit and found that the meaning behind those images were to set goals that you could physically work toward, a plan, not a resolution that you don’t know how to go about. Think about it…

Say your resolution this year was to get fit. Okay, great. You want to get fit. Now if I were to ask you how are you going to do that, would you have an answer for me right away? Would you have a plan? Maybe some of you do, but when you list something so vague and broad, it can leave you fumbling.

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That’s why they say make goals, not resolutions. Goals can be specific, goals can have a path you can follow toward. Goals can make you plan how to go about achieving it in tiny steps so it doesn’t look so daunting a monster to conquer. I’ve learned that over the past year, and now I’m really starting to see why it’s so much easier that way. Even so, it can be easy to overbook yourself on goals if you feed them too many growth hormones. Never forget though that goals can be broken down. Even the most humungous and fiercest of them all can be broken down into tiny little pieces, limb by limb, stage by stage until the monster you built can be seen as tiny little monsterlings that are more easily conquerable.  And each monsterling you conquer you can put back into place, now tamed, and watch how your goal is shaping up and building until you are so close to achieving it and becoming the master.

mistake-goal

That gives you motivation. To watch it grow, to watch yourself actually achieving the steps toward that monster of a goal. No matter your goal, it can be the same process, you only have to be careful you make the goal realistic in the time frame you set yourself for it, otherwise your monster will become too scary and seem to grow bigger and bigger day by day until he crushes you instead of you taming him.

And that brings me to the goals I’ve been putzing over the past couple days. I found myself labeling some things as resolutions, but only because they are something I want to make habit in a sense. They are still goals in a way that I have a plan on how to go about them, but for the sake of organization I labeled them as resolutions because they aren’t a one-and-done type of goal. They are constant.

Once I finally had my goals listed out and I had begun to shape out my planner, I tried to work out a timeframe that I could work with for each one. To do that I grabbed notecards — one for each month, and one simply for daily things — and started mapping things out.

While I may have a rough time frame worked out now, I still do not have a detailed, written plan of every goal. That was today’s plan, because it is much easier to type it out as I think in a post and then copy it down to my secondary planner, then it is to write it once on paper — in pen — and be perfect. I work it out in head here and then I’ll be good to copy it all to paper and get to work on achieving things.

So here we go. Down the rabbit hole for a look into the way my mind thinks. Hopefully you don’t get scared off by the monsters that are my goals.

RESOLUTIONS

As I said above, I am simply labeling daily things I wish to make more habit in my life as resolutions, but they are still goals I can work toward and achieve in order to make them habit.

Meditate
This is something I began to try my hand at last year and it never really worked out. That was partly due to the fact I wasn’t entirely sure on what I was doing. I had always believed that in meditation my mind was supposed to be utterly quiet, not a single wisp of thought. In just three days alone since this new year began I learned that isn’t quite true, and it’s already begun to help, because now I’m not so frustrated that I’m yelling at my mind to be quiet and I’m actually getting somewhere. (Yelling at yourself in mediation doesn’t exactly help you relax.)

So this is something I wish to become a daily habit, even if it’s only for a couple minutes a day. It certainly helps to have someone doing it with you, too, both for support and for making sure you did it. It also helps to follow a 30 day challenge to get yourself some instruction — if you’re a bit of a beginner like myself — or to simply remember to do it.

Do Yoga/Workout Once a Day
Another thing I wish to make a daily habit. Once again, I started doing both yoga and small workouts last year but it’s hard to have any free or alone time in my home to be able to do it. The only open enough space I have to work out is in the living room, and with a constant hovering patron of this house, it’s extra hard to get any alone time to simply do this. If I get lucky enough to score the house to myself, great! Either yoga or a small workout session is the first thing I’ll go to downstairs. If not, then I might be waiting until midnight to have the chance to be alone downstairs.

Granted, I can do some minor things that don’t require space in my own room, but it isn’t much I can do. Also, once the weather turns to spring, I can easily go outside to get away to complete this daily. I think the best thing about this one is I’m giving myself some leeway with it. Perhaps one day I’ll get to do some yoga and the next two or so I won’t be able to due to space constraints, but I’ll still be able to do some easier workouts that don’t require the same space. Or perhaps once it warms up I’ll count my workout as going for a walk, or a run. It won’t always be the same, and that’ll give me flexibility so I don’t get bored with it or tired of it quickly.

I won’t need to join a gym or spend a ton of money to do this either. I could grab a couple things from where I work that I can workout at home with, and there’s always YouTube to look up any kind of workout video imaginable. It’s not the same as a gym, but it’s still better than nothing and easier to fit into an ever-changing work schedule.

Be Awake By 11am
Everyone knows I’m a major night owl. In the past month or so I started to really, really sleep in late. My day wouldn’t really start until one or two in the afternoon because I wasn’t getting up until noon or later. I partly blame that on work and just being exhausted over the holiday season, but it’s also cutting into the ability to manage my time.

To help that, I’m trying to make myself be in bed, lights out, by or at 3am. That way even if I need to be up around eight or nine for work I’m still getting five to six hours of sleep, instead of my two or three I did a lot last year, and the year before. The reasoning behind this is to hopefully have somewhere between six to seven hours a night and still be able to get things done as I hope to since I’m most active at night. That’s the hope at least, we’ll see how it works out, especially if I start getting the ungodly shift of 5am again.

Better Time Management
I royally sucked at this last year and let a lot of things slide until last minute that left a lot of scrambling, a lot of stress, and a lot of weight on my shoulders. I hope to change that this year.

At one point I asked a friend last year how she did it. Her response was a simple one, but it stuck with me.

“It’s easier to stay caught up than to play catch up.”

Alright, so that may not be the exact words of months ago, but that’s the concept. It’s never left my mind, and I’ve realized just how right she is. It’s much easier to simply stay on track than to be running to catch up, especially when you have so much going on.

So this year I am going to try to manage my time better. Part of that ties in with being up a little earlier. As things come, I’m going to try to complete them. For instance… The Snippet Sunday blog hop always happens on Sunday (though it technically starts Saturday with a couple), so by Monday night I want to have gone through all the blogs so I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. If I work the long afternoon to close shift on a blog post day, I want to try to complete that post before I go to bed, or at least have a draft of it so I’m not scrambling the next day to write a half-assed one. As mail comes in, junk or otherwise, I want to have it gone through, paid, replied to, pitched and/or filed away within a day or two. If I shop at all, I want to put things away in a timely fashion instead of leaving them sit in the corner of my room as I started doing. Keeping my desk clear is going to be the same concept. Scheduling my Sunday Snippet posts will be something I take one or two at a time, so that doing four or five at a time doesn’t take so long.

In all I just need to keep on top of things instead of simply shrugging them off for later. “Later” is a word I want to stop using this year.

Use My Planner
This is what’s going to help with my time management. I started using a simple, kind of stupid planner last year. After the first two months maybe I just kind of stopped looking at it. This year I bought a new one, a better one, and the hope is to keep at this year.

The best things about this one are I can actually flip to a certain month via tabs, and it has both a monthly calendar and pages of day by day to write things in. The calendar itself will allow me to write down events, birthdays, mercury’s retrogrades, deadlines, what days need posts, and so forth. The day to day pages will help me plan out my week with everything else.

I used to keep a simple lined notebook that I would write down “Week of January 1st” at the top and then list the things I wanted to do that week. I never broke it down further though. Now, since I still use that notebook to help organize myself — and that’s actually the notebook I will copy these goals down into — I can organize even further by breaking that week page down into daily by writing them into my planner.

Now so long as I stick to that and actually open both my planner and notebook, I should be good.

Write Consistently
This was a goal I held last year as well, and pretty much failed on. This year I’m going to try once more to hold myself accountable to writing at least something each week, even if it’s simply a 100 words a day, even if it’s fifty words a day. I don’t care if it ends up being a 100 words a week, I just need to stop letting myself fall off the wagon during non-NaNo months.

This year, I hope that the support of friends will help hold me accountable to doing this. If they are expecting a snippet of something I wrote that week then I have to deliver every week for the group to see my proof of creativity, or be pestered until there is a fire lit under my ass. Even just working with them to make us all write should make it that much more manageable and easy to accomplish.

The goal of this group is to take the NaNo out of NaNoWriMo. That way every month simply becomes a Writing Month, even if the word count isn’t as huge as actual NaNo months. Just so long as I am doing something every week toward my goals of writing and publishing, whether it be writing or editing. And if we can make it more interactive with each other like NaNo then there’s motivation.

The only problem in this is that we all have to make the commitment to not slack off on each other, and then actually stick to the commitment, no matter how hectic life gets.

GOALS

So while all my resolutions are goals in a way, they are not the one-and-done type of goals as the rest of these are.

Read Two Books A Month
Alright, so this technically could have counted as a resolution to simply read more. However, as I talked of, the goal to simply read more is vague. Which is why I came up with the goal of reading two books a month, at least.

Ever since I started working and writing more the time for me to read dwindled further and further. As an author, reading is a must no matter what you think. This goal will help me get back into reading. It doesn’t matter what the book is, how long it is, what it’s about, as long as I am reading something. For instance, my first choice of this month was a book called Meditation For Beginners.

I did, however, give myself a little bit of leeway again in this goal. During the three NaNo months, I let myself slide on only needing to read one book that month.

The easiest way I’m going to accomplish this goal is if I set aside a specific time to read. I came to the conclusion that best time would be at night. If my goal is to be in bed, lights out, by 3am, then by 2:30am I need to be off my computer, phone, whatever I’m working on so that I can sit in bed for half an hour and read. Doing this might even help me sleep, it’s been proven that reading can help you sleep.

Revamp Blog Layout/Info
This is something I should have done last year. I want to go back through my pages and update any information in the About pages so that it is current and reflecting of me. Since, you know, I haven’t changed any of that since I first made this blog…two years ago now I believe. (Wow… Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.)

I also want to rework the pages that hold information on my stories and books. Instead of being one long list of books on the page, I want to turn each book into a tab under the page. On top of that, I wanted to create a separate page (and hopefully one day more tabs) for anything that is physically published and available for purchase, not my freebies on Wattpad.

I plan to have this completed by the end of January, so if you start seeing things changing a bit, that’s why.

Finish and Submit Clockwork Heart
This is one of my bigger ones that I’ve broken up into two parts. The first part is to simply outline and write the story; the second part is to edit it and submit it with all necessary information.

I have until February 20th to do this.

If the title Clockwork Heart rings a bell that’s because it was the title of one of my Wednesday Words last month. Just like with Embermyst, the story sprung into a full on plot bunny and I’m going to be submitting this to VTP’s Spring Anthology for another chance at publication. That deadline is obviously February 2oth.

By working out a timeline on how to go about this, if I can outline and write it — including a dreaded blurb — by the end of January, that will give me about two and a half weeks to edit and polish it before sending it in. I plan to have it outlined and begin writing by the end of this week.

Complete 2016 Camping Journal Entries
This goal looks very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because, like the year before, I failed miserably at staying on top of those entries during the camping season. So once more, I have six entries to write before May, and I think maybe one or two sets of notes to complete in order to do so again as well.

Since I have Clockwork Heart to focus on right now, I’m not going to plan to start these until the week of February 19th. Like last year, I will do one a week and I will complete them just in time for the start of April’s Camp NaNo.

The other side to this goal is when the 2017 season starts I need to stay on top of them this year so this goal doesn’t become something that happens every year. I believe I’ve figured out how I can do that too. The last few years I’ve only taken off work the days of the trip, this year I am going to take off the day after each trip as well. That extra day will allow me to catch up on lost sleep, get organized, and also sit down to write the entry while it’s fresh in my mind, as well as loading any pictures I took of that week to my Facebook. If I can do that, I won’t be scrambling at the last moment to write or finish an entry before the next trip rolls around right quick when they are normally only two weeks apart.

Obtain Driver’s License
Alright… This one was on last year’s list as well. To my credit I got half way to it last year, I got my permit. I just never got out much to practice due to circumstances beyond my control.

It’s nearly certain I will not get that dumb little plastic card by the time my permit runs out, so once more I have myself listed to re-acquire my permit once this one runs out of time. Just like last year, I hope to have gotten my license sometime before the snow falls. Say maybe by the end of October.

Providing schedules can work out better this year, I can hope that this goal will be achieved this year.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This goal is also quite familiar if you recall my last post. Re-editing this story was a goal I set myself last year and I just never quite started to edit it. I’m going to try again this year and I plan to use the month of May to edit it and re-release it on the Wattpad world.

I figured May would be a good time because it’s coming off a maddened induced month of writing for Camp NaNo and will be a little bit of a break from writing. Granted, I’ll still try to hold myself accountable to writing, but my focus will be on editing that month.

Finish Fated to Darkness
Yes, this was another goal I held last year as well. I got close to completing part of this goal last year, but my lack of follow through in non-NaNo months is what became my downfall on the goal.

Now that I’m only about six chapters away from the end of this book, I can definitely finish it this year. If I don’t, there’s something wrong with me. However, it is more than just completing the first draft that I want to accomplish with this novel this year. I also want to have the concordance completed so that I have something to look over in editing to help keep me straight. Lastly, I want to have this rough draft printed and in a binder by the end of the year to be able to begin editing next year. That print out may also include a print out of a list of notes and questions I left myself within the Word doc for when editing comes along. I haven’t decided if I want to simply print them or copy them to a notebook to have handy. Printing might be easier.

To do all this, I planned to have completed writing the book by the end of May. Honestly, if I don’t finish it by the end of April with Camp NaNo or even before that I’m going to kick myself. The more time I have to work on the concordance and print outs, the better. Because, you know, I only have 500 some pages to read through to make notes of and stuff.

If I finish writing hopefully by the end of April, then I will focus on completing the concordance by the end of October, before the holiday madness begins. That gives me time to worry about nothing else but NaNo in November and then gifts and work for the rest of the year. Printing everything will also be easy to do when I’m already out running errands during that time of year.

That’s the detailed goal, now I only need to stick to it again. I’m itching to get to work on it, but Clockwork Heart is going to take precedence right now with a looming deadline.

Get Rid of Yard Sale Items
This goal is the result of one of my goals last year. I had cleaned out my entire room and held a yard sale to sell what I no longer wanted or use. Unfortunately, the yard sale was less than successful and it left me with more than half the stuff I wanted to get rid of sitting around here with no time to do anything with it.

The goal this year is to simply get rid of it all. Whether it be by donating it, craigslist to try to sell more, a Facebook group to sell it, throwing some stuff out, or trying a thrift shop. This will be a good thing to do in June when camping will start to take up some of my time. Simple and easy, as long as I don’t start cleaning something else out in this house. Like the spare room.

Meet a Friend
I only have this listed as a goal because I have a couple online friends I have never actually met face to face. Well, one I have half met face to face thanks to a lovely thing called webcams and Skype, but I still have yet to meet the other.

It doesn’t help when both of you are such introverts that you talk of making plans to meet but then just never follow through on it. I’m totally guilty of that.

So to put it simply, I just want to finally make that meeting happen sometime during this year. Maybe after the snow stops flying though.

END RESOLUTIONS/GOALS

That’s it then. That’s my year in a nutshell. 365 days of planning down to one rather long, detailed blog post. Now I can be held accountable to these goals. They are officially written down in some form. All that’s left to do is copy them to my notebook and start getting to work.

Although, I have one last parting thought. If you were to consider one word as your attainable goal this year, what would you pick? What would you strive for? If I had to choose, my word would be creativity. Simply because it can cover such a wide variety of my goals in writing. Or it would be time management, since that is what I need to work on.

If I accomplish even half of these goals, I will be happy with myself. If I make nearly all of them happen, I will be ecstatic. If by some chance I am able to check off every single goal at the end of this year, and will proudly be able to say I didn’t give up on yoga, reading, meditation, writing, and working out, I will be without words. My hope is that this year I finally begin to take my life back in my own hands after years on end of struggling, and that in making new daily habits I will no longer be sitting around lazily or scrolling through my phone because I’m bored.

Here’s to a better year than 2016, and a brighter, better, happier me.

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2 thoughts on “Planning A Year

  1. What great plans! I can’t wait to see how all of these work out for you, and I hope you continue to write about your pursuit of these goals to us :)

    Like

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