Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Resolutions

I'm really going to miss 2014. As with any year, there were some ups and downs, but it was an exciting year. I grew a lot and I learned so much. Before I start on my 2015 resolutions, I have to report how I did with my 2014 goals.
  1. Get published through two different publishers for the first time. Done, actually doubled. I'd like to brag but in reality it was just luck. I met some people who made referrals, and the next thing I knew I have steady business. Bonuses were picking up repeat gigs at one publication, getting a treasured "request for article" email, I got on an editor's short list and had the same article run in two different newspapers. Saving the best for last, I scored the front page above the fold on Unite Publication's November issue, and I had no idea that was coming.
  2. Perform two significant good or kind deeds per month. Done, but just barely. I usually get a jump start on these because they're my favorites, but this year wore me out. I met my goal but I did not exceed it. Whenever I got a chance to do some good, I took the opportunity. It's a good habit to build, and trains you to look for the chance to make someone have a better day. From that mindset, you can do great things.
  3. Lose 25 pounds. Nope. Because nope. Moving that to 2015 goals, and putting it at the top. I do not like to fail.
  4. Go into a cave, start with a safe one and work into two more challenging caves. No, but with reason. I developed a breathing issue and I can't always keep my breath. Add to that the fact that my claustrophobia manifests itself as a fear of not being able to breathe, I purposely took this one off the list until further notice. If they get my breathing issues under control I promise I'll get started. Otherwise, forget about it.
  5. Geocache and find treasures. Yes! I did the one at the Springfield Art Museum and a couple of small follow-ups. It was a blast, and I'll do it again just for the fun of it.
  6. Perform one magnificent and completely anonymous good deed. Oh hells yes I did. I found someone who had no reason to know I could help them. I did, and then sat back and watched that amazing person take it and grow it into something even bigger, and benefit even more people who needed a boost. It may be one of the most rewarding exercises in my life, because I got to see the deliberation and work of good people turn something ugly into something beautiful.
So not great, I missed a few. But I did okay. The lessons I learned this year are:
  • The value of pacing yourself. I tend to do whatever I'm doing with all of my energy, all of the time, until I fall down flat and sleep. It's a romantic notion, but in school and planning / executing a writing career it isn't always practical. I'm purposely acquiring a value for the baby steps approach. For some projects, it is the only way to succeed. I need to call times to rest and decompress and in the end know it's more efficient, even if short term it's tempting to try to do it all at once.
  • Be nicer to myself. I wore myself out this year. I'm no spring chicken anymore. I need to be aware that my limitations are shifting in some places, and I need to factor that into my goal setting. I want to be aggressive in my goals but in the end I want to accomplish what I set out to do. A couple of private resolutions really pushed me to the limit in 2014.
  • Exercise and rest must be a priority. When I'm busy or stressed, these are the first two things to go out the window. No more. It cannot be acceptable any longer. And this is going to be hard as hell, because I despise the entire notion of exercising and working out, but it is necessary for a long and happy life. And I want one of those.
  • There's nothing wrong with a phase in life in which you focus on yourself. I did a lot of neat things, and had a lot of experiences. I think this next year should be quality over quantity on the goal setting. There are a few select things I need to do, and do well, and that means I'm going to have to find where to put my energy and budget it well.
With that said, to apply my lessons and prepare for the next year:
  1. Eat better and find two long-term exercise solutions that I enjoy. Ideally, one strengthening and one endurance building, but I'll take whatever I can get. I'm going to try all kinds of new activities, and honestly measure my success. This includes a monthly weigh-in. Now, no freaking way am I writing how much I weigh. However, I will "golf score" myself and on the first of each month I will tell where I am at. January is 0, so I have a whole month to work before I have to tell how it's going. This makes me accountable, and gives people like me a realistic look at how it is going from sedentary to moderately active. It's not all going to be pretty. This will include the goal of losing 30 pounds. That seems like a reasonable goal, even though I know it's going to get harder towards the end of the year. Still, I want to set an aggressive yet attainable goal and this seems fair. Make better food choices 75% of the time and apply moderation, a concept with which I struggle greatly.
  2. Focus on myself and learn how to listen to myself. I need to prioritize and let some things drop off the radar while I attend to the things that matter, like work and school and family. I am down to 12 hours this semester, and will take 9 per semester and graduate in the spring of 2016. This will allow me to have a life on the side. I can pick my classes so I have one challenging, one medium difficult and one fairly easy class, to spread the work out. I am going to take better care of myself, with diet and exercise and even a meditation of sorts. I'm not going to be selfish, but I am going to invest energy into the next year of school, as my grades will have a big impact on my future. Life is about phases, and this phase is going to be a bit more about me.
  3. Patience. I am going to work on my patience. I don't have a lot of it in my nature, and while it may sound like a simple thing I am putting a lot of emphasis on it. I am going to be patient with strangers. With people I love. With myself. With processes that I have planned. In many areas of life, I am going to struggle with this and do my best to know when patience should be applied, and develop the skills and resolve to apply it.
  4. All A's. Even in algebra, because I can do it. All A's and no exceptions.
  5. Begin work on learning Russian, to be conversational and fluent in three years.
  6. Writing? There's a few here.
    1. Three new publications. Fiction, nonfiction, grocery list, whatever. Three new places that have never run my stuff before in any form.
    2. Focus on journalism and do 24 articles on local focus for Apply for one additional news category with them and expand my market.
    3. Focus on fiction and write one short story per quarter, and start querying publications.
    4. Two queries to any completely new publication per month.
    5. Wrap up the essay project and deliver it by June. This is because the Daylight Man should be ready to start writing while I get this one out and going, if I can time it just right. It's technically done in draft, but there's a lot of polishing to do, and arranging cover art, distribution, etc. So there's a lot of work to be done. Getting it out in my hands in paperback form will be sufficient, but if I rock it out having it done by the end of summer would be fantastic.
    6. Two blog posts per month the entire year. No restrictions.
  7. Perform one magnificent and completely anonymous good deed. Okay, you can have two. But seriously, when that chance appears, see it, do what needs to be done and never let anyone know you did a thing. It's just such a great feeling, and just one… right? Okay, maybe two if the opportunities present themselves.
So there are my goals. I'm taking it easy this year and putting my work into myself. I need it, and I need to take these years and make them count because they will determine the rest of my working life. I'm not just out for an education, I'm out to conquer the world. I have established my goals and made my plans, but the execution stage is the hardest. I'm right in the middle of that, and I won't be of any help to anyone ever if I drown and become a failure.
Regular updates, and more bog posts to come. I meant it when I said 2014 I was setting up the dominoes and in 2015 you'd see them start falling into place.