It’s New Year’s Eve. Usually this is the day I spend gearing up and getting ready to launch my new goals. Today is different because I didn’t accomplish a single, not one SINGLE, goal that I set for 2014. And they were excellent goals. I put a lot of time, thought, and planning into my 2014 goals. I still believe the goals are good, and intend to make them my 2015 goals. First I need to figure out what went wrong and what to do differently so I don’t achieve the same disappointing results next year.
In an honest assessment, I must acknowledge I had a year full of distractions. Some were bad health: a change of medicine knocked me off my game for three weeks, I suffered a TIA that caused me to refocus on healing and walking, I rehabbed a bulging disc, and I’m currently babying a nasty case of tendinitis in my dominant wrist. A few were good: my eldest got married, Hubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and I did a lot of house/pet-sitting.
There are seven general goal categories: Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Professional, Household Management, and Because it Makes me Happy.
Since changing my medicine, I not only stopped losing weight, but gained 25 pounds back. Mentioning this to my doctor at my last appointment a few weeks ago, she casually responded, “the main side-effects of that drug are weight gain, inflammation, and lethargy.” Great. I’m three for three. Now to figure out how to stop gaining, lose those 25, and finish losing the 40 that I wanted to lose last year. And I must get back in the exercise habit, even when many days it’s a struggle to get out of bed. Now that I know it’s the medicine (and no, there is not a substitute that will do what this does without those side-effects) I need to up my game and become even more diligent. So once again my goal is to get down to my optimal weight and exercise at least three times per week.
I also have a goal to spend more time with the people I love. If you’re an introvert like me, you will understand how easy it is to spend time alone and lose touch with friends and family. If you’re an extrovert, just smile and nod like you get it. I want a monthly date night with Hubby. Part of the reason that failed in 2014 was his schedule. (Yep, I am honestly throwing this one back in the lap of the love of my life.) He is working full time, finishing seminary, and just finished his practicum counseling. 2015 should be easier as he is no longer traveling two days per week or working an additional intern job. We will actually see each other daily in 2015, and he is reworking his schedule to be home four nights per week. Weekly phone dates with long-distance friends actually was the closest to being a reality. Weekly interaction with local friends requires more effort.
My mental goals were also a miss. I wish to regain my fluency in Spanish, read a book a week, and journal at least five times per week. I’ve been reading children’s books in Spanish, watching TV in Spanish, but I haven’t worked up the courage to actually interact in Spanish. Post-stroke I struggle with finding my words when stressed. I’m terrified of starting a conversation with a native Spanish-speaker and then going blank in both languages. I must suck it up, feel the fear, and do it anyway. As for reading, I can’t explain this. I was on track until September when I started reading a book I am not enjoying. For the life of me I can’t give up and move on, and I’ve no desire to keep reading it. Stupid. I know. I’ve read 33 books of my goal of 52. That’s 63% success, right? And journaling… as my wrist hurt more, I wrote less. I will get my wrist fixed soon.
I did achieve my church-related goals and memorized a Psalm in 2014, although I wasn’t as consistent as I wish with my daily quiet time. These goals are for life, not just a year. I will be persistent until I am consistent.
Professionally, I dropped the ball. I don’t believe I’ve worked on my novel since February, and my blog posts have been inconsistent at best. I’m still attending writers’ guild meetings and satisfying my commitment to the board. I got to hang out with Michelle Stimpson, one of my favorite local authors, and a great inspiration on a number of different levels. (I reviewed her book, Boaz Brown, on Goodreads.com.) I’ve done some research for a second novel, and a lot of reading regarding the art and craft of writing. I just read a blog post by Jaye Wells that got my attention: “The Journeyman Writer.” Two sentences really jumped out and stomped on my toes:
“Most people will never become writers because they believe they have to be good at it before they’ve even tried. Perfectionism has killed more writing dreams than any editor or agent.”
I know I am a perfectionist. It was beat into me as a child that if I was going to do something, I was going to do it right. Pre-stroke I was told by a number of influential people-who-would-know that I was brilliant, and I had a lot of early success writing non-fiction. Post-stroke I don’t feel brilliant. I know my brain doesn’t work like it once did. And I’m switching genres where the rules are different and I’m not an expert. My favorite counselor, critique partners, an editor, and several other strangers tell me I have talent, but I struggle to believe them because I know I’m not firing on all cylinders. My best friend jokingly asks me how it feels to be average. I don’t like it. But Jaye Wells’ article reminds me that all writers have to start somewhere, and professional writers are all life-long learners. I have to start somewhere. So my goal for 2015 will be tweaked a bit. I will finish this novel. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done. That will become my writing mantra for 2015. I have to write. My writing will only get better with practice. Therefore I must journal, blog, and complete at least one novel in 2015. Feel free to ask me how goes the writing.
Household management was the sixth category of my 2014 goals. I told myself I would commit to the FlyLady plan, and cook at least twice a week. Yeah. No. I still clean as needed or before company comes. Now that my eldest has moved out and my youngest is rarely home, I don’t need to clean as often. Whoo-hoo! Without anyone home at dinner time, I am not motivated to cook. I imagine with my husband being home more this year, I will cook more since that’s why he married me. As for cleaning… really? maybe.
Then there was the category of “because it makes me happy.” Am I the only one who needs to give myself permission to schedule in life’s little luxuries? I do my own mani/pedi’s so it’s not even like it costs money. I am big-boned and truly have man-hands so keeping my nails done makes me happy, yet I have been negligent here also. (I did do the cute candy-cane nail art before Christmas.) I also want to do something artistic (non-writing) each week. Since my wrist is in a brace I’ve not been able to knit or crochet, but even before that I wasn’t consistent. I need to spend more time drawing, painting, scrap-booking, going to museums and concerts, etc. Just because it makes me happy.
So, there it is. The productivity gurus say if it isn’t in writing it’s a dream, not a goal. Now it’s in writing for all the world to see. Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy, and productive 2015.