As I write this on New Year’s Eve, I think of all my friends and writing buddies setting resolutions. Some are big, some are small, and many of them are just way too … many. Just consider:
Measureable Goals (my thoughts in italics)
- Lose 5/10/50 pounds.
- Exercise 2/5/15 times a week.
- Read ten books this year. (10 a month – at least!)
- Cook more meals at home. (Eat out at least once a week.)
- Go on a cruise. (Bask on the pond in a rowboat.)
- Learn to speak French/Russian/Chinese. (Remember a smidge of the French I used to know.)
- Organize the house. (Organize a closet.)
- Put all the kids’ pictures in scrapbooks. (Find the boxes that the pictures are in.)
- Learn to use Excel/Scrivener/Photoshop well. (I’d settle for just one.)
- Write X number of words/hours each day.
- Revise X number of chapters each week.
- Send X number of queries each week/month.
- Research X number of agents each week.
- Write X number of blog posts each week.
- Comment on X number of blogs each week.
- Create more fully developed characters.
- Develop more compelling plots.
- Use more figurative language.
That’s enough to make any sane person (or me) run away. So let’s turn to some Unmeasurable Lifestyle-type Goals:
- Be kind.
- Be grateful.
- Be more loving to my spouse.
- Be more appreciative to my family.
- Be more faithful to God.
- Take time for friends.
- Take time to relax.
- Serve others.
- Get healthy.
- Eat more unprocessed foods.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep.
- Go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and be more productive. (*snort*)
- Keep the house clean. (double *snort*)
- Call my far-flung family more often.
- Learn to spell better (evidently “unmeasurable” isn’t a word).
Any or all of these are worthy New Year’s Resolutions, but can you see where I’m going? Can you say O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-I-N-G?
All of these could easily be on my list, but I’m learning NOT to make lists like this. First, while I love New Year’s Resolutions for the sense of starting fresh, I’m easily motivated and I could make lists like this every few months. Actually, I do make lists like this every few months. *sigh*
So while I quit making actual New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago, this year … hmm … the new year intersects with my get-your-head-screwed-on-straight-between-semesters time. So with great will power, I’m still refraining from the long list, and I’m trying to focus on only a few things:
- I must put a priority not getting overwhelmed again. To mis-quote a favorite movie, “some things in this room don’t react well to stress.“ (I think the actual quote is “bullets,” not “stress.” Extra points if you can name the movie.)
- I need more focus on my physical health. My back, my neck and my weight have all suffered from this last year of stress, and it’s time to get back on track. I have my schedule of workout classes in front of me and the candy is heading out the door. (*gasp*)
- I would like more social time with friends, which would also help with #1 above. I get wrapped up in my world and don’t reach out enough other than routine church activities, work, or whatever. Not to mention that it’s ridiculous to send Christmas cards to friends I don’t see much when they only live 15 miles away. So, weekly social time, whether it’s lunch, shopping or a long phone call.
And that’s it. College assignments will get done because they have to. Writing will happen because I have a critique group expecting things. Blogging will happen when I have something to say. But if I can’t some weeks, then I can’t.
And the housecleaning will happen because . . . hmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
What about you? What goals are you setting for the new year? And how do you keep them manageable?