Friday, January 7, 2011

Goals for 2011

Looking back, I was incredibly busy in 2010, and while I'm proud of some of the accomplishments I can claim, I know I fell short in other areas. I need to be more realistic; I need to be more specific. In the end, I need to remember that when it comes to MOST of my goals, I'm only accountable to myself, which makes the idea of goal-setting both incredibly easy AND incredibly scary. Who's going to know if I drop the ball? Just me . . . well, and anyone who reads my blog.

My goals for 2011 (I still like calling them "goals" instead of "resolutions" - thanks, Heather!)

Health. I was vague about this last year, and by not being more specific, I wonder if I allowed myself too much leeway. I am ashamed to say that I need to work off some weight, so I need to make a real effort to get some more gym-time in. I also could do a better job diet-wise, and starting next week, I'll be paying more attention to the calories-in-calories-out ratio. (I'm not saying I'll start this next week because I'm procrastinating; we're taking a mini-vacation at the end of this week and will be away from home base until next Wednesday. I need to be realistic and know that I won't be overly food-aware while away.)

Why do I need to be in better shape (besides the obvious)? I've got degenerative disc disease, and when I'm heavier, there's more stress placed on my back, and the three vertebrate that are already in bad shape are compressed even more than normal. In years past, I've had issues in which the discs press against the nerve stem, causing leg pain or leg drop, and I want to steer away from that as much as possible. Add to this a case of sleep apnea and a desire to be more active now while Bren and I are dipping into our middle age, and I know I need to make more time exercising/eating better/etc.

How will I accomplish this? I have access to a workout/mini-gym at work, and when we get back from our mini-vacation, I will either 1) stay after work at least three days a week to work out a bit, or, 2) start getting up early in the morning and going to the gym done the street for a workout before work. I haven't decided yet, but I'm committed to making this happen. I also will start watching the diet a bit more. I do fairly good throughout the day as it is; dinner usually crosses the daily caloric intake for me.

Podcasting. We moved to an every-other-week schedule for Mail Order Zombie in late-2010 (although we're still not quite there in that I've been releasing material every week despite claiming to go bi-weekly/bi-monthly/bi-whatever!). Mail Order Zombie will continue in 2011, and while I don't want to talk too much about MOZ here at Plan D, I do have some other podcasting commitments I need to keep. Almost one year ago, I started talking with a friend/fellow podcaster about submitting a segment to his show, and I have yet to get that started. I'd like to make that happen this year, but not at the expense of any Mail Order Zombie production. My plan is to start slowly on this project, and complete nearly all the segments before starting to send them in (if he's even still interested in them!). I just need to balance this podcast commitment with Mail Order Zombie.

Writing. This is the big one, and the area I need to be most successful in in 2011 if I'm going to consider the year a success. I may be guilty of putting too much pressure on myself, but I NEED to succeed here.

And in this case, publication=success.

I acknowledge this sounds a bit mercenary, but the goal is further publication. But I'm not going to get too ahead of myself - I need to create the content first!

I need to work more in the short-story-arena. I enjoy writing short stories, and I'd like to work harder at completing a few more (besides, I have some characters that need some fleshing out and all, and a short story seems as good a place as any to make this happen!). Let's get crazy and put a number out there . . . four short stories need to be complete and submitted by the end of 2011. That's one every three months. I think that's realistic. (And a lot more reasonable than the recent crazy idea I had in mid-December about completing a short story and submitting it to an anthology at the beginning of January! That didn't quite work out. BIG surprise.)

Speaking of unreasonable deadlines - I've set a deadline of March to complete my current novel-in-progress. I've written longer pieces before: in high school I spent most of my senior year working away at and completing a novel-length work (that no one will EVER see), and a few years ago, I "won" NaNoWriMo and finished a novel. However, I've always approached them from a "discovery writer" approach. This time, I'm building the novel from an outline, and I feel like things are working out. Once we get back from our vacation, I'll start moving material from the outline to the keyboard.

(I do have another couple of novel ideas bubbling around in my brain, but aside from notes being written down in a Moleskine, I need to focus on the one novel for now.)

I danced around talking about two non-fiction book projects by avoiding too many specifics, and I'm still going to do that, but these both need to be complete by year's end. If not, I may need to just set them aside and move on because if I haven't made them happen by the time December 31, 2011, comes along, they're just existing as anchors.

Other. More reading, more movie-watching, more diversification in my media-consumption.

Are these attainable goals? At first, I was worried. I started quantifying them, fleshing them out, giving them more weight by further solidifying them, and I thought that would feel more daunting, but the truth is I feel even more motivated now. I have a better game plan than I did last year, and I'm ready to move forward on making 2011 a success.

Wish me luck!

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