I really appreciate some of the traditions this blog has created for me, like my yearly posts to celebrate my sons’ birthdays, and my yearly goals and goal wrap-ups. I’ve never really liked the idea of New Year’s Resolutions — maybe because, as a fiction writer, I think of resolutions as something that happens at the end (and something that implies a problem that needs fixing!)
But goals…it’s a nice word, and I like the way it makes me think about where I’m going in life. I have set goals for the last few years that are concrete, yet flexible, because one thing I’ve learned about myself is that if I can’t do something right, I’ll convince myself to not do it at all. Life is unpredictable, and time is in short supply.
I’ve got my goals broken up into categories, more this year than last year because I guess I just felt excited about the things I accomplished last year. Also I’m going to try for thirteen goals.
1. My permanent writing goal, with “this book” meaning “all the books that I have in the works”: I’d like to remain thoughtful, objective, gracious, and rational about anything that happens with this book.
2. Do everything I can do to have a successful launch of Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always. Positive thinking and hard work! I’m feeling much more relaxed about this than last time, and I know what to expect and what to plan for. I’d like to stretch my organizational skills.
3. Six Impossible. I love this book, and have secret hopes for the Universe for it. My goal is to do my best by this book and make it something special.
4. Write something brand new this year. Maybe it’s poetry, maybe it’s another YA contemporary novel. There are all kinds of possibilities, but I know myself, and I know that means I will write something this year. I hope that it’s exciting and scary and makes me proud, but it’s okay if it’s a hot mess, too, as long as I’m writing.
Life and Happiness: (this category is from last year…I could write thirteen goals here alone, but I’ll limit myself in hopes of being successful with them!)
5. Be as healthy as I can be. The key to failing this one is trying to do too much in a truly limited amount of time, and it’s going to take much discussion and planning and compromise to manage to make it fit, especially during the school year when it’s dark and cold and so very busy. I’d like to drink water, take my vitamins, exercise even in the winter months, and get to sleep most nights at a reasonable hour. I’d like to eat more fruits and vegetables like I have for most of 2012 and continue to take small steps toward actually cooking for myself and my family. This is a squishy goal, I know, but keeping it that way is the only way I’ll keep working at it.
6. Get outside every day that I am able, even if it’s just a walk around the block. I always feel better when I do. Get into the woods or near the water even more.
7. Take another road trip, including camping, with the kids. Think about taking one without them, too.
8. Have at least one actual conversation every single day with each of my children and with my husband. Not a lecture about behavior or homework or cleaning up, not going over the details of our complicated lives. Just talking and listening.
9. Be consistent with the pebble jars and the chores, even when the effort it requires seems more than the effort of just doing the chores myself. Remember to award pebbles for cooperation and kindness as much as for completing jobs. Give at least four for every one I take away.
10. Keep reading together as a whole family every night before bed. This is my favorite part of the day, every day.
House: (this is a new category, and one that makes me most nervous because it’s something I definitely want to change, but it’s somewhat out of my control. I want my house to get to the point where I feel comfortable inviting people over, not just in terms of tidiness, but in terms of it actually appearing somewhat that fits my vision of a home.)
11. The bathroom. I want it to be functional and…you know. Not have holes in the floor and a vise-grip for a faucet. This is very scary because I don’t have any clue how to DO any of the work, I can’t really AFFORD any of the work, and we don’t have another bathroom, so I’m not sure where we will LIVE while we work on it. Yeah.
12. Make plans for getting the kitchen tolerable as well. New floor covering, finish cabinets/countertops, and put up shelving around the window. This is not something I need to finish this year, but I want a plan and some steps completed.
13. Scrape/paint the final side of the exterior of the house and finish the porches and repainting the decks. I know I feel like I should work on the yard/put in some flower gardens, but the reality is that I am far too busy in the spring when school is wrapping up, and I just never get around to all the prep work in the yard for this.
There! Thirteen goals for 2013 (and no, I’m not going to increase my goals each year — thirteen is a fun number, though!), and I hope I can make some progress toward meeting all of them. Last year I wrote out shortened versions of my goals as reminders and posted them on the wall above my computer. Silly as that felt, it did help, so as soon as I hit publish, I’ll be taking out my markers again.