Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions

Yes, it’s that time again. Time to make my New Year’s resolutions. In other words, time to set myself up for failure yet again.

In looking back to the goals I set for last year, I did fair. I’ll give myself a B-.

I bought a used treadmill and was really good about using it up for most of the year. But then I got into this heavy duty rewrite thing and all my treadmill time got converted into writing time. But I kept up with the yoga and the weights until about a month ago. For some reason, when winter sets in, I can’t seem to drag my weary butt out of bed when it’s still pitch black outside. And the only time I can get a good workout in is before breakfast. The treadmill stuff comes later in the day for me. But the yoga or weights have to be done first thing in the A.M. It’s just the way it is for me. So I always slack off around mid-November.

However, for most of 2011, I did really well with the fitness stuff.

As for writing every day, I did well with that, too. While the fitness stuff dropped off later in the year, the writing cranked up. But even at my worst, I wrote five days a week. The part of the goal from last year that failed was the red x on the calendar thing. That only lasted until mid February. No big deal. By then the writing habit was ingrained.

Okay, maybe I’ll give myself a B+ for last year’s goals.

And I do mean “goals.” Resolutions, like dreams, are too intangible. I’ve heard several people in recent weeks saying their resolution for 2012 is to write more.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. That’s only a resolution.

Someone else said their goal was to get published. That’s more of a dream.

A GOAL is something attainable. Something you have control over. Something with a time limit.

Don’t say you’re going to write more. Say you’re going to write so many words or pages a day. Or for so many hours. Say you’re going to write two hours a day, five days a week. My friend Ramona DeFelice Long set up a nice contract to make with yourself. Check it out here. It’s a great way to get started and stay on track.

Likewise, don’t say you’re going to get published—unless you plan to self publish your work. Otherwise, you don’t have any control over it. You can say you’re going to start querying agents. Or submitting to publishers. But after that, it’s out of your hands.

You can even turn it into a game and say you’re going to collect 12 rejections each month. This works great if you’re writing and marketing short stories or articles. It keeps you pumping out material. If something sells, you have to get something else done and in the pipeline to keep your rejection count up.

So my dreams for 2012 are to see my book in print.

And to go out West. Yes, that’s just a dream for this year. But if I keep it in the back of my mind, maybe I can work toward making it a goal for next year.

My GOALS for 2012 are to get BACK into the fitness routine I set up last year. I already hit the treadmill yesterday and dragged my ass out of bed this morning to practice yoga. So far, so good. I intend to drop the 15 pounds I put on while planting my backside in my chair and writing. And I want to do it by May. Okay, April. But it goes on sooo much faster and easier than it comes off.

My other goals are to finish revising this manuscript within the next week or week-and-a-half and send it to the agent. Then I intend to send off a couple of article proposals to my editor at Pennsylvania Magazine (who probably thinks I’ve died), clean my house, and get my taxes in order. And, yes, keep writing. I’m thinking about a short story or two. By then, I should be ready for the next round of editorial notes from the agent.

That’s it for me. What about you? Anyone else want to share their goals, dreams, or resolutions?


Heather said…
Hi Annette, I'm trying to be more goal oriented than wishful in 2012. I've got a lot of ambitions that I need to rephrase.
Heather said…
Hi Annette! Happy New Year! I'm in the process of doing just what you blogged about--rethinking goals vs wishes and turning my "want to"s into "going to"s (the things that I have control over, anyway).

Take care and have a great 2012,
Annette said…
Good for you, Heather!
Ramona said…
Annette, I like your differentiation between goals and resolutions. Choosing something vague or unattainable just defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I wish you a great year! I hope to hold your book in hand in 2012.
Annette said…
Thanks so much, Ramona. Frankly, I'd be happy with holding a contract for it in my hands in 2012. We know this process doesn't move fast. But again, that's something I don't have any control over.

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