Yesterday I attended the opening of yet another brand new brewery in Wilmington. (We're in the middle of a craft beer boom, and I have zero complaints about this.) While we were sipping and sampling beers and enjoying the cool new space, my friends started talking about last year's resolutions - what were our goals, and did we do everything we said we would?
I love setting goals and making resolutions, though the older I get, the more relaxed my approach becomes. There was a time when I made elaborate lists of resolutions, with a step-by-step plan for each goal that included monthly benchmarks and measurable outcomes - none of which seemed to help. Another year, I decided to focus on a single, solitary goal (finish writing my first novel) and actually did it. Yet another year, I set monthly challenges for myself and accomplished roughly none of them. You live, you learn.
Last year, I went back to basics and set 5 specific goals and one general theme. Here's how the last twelve months shook out, resolution-wise.
Write book #2 (or at least finish a promising draft.)
Right this second, I'm about 100 pages into a first draft that I don't totally hate. I have another 50 or so pages of notes and scenes, and I think in the next 20 days I can get a lot closer to a finished draft. Definitely by the end of January! So, while I didn't accomplish this goal perfectly, I came pretty damn close. And considering everything else that was going on in 2015, I'm proud of myself for making so much progress on a new project.
Blog twice a week (aiming for Mondays and Thursdays.)
Oh, this poor, sad, neglected blog. About half way through the year I changed this goal to "once a week" and even that's been difficult to maintain. I have a post in the works about "personal blogging" and my many feelings regarding it. For now, let's just agree that I didn't meet this goal.
Practice yoga twice a week, preferably three times (handstand in 2015? Maybe!)
I didn't do a handstand in 2015, though I can do one against a wall. Progress! I was pretty good about going to yoga twice a week, especially once the YMCA reopened. The last few weeks have been hit or miss due to the holidays, travel, and visitors, but I'm finally back on track. This goal was important to me because yoga is the best thing for lower back pain, and also the only time I slow down and shut up. Yoga is always teaching me something new, and I'll definitely continue this goal in 2016. Success!
Travel and go on more adventures (camping, kayaking, and visiting family count.)
I think of 2015 as an unadventurous year, but we actually managed to do a lot. We saw Nathan's family once, I saw my family once, we kayaked to Masonboro island a few times, I went to Aspen, we spent a long weekend in Asheville for my birthday. Nothing too crazy, which may be why it felt like a quiet, contemplative year. We faced a number of unexpected challenges in 2015, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves and make the most of our free time. So: success, even if it didn't always feel like it.
Read 35 books (and log them in my spreadsheet.)
Nailed it. I'm currently rounding the final corner of book #37 and am feeling really great about this goal. I'll even go so far as to say it's my greatest accomplishment of 2015. I can't wait to write my 2015 Reading Recap. It's going to be glorious.
2015: A Year to Dig
As for the theme of 2015, I try to pick a word each year to serve as my guide. Last year, I chose the word "Dig," and hoped it would inspire me to dig into my life in Wilmington, my fiction projects, my career, and my garden. And oh, did I dig! I finally feel like a real Wilmingtonian, immersed in this city and at home with my life here. My writing is going well - I make the time for it, even when time is limited. I submit and revise, shake off the rejections and celebrate the successes. I feel good about the writer I'm becoming, and I look forward to the work itself. While I gave up my budding freelance career pretty early in the year, I'm digging into my job at the marketing agency, and after a few months of existential criss, have emerged as a person who likes what she does and where she works - a rare combination. We also gardened, though the results of our homesteading efforts were, as always, mixed. It seems the only thing we really excel at is keeping chickens, which is great news, considering we added six more birds to our flock in the spring.
Dig was a good theme for 2015, a great guiding idea, and I'm happy to say I lived up to it. Now I just have to figure out what my theme and goals will be for 2016. Oh, and finish the draft of this novel. Better get to it.
Did you make any resolutions this year? Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? We still have 25 days to go - time to make the most of it.