It’s a whole new year. Well, really it’s still another day, following a day, preceding a day. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm that doesn’t care about years, only the light-dark cycle. However, traditionally this is the end of one period of timekeeping and the beginning of another, and as such we imbue the transition with pomp and ceremony and a burden of expectations.
It is a good excuse to re-evaluate goals and adjust them as needed. Resolving to ‘do something’ is usually doomed to failure, so instead coming up with measurable goals is a better way to take on the new year, and perhaps leave you able to look back at the end of it and see that you really did something. Personally, rather than saying: in 2018 I will write more! I’m going to look at where I am now on projects and say: in 2018 I will publish at least two novels, a novella, and would like to publish one more novel that has not yet been started. Given that I have 50K words on a novel projected to run 100K, 18K on a novel projected to run 60K, and 3K of a 20K novella, that means I need to write a bare minimum of 105K words this coming year. That is… very doable. Adding on another 100K for the projected SF novel (Tanager’s Flight) and it’s still doable at the rate of 1K words 5 days a week. Now, I need to decide how I’m going to track my progress and hold myself accountable.
On a more personal level, I can look at myself and say: I’m going to exercise more and lose weight in the new year. But I’ll be better able to succeed if I say that I’m going to focus on the exercise, only step on the scale like once a month, and put a plan in place to hike 3 days, a week, do yoga four days a week, and see what happens. I’ll also be more aware of what I eat… no, that’s too nebulous. I’ll eliminate excess sugars from my diet – not all sugar, nor all baking, but I have a sweet tooth and I need to come up with treats that aren’t candy.
I have unique goals, just as my readers do, but we all share one thing: we can choose to set goals and execute them. We have the freedom to alter the trajectory of our lives, and the resilience to recover from whatever setbacks the previous year meted out to us. There is only one ending in life for each of us. All other events are simply changes in direction.
I have a whole list of things I’d like to accomplish this coming year. How many of them will I be able to check off? I don’t know yet. But I do know that if I don’t write them down and look back at the list every so often, I’ll drift off course. Resolving to stay pointed in one direction means being able to orient onself against a set point. Like traveling by use of map and compass. The map is my list of goals and desires. I can’t stay on course if I don’t take a look at the map from time to time.