I don't do resolutions for the New Year. I think most people who make resolutions tend to make them fully intending to follow through with them... but also with a little voice in the back of their minds whispering that it's okay if they fail because, come March or April, everyone they know will probably have failed too. Maybe I'm making a broad generalization there, I don't know.
But I do know that, year after year, I watch my family and friends make resolutions. And year after year, I watch my family and friends commit to those resolutions for weeks or months at a time. And then, year after year, one by one, my family and friends fall off the wagon and just don't bother getting back on again.
There are always excuses when it happens.
Life got busy.
I didn't have the energy.
I don't have time.
I'm never going to make it.
Who really keeps a NY resolution, anyway?
The list of excuses and rationalizations goes on and on.
Resolutions are a good idea in theory, but in practice, they're full of unintentional, unacknowledged self-sabotage. We resolve (or intend) to do something, but from the moment we make that resolution we know that, if we don't quite make it, it's okay because no one else made it either. We know that there's always next year, and the year after that, and the one after that. We set ourselves up for failure before we ever begin, and most of the time, we don't even realize we've done it.
That seems a little silly to me, especially when the New Year is supposed to be a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future, so I simply refuse to play along.
Instead, beginning in October (the time of the Celtic New Year), I assess the year quickly drawing to a close, and I set goals for the approaching year.
Goals and resolutions aren't the same thing, at least not to me.
Goals are more tangible than a resolution. Goals come with steps and plans and little measures of success along the way. And goals can be amended. They don't have to be a win or lose thing. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing endeavor. If I set a goal too high, I know I can adjust that goal without feeling like I cheated. I also know that I'm more likely to stick with those goals simply because goals don't come complete with that little internal voice telling me it's okay if I fail, or that I'll never make it, or that no one else will either. There are built in triumphs along the way, the ones that empower us to keep going, even when the going gets tough. We don't have to wait for a New Year to try again if we fall off the wagon. We can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and hop back on the proverbial horse at any time.
And we will pick ourselves up and hop back in the saddle, because we have a goal to meet, and we have no excuses for failing to meet it. We're accountable for that goal, not a New Year, not the failure or success of friends or family, but us. We challenge ourselves to meet those goals, and we don't have a built in scapegoat if we don't rise to the challenge.
Even better, we don't have to start from scratch with our goals. We can piggyback off of the success of the year before, or of a previously met or established goal. There is no "New Year, New You" mantras involved. We're not reinventing ourselves. We're bettering ourselves or our lives, one tangible goal at a time while fully recognizing and celebrating that fact that the "old us" is pretty cool, too. There's nothing wrong with the person I was in 2013 or with the challenges I faced. I don't feel a pressing need to change me. What I do feel is a desire to continue learning and growing in 2014, just like I did in 2013.
Goals help us accomplish all of that so much more realistically than do resolutions. At least, that's my opinion of the whole thing. And I'm looking forward to meeting the goals I've set for 2014.
Aside from getting the husband well again, I have a lot of goals for the next year. There are action plans and measurable successes and celebrations along the way. Some are huge, and some are small things.
I won't bore you with all of the details, but here are a few of the goals (big and small) I'll be working on in 2014.
1) Bringing home baby Morgen - This year, my husband and I will start working on bringing home a baby Morgen. We'll talk with my neurosurgeon, and fertility specialists, and adoption agencies. We'll decide whether IVF or adoption is the best route, and we'll pursue that option eagerly. We'll panic along the way, and worry and doubt and, hell, probably even fall apart, but we're ready to try again for a baby Morgen, and we're looking forward to the nerve-wracking, nail-biting, crazy, beautiful journey.
2) Writing more often - This year, I'll finish FLAME, Ravished, and Stricken. I'll begin working on FEAR and Rapture. I'll work on eliminating passive phrasing from my writing, and on showing more than telling. I'll get rid of words like really and just. I'll write as often as possible, participate in NaNo, and stop wasting so much writing time browsing the web. By year's end, I will have at least four novels in print.
3) Redecorating - This year, I'll finish decorating the house. I'll stop stalling on buying new furniture, and will move the old furniture into the den. I'll also pain the den, finish the guest bedroom, and turn the pet room into a pet friendly sunroom.
4) Becoming healthier - This year, I'll work toward getting the migraines under control again by reducing my stress, becoming healthier, and admitting when enough is enough. I'll learn to admit when I need a break, to say no, and will work to stop pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion at the expense of my health. I'll stop surviving on sugar and caffeine.
5) Vacationing/Lazy Days - This year, my husband and I will take an actual vacation. I'll actually watch the movies I put on my Netflix queue, and will read at least 50 of the books I put on my TBR list. I'll spend more time doing less, and learning to enjoy it. I'll turn the music up loud and dance like a crazy person more. I'll also make the husband dance with me.
6) Education - This year, I'll finally make a decision about whether I'm going to law school instead of putting it off for another year.
What are you hoping to accomplish in 2014?
Happy New Year, loves. No matter what the year brings you, I hope you meet your goals and learn more about yourselves along the way.
FALL– The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million