Taking Stock of 2008

‘Tis the season! Every year I write goals for myself and post them on my blog around the New Year. I look back at the end of the year and assess my development, then write new goals for the coming year. I guess I’ve always been goal-oriented but by doing this exercise on my blog every year it really helps me to be more aware of what things have been important to me in the past and continue to be important to me today. It allows me to see how I’m growing and changing, to better understand the direction of my life. I get to celebrate my successes and determine strategies that help me to achieve more successes. Plus I can’t help but think there’s some accountability involved here that helps me achieve more than I might on my own without anyone watching.

I guess the most important thing about this exercise is that I take a completely positive approach. I focus on the accomplishments and the lessons, never failure. For me, there is no such thing as failure, it’s all just part of the journey. I think this is a good attitude to have and I think it has helped me to do more than I would have otherwise.

Last year I declared 2008 as The Year of Wellness and I set my goals accordingly. So without further ado …

…here are the things I will do in 2008:

I will not put off to tomorrow what I can do today. In 2008, my comfortable old friend “procrastination” becomes my worst enemy and I will see to his demise. Everyday I will do it now, whatever it happens to be. Everyday I will do the thing I least like to do, first, whether it’s the dishes or making phone calls or working in my least favourite computer program. If I don’t like to do it, I will do it first. If it needs doing, I will do it now.

I will wear my pedometer everyday and consistently reach for a goal of 10,000 steps. I will track my progress. I will keep records. By the end of 2008 I will be able to look back at my records and determine exactly how many days I succeeded and how many I let fall by the wayside. I will be able to accurately determine my success rate. I will post those numbers here when I take stock at the end of the year.

With or without the support of a writing group, in 2008 I will write fiction. I will create characters and plots and settings and dramas. I will hear strange voices in my head and capture their dialogue. I will write a stage play by spring. I will complete a novel by year’s end. I will create consistently, producing new drafts every week. I will take the time to nourish my spirit. I will value my creativity and make room in my life for it to grow.

So how did I do? Looking at the Mind part, I made some really good progress on overcoming procrastination. I started the year very strong on the home front, keeping on top of the dishes (which is my major source of procrastination with regard to the household). I fell off track for about six weeks in the spring, but got back on for summer and early fall. Then totally lapsed from mid-October right through the end of the year. Overall I would say I overcame my procrastination when it came to household chores about 75% or nine months of the year. It feels like I did much worse than that because I finished the year poorly, but I can gain momentum and energy from knowing that it only feels that way, in reality, I actually did quite well.

With regard to procrastination and work I think I did a little better. Throughout the year I’ve averaged about 25 email in my inbox on any given day. I have consistently been a person who deals with things as they arrive and then deletes. This is huge! When you think I used to have thousands of email in my inbox … All the BnM Submissions and articles are filed and backed up on a regular basis. I’ve developed a system of working with the Editorial Board and got that up and running. We published at least two issues of the print edition that were pretty much stress-free and easy, really getting into a groove. I had some good months with the online, and some bad months, but I better understand what I need to do and have in place in order to get that consistently running smoothly as well. I would say I had about 10 good or strong months with regard to work and procrastination and a couple of poor ones. There is definitely room for growth and improvement. But I think I’m getting better all the time.

Looking at the Body part of my goals. I tracked my pedometer numbers consistently until mid-April, but rarely reached 10,000 steps, only seven days in all those months. I averaged more like 5000-7000 steps per day, which was still more than I would do left to my own devices without thinking about it. I strapped on the pedometre again in June and July but didn’t track the numbers, I’m certain I did as well as 5000-7000 steps on average, but no better. In mid-June I joined a gym and started walking on a treadmill for 50 minutes to an hour 3-5 days per week. Plus I walked to the gym, and home again. This continued through the summer until I ran out of money in the fall. Then I pretty much turned into a sloth. If the goal of the Body part was to get me moving, more active and fit, I would say I succeeded about 50% or half the year, and the rest was not good at all. Given the choice between half or nothing though, I’m very pleased to have achieved half.

The Spirit part of my goal really didn’t take off until very close to the end of the year. I tried in the beginning. I wrote words for the sake of writing words and not having to write 0 words on my calendar for any given day. But I wasn’t inspired and I lacked direction. I wrote nothing of any use. But then this fall I started to meet regularly with two writerly friends to workshop and the writing took off. Suddenly I was inspired by a story and words were flowing off the tips of my fingers onto the keyboard. So as far as the year goes I only achieved this goal about 20% of the year, but it’s the most recent part of the year and this gives me great momentum heading into 2009. I may have been late starting but I STARTED! So, yay me!

Overall, looking at 2008 I can see exactly how and when things started to derail. There were two incidents. The first happened in mid-April when my relationship with my boyfriend ended suddenly and unexpectedly. I recovered by June and got back on track but then I derailed again in October when I experienced financial difficulties. I’m only just starting to get back on track now. The main thing is I DO bounce back. My bounce back time is running about 6-8 weeks. I know it used to be considerably longer. CONSIDERABLY! So I’m doing okay I think.

Now to set the goals for 2009 … stay tuned.

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