So, if you are game, just leave a comment with a link to a post on your blog about your goals. Don't have a blog? You can still play! Just post your goals here in the comment section. I would love to have a ton of participants, so please join in the fun!
Here are my goals from last year, with my comments on what I did:
- Use this "7th year" as the Israelites were commanded to make it a year of rest. I started off really well with this one, but slipped back into taking on projects and assignments as the year went on. I did resign from a couple of regular writing gigs, so that was good. I do not regret resigning.
- Write for fun. This was my husband's challenge to me. He wanted me to get back in touch with my love for writing. He noticed that I had gotten so publication focused that I had lost sight of the sheer joy that creating brought me. It was not lost on me that, when challenged to write for fun, I went straight to writing fiction, not nonfiction. Fiction is, above all, my first love and what feels most natural for me to write personally. I wrote several short stories in the winter and spring of last year-- something I had been wanting to challenge myself to do. It was fun, I entered a few short story contests, didn't win a single one, but did accomplish the point of getting back to just writing for fun and not publication.
- Move. Well, we did list our house, but moving didn't happen, unfortunately.
- Get a book contract. This goes back to what I said about making my writing less about publication and more about enjoying what I am doing-- and letting God take care of the rest. He is still working on me in this regard, and probably always will be to some degree. I tend to put the cart before the horse and judge my ability by my professional, measurable accomplishments. Ie, if I get a book contract or sell an article, then I must be a good writer. Instead, He is showing me that I need to write what He lays on my heart, write for the sheer pleasure of expressing and cataloguing my thoughts and experiences, and let go of any agendas I might be operating under. All of this to say that I did not land a contract this year. But I did sign with an agent I have thoroughly enjoyed working with, and have prepared a proposal that he feels very good about. I also did the ebook, which was not even a goal of mine, but which helped our family financially and was quite a blessing!
- Get published in a magazine I have never published with before. I did do this-- I sold an article to Parent Life. Hooray!
- Read through the Bible in a year, have a more consistent quiet time/Bible study. Get back involved with CBS, if possible. I got back in CBS and have enjoyed studying Acts, plus I have one more day left to complete my daily Bible reading using The Daily Message Bible. It feels good to have met this goal and to once again be making time with God a first priority in my life, instead of just talking about it!
- Resolve my kids' school issue and come to some sort of peace about it. We got the kids into a local charter school and, for now, that has afforded me a much-needed break from homeschooling and some time to concentrate on my writing. I am not sure how long the charter school will be the answer, as my heart is still for homeschooling, but for now this has been a great solution and I have enjoyed the break and the concentrated time with my youngest child while the older ones are in school.
- Begin a running/exercise program. I did start running for the first time in my whole life this year. Last year for Christmas, I got a gift certificate to the New Balance store and bought a pair of nice running shoes. I also got an Ipod to listen to while I run. Did you know that it is a proven fact that people who run together or listen to music while running will run further/longer than those who don't? I believe it! I have had a bit of trouble getting a run in now that the kids are gone and can't listen out for the baby while she naps-- which is when I used to go running. So, my running this fall has been sporadic and I have felt that loss of stamina and commitment creeping in as a result. I got some money for Christmas that I plan to use to buy a jogging stroller so I can start running with her in the stroller. Have baby, will travel!
Here are my goals for this coming year:
- Get back to running. I have signed up to attend a training program which will hopefully hold me accountable and inspire me to train more intentionally for at least a 5K. That is my goal for this year. Baby steps, right?
- Keep up with my daily Bible reading habit. I plan to read "Streams In The Desert" each morning, and also keep up with my CBS study I am going through. Additionally this year I have begun a book study with other moms. We are planning to go through a parenting/discipline book (Parenting By The Book) and a marriage book (What Every Husband Needs From His Wife) this winter/spring. While this is not a Bible study, it is a great group and I learn from this regular time of fellowship and study.
- Continue to balance my writing with fiction and nonfiction. Trust God for a contract if that is what He has for this most recent proposal my agent is shopping right now. Finish the novel I have started, if nothing else just because I have started it and would love to finish it just to say I did!
- Possibly write another ebook. Am thinking about doing a full-fledged cookbook as I often get questions about cooking/requests from blog readers for recipes. The ebook is a cost effective way to produce something like that as both an income earner for my family but also a service to the readers who want that sort of information!
- Move. We will try this again! We are doing quite a bit of work to the house in January, and looking towards listing the house again in February.
- Be a servant. Serve others in some fashion. I am not sure what that is even going to look like yet, but I know that, while ministry is good and that I do help others through writing and speaking, it is not the same as hands-on, community-based service. Still praying through what God has in this area. Something in the "least of these/cup of cold water" arena, I know. This idea was planted when I read "Quaker Summer" and has been a recurring theme as I have studied Acts, listened to sermons, etc. This began in learning to give money away-- something that has been very hard for me as we have become regular tithers and givers for the first time in our whole marriage. And I know that it also will involve giving time and resources away.
- Bake, cook, and care for our home better. This is a request of my husband. It is important, I think, to listen and respond when we hear these little "I wish" statements come from the mouths of those we love best. Curt places precious few demands on me. So if he throws something like this out there, I know it matters to him. And so, I am getting more intentional about baking and cooking-- about making it a priority instead of seeing it as a drudgery and merely "throwing something together" because I have to. This also falls into the category of keeping a home that is warm, clean, and welcoming for those I love.
Well, that about sums it up. I have enjoyed this little exercise in both reviewing what I committed to and summing up how I did, and also looking ahead to what I can change, add or delete for next year. I will probably be re-reading this post and tweaking it in the next few days.
Can't wait to hear what's on your minds and hearts as you prepare for a new year!