Tag Archives: goals

Goals for 2015

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goals notebook

I started to write a post today about goal setting, and how I am actually pretty good about that. I set goals, or I would never get anything done. I was patting myself on the back for getting some stuff done, thanks to my awesome goal setting. Then I did a quick search on my own blog to see what I have said about goals before, and discovered my goals for 2014. Out of 7 goals, I did one of them, and that one was play more games with my kids. Well, with the boy at least; the girl is 17 and too busy to hang out with us.

So, I am working on a new list of goals for this year, and I need to add a habit to actually check in on the goals this time. I am working on some detailed lists and timelines, but I am sharing some high level goals here now. Some of my detailed goals seem embarrassing or too personal, but the high level goals are good for organizing anyway.

Continue to craft often Learn to use the sewing machine. Crochet blankets. Make whatever I can around the house (health and beauty supplies, art for the walls, whatever else I can make before I buy). I love making things, and producing rather than consuming.

Blog more often Make menu plans. Document projects. Review movies and books. Think about how I am living my life.

Get my house organized Declutter. Get a cleaning routine. Declutter. Try not to buy new things. Declutter. Re-line the kitchen cabinets. Declutter. We have so many things in our house, it is hard to put them away; books and craft supplies are the worst categories, but there are many other things I could get rid of, too.

Do fun things with my kids Take them to movies. Go to museums. Go to the board gaming convention. Play more games at home. These kids are growing up and will be leaving me all too often–especially that girl, who is a junior in high school this year!

Get my finances under control Eat out less. Plan spending better. Pay off 401K loans. Pay off credit cards. My finances aren’t utter chaos–I contribute to my 401K, I have (very small) college funds for the kids, I pay my bills–but I am tired of feeling broke when I make good money.

Develop a plan to travel more So many places to go! Save more money for trips. Find cheaper ways to go. Plan some shorter, closer trips. I love to travel, but it is so expensive; I won’t get it in unless I plan for it.

Also, one bonus geek goal: Watch more scifi series on Netflix I need to finish Fringe and Deep Space Nine, plus watch all of Star Trek: Voyager and Babylon 5. I seriously hope those are on Netflix. I know I have more scifi series to watch on there, but this is enough to start with, ;).

What are your goals for the year?

Goals for 2014

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Goals

This year I am planning to be way more intentional. Less mindless TV and facebook gaming, more making, learning, and blogging. It is so easy to fall into a habit of coming home from work, doing something about dinner and settling in on the couch for some mindless relaxation. I am not entirely opposed to mindless relaxation–sometimes that is so healing–I just don’t want it to be the default mode.

With that in mind, here are some goals for the year. This is sort of a first pass on the goals. I would like to develop a longer, more detailed list, like the 52 Things in 52 weeks at Kincavel Korner, but I am not ready to dive directly into that list.  I am trying to put something quantifiable on each goal, because leaving things too open-ended is just a setup for procrastination, and then I can flesh it out into 52 items.

Learn to use the sewing machine. My mother gave me a basic sewing machine for Christmas in 2012, at my request. Since that time, I went out and bought lots of supplies for sewing and did about 6 inches of stitches just to get a start on learning to use it, but I have not even started making an actual project. Luckily, my daughter knows how to use the machine, and this year she is going to teach it to me. I am going to make at least one thing each month.

Crochet (at least) 10 blankets. This is an easy one–I love making blankets! I completed 12 blankets last year, and I have several that are close to being done just waiting for the last bit of work to complete them. I want to include it in the goals list, though, because it is not totally implausible that I will get distracted by other things and let this slip. For the purpose of this goal, finishing a blanket counts, even if the blanket was started before the year began.

Play more games with my kids. They love playing games, but I often feel too busy to sit down and play. I have been working on this the past month or so, but I want to make sure we keep it up. I’d like to play at least one game per week.

Do more upcycling. I make a lot of things, but I tend to go out and buy new supplies–new yarn, new fabric, new art supplies, etc. I wouldn’t say that I never reuse things, but it is more rare than I would like. I would like to do at least one project per month that reuses something that had another use–making tshirt yarn and crocheting something, making a blanket with old blue jeans, doing something with all those jars and wine bottles that I’ve saved in my basement.

Start an art journal. Technically, I have already started one, but I haven’t done very much at all–maybe 4 entries over the last year. I’d like to do at least one art journal entry per week.

Blog more regularly. I am aiming for three posts per week. This will actually help me with my other goals, as I need to have something to post about!

Get my finances under control. I don’t do bad here, but I spend more than I should, and I have a few debts I would like to get rid of, mostly related to my house and college loans. I pay my bills on time, and I don’t have creditors calling, but I would like to save more and be a bit more careful about what I spend. I don’t have a concrete goal for this one yet, but I want to have a plan by the end of January.

I am deliberately using the term goals rather than resolutions here. I don’t think that resolutions are really serious things. If I were substituting a synonym for resolutions, I would use wishes rather than plans. Goals are a bit more concrete–not quite plans, but a good basis for plans.

Summer Goals

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Today is the first day of summer vacation for my children. I still have to work, of course, but they have lots of free time on the horizon. Today I left them asleep while I headed off to work, and I didn’t give them any directions for the day. It is the first day of their vacation, they should decompress, relax and enjoy it. Especially since things will be changing soon.

Last summer, my kids spent so much time watching television, I had to prompt them to reply to anything I said.
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“I am really here in the room, not on TV entertaining you! Answer me! Have a conversation.” This year, I have vowed that things will be different. The TV will not be the primary form of passing the time. They will use their brains and their bodies for more than holding the couch down and watching other people far away do interesting things.

This is not the first time I have tried to get them to watch less tv. I work at home two days per week, but I am in the office the other three, and in the past, this has translated to at least three days per week of almost constant TV watching. To counteract that to some extent, I have decided that this year there will be goals in 4 areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Physical fitness
  • Science

The girl also needs to start thinking about a service project. She is entering high school in the fall, and she needs to start thinking about building her record for college applications. Plus, we need to do something to show her that the fact that I don’t buy her everything she wants as soon as she wants it does not mean she is disadvantaged, ;).

I broke the news to the kids over brunch this past Sunday. They were not impressed. They became a little more enthusiastic when I said that they could choose their own goals (although I have to approve–they must be an actual stretch). So far, the girl has decided to learn to play golf with my dad, and the boy has decided to finish a story about dragons who live in the sewer system he is writing with his best friend. They are still thinking about the remaining goals.

For the science goal, I have decided we will do one science experiment per week as a family, so they don’t need to come up with a separate goal for that. They can find something they would like to do, or I can come up with one, but ev

eryone has to participate. Also, to make this whole thing slightly more fun for them and less heartless, I bought the family pool passes. If they are at the pool, they are doing at least some moving around, and they won’t be watching TV.

As for me, I am making a few goals as well.

  • Writing: Establish a daily writing habit. I need to post more regularly here and at Gaming Angels. I am also working with a friend to start a crocheting blog for her new business. And I keep saying I write fiction, or at least I want to write fiction, but not doing any writing. It is time to change that. Oh, and here of course.
  • Physical fitness: Since I got the FitBit, I definitely exercise more. I take more steps, and I am less sedentary. I could do better, though. For the past 30 days, my average number of steps is 5,612–not terrible, but I can definitely improve. I want to be consistently at 7,500 per day by the end of the summer. I know 10,000 is the usual goal, but I want to try to get there a bit more gradually; once I have mastered 7,500 consistently, I will raise the goal again. I also want to make sure my total active time for each day (lightly active, fairly active, very active) totals at least 4 hours every day, with at least 1 ½ hours in fairly or very active.
  • Crafting: I am substituting this for science, since that is covered in the family goal, and I have a ton of crafting projects I want to do. For now, I will be relatively modest in my goals: 5 crochet projects and 5 non-crochet projectscompleted before school starts for the kids on 8/14. 

You may have noticed I didn’t put a reading goal in there; I am not sure what to do. I already read a lot, and I don’t have a lot of spare time to devote to reading more. All those goals up there will take a lot of my time spent not working, eating or sleeping! I am still thinking about this one. I haven’t made the kids finalize their goals yet, after all, why should I be done with mine?

Do you do summer goals? Or is it all loose and easy at your house?

Professional vs. Amateur writer

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I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I have vague memories of scribbling curlicue lines across a page, in ordered rows, when I was too young to think of an actual story with actual words. If you held it at arm’s length and squinted, it looked like prose. As I got older, I wrote real stories and went through a few years of angsty teen poetry writing, which mostly just made my friends roll their eyes. I took a creative writing course in college, but most of writing shifted to research papers and essays. As I moved into motherhood and professional work, my personal writing subsided even more. I did a lot of online writing, but it was emails and bulletin board posts, nothing formal. I blogged, but only sporadically.

I missed writing, but I had two major problems: lack of focus and lack of confidence. There was a time when I would have said lack of time, but that is just an excuse. If you are motivated and focused, time can be found in all but the busiest schedules–I mean, I am sure heads of state don’t have time to devote to writing, but I could have easily cut out tv watching, for instance. (Or drinking. My god, in my 20’s, I could have gained a lot of time by not going to bars–not that I spent all my time there drinking, I did a lot of dancing and socializing, too, but still. How much socializing do you need to do in bars? Less than I did, I assure you.)

For a long time, I thought lack of confidence was my problem. I could not sit down and write because I didn’t have anything interesting to say. I would write three sentences, become convinced they were the worst examples of uninspired dreck ever written and give it up for the day, or the week, or the month or the year. Why sit down to write at all when it would just be awful? Reading good literature made it even worse. I would be so inspired to write something of my own, but convinced that everyone had already used up all the good ideas. When there is already an Ursula K. Le Guin or a Chris Moriarty or a Rachel Swirsky or a Charles Stross in the world writing, why should I bother?

(Imagine a break here where I write down the name of many, many writers that I admire, then erase them all in a fit of depression, plus the realization the list isn’t actually that interesting to read….)

But then, I went to the doctor and got some magic pills effective medication to treat my lifelong issues with attention, and I discovered that focus was really the biggest problem. When I sit down at the computer and write anything at all, it gets easier. The blank page is the hardest part. I also let go of the thought that anything I write will be any good at first, and realized that is not a problem. That is what revision is for!

I began to get more serious about writing. I followed authors that I like on twitter and started reading blogs directed at writers, to get in the right frame of mind. I realized that writers write, and I just needed to write something down, anything at all. I started writing more on my blog, just to get myself going. I began writing at http://www.gamingangels.com, just to have a weekly goal. When I would have random ideas of things I would like to write about during the day, I made a note for later, and I went back and read those notes. I picked a character and wrote two random sentences to start my fiction writing going.

I discovered something powerful through all of this. Once I started writing, it got easier. Not that writing itself is easy, but my mindset changed, and it became easier to actually sit down and write. Now, when I read interesting news articles, I think about how the story might affect my fictional world, or how to express my reaction coherently in a blog post, rather than just passively taking in the information. I discovered that having a writing habit feeds itself. I miss writing when I am doing other things, and I do *something* writing related every day, even if it is just making a list of questions I want to answer.

In the traditional sense, I am by no means a professional writer. No one pays me for my writing (unless you count emails at work, which I don’t really). I did find this article interesting, though. By the definition that Kirkland sets out, I am getting close to being a professional, even though there is no pay on the horizon. I write every day, and I am getting closer to a real writing schedule. I am not yet at the point where I have a regular routine to my writing, or a word count goal, but I am getting closer.

To that end, I am coming up with some goals for myself:

  • 3 posts on my personal blog per week
  • 1 Pulp Angels post every week
  • 1000 words of fiction per week

I know, that last goal is a bit wimpy. That one is the hardest for me, though, and I don’t want to intimidate myself too much. I anticpate that it will go up soon.