Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January Goals and Stuff

Happy New Year 2012!

Frankly, I could care less about the new calendar year.  New opportunities, new starts, setting things in motion, they can be done at any time.  Today is better than tomorrow.  During the cold winter months, it's typical to start focusing inward, on yourself, on your family, on the things you really want out of life, more than any time of year.  So it makes sense to make goals and plans and plot right now.  But don't think just because the 1st has come and gone, or because Monday has already happened means that you can't still make a plan.

I spent the last half of December coming up with a list of goals and some steps I thought would help me get there.  The biggest thing I took away from 2011 as far as goal planning was to be specific and to think of steps in terms of something that can be measured.  In 2011, my goals were too abstract and while I tagged almost everything just a little bit, I didn't have any marked out to measure my success (or failures).

I split my goals into 5 categories: Physical, Lifestyle, Spiritual, Career, and Romance.  Each category contains goals that span across other categories, as it should.  For example, I have a goal to "be more active" under my Lifestyle category.  I define that as spending more time moving than I do sitting, at least during my time away from the office.  That's still really abstract, so I specified that I want to go hiking at least once a month.  This also works for a Physical goal of getting into better shape, a Spiritual goal that gets me out to commune with nature more regularly, and a Romance goal to do more activities with my sweetheart.  Booyah!

Here's my plan for 2012, and the mini actions I plan on doing to get there.  Starting with January.  I may add or subtract things as time progresses, and they should.  Don't feel bad about your plans changing half-way through the game.  Sometimes you need to make adjustments for evolution, life changes, and whatever.

Category: Physical

(1) 2012 Goal: Lose weight, be slimmer, get stronger.
January mini actions:
- Add 30 minutes of activity (dancing, walking, gaming, jogging, workout videos, whatever) every day, all at once or spread out throughout the day.
- Go on one hike.
- Make Paleo work lunches, home snacks, and at least 3 dinners.  (Exceptions being hosted dinners.)
- Eat out only once per week.
January measurement: -5 pounds (starting 192) or 75% success rate with mini actions. Using myfitnesspal.com to measure activity and weight loss.  (Note: I'm not using body measurements because I suck at taking them and I'm not using women's clothing sizes because it doesn't make sense to.)

(2) 2012 Goal: More yoga, more consistently
January mini actions:
- Do 3 sun salutations every morning.
- Resume hosting classes once per week.
- Attend one studio class twice per month (limited finances mean I have to work up on this one).
- Do at least one private (or with sweetheart) one hour intensive once per week.
January measurement: 75% success rate with mini actions.  Using myfitnesspal.com to measure activity and weight loss.  Time made for yoga activity count towards Physical Goal (1).  Because I'm cheeky like that.

Category: Lifestyle

(1) 2012 Goal: Garden more
January mini actions:
- Start seeds for yellow onions and golden beets.
- Dig small pit for composting.
- Spend 1 hour weeding and maintaining both yards each week.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.  They're really mini.

(2) 2012 Goal: Be more active
(This is incorporated into every other goal and its mini actions.)

(3) 2012 Goal: Explore Artistic Endeavors
January mini actions:
- Spend 1 to 2 hours every day writing.
- Always have a yarn or creative project in hand when watching television (exception to this would be if cuddling is involved, it's easier to cuddle when you're not poking your sweetheart with pointy sticks, or so I'm told).
- Dance drills at least once a week (see physical goals).
January measurement: complete at least one creative project by end of the month.

(4) 2012 Goal: Reduce clutter
January mini actions:
- Follow MySimplerLife calendar each day.
- Host yard sale.
- Add intended purchases to a wishlist.  If after three months I still want or need that item, I can budget its purchase.  (Does not include household essentials.)  Anything over $50 should be discussed with sweetheart before purchase.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Category: Romance

(1) 2012 Goal: Spend more time with my sweetheart
January mini actions:
- Set aside one weekend just for activities with sweetheart, whatever those are, mundane or romantic.
- Date night once a week (when step-son is over, date night becomes family night).
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

(There's more to this category, but it's none of your business!)

Category: Spirituality

(1) 2012 Goal: Meditate more
January mini actions:
- Make 10 minutes every day for meditation.  (This can easily be paired with my yoga mini actions.)
January measurement: 75% success rate with mini action.

(2) 2012 Goal: Do more spiritual stuff
January mini actions:
- Declutter fireplace/mantle and make a devotional center.
- Go through "SS" course exercise each week
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Category: Career/Education

(1) 2012 Goal: Take a class in a subject of interest
(2) 2012 Goal: Get Cache certification.
(3) 2012 Goal: Get MS Certification.
(4) 2012 Goal: Update resume.
January mini actions: none
(I have too many things on my plate to get started on these. I may evolve these as the year progresses, but none are super high at the moment.  I'm too busy with other, more fun things. Also, while I have no intention of leaving my current position, I don't want to be caught unawares.  It's always good to be prepared and to keep your eyes and ears open.)

(5) 2012 Goal: Break out with some fiction.
January mini actions:
- Complete at least 4 short stories (approx 5000 words).
- Outline 2 potential collections.
January measurement: Completing all mini actions.

Maybe it looks like a lot, maybe it doesn't look like much.  At the moment, I'm pretty satisfied with my workload for the month.  Most of the mini actions lend themselves to multiple categories I am interested in improving.  What's more, I have some measurements that seem, from this standpoint, fairly realistic.  If time proves that I am wrong, then I will adjust.

Another big thing I'm going to look at is how to automate my behavior on some items.  For example, I found by leaving my yoga mat in the middle of the living room I would do yoga for at least a few minutes every day.  If I put it away, it's easier to forget so I wouldn't do yoga every day.  Little things like that.

I'm also trying to wrap up some projects I have left unfinished.  I have three projects for other people in various stages of completion.  I'm busting my ass to have those done ASAP, mostly because I don't want those projects sucking up my energy at all (I'm enjoying working on them, but if I try to work on something else, I spend more time feeling guilty about what I have yet to complete).

In other news, I deleted a bunch of draft posts I had intended to post here.  Some of them were relevant at the time and wouldn't make sense to schedule for a post now.  Also, I am going to try to put off scheduling posts.  I'm probably going to limit myself to two posts a week just to measure progress on my goals, and to chat about...well...whatever I feel is important to me at the moment.  We'll see how all that goes!

Hopefully my extrapolation on goals is helpful to someone.  It's important to break things up, make them tangible, and put yourself to it.  Remember, you don't need a New Year to start on a New You.


The Scribbler said...

So,.... you're going to do all of those things, AND you're going to write four short stories. Wow!

Mica said...

I like to aim high. Although many items can be combined, a handful are one time projects that can be done in a few minutes to an hour. Plus, I write fast :) Actually, these are probably the most realistic goals I've ever set for myself.

What can I say? I've always been an over-achiever. Btw, you might be more interested in blackvanitymirror.com