Looking Back and Seeing Ahead: A New Year of Goals

English: Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, .
English: Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah January… cold and dark and long.  The holidays are behind us, the annual, quarterly, and monthly bills all come in the mail.  January is too cold, too long, and too dark.

January got its name from the two-faced god Janus. One face looking back on the past, one face looking forward to the future, Janus is associated with doorways, beginnings, or transitions.  Now that sounds better than cold, dark, and full of debts.

January is a time to contemplate, to assess, and to plan.  So here goes.

Looking Back at My Goals for 2013:

  1.  Keep my counter-tops clean:  The mail comes in, it’s sorted, and left it in a neat piles because: a) it’s not mine; b) I need to act on it;  c) I need advice; d) I don’t know if a, b, or c apply.
    Assessment:  Success!  Most of the time, the counter is clean at the end of the day.  Okay, by the end of the week, for sure.
  2. Use or discard hair products and make-up stashes:  I have the same problem with cosmetics as I do with cleaning products.  If I can just find the right product, the job will be effortless and beautiful.  Consequently, I have a stash of solutions for all occasions.
    Assessment:  Success! My stash diminished, clearing up closet and drawers space.  I bought no new products, except depleted essentials like shampoo.
  3. Finish my novel:  Okay, it’s time, already.  Get it done.
    Assessment:  Success!  Yes! Yes! Yes!  I did it.  My novel is with beta readers now.
  4. Listen, Really Listen:  Oh, I wish I were better at this.  Years ago, I read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, one chapter at a time.  Before I moved on to the next chapter, I practiced a habit until I felt like I mastered it.  I stayed with “Seek First to Understand” for months.  I still struggle. Listening, I’m told is the key to great communication.
    Assessment:  Somewhat Successful.  I still need work.
  5.  Build My Platform:  I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, SheWrites, BlogHer, Google+, Publush, Zegit, and Klout.  I have the same Klout as the Aflec Duck, which earns me some perks.  The size is still smallish, but it’s big enough that supporting my platform takes some effort every day.
    Assessment:  Success/Improvement Desired.
  6. Make enough money from writing to pay my taxes:  I got published on BlogHer.  I have a free-lance gig with a local paper, so I’m earning something every month now.  I also got paid for blogging about hotel sheets.
    Assessment: Dubious success. Okay, I did make enough money to pay my sales taxes, which were fairly small, especially since I scored a “Success” at goal #1.
  7. Mail (the old-fashioned way) articles I think the grand-children will like:  A friend of mine said her father sent her newspaper clippings; little articles he thought would pique her interest of tickle her.  That connection is what she missed the most when her father passed away.  And what child does not like to get mail, for no reason at all, except to say, ‘this made me think of you’?
    Assessment:  Success!  The kids love it. (So do I.)
  8. Use my health-club membership at least 3 times a week.  Yoga, swimming, Zumba, and Sh’Bam.  I’m going to keep at it.  No doubt. I’d like to try a spin class next.
    Assessment:  Success!  Tighter bod, firmer mind.
  9. Volunteer:  I signed up, took the training, but never got the call.  Hmmm…  I even followed up, more than once, but got no reply.  A lot of trainees were nurses and social workers.  Maybe they don’t want just regular old people like me.
    Assessment:  Improvement Required. 
  10. Sign up for affordable health insurance:  Loved-One and I are both self-employed.  Although we are both healthy, we pay a lot for insurance.  I looked forward to the health insurance exchanges.  Navigating the system was waay harder than I thought it would be.  Some of it was me; some of it was the website.  In the end, talking to real people solved all my problems.
    Assessment:  Success!  Well, I did get through the maze.  More on that later this month.

My Game plan for 2014:

  1. Get my novel published:  I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher.  I will.
  2. Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity:  I have a lot of yarn stash.  I can do this while I watch Downton Abbey and Dr. Who. 
  3. Make enough money writing to pay property taxes:  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in 2013.
  4. Expand my platform: a key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told.
  5. Experience Night at the Museum with Two More Grandkids:  Last year, I waited too long, and every single session sold out before summer even got here.  I love camping out with the bones of dinosaurs and exploring mummies by flashlight.  So does Loved-One.  So do the kids.
  6. Travel Route 66 with Loved-One:  I plan to get some sponsors and write about out trip.
  7. Volunteer:  Last year I tried a women’s shelter.  Maybe this year, the food pantry.
  8. Read two book a month:  This goal doubles my current rate.
  9. Get new carpeting for the lower level:  Ugh!  I don’t even want to go down there, it looks so bad.
  10. Send St. Patrick’s Day photo cards to friends and family:  A friend sends out Valentine’s Day photo-cars.  I love getting her card after all the hustle-bustle of the Christmas season has subsided. Yes, I’m piggy-backing on her idea.

Like January, janitor gets its essence from the god Janus, the god of doorways and passages.  St. Peter is the janitor of heaven.  Perhaps assessing the past year and planning for the future is a bit like tidying up and starting out with a clean slate.

All this looking back and planning for the next year, exhausts me.  How come a month isn’t named after Morpheus, the goddess of restful dreams?  I think I’ll go take a nap now.  But before I go, please tell me:

  • How do you look at the New Year?
  • What plans do you have for the next year?
  • Do you find setting goals inspiring or exhausting?


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