[personal profile] unforth
I prefer the word "goal" to "resolution," probably because I routinely work with goals and objectives as part of my job. :)

Anyway, last year I set a few goals for myself, and then I didn't look at the list again until a couple weeks ago. Here's what they were, and how well I feel that I achieved them.
1. Be Easier On Myself.

Wow. When I saw that this was my number 1 goal, I actually laughed. I have definitely not accomplished this, and I could definitely still benefit by doing so.

2. Work. I'd like to be clocking more hours. Lets try for 20 per week this year...

It's nice when a goal as a simple, straightforward rubric for success - and even nicer when I met it. As of yesterday, I've worked an average of 20.55 hours per week this year - and I'll probably raise that slightly today, as I have a meeting this afternoon. If I factored out the weeks that I was traveling, the average would be considerably higher, and I had many weeks of 40+ hours, counter-balancing the slower weeks.

3. Relationships and communications. Just keep on improving here.

Well, this continues to be a tough one for me. I thought I'd come a long way, and in some ways I have - but I found out the hard way how much farther I have to go. However, I made a new resolution about this in July of last year, and I've stuck to it pretty well. I'm not yet sure it's actually the answer, but I won't know if I don't give it a good run. It's pretty simple, actually: don't wait, and don't hold it in. If something bothers me, don't wait until I'm ready to explode to tell the person who is doing it. Be honest, and straight-forward, and express to people what my needs and desires are. This has had some problems - I end up feeling like I'm very hard on a few individuals, especially my mom - but I still think it's been working better than the alternative. I mean, mom and I had managed relatively well during the Italy trip, and we only had one ridiculous argument during the recent Texas trip, which is some kind of record for us I think.

4. Money management.

Call this one a raging success. I've kept a budget all year, and though I'm a little behind on the "monthly tallies" part of it (haven't done that part since August), I still did it for enough of the year to get a much better idea of how I spend my money. I've hardly put anything on a credit card since I zeroed them last April, and I haven't carried a balance for more than a month since then. It's VERY nice to always know how much money I've got - not how much Chase SAYS I have, but how much I ACTUALLY have, taking in to account bills that get paid late in the month and the like. I'll be keeping this up, but not as a goal, because now it's just habit - every few days, I update my finances spreadsheet. :)

5. Stay home.

Hahahahaha no. That didn't happen at all. I'm not even sure if I've spent one whole month sleeping in my own apartment this past year - I think I MIGHT have managed it last March, but I'm probably forgetting something. However, this is still something I'd really like. I'm getting heartily sick of always being on the move. There's currently a chance I'll manage it either January or February, but there is no longer a chance I can manage it for both cause I really do need to visit Bull Run relatively soon. :)

6. Writing and editing. I'd love to look back at this list at the end of 2011 and know that I finished the first edit run on the Golden Age novel. That seems to me to be a modest, achievable goal.

I think, of the failures on this list, this one makes me saddest. I spent some time last spring editting the Golden Age novel, and I get a bit farther in, but the challenges seem so great where I am in that process that I'm just not getting it together, which is frustrating and makes me feel lousy. Still, I've at least found the manuscript again - it was missing for a few months, though it turned out to be someplace stupidly obvious - and I WILL finish it someday. Meanwhile, I did make some other writing achievements. I went to World Fantasy Convention for the first time in October, and [livejournal.com profile] fireun and I are trading critiques...or at least, we will be once either of us finds some time! :) I started research for the Civil War novels in November, too, after deciding that I was out of excuses for putting it off. I also have a new goal related to this, which is below.

7. Next career. Even if I don't end up back in school, I'd like to make progress on pursuing my interests towards whatever comes next.

I didn't end up back in school, but I think I've still achieved this goal. I'm still debating geology (and it's still appealing, well over a year since I started thinking that way, which is a major victory for me). I've also spent hundreds of hours slowly growing a craft business, which has turned a minuscule but non-zero profit and built a small following (who don't buy anything but offer tons of much needed moral support). I'll be writing a much longer post about this part in particular over on my craft blog, either today or tomorrow - I'll try to remember to link to it when it's done.

8. Drum lessons.

Again, I love the easily met or failed goals - there's no gray area when it's something you've either done or not done. And this I've done. I've been going to Bloomingdale School of Music (where I used to take flute lessons when I was in HS!) and taking lessons with a cool dude named Jeremy Noller since February of last year. I often feel like I haven't made any progress at all, but then I remember how completely incapable I was of doing double taps when I first tried, and compare that to my last visit to Binghamton, where I successfully used double taps up-to-speed while playing Rock Band, and I realize I'm being silly. If I practiced more, I could make more progress, but I'm an adult with "three jobs" (the real job, the crafts and the writing) and I'm proud that I get done as much as I do - even if I do occasionally have to emergency cancel lessons because of work (this happened right before the holiday, much to my irritation). I haven't registered for spring semester yet - but I will be. :)

So...actually, I did pretty good. I succeeded at most of my unspoken goals (didn't drink for another year, maintained the workout regime, reached my goal of no longer being medically overweight, that kind of thing) - and of these 8 goals, I met 3 of them hands down, made progress on 2, and only failed 3 of them. :) I'll take those odds!

Oddly, I've been having a lot of trouble figuring out my goals for 2011. I think it's because I'm already doing a lot, and I'm actually fairly proud of how things stand here. I'm really starting to feel that I'm living up to my own standards and measuring up to my own expectations. Of course, I'm stupidly hard on myself, so I could saddle that previous comment with a half dozen addendums, but I'm stopping myself. :) Thus, most of my goals for 2011 are mirror images of goals I've had for many years - that I'd had for long enough that by 2010 I was no longer even listing them, and won't this year, either. These are goals like, keep exercising! Keep working! etc. However, I do have some specific goals. To my self next year: these are in no particular order. :)

1. 20 hours a week for work. I did it last year. I can do it this year. (and I'm not apologizing for how this doesn't sound like a lot, even though I feel like I should).

2. At least $25 a month to charity. For years, one of my goals was to volunteer some place. This never seems to happen, and I always beat myself up about it. It's a stupid cycle. So instead, I'm setting a charity related goal I can meet. I already give around $500 a year to charity, mostly through my memberships to museums and the like. My goal this year is at least $25 a month. My memberships will count, but if I donate $100 in, say, April (which is how much and when my Met membership will need to be renewed), that won't absolve me of my $25 in May. Institutions? I like to support cultural institutions in NYC, poor people in third world countries, and yesterday I realized I needed to add homeless New Yorkers and veterans to their list. I think that "Welcome Home, Veterans" will be my first charity (since I gave to third world poor people in December). Others are likely to be my usual (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society (which is the Bronx Zoo), the American Museum of Natural History), Kiva (which isn't exactly a charity), Heifer International, something to help Haiti, the Bowery Mission, places like that...and it may be I do some more than once.

3. My first craft show. Nuff said. And while I'm at it, just sustain my crafting efforts. I really believe that success is in reach as long as I keep pushing and working. Oh, right! And I want to release one free pattern a month. January's is gonna be a snowman, February's will be somehow related to Valentine's day, and March will probably be spring flowers. Beyond that I have no idea. :) I'll write more about the craft-related goals in a post over on that blog. (unforthccc.blogspot.com) :)

4. I WILL be starting the Civil War novel tomorrow, 750 words a day. I'm not at all ready. I haven't read about Cleveland history yet. I haven't learned much about police procedures in the 1840s and 50s. I haven't been to Bull Run yet, because the blizzard coincided with the day I was planning to go down to Washington, and now I don't have the time. I don't care. I'll research as I go. If I find out I've seriously screwed something up, I'll rewrite it. I HAVE to start writing something. Also: reflecting on this, I'm going to allow myself to "bank" words - if I write, say, 1000 instead of 750, then if I'm really busy the next day, I will NOT beat myself up about writing only 500. In the past, I've been very bad about this.

5. Practice the drums. I'm actually pretty good about this, I manage about 2 hours most weeks, but I just thought I'd re-emphasize it. I've never been good about practicing. :)

6. Make some life decisions. I would like to commit to a future course, instead of waffling between the options that tempt me (geologist! crafter! writer! keep doing what I'm doing! geologist! crafter! writer! ...you get the idea). Beyond that, I need to put some serious time in to my "make one more attempt to find a boy" effort...but if it's failed by near the end of last year, I have to really consider my "have a baby by 30 with or without boy" idea (which I decided about 5 years ago, but realized was actually coming up earlier this year).

7. Keep better in touch with people. Specifically, there are three people I want to maintain better communication with: [livejournal.com profile] moonartemis76, [livejournal.com profile] buzzermccain, and my grandfather. If I could manage to call each of these people once a month, I'd feel like I'd accomplished this goal. :)

8. More time for the Jonie-dog. This year, giving her a solid half hour of exercise a day over and above her walks has happened only very inconsistently. She doesn't seem to care much, though she goes a little stir crazy if she doesn't the extra for weeks on end, but she loves running around outside, and she deserves a bit more of my time. Not even every day - I'll be happy if I can manage this two or three times a week.

9. Occasionally read in Japanese. Earlier this month, I read two manga volumes in Japanese. I didn't use a dictionary or a kanji dictionary, I just picked them up and read them cover to cover. I missed a lot...but I caught a lot, too, and by the time I had finished both, I had even picked up a couple new things. The past week, I've been reading a lot of books that were favorites when I was a tween. Many of them have blue highlighted sentences where I would pick out sentences with words I didn't know. I meant to look them up. I never did. I've known all but one of those words when I've read them now. I didn't learn them by looking them up. I learned them by reading. I think just forcing myself to read through manga in Japanese will do more for my learning than spending hours carefully looking up everything and making notes. If I just start reading them and not worry tons about "getting it all" I think I'll learn a lot - especially if I'm reading volumes that I've previously read in English. It's worth a try, anyway - god knows I did almost nothing in 2010 to maintain my language skills, and I'd hate to lose even more of them...

10. Get in to either a local board game group or table top RPG. My building has recently rolled out a new online interface that makes it way easier to meet and communicate with my fellow residents. So...I just posted a post in the "activity partner" area about trying to get a board game group together. I guess I'll see if anything comes of it! I gladly purchase a set of Settlers of Cataan if it meant I could make some local friends...

11. BE EASIER ON MYSELF. SERIOUSLY. I get it all done in the end. I've been really on top of things this year. Can I ever give myself a god damn break???

So...I think that's it, but I'm gonna wander off to the gym, and who knows, I might have a flash of insight while reading Darwin on the elliptical. :) (edit: so far I thought of two addenda and two more goal while changing and walking the dog, and adding that info to this post... :) ...but nothing new while I was at the gym )
As always, I may think of a bit more over the next few days; if so, I'll just edit it in. :) (edit: Hey, this year I actually DID think of a new one - #10 added. :) )

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!! :)
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