The Year of the Goal

I have decided that 2014 is The Year of The Goal.

Several of my blogger friends -- including HerKentucky's own Sarah and Lydia -- participate in the One Little Word project by Ali Edwards. It's pretty self-explanatory: you choose a word to serve as your guide for the year -- a word that embodies the things you hope to accomplish, or how you want your life to look in the upcoming year. (You can read about Sarah's word here and Lydia's word here.)

As I think of the year ahead, I am filled with so many ideas that I don't know where to start. I recently moved to a new home  in a city that, while familiar, has changed enough since I left to seem new and exciting. My beau and I have greeted some wonderful new opportunities, both personally and professionally. To be honest, I'm so bombarded with ideas for "what's next" that I'm a little overwhelmed. I can't do it all. 

Jessie Spano, y'all.
Maybe I can't do it all, but I can do most of it with some careful planning and even more carefully set goals.  That's why 2014 will be, at least for me, the Year of the Goal. Resolutions are easy to make. Dreams are easy to conceive. But goals? Goals are something that you plan to accomplish. Goals require action and accountability. Goals mean that you're going to get something done.

So, as 2014 came around, I asked myself "What do you want to accomplish this year?" I took those ideas and turned them into something concrete, with plenty of room to reassess, revise, and reestablish goals. I'm looking for long-term happiness and success, not crossing something off a to-do list just because I said I would.

I started January with three ideas. I want to publish my writing in more outlets, I want to exercise more frequently, and I want to start knitting again. I turned each idea into a goal: "I will publish in forums x, y, and z by the end of the year"; "I will complete another half-marathon this spring"; and "I will knit a scarf in January." See how my aspirations were turned to declarations? Goals are something you will accomplish. 

Knitting was an easy skill to re-learn. Today is January 8th, and I'm nearly finished with a dark grey wool scarf for my beau. That one was almost too easy. 

Country Music 1/2 Marathon, 2008

As for the 1/2 Marathon, I don't know if it's the right goal. Of course, I'd need to start a training program right about now to get myself up to 13 miles in the spring. But, I've been fighting a back injury for several months, and I worry that this isn't the most attainable goal. Getting fit might be a better goal for my long-term health and fitness. I'm consulting with a doctor and logging my mileage. I'm not giving up just yet, though. There are exactly 100 days until the Derby Mini. A lot can be accomplished by then.

Promising Prose.
And then there's writing. I've devoted a lot of time to brainstorming ways to make various articles and essays better fit their intended audience. I've studied the submission guidelines for the publications in which I want to be published. But, I don't know any surgeons or lawyers or any other professionals who got to be great just by brainstorming and studying. They succeeded by practicing their trade. So, in 2014, I will reach my publication goals by writing more. It's easy to call oneself a writer. But, as Holly Golightly famously asked her neighbor Paul, "Do you write every day? Did you write today?" I hope to write something every day in 2014, even if it's just a character sketch or a well-planned Facebook status. I nearly allowed this goal to be derailed because our new computer, ordered just before last year's end, was delayed in shipping. If you think about it, though, the list of great works that were not composed using OS Maverick is infinitely longer than its cutting-edge counterpart. Writing simply takes an idea and a means for recording. A goal shouldn't be abandoned due to a mere technicality.

Limping to the finish line. I didn't run it all, but I did finish the thing!!

I figure I'll add goals as I mark others as complete. But, I want to embrace this year as the year I get things done.

2014 is The Year of the Goal.  (Click to Tweet.) What are your goals for 2014?