We-ell, ya know… we all want to have a plan.

But now I am going to admit something that might make you think I’m the Scrooge of New Year’s:  I find reading other people’s New Year’s Resolutions boring.  Why?  Because they have no bearing on my life whatsoever.  They’re kind of interesting in a voyeuristic sense and/or if they give you ideas, but really, after reading post after post of them, my eyeballs are hanging out of my sockets by springs and there’s a pile of drool collecting on my desk.

There.  I said it.

HOWEVER, while I don’t love reading others’ resolutions, I realize that many people do.  I also believe in the power of not just setting goals, but writing them down, sharing them, and creating a plan to hold oneself accountable.  So it is in this spirit that I embrace my inner hypocrite and present you with my resolutions for two areas of my life (I wouldn’t think of subjecting you to the ones about my finances, my house and my family).  Those areas are…. drumroll…. Writing and Health and Wellness.  Posting them here is my way of holding myself accountable because at some point, I’ll feel obligated to come back and tell you all how I measured up.  So here goes:

Writing

1. Land an agent. I know, I know! I can hear you all screaming about S.M.A.R.T. goals, claiming this one isn’t Specific, Measurable, Achievable (at least independently), Realistic or Time-based.  Yeah, I worked in the corporate world too.  Yet, I would feel remiss if I didn’t put this on the list because this is the biggest next step toward reaching my future publication goals.  SO – I have created sub-goals that are SMART.  If I achieve those but still don’t get an agent, I’ll mark it as success.  I just want to make sure I’ve done everything within my control to work toward this goal.

  • Get primary WiP (call it WiP #1) submission-ready (again!) by end of January
  • Have a list of 8 agents to query for that WiP ready by end of January
  • Begin querying WiP #1 to those 8 agents beginning of February
  • Get WiP #2 submission-ready by end of March
  • Have a list of 8 additional agents to the ones queried for Wip #1 ready by end of March
  • Begin querying WiP #2 beginning of April (assuming no response/progress on WiP #1)
  • Write a first draft of BRAND NEW SUPER SHINY IDEA by end of February
  • Have BRAND NEW SUPER SHINY IDEA submission-ready by end of June

That’s as far as I can reasonably plan, I think, so I commit to setting new goals in June to keep this on track.

2. Write every weekday. Here writing is defined exclusively as new writing or revising a WiP.

  • Schedule a minimum of one hour of uninterrupted writing time each weekday.

3. Writing-related work every weekday. Writing-related work can be reading, research, writing pitches or query letters, blogging, social media, etc.

  • Must complete a minimum of one hour of writing-related work each day.  Does not need to be consecutive or uninterrupted.

4. Study craft and market for Travel Writing and Personal Essays. After picture books, these are other areas of writing that have great appeal to me, especially because they can also support research for the children’s writing (international research, anyone?).  So this year I just want to make inroads into understanding the markets for this type of writing and to begin working and studying the craft and how it differs from what I am doing now.

  • One hour of writing-related work per week must be dedicated to either travel or personal essay writing

Health/Wellness

So it turns out I have a big birthday coming up.  Although I always have health/wellness related resolutions and goals, they are more important than ever this year.

1. Be in great shape by 40th birthday. Again, I realize this violates all of the tenets of SMART goals, so again I broke it down.

  • Lose 15 pounds by:
  • Counting daily calories consumed beginning Jan. 10th. This is really a bummer because I hate doing this, but I know it’s the only way to be honest with myself about how much I am actually eating/drinking.
  • Exercise 5-7 days each week unless sick
  • 2 of the 5 sessions must be strength/yoga/pilates
  • 1 of the 2 strength sessions must be a full-body strength workout
  • Wine on weekends only unless special occasion.  This is also a bummer. I love my red wine at the end of the day.  Honestly, sometimes I’d like it as an IV drip.  But truth be told, it not only accumulates on my waistline, but it *gasp* impacts my productivity the next day if I’ve indulged in a couple of drinks the night before.  So in the spirit of keeping all the resolutions intact, I will limit wine to weekends outside of special weekday occasions.  Special occasions include things like: book club, dinners with friends, date nights, etc.  Special occasions do not include “because I deserve it” after a long day or because the kids are pushing every single button I have.

2. Run at least one race of 10K or greater distance

3. Learn to ski moguls with confidence. I can ski them, but not well.  This is the year I change that.

4. Craniosacral therapy once a month

5. Yoga at least once a month

6. Five-minute morning meditation first thing – before kids get up

So there you have it.  I know it’s an ambitious list, but at the start of a squeaky-clean year, I feel ready to tackle it!

What about you? Do you like reading other people’s resolutions? Do you think resolutions actually work?

Categories: Goals, Health/Fitness, Picture Books, Queries, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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16 Comments

  1. Okay, I somehow left a comment on the cartoon only.. not even sure how that happened. But here is my comment for the rest of the post: Wow! We have a lot in common! I have a big birthday coming up too (mine’s worse! 45!) and I also prefer my wine IV style 🙂 I am going to a black tie wedding next week and realized that I can’t fit into anything that I own! So, my mom said she’d lend me a dress. she brought it over today… and I couldn’t zip it! How sad is that???

    So, i am with you on the health and wellness goals!

    As for the cartoon… sums me up perfectly 🙂

    • Corey,

      We really DO have a lot in common.

      As for the dress, get thee some Spanx and you’ll be fine 🙂

      And yes – if I’m not even posting my resolutions until the 4th of January, it pretty much goes without saying that procrastination is a challenge for me!!

  2. My New Year’s Resolution: Do NOT argue with Monkeys.

    My general resolution each year is to be the best “me” I can be . . . and I am the ONLY judge of my progress.

    It’s progress, not perfection, that I’m after.

    Julie ~ as I read your list, I thought only one thing . . . why is “just because” a special occasion? At least occasionally.

    • oops . . . why ISN’T “just because” . . .

      • A good question. The answer is because “just because” would become “every day.” There will undoubtedly be times that I declare a special occasion (or perhaps, more likely, a state of emergency) on a regular day with nothing “special” afoot. But that has to be the exception to the rule.

        As much as I love that glass (or two) of wine each day, I don’t feel as healthy as I think I would if I drank less. And if I don’t feel as healthy, I’m probably not as healthy.

        I’m not going to think of it as deprivation though. Instead I am going to treat myself each week night to some exotic and special herbal teas. A big part of it is just the comfort of a “relaxing” beverage.

      • That’s the right way to look at it ~ you are not giving up wine, you are claiming better health. 🙂

        I rarely drink these days ~ last time was Christmas Day. But I occasionally proclaim a Happy Hour . . . just because.

        BTW: Loved the titled of this piece. 🙂

        Good luck with all your resolutions.

        • Glad you liked the title. I seem to have a sickness with regard to mangling song titles and repurposing them them for the blog!

  3. I think those are fabulous goals– especially the 10K! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  4. Great post! I just found you and this blog via a Twitter friend, and the timing is great. I share your goal of #1, and like the way you’ve broken it down. Wasn’t familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. acronym before, but it seems you’ve met the criteria! 🙂

    • Hi Patrick, welcome aboard! It’s always exciting to meet new people here. If you’re looking for an agent too, you might want to check out my post entitled, How to Research Editors and Agents in case you find anything new in there. Good luck with your search!

  5. I don’t really seek out posts about resolutions, but yours was certainly intriguing. I may copy your format and spell out a few of my own. A long time ago, I used to be “religious” about making (and writing down) new year’s resolutions. But then I guess I just got burned out. A couple years ago I decided on just doing one a year. One year, my goal was to eat more vegetables. I agree with you in that big goals have to be broken down into measurable ones. Thanks for the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. I love goal-setting, but it’s often hard to stick with it. We all need a way to be held accountable. I’m thinking of running a half-marathon in September!

    • Wow – a half marathon is a great goal! I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to that distance. I ran one in my early thirties and I’d like to do another one someday, but not this year.

      I hesitated to name so many resolutions because I agree with you that it can get overwhelming and reduce the chances of success. However, I found that last year was so unstructured that I just didn’t get as far along as I would have wanted. Maybe by aiming high this year I’ll actually hit the bullseye somewhere in the middle!

  6. Julie, you are an ambitious woman! From what I’ve learned about you these past months, I think your goals are very S.M.A.R.T!

    • Julie,

      You are too kind! I had to do it this way because I procrastinated too much last year. I hope this helps organize my days, weeks, and months better.

  7. I personally don’t see the point of New Year’s resolutions. Most of the time they end up in the toilet and why does it have to be a new year to make a change? My personal New Year’s resolution is to not make one. I can achieve my goals without needing a brand new year to forefront them.

    As far as reading others resolutions I must confess I don’t particularly enjoy them. I find them mundane and trivial.

  8. Julie, I can’t wait to see what your SHINY NEW IDEA is! 🙂 I’m with you on reading about other people’s resolutions, but I also think it’s worthwhile to put things in writing and hold yourself accountable for them.

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