Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Posted by Laurel Garver on Wednesday, January 02, 2013 20 comments
Happy New Year, friends. I hadn't intended to take quite such a long blogging hiatus, but I've been battling a rather nasty respiratory virus for many weeks. Something had to give, and knowing how little folks read blogs over the holidays, it seemed wise to back off this venue for a bit.

Many of you have been busily crafting elaborate plans for the coming calendar year. I've never been a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, but I do like goal setting. I think my reluctance to join the resolutions bandwagon is the arbitrary nature of the date. January 1 is in the midst of the Twelve Days of Christmas (day 8, Feast of the Holy Name). The fact it fell on a Tuesday makes it feel even less like "the start of something new," at least to me. For centuries, the new year began in March, which makes more sense, since winter is passing and the new life of spring is emerging.

So it's now 2013, a new number. If that motivated you to set goals, great. If not, perhaps seasonal shifts are a better time for reflection and planning. I sat down and hammered out some creative plans just before Advent. Fitness goals were set back in July. I'll spend time examining spiritual goals before Lent begins.

You've probably heard that trying to institute too many changes at once decreases the likelihood that you'll accomplish any of them. Why not try a quarterly approach instead? Pick an area of your life for each season and set new goals then.

How do you approach goal-setting and planning? Do you like resolutions? 
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20 comments:

  1. I'm not a resolution maker. I tend to make my goals shorter term--i.e. finish the first draft of my current WIP by the end of February.

    I do have long term goals (like fitness, reading, etc.) with those I just schedule them into my life--then they become habits and (for me) they're harder to break than to keep. Plus, I give myself treats, e.g., when I run the treadmill I can read total fluff. But I can read it only when I'm running--so that totally motivates me.

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    1. Great ideas to copy here, Connie. I think especially with writing goals, it makes sense to keep them short term. Building rewards into the system is a great idea too.

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  2. I agree with the too much thing. But I have a lot of things to get done in writing (both personally and for school) so I set goals a few weeks back.

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    1. It's great to goal-set when the urge hits rather that based on some date that's popular. Good for you!

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  3. I laughed reading this, because I thought I was the only one who set/evaluated goals based on the liturgical calendar. :) January 1st seems too arbitrary for me, too, as it is just an "in the middle" day--in the Roman Catholic calendar, it's the feast of Mary, Mother of God, but it's still the 8th day of Christmas!
    So I begin at the beginning, with Advent--and Lent reminds me to take stock of my spiritual and family life in a deeper way. In terms of "work" (for me, writing) goals, I'm still stuck on the semester system from my college days. I write out a little syllabus each January and August of things I want to accomplish. Definitely helps to break it into manageable amounts!
    I hope you are having a lovely Christmas season! I have a big, English Epiphany party I'm in the midst of planning. :)

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    1. I think the Eastern church might have another name yet beyond the Catholic and Protestant calendars. :-) I'm fairly new to entwining my life more with the liturgical calendar; what's nice about it is all the spiritual support available in centuries' worth of writing. Something tells me there's a devotional book idea in this somewhere...but I digress. I love the syllabus idea--so you plan ahead aspects of craft to work on? What you'll read? Give yourself assignments? Now THAT is organized!

      Wishing you all the best with your Epiphany party. We did one years ago. The book club where I met my husband did one with a dramatic reading of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as part of the festivities. Wonderfully fun!

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  4. I know I've bitten off more than I can chew, but apparently I'm a glutton for punishment.

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    1. Some goals can be chipped away in small increments over a long time; others demand a big output of time right up front. It's really a matter of not having too many in the latter category. Good luck with your new endeavors!

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  5. It is definitely an arbitrary number, and I jump on the bandwagon 50% of the time. It seems an every other year thing for me. I discussed it on my blog.

    I don't resolutions that say "Old me sucks and new me will be awesome". Every year we inch towards better through natural improvement. But I do like to take that time to think about where I've been and where I would like to go.

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    1. I think you're on to something with avoiding resolutions that trash talk where we are right now. When I feel bad about myself, I'm unlikely to sustain real motivation. When I look at yesterday with gratitude, I can better approach tomorrow with hope.

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  6. I do quarterly! Well, I set a set of goals for each quarter and then reassess and alter the next set of goals accordingly.

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    1. That sounds like a sensible way to keep organized and motivated. Good for you!

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  7. What a great idea. I do find that my goals have become more specific over the years and I also make them all year long. More tends to come of them that way. Great advice.

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    1. Vague resolutions have a way of mostly making us feel guilty; real goals are more tangible and you know when you've achieved them. Spacing the assessments, planning and dreaming over the year makes the process seem less overwhelming too.

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  8. I set myself kinda month to month goals; of an overall yearly goal. Productivity is mood generated and I know I'm more motivated after a couple months of break, but who know what I'll feel like in 3 months.

    I hope you get to feeling better soon Laurel.

    ......dhole

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    1. Breaking down large goals into smaller ones is an excellent way to avoid biting off more than you can chew. I also find that some kinds of goals fit one season better than another. For instance, reading goals are best met for me in winter; I factor the weather into the kind of activity I'd naturally gravitate to.

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  9. I'm with you, I like the idea of goals better than resolutions.

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    1. Goals usually are a bit more concrete than resolutions, which tend to be vague things like "exercise more" or "be more brave."

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  10. Hey, that's a great approach! I had another friend say she preferred using her birthday as a marker. Since my birthday's in June, I could do January goal-setting and then June goal-checking!

    Regardless, it is good to take stock. Glad to hear you're on the mend! Here's to a happy and successful 2013, whhatever your plans~ :o) <3

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    1. Taking stock and setting goals when you're motivated to do it thoughtfully is always a good idea; it doesn't have to match anyone else's calendar. If January/June works for you, go for it!

      I'm not certain I'm genuinely on the mend yet. I have good days and bad days. The cough persists, some days worse than others. Sigh.

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