Tag Archives: Setting Goals

Third Quarter Review

At the beginning of 2011, I set out with some pretty specific goals for the year. I ran across a recent suggestion that people forgo the January New Year’s goals and resolutions in favor of a more broadened “year-in-review and goals adjustment” timed to match your birthday. I don’t really know that it makes that much difference whether you look at what’s going on in January, or at your birthday, or just on some random day. It just so happens that it was my 45th birthday on Friday, and it was also Rosh Hashanah. What better way than to lump the two holidays together for an excuse to make a report on my progress? Sure, I’m not Jewish, but that’s no reason to quibble.

Important goals should be looked at much more often than once a year. I know I’ve had an entire year go by only to have me look at the things I didn’t get to and think, “What the heck? How did that year fly right by me?” I don’t know if it’s just me, but the speed at which years seem to move has gotten faster, not slower. So, in this post I laid out my goals for 2011. And, in this post, I did a mid-year review. Given that I only have three months left, I decided I had to figure out how to finish the things that I haven’t done and revise my projections. I think revision is a good idea so that I don’t sit back and stop making progress in the areas where I have succeeded and change things so I have some chance of meeting the goals that are likely doomed for failure without some adjustment.

So here we go with the update:
1: Reach My Goal Weight:
Ulster Fries, High Tea, and Cadbury Flakes were just the challenges for June. I’ve been to Fogo de Chao in Atlanta and a wedding with the killer buffet of the century, weathered a few other challenges and am at the lowest weight I’ve been since before I got married. I actually don’t know exactly what my goal weight “should” be, but I’m close…so very close. I think another five or ten pounds and I might be there. Can I do it with the next three months–the heaviest foodie and party months of the year–coming up? I’m going to say probably. I’ve been flatlining that scale since late August, but I do weigh less than my man by a few pounds. I’ve also told my personal trainer that I want him to kick my ass at every session between now and the end of the year. He seems willing to comply. I can hardly lift my arms above my head today.

The Duotrope submissions tracker helps me keep things sorted neatly.

2: Submit At Least Three Short Stories for Publication
Done. And, I’ve submitted one story a couple of times, so, technically speaking, I’m up to four submissions. One story is e-published, one was politely rejected, and the third that I submitted just last week has been accepted into an anthology that will go to press in February 2012. I have one more story that I’m polishing up and will be submitting by the end of this week–so I’ve met and exceeded the original goal. I will amend the original goal by adding at least two more short-stories by the end of this year and the first draft of a novella destined for the adult market. (It’s short, only 60K and my NaNoWriMo time will be fully devoted toward that goal.) This year, I am NOT going to do TWO NaNoWriMo projects as the 100K I did last fall practically killed me mentally.

3: Actively Help and Support My Writing Group
This is probably the biggest fail of the year for me. That story I wrote about being read back in June is the SAME story I’m sending out next week. So, while I got some great feedback in June, I’m still making the revisions. The group was very hit and miss as our main organizer was out of the country last year and the rest of us are just not so great at organizing us. B. is back in town, and we’re back into the swing of things this fall. Yay. I need to just accept that I won’t be doing much more than reading, reviewing, writing and attending the group and rely heavily on others to actually set the date and order the pizza. However, the support and help by being a good reader is important, so I don’t feel like I have been a complete loser here. So, the amended goal is: read everything the other members submit and give valuable, thoughtful feedback on their writing and be grateful for what they give me in return.

4: Read All My Book Group Books
Not doing much better. Does reading a complete trilogy when we only picked the first book count toward other failed endeavors? Sigh. I love reading, but I no longer will read just anything. It used to be that I could pick up any book and read it start to finish. Now? If I don’t like it, find it uninteresting, or the style annoys me, I’ll put it down. Pearl S. Buck’s Peony was one of them…On the other hand, I couldn’t put down The Hunger Games, and had to start the second book as soon as I finished the first. I think this goal is officially amended to, “Try hard to read all my book group books, and finish those that I can.”

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Looking at Those Resolutions Halfway Through the Year

The same friend that prompted this post did a quarterly update on her own 2011 goals. Since we’re almost halfway through the year and it’s not likely I’ll be thinking that much about resolutions while on vacation, I figured I’d take a look at what I was thinking last December and see how I’ve done so far.

1. Reach My Goal Weight: Given that I’m down more than half the difference since last December, I’m going to cautiously say yes, I’m going to make this goal. The reason I’m being cautious is that I’m about to spend three weeks facing down some serious food challenges while in the UK. That picture to the left? That’s called an Ulster Fry. Apparently it’s not served just in Ulster but is likely to be a pretty good representation of a lot of the breakfasts we are likely to see. Forget about things like “High Tea” at Harrod’s or any of the other possible food options we’ll come across. Can you say “Cadbury Flake?” I have a lot of food memories of living in London, and I’m going to have to try to keep some of them just memories and resist trying to relive them.

2. Submit at Least Three Short Stories for Publication: Well, I didn’t say what kind of short stories, now did I? While it may seem like a cop-out to some folks, I am going to say work under my pen name qualifies. I’ve got one story out with the final edit being done for a site that publishes erotica. I’ve been told that it should be “up soon.” I’m thinking it will appear while I’m on vacation, but that’s okay. I’ve started another short story under the same name, and I will submit that to the same site in Mid-July. So, I’ve got one third of my goal accomplished, and am well on my way to 2/3. There’s one more short story just a single edit away from submission as well. I do believe that this goal is close to being in the bag.

3. Actively Help and Support my Writing Group: Hmmmm…I wouldn’t say this is a complete fail, but I could be doing better at this. I have had the opportunity to have a story reviewed recently–the one that’s just an edit away from sending out. I’ve also been able to read some really good work from my group members. I’ve not been terribly good at helping with the organizing or calling to make reservations at the place we usually meet.

4. Read all My Book Group Books:I had to look at what the offerings were so far in 2011. In January, we read Never Cry Wolf, by Farley Mowat. That was an easy read. Got all the way through it happily. February’s pick, Plum Wine by Davis Gardner is still in a canvas tote that I took with us on a little family outing along the way. I started it, but…it just didn’t grab me. Huck Finn for March was clearly cheating. How many times have I read that book? Did I re-read it? Nope. I figured I’d read it at least four time if not more, I didn’t really need a refresher for the discussion that was finally cancelled after enough people were sick or otherwise busy. The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose in April was one of the best picks of the year as far as I’m concerned. I read the whole thing, handed it off to both Margy and Dave who followed suit. It’s a fascinating read, and I’m looking forward to what Roose will do next. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark was our final book, and it left me cold. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t stand this book. Granted, I picked it up and had my mind set on reading a regular sort of novel. If I had known that Spark is a post-modernist writer, I would have had an easier time of it. (Maybe. I’m not a fan of books without some sort of…story.) As it was, I lost patience with the prose and tossed it aside. Literally. My copy has a bent corner now. This resolution is clearly needing my attention. I have five more books this year that might bring up my score, so here’s hoping.

I have a bit of work to do across the board, but if I had met or exceeded all my goals half way through the year, I would have been under-reaching. If I’d said I would get that whole novel submitted, it would have been over-reaching. All in all…I’m thinking I’ve set a reasonable pace. Now, if I can just avoid too much take-away curry while in London…

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