After all the activity of December, there’s something refreshing about turning the calendar page to January, even if it is the coldest month of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere).
January is named for the Roman god, Janus—the god of gates and doorways. As we pass through this figurative gate, January becomes a time for reassessing what worked last year and what you might do differently this year.
Last year I didn’t make any resolutions. Well, I made Un-Resolutions. This year I’m going for Phased Resolutions, which means I’m not making them all at once.
My resolution for January is to finish at least 250 Final Draft words a day. It can take ten times as many First Draft words to get the 250 Final Draft words, so this is a good goal for me. Sometimes I’m lucky and the first draft words equal the final draft words. That doesn’t happen often so I treasure those days. In my phased approach, if all goes well, I will increase that goal to 300 final draft words for February. And so on.
For organization, I may approach this by cleaning one closet on Saturday. Maybe I’ll begin with one shelf. Maybe, half a shelf. As they say, a job started is half done. Or I think the original quotation is: Well begun is half done.
That reminds me of a quotation Aunt Net has on her bathroom wall:
Never start a vast project with a half-vast plan.
This year, I’m also learning about Setting Intentions.
At the end of November, I started yoga class. I am still a major newbie, struggling to achieve at least a semblance of those poses and I have much to learn. One of the things I’ve learned is that yoga is a lot more than poses. It’s a way of Being. At the beginning of class, I hear the phrase—set your intention. Different intentions come to mind. This morning, the word Strength came to mind. I want to be stronger. On another day, my Intention is Calmness.
I like this idea of setting intentions far more than the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions or Setting Goals. Goals by definition are future-oriented and often end up being unrealistic and undoable.
“Setting an Intention” is very “In The Moment”. When I think about it, I KNOW what I need to do. And I am learning to trust “my knowing”.
Do you Set Your Intention at the beginning of the day? Do you prefer the more future-oriented goal setting? Or do you like to simply go with the flow and be surprised by what actually gets done?
ice crystals from photos.com #177585546
Good luck Suzanne. I would think Intentions are better than goals. I didn’t set any goals for 2014 – and now I’m busier than ever. I plan on writing a book from scratch and finishing a difficult one I am trying to get done. Overall I feel optimistic.
Hi Mary! Sounds like a busy year of writing! You’re doing what you enjoy so you can accomplish this. Good luck!
I have a specific goal for this year – get contracts for my two current (WIP) novels. As far as starting the day, the Hail Mary is always good.
Liv – you always make me laugh. Yes, the Hail Mary fits the bill!
Good luck with those contracts.
Great post, Suzanne. On reflection, I think I’m right in the middle of resolution/intention. I have a copy of The Salutation to the Dawn written on my hall window which I try to read once a day. In brief, it says that each day holds the possibility of three things -the bliss of growth, the glory of action and the splendour of beauty – and if we pay attention to those opportunities, then every yesterday is a ‘dream of happiness’ and every tomorrow a ‘vision of hope’. Happy New Year!
Diana – Thank you for that beautiful quote. And Happy New Year!
I’m a go with the flow kind of person who always does much better when she sets intentions. Goals rarely work for me because I rebel against them. They remind me too much of how the public schools here teach to the test b/c their goal is to have a certain score on the state tests each year. I think I’m going to miss out on too much if my focus is so directed. But I like the intentions idea and in a way, I do set intentions most mornings. Wordy much?
No, not wordy 🙂 I know what you mean. There are test scores and jumping through hoops. And then there is education. (That’s a whole other post – a whole set of books!)
Sometimes goals become deadlines, which might become Dead Lines. Setting intentions takes advantage of our natural flow. Our energy is ready for a particular task and we will do it well at that time. Hope your book is Flowing!
I like the idea of setting intentions, but I think they provide me with too much of an ‘out’ clause… I am definitely a goal-setter and list-maker. I am at my calmest when ticking things off a list. But I do try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t meet them all, because I invariably set myself an overly ambitious list!
This year I will be revising a novel, and I have no idea how long it will take, so it’s a bit hard to set daily or weekly goals until I get going. My overall ‘intention’ (and I will name it as such, rather than a goal) is to complete the revision this year. 🙂
I also love that feeling of checking things off a list. Sometimes I even make a list after the fact, just so I can check something off it 🙂 And then there’s my “done list”. The “done list” makes me realize what I have actually accomplished so I will quit beating myself up for not getting Everything done.
Ellen – you’ve set your intention for 2014 – to complete the revision! Each morning you will think about 2014 = revision and the “how” will present itself. Good luck!