If you had asked me last night how I would be feeling today, I probably would have told you flat, down, sad, or one of a thousand other words a writer might use to describe being in the doldrums. I was watching the back end of 2015 pass, and feeling like crap. I didn’t know why. I wasn’t going to any New Years Eve parties, but I wasn’t concerned about that. While they can be fun, I’m also quite as happy to see the New Year in at home.
So, I sat myself down and wrote down all the things I’ve accomplished this year.
The list got longer and longer, and I felt better and better. Then I wrote my plans for 2016. Note I said plans, not goals. An important differential that I’ll talk about in a moment.
Here’s what I managed to accomplish in 2015:
- Finished my first AND second manuscripts
- Decided to be a writer
- Reconnected with Stirling Players (my first theatre group in Perth)
- Reconciled with my parents (a story for another time)
- Costumed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for Stirling Players
- Repainted Aiden’s room
- Helped Grant to set up his business
- Got into the swing of things at my new job
- Attended my first RWA conference
- Attended my first local writer’s group
- Overcame Chronic Fatigue
- Found my critique group
- Got distinctions on the University units I did
- Won Camp Nanowrimo in July
- Won Nanowrimo in November
I looked all over my life for the things I had accomplished, work, family, uni, writing, theatre… and found that I had done SO MUCH it was brilliant.
In that lovely positive frame of mind, I went about writing my plans for 2016.
Why plans, not goals? Because plans are fluid, while goals are stationary.
Some people need good, solid goals to reach. They write them down, strive to reach them and if they don’t quite get there, they are still pleased at the end of the time allotted.
Then there are those of us who are totally de-energised by missing goals. It drags us down, stamps FAILURE across our foreheads and gives us no impetus whatsoever to continue.
For people like me, plans are a much better alternative. They are still written down, they are still designed to give you a roadmap toward success, but because they are plans, they can change. It’s much easier to change plans than it is to move goalposts! Having said that, I still make stretch goals for myself, so if I accomplish all my plans, I still have something to work towards.
Wanna see my plans for 2016?
- Publish my first novel
- Perform in FringeWorld 2016
- Get to 80kg and maintain
- Get outside daily for at least 15 minutes
- Attend RWA conference 2016
- Complete 4 Uni units
- Perform in Brief Encounter at Stirling Theatre in July/August
- Pitch a novel to at least 1 publisher and 1 agent
- See my friends more
- Develop better self-discipline
- Win Nanowrimo
- Take the time for 2×10 minute meditation/mindfulness/thankfulness sessions daily
- Help Grant in whatever capacity he needs
- Help Aiden to transition to high school
For those who prefer goals to plans, some of these are way too broad. “Develop better self-discipline? What kind of a plan is that? How? When? How will you know when you have reached it?” Actually, it will be a totally ongoing process. My self-discipline is pretty much non existent at the moment, so any movement in the right direction will be awesome. I don’t have to ‘reach it’. It will just be a matter of doing it.
After planning, I decided to see how my new plans would fit into my life. Sadly, I’m about an hour short a day of accomplishing everything that I’ve set my mind to. So, for the first time ever, I have decided to Get Up Earlier. [There is an audible gasp from the people who know Bree.] Yes, my clock will be set for 6 or 6:30 most mornings, instead of the 7:15 it’s been on for years. (Many of you are looking at me right now and saying “I always get up that early. It’s not that much of a big deal.” Believe me, it’s a Big Deal. I value my sleep above all else. People have been known to disappear when they come in to wake me up. I have the bodies under my bed to prove it…)
My three stretch goals are to publish the whole Perth Girls series (3 books), get to 75kg and maintain, and prepare a version of my show Who Killed Candy Sweetness? for performance in FringeWorld 2017.
Is it goals or plans for you? Did you see the new year in in a big way, or sat on the couch like me, with my son, counting down the last ten seconds, then shouting “Happy New Year!” at the top of our lungs? Have you envisioned your 2016 bigger and brighter than your 2015? I’d love to hear it if you have!
Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net