I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions. Which is a good job really, because it’s February already. New Year’s resolutions are dumb. Pledging to make loads of huge changes to your life, all at once, instantly, is a terrible idea.
I prefer to set goals and create plans — so instead of changing everything at the start of the year, I aim to have changed or achieved a few things by the end of the year. Much more sensible way of doing things if you ask me.
Why You Should Review Your Goals Each Year
Reviewing your goals and plans at the end of the year is extremely useful, too. Obviously, if you achieved everything you set out to do, but can just give yourself a little pat on the back, and maybe set some even more challenging tasks for the year ahead. But if you didn’t achieve them? Well, that can be enlightening; you can learn a lot about yourself by considering why you didn’t reach your goals. Did your mindset change, or your vision? Was something else more of a priority? Was it just an unrealistic goal in the first place? And what do all these things tell you about yourself?
For instance, I said I wanted to study for at least an hour a week in 2015. Dedicated, business-related study is what I had in mind. And, while I certainly learned a lot last year, I did not dedicate specific time to studying, and definitely not for an hour a week. But I learned from that. I learned that that’s probably not the most effective way for me to study, because I like to do things for hours at a time and really get into them.
Why You Should Set Action-Orientated Goals
I don’t like to set goals like ‘I will reach 10,000 email subscribers’, or other numerical shit like that. Partly because having 10,000 email subscribers in itself does not mean anything. It doesn’t guarantee success (although admittedly it makes it a lot more likely). But mainly the reason I don’t like to set goals like that is because they’re not something I have any control over. I can’t force 10,000 people to subscribe to my newsletter. And if I could, I doubt they’d be particularly engaged readers.
So instead I like to set action-orientated goals. What can I do? What do I have control over? Reaching 10,000 email subscribers is not something I have control over. But pitching 52 guest posts per year is. (Likewise, getting 52 guest posts published per year is not under my control. The only thing you have control over is your own actions.)
But mostly I like to lay out general plans, so I have something to guide me and refocus me throughout the year. Speaking of, here are mine!
My Goals and Plans for 2016
I feel like I have finally positioned Untamed Writing where I want it. It’s taken me nearly three years to get here, and those were a necessary three years of learning and adapting. But now I feel as if I’ve arrived. This is it. This is what I want Untamed Writing to be. The design of the site, the courses I offer, the mission of the business — it’s all finally clicked into place. (Thanks to striving for my 2015 goals!) So now my focus is going to be on growing. Here’s what I plan to work on in 2016:
Yes. That marketing thing I failed so abysmally at last year. It’s going to be my main focus this year. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘Damn, how am I doing this well when I’m still relatively unknown? Imagine if I had ten times as many subscribers!’ Yeah, really. I wonder what that would be like. So I’m going to be throwing myself into guest posting (for real this time). I’d also like to try to get interviewed more, and featured on more podcasts this year. Finally: social media. I want to be better at it.
- Complete six business-related courses
I was going to list twelve — one for each month of the year — but then I figured that would be silly, because a) January is already over and I didn’t complete a course, b) some courses take longer than a month, and c) you should build some leeway in anyway, right? There’s no way everything’s going to go flawlessly this year (or any year), so I should give myself some wiggle room. Plus, six courses still sounds like a lot.
There’s only one specific life-related goal I want to achieve this year. I was hesitant to write it down because I’ve been meaning to do it for years (and because my mum might be reading). But I figure putting it out there makes it more likely to happen, right?
- Learn to ride a motorbike
This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I watched Long Way Round (one of my favourite documentaries ever). I don’t intend to buy a bike afterwards or anything, I just want to be able to do it, you know? (Sorry Mum.)
- Experiment with my diet to see how it affects my ulcerative colitis
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a disease called ulcerative colitis, and I recently started a diet created specifically to help heal it. I’ve seen some very positive effects so far, so I want to use the rest of this year to figure out how particular foods affect me.
My dream goal is to be able to live without medication, or to at least know I can heal myself without it. This is largely so it’s not something I’ll have to worry too much about when I travel (although I will obviously take medication with me). And also, you know, if I can heal my guts through diet, and not have to be on medication for my entire life, why wouldn’t I want to do that?
Another thing I mentioned last time is that I stopped exercising towards the end of the year. I was burned out on doing exercise because I had to. Now, I’m feeling ready (excited even) to get back into it, this time on my own terms (not my physiotherapist’s). At the very least, by the end of the year I’d like to be in the habit of completing a bodyweight strength training workout three times per week (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, ideally).
I want to feel — and be! — stronger. I want to be able to do proper pushups again, and, OMG, I really want to be able to do pullups. No, I’d even be happy just being able to do one pullup. This feels kind of unattainable at the moment, but I’m sure it’s possible. Basically, I want to be able to have the strength to manoeuvre my body however I want. I want to be able to take on any challenge! I’m also hoping that regular exercise and strengthening my back muscles (another reason I want to be able to do pullups) will help eliminate my back pain. At the moment I kind of feel like a flabby weakling. Boo.
I’m also planning to throw some yoga in the mix, because I’ve found it really helpful for the knee I had surgery on in 2014, which has never been the same since.
- Rise earlier
I’m torn about this one. On the one hand, I would love to start getting up earlier. I always have good days when I get out of bed earlier, and I prefer mornings to evenings. But on the other hand, is it just my body’s preference to wake and sleep at specific times of day? Right now I tend to wake up between 9-10am, though sometimes I’ll wake up at 8am. I’d love to start getting up at 7am. I’m sure I can accomplish this if I commit to it. In fact, I did pretty well last summer, but got thrown off when I got home from a 3-week trip to America and was afflicted with jetlag. Since then, I’ve never quite gotten back to those early starts.
- Start flossing
Oh! I also want to start flossing by the end of the year. My dentist keeps bugging me about this. It’s on!
- Read 75 books
Madness! I know. I’ve never set a reading goal this high before, but last year I managed to read 52 books just fine, despite a slow start, and I’d never done that before either. I chose 75 this year because I know a bulk of my reading is going to be in the form of graphic novels, which I can read in an hour or so. (And uh, I may already have read 17 of them this year. Seriously you guys, Attack on Titan is SO GOOD.)
I have no idea where my travels will take me this year. I don’t have much planned, except for a trip to the US in August. But I do have one other thing in mind that I’d like to accomplish this year…
- Explore Scotland
I’ve lived in Scotland for almost five years now. What. The. Fuck. This is the longest I’ve stayed anywhere. And, though I stayed for very necessary reasons, I have a feeling this is going to be my last year here. It feels like it’s time to go. Various important elements of my life seem to be falling into place, which makes me feel excited for my next adventure. Anyway, bit of a tangent there. What am I supposed to be talking about? Oh, right!
I’ve been here for five years, yet I’ve barely seen any of the country. I’ve been to Edinburgh (duh, I live here), Glasgow, Inverness, and a few other places — but that’s really hardly anything when you consider what the country has to offer. As this may be my last year here, I want to rectify this. I want to explore some of the towns and cities I haven’t been to yet, but mostly I want to see the countryside. I envisage a road trip in my future. I’ve never even been to the Highlands for gad’s sake. (Not counting Inverness, because city is city.) Or the Islands! Wah, so much to see.
- More personal writing, less commercial writing
I want to move away from copywriting this year (though I will still take on clients who excite me), and to try to get more of my own stuff published. Well, any of my own stuff, really.
I want to get paid to write about the things I want to write about. To tell my own stories. I don’t want to just write commercial stuff any more. I love writing. I love writing about things I’m interested in. I want to do more of it. And if I can get paid for it, so much the better. This is uncharted territory for me, so I’m not exactly sure what this will look like yet. But how awesome will it be if I can get published on a high profile site? I’ve got a big year of studying and learning ahead of me. Can’t wait!
Alright, so those are my goals and plans for the year! How about you? Give it to me in the comments!