I generally don’t do resolutions. I don’t see the point. Or, rather, I do them, but I call them goals, which I tend to have better success with. Resolutions have never seemed very important for me. Resolving to do something isn’t the same as sitting down and making plans for how to accomplish these things I’ve resolved to do. So I do goals. I make plans for goals, and, even when I don’t quite succeed with those goals, I’m much less likely to beat myself up over not having attained them. With resolutions, I do guilt trips on myself, review the past, and focus on what I didn’t do. With goals, I stay focused on the future, and what is possible for me to do.

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2016 and how I plan on accomplishing them.

WRITING GOALS:

1. Keep up with 2 posts a week for my AEP site. – This seems pretty simple on the face of it, but it’s actually more challenging. I meant to sit down in December and come up with a list of topics I could write about, but never got around to it, so that’s what I’ll be doing for January. I’d like to work ahead on this, schedule posts, so I’m less likely to miss posts.

2. Write a total of 120,000 words for the year (avg of 10k/mo.). – This is another goal that seems pretty easy . . . until I factor in my bipolar disorder. It doesn’t help that I didn’t keep a master record of all my writing last year, though I did keep up with my daily writing logsheets for individual stories. So, I’ll be doing that this year: keeping a master log in addition to the individual-wip logsheets. I picked 120k for the year because I think it’ll be relatively easy to meet even if I spend a lot of time in writing downswings.

3. Complete writing at least one currently partial novel. – I’m not all that certain I’ll be able to do this. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of just picking something and working on it until I’m done with it. My creative mind, driven by my bipolar, has a bad habit of jerking my focus off a particular wip and into either a writing downswing, or onto another wip. I could try to force myself to stay focused on something my creative mind wants nothing to do with, but that would more than likely drive me into a severely depressive state and make me hate writing, which means I’d eventually put it up for at least a couple weeks just to escape from the emotional pit. I figured I’d put it on my list because I have plenty of incomplete stories I want to read to the ends of, so I should be able to finish one of them by December 31st.

4. Write at least one short story. – I have no idea what I’ll be writing, but if JA Marlow decides to post a submission call for another FM Anthology, I intend to submit to it. I’ve discovered I write short stories to prompts pretty well, so, if no submission call is posted, I’ll be using the story/scene prompts posted on FM for the basic idea for this story. I can also use the Idea Generator that’s on FM, which is a compendium of all past prompts, drawn up randomly.

(Notice I did not make a goal of starting, any new projects aside from the short story. It’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll start new novels. I do not want that to be a goal, though, because I have so much to finish first.)

LEISURE GOALS:

(It may seem odd to have leisure goals, but these are things that I honestly will not do, even though I enjoy them, if I do not put them as goals.)

1. Finish crocheting afghan for my sister. – It’s my plan to sit down with a movie at least three times a week and work on the afghan until it’s done.

2. Read at least one entire new book a month (12/year). – I tend to start reading new books, then set them aside and forget about them. So, like with my writing, I have a lot of books I’m part-done reading. I also tend to reread books a lot, and I really need to expand my reading habits out of fantasy that’s been written before the turn of the millennium. I’ve not kept up with modern fantasy as well as I need to have, and I want to start looking for good books in other genres. I’ll be asking friends who read widely in certain and many genres for suggestions. So, first, I’ll finish all those books I’ve started reading, then move on to other brand-new books that are unfamiliar to me, by doing my best to take at least an hour each day to sit somewhere away from my computer and read—I think I’ll be going downstairs to the lobby of my apartment building to tuck myself in one of the comfortable chairs or sofas down there to do this.

FITNESS GOALS:

1. Do physical therapy for arm. – Back in November of 2014, I went into the VA’s emergency room with a left arm that would barely function at the shoulder. I subsequently spent about 5-6 months going to physical therapy to rehabilitate my shoulder. Back in September of 2015, I stopped doing exercises with my arm altogether. I am still disinclined to do them, because they make my shoulder hurt, stiffen, and lock up. However, I am still unable to raise my arm past my shoulder without at least a little pain and movement is limited beyond that point, so I need to get back on these exercises. Starting the first Sunday of 2016, I’ll begin with the exercises again, doing all my daily requirements each day, and doing my every-other-day sets starting Monday. I’ll be using resistance bands for all these exercises, starting with those with the weakest resistance at first, then work up to the bands with greater resistance over the month, until I’m using the proper band assigned to each exercise.

2. Go to Gym at least 4 days a week. – This is something I’ll be working up to. My inclination is to leap in and go four days a week—that’s how I started out when I first bought the membership back in August or September, but I didn’t stick with that long. So, beginning the first full week of 2016, I’ll go two days each week of January, 3 days each week of February, and begin the 4 days a week in March. My fitness regimen at the gym will be: 20 mins on the recumbent bicycle and 15 mins on the treadmill each day I go in; then, on day 1, doing what PT exercises I can at the gym with their resistance bands, and work on my core and back; and, on day 2 of the cycle, doing whatever PT for my arm I can do there, with leg weights.

REAL-LIFE GOALS:

1. Get into school, or find a job. – For this, I will need to stay in contact with my VR&E counselor up at the VA and do as she suggests. I’m currently on watch for a volunteer position at the City Library, and I intend to start looking around for other volunteer opportunities at other places around the downtown area, where it won’t cost me anything to use public transit, as my funds are still rather limited. I also need to do some research into educational tracks that will prepare me for specific jobs (no general ed courses) at the community college and discuss likely careers based on these educational offerings with my VR&E counselor.

2. Learn how to cook diabetic-friendly dishes. – I’ve made this a goal due to my recent diabetes diagnosis. I’ll be seeing the dietitian at the VA again for a diabetic-friendly menu and advice on what I need to avoid at all times. I’ll also research diabetic-friendly recipes online. I plan on making at least four diabetic-friendly meals each week—two lunches and two suppers. I intend to make enough to have leftovers for a day or two between cooking each meal, so I need to look for recipes that make enough for up to four servings. I will also be doing other things to change my eating habits, like buying individual servings of things like yogurt instead of the tubs I usually get and eating smaller meals.