Happy New Year everyone, welcome to 2014.
I generally find the new year period to be a good time for reflection. Remembering the positives, and learning from the mistakes, of the last year. It’s been many years since I’ve given up the notion of a new year’s resolution (does anyone do them anymore?). They were always too wishy-washy, too vague. Too much like you hoped some mystical force would help you because you made a wish on new years. Instead, as of late, I’ve opted for setting goals.
Superficially, they may sound the same, but the difference between a resolution and a goal (at least a properly set goal) is that a goal includes a path. For instance, a resolution might be to lose weight. The equivalent goal would included a strategy (with so-called lead and lag metrics), and dates to check progress. My goal is to lose 10kg by the end of April. This is 16 weeks away, meaning I need a steady weight loss averaging just over a 1/2kg per week. A lead metric will be calorie counting — ensuring I don’t average more than 1800 calories per day (unless I exercise well that day, then it will be about 2000). The lag metric is the scale and weekly weight monitoring. I already have the excel spreadsheet in order from last year.
Another, simpler goal, is to ensure I read at least one book per month. To aid in this, I’ve tended to favour buying e-books now. Then I can read them while on the train, or waiting for the bus. In my business, this is actually a pretty important goal (and, ideally, I should read more than one book per month), as authors should know what’s out there.
I have a number of other goals for the new year that I won’t bore you with. However, when it comes to goals, I’m reminded of the Coursera course Creativity, Innovation, & Change taught by Jack V Matson, Kathryn W. Jablokow, and Darrell Velegol of PennState (A very interesting, useful, and not overly demanding course with some good life lessons. I highly recommend it). The notions of Intelligent Fast Failure, Creative Diversity, and CENTER:character, entrepreneurship, ownership, tenacity, excellence, and relationship, are very useful for not only organizing your professional life, but on effectively incorporating your network and family life into that professional life.
For the final project, I produced the following synergy of the three concepts as they apply to my life as an aspiring author.
At a time when I’d taken a break from my writing group and was floating a bit with respect to life in general, this exercise reminded me of the importance of all aspects of my life and how they all fit into the whole.
I’m now using the ideas from this image as the centre of my approach for this coming year. In addition, this, combined with my own ‘incomplete successes’ in the autumn, have lead me to finally determine the approach to novel writing that is likely to be the most successful for me (hint: I don’t do the ‘organic’ style well).
So, I’m now in the outlining stages for two novels. One is a revision of a draft that’s already completed — thanks to other coursera courses (specifically Philosophy courses), I’ve gotten good ideas of where I want to go with this novel — and the other is a YA novel that’s the first of a trilogy (assuming the outline goes according to plan). But I digress.
The point of this post is not to share the details of my life, but only describe the approaches that I’ve found to be effective and some of the tools I’ve discovered in the last year. But mostly, I would love if you shared your success and experiences from the past year, and your goals and strategies for the coming year in the comments section.
And have a Happy New Year (and an equally happy and productive rest of the year).
Insight and longevity,
Edwin H. Rydberg