So I suppose we have to talk about them. Yes, them. Goals. Everyone gets all goal-this and goal-that the first few weeks of January, sort of like a mini-flu season where you get in this fevered rush for improvement. Of course, being humans we all dive in with this big resolve and enormous vigor, and then by about the middle of the month (which happens to be about now) those wonderful ideals that we so carved out in a frenzy of champagne and good intentions suddenly get in the way of old, comfortable habits.
Now I am a huge proponent of goals, just not the New Year’s sorts. But I got roped into speaking about goals at the January 22nd meeting of Pacific Northwest Writers entitled “Habits of Successful Authors – Goal setting for 2009” and I found myself having to ponder my own goals and habits. Now if you read my last post, you will know by now I am a lazy creature, who likes her coffee, a bit of knitting and an hour a day to watch All My Children (Did you see Tad kick Krystal to the curb this week?—oh, yeah, that was classic.). But since the good people at the Pacific Northwest Writers have decided to call me successful and infur that I have habits that make me such, I now have to come up with a list of them, leaving off the aforementioned coffee, knitting and AMC, which apparently are NOT conducive to getting pages written.
But I thought more about what making goals forces us to do, because one of my goals this year (I know, I said I don’t believe in them, but I still make them. I’m a lemming, what can I say?) was to get my knitting organized. The other weekend, I dove in, headfirst and pulled out every skein of yarn I own. Which also meant owning up to my family just how much yarn is actually stored in our house. I dragged it out from under beds, closets, my office, my husband’s “Bob Cratchet” office (It’s this cold, dark little room in the basement that is “his office”, hence the nickname, and don’t forget that implies I’m Scrooge in my heated, well-lit cozy domain upstairs). I found yarn practically holding up the foundation, but thankfully removing it kept the house upright. What it forced me to do was look at all my good intentioned projects (because I bought, traded, bartered and thrifted for all of it with the intent of making a specific project) and realized I needed to come up with some 2009 rules for my knitting.
Now before you panic over my use of the word “rule,” I think this very important word has gotten a bad rap over the past few decades, because I don’t think of rules as bad things. Rules are guidelines to keep our lives in order. And an orderly life tends to function better than one bursting at the seams without any focus, one without rules. So I sorted all the mismatched, haphazard bags and totes and bins of yarns and put them into an order for me to work through. My order probably wouldn’t work for anyone else, but it made logical sense to me and brought a real sense of peace to the otherwise panicked realization that I own over 40,000 yards of yarn. And while my knitting is a creative outlet, having a workable portion of it queued up and lined up has brought a renewed sense of excitement and accomplishment to my nightly K1P2 endeavors that ends up spilling into other parts of my life and soul as well. I know, I got a little Oprah there, but really you get one corner dusted out and the rest don’t look so daunting.
Think of all the bad habits we have stuffed into our personal closets, the ones we tuck under the bed, out of sight–nearly out of mind, and perhaps, oh, say occasionally, like in January, it might just be a good time to drag them out, confront them, acknowledge them, then whip their lazy hind quarters into shape. Come up with the rules that make sense to you that will bring order to the things in your life that could use a little tidying up. Then, quite frankly, just stick to your rules. It really is that easy. You don’t rob banks because it is against the rules. So why break your own personal rules? Your cleaned out under the bed space will thank you.
BTW, the PNWA meeting (next Thursday, January 22nd) is open to all writers, not just members of PNWA. There will also be an autographing afterward. If you have ever wanted to learn more about this organization or just hear from a panel of writers the habits that help them keep the pages moving, this would be a great place to start, do plan on dropping by the Bellevue B&N around 7. More details can be found on my Events page. Hope to see you there.
What are your goals for this year and what lessons have you learned from past goals to make sure these work for you?