Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 Plan of Attack

If you missed my post about How To Make New Year's Resolutions, be sure to check it out. It will help you make sense of this post and the method behind my madness.

As I mentioned in that post, the three areas of my life that I'd like to focus on this year are Creative, Health and Financial. Now, let me be clear: these are not areas where I'm starting from zero, nor are they things I have not been working on for years. For me, New Year's resolutions aren't about making huge changes, but about directing my focus so I can make progress on the things that are important to me. Therefore, this is less of a resolution post, and more of a plan. A plan of attack. In other words, 2011 better watch it's back.

Creative Goals
My applications to MFA programs have been (mostly) submitted. My classes at the university are over. I have one print publication under my belt; I need to earn more! This year, I want to give my writing the time and attention that it deserves. Too often, I put my creative life last because I feel like I have to take care of everything else before I sit down at my desk to write. Not in 2011! Now is the time to bring my creative work to the forefront and mature as a writer and an artist. Naturally, I have a plan to make that happen.

Establish a writing routine in order to be productive and get published.
1. Write and/or revise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. (2.5 hours of writing per week.)
2. Submit at least one story per month to literary journals. (12 stories total.)
3. Enter at least five short story contests. (5 contests total.)

Read more than 15 books for the year.
1. Read for 30 minutes before watching TV at night.
2. Always travel with a book.
3. Take notes while reading in order to learn more about craft.  

Improve photography skills.
1. Sell current camera and get a nicer point and shoot.
2. Read a book about photography or take a class.

Health Goals 
I'm in pretty good shape, but I could be healthier. In 2011, I want to keep running but I also want to expand my fitness repertoire and be a more well rounded athlete. New challenges will keep me motivated and excited about exercise, and cross training will make me a stronger runner. I also want to take better care of my skin. I currently don't do anything for my face outside of the occasional moisturizer - a little TLC wouldn't kill me. It would actually do me good!  

Diversify workout routine with cross training.
1. Weight train twice per week.
2. Bike, swim or take a group class once week.

Run three times a week. Work on speed and set new PR’s.
1. Concentrate on speed work and weight training after the Houston Marathon.
2. Goals: 4:30 in Houston Marathon; 1:55 in Groveton Half; break 25 minutes in a 5K.

Take better care of my skin.
1. Use a moisturizer with SPF 15 every morning.
2. Create a nightly skin care routine.
3. Figure out a simple way to apply makeup.

Financial Goals  
Boring, but necessary. One thing I'm excited about is the Great American Apparel Diet, which is a challenge to go a full year without buying any new clothing. I'll blog more about this later, but for now let's just say that I'm excited to take part! 

Pay off credit card. Then, begin making double payments on student loan debt.
1. Credit card balance at $0 by March.
2. $250 to $500 to student loans per month for as long as I’m employed.

Aggressively contribute every spare penny to savings account.
1. Don’t buy anything that isn’t beautiful or useful.
2. Strive to save 30% of each paycheck.
3. Pay for everything in cash.
4. Buy things used or make do without. I have everything I need.
5. Go on the Great American Apparel Diet! No new clothes in 2011. (Except for two pairs of pants.)

Figure out how my retirement plan works and whether it’s optimal. 

Bonus: Blog goals! 
I wasn't sure I would post blog goals on my blog - that seemed a little too meta, even for me. But in the interest of transparency, I'm going to write them out. I've been blogging for over seven years and in the last two my blog has really started to grow - more readers, better content, bigger community. I've enjoyed the experience and I'd like to see how far I can take it. I don't plan on being a full time blogger (unless someone wants to pay me!) but I am proud of The New Me, and I would like to see it mature into a successful mid-sized blog. Here's how!

1. Refine the blog’s niche and revise mission statement, content focus and landing pages accordingly.(January 2011)
2. Redesign! (March 2011)
3. Become active in a blogger network (BlogHer, Foodbuzz, etc.). (April 2011)
4. Pitch guest posts to four bigger blogs.
5. Reach 1000 subscribers by the end of the year.
6. Solicit sponsors and/or look into ads. (September 2011)

And that concludes my 2011 Plan of Attack! Have you posted your resolutions? Leave a link in the comments and we can cheer each other on until 2012!