It’s the start of a New Year and I thought I’d try something I’ve never really done before: Take some time to really reflect upon the year that just ended and set a few goals for the coming year.
2014 was a time of great change and upheaval in my life. I feel extremely blessed to have completed a law enforcement career “standing up”, while simultaneously feeling a new kind of anxiety over entering uncharted territory. Who am I now? I tell myself that my career didn’t define me, but since leaving the job I now realize just how much that service was indeed who I am. What does that mean for me as a writer? Will it change my creative focus? In the past, I’ve been constrained by professional boundaries or expectations. Now that I have the freedom to speak as a private citizen, what would I like to say?
I thought about what I loved about the last year and reflected on the struggles. Delving into the best and worst parts of my year was an important exercise as a writer because we know struggles and emotions are what drive stories. Characters come to life when we identify with their challenges.
My challenge for 2015 is to reconnect with my strongest desire. What is it that I really want to accomplish? In what ways do I want to grow as a person and a writer? Who do I want to become? What do I want to say? Are all these questions connected? (For me, I think so.) I’m using these questions to help me work toward my goals for the year. They focus on my personal desire rather than making a resolution such as writing a certain word count per day. That works fantastic for some folks, but has never worked for me. Maybe I need to find some existential benchmark for success, who knows? I only know that resolutions feel a bit like fighting to improve on things I haven’t done well and I thought maybe it’s time to focus on the things I do well or really want instead.
What is your real talent? What would focusing on what you do well mean?
What is your truest desire for 2015?
Who do you want to become?
What steps will you take to realize your dream?
In January 2016, when you reflect upon this year, what will your story be?
One last point: Don’t forget to include all of the areas of your life for growth and nurturing. Too often, we focus so much on our professional or physical goals that we forget emotional and even spiritual well being. Be good to yourself. Give yourself the gift of realizing your own potential. Embrace your passion and allow your strengths to naturally grow. Practice self-nurturing every day, whether it’s writing, meditating, or exercising, until it becomes a habit. That positive energy will set off real metabolic changes within you. Focus on what you need to be happy and healthy. Then you can be your best self to everyone else in your life.
Peace and Happy New Year