New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year!

Despite proclaiming to not set resolutions I will most certainly fail at for the new year, I do still do a fair bit of planning. I like to have goals to work towards, even if they change throughout the year.

Last year, however, coming out of 2020, I wanted to be gentle with myself. My goals weren’t so well articulated. My focus words were Grace and Flexibility. Two things I wanted to remind myself of when things weren’t going well. The problem? Because I never set concrete goals, I didn’t really have anything to measure against. The result? I did some stuff, but a bit all over the place, and my focus words ended up making me feel like I had a hall pass for procrastination instead of a direction. Not exactly what I had intended for them. But it was really easy to justify watching another episode of The Queen’s Gambit instead of writing when it all just felt too hard last winter.

While grace and flexibility are things I should still allow myself as we continue to navigate work and parenting and life in a pandemic (just maybe not as excuses for binge watching Netflix), I decided I needed a more firm hand this year. I have big things I want to accomplish in 2022. I want to set myself up for success, not arrive in December with the same wishy-washy “eh, I guess I did some stuff” results I had this year. (And don’t get me wrong. I did do some stuff. I just didn’t finish much.)

First, I will finish edits on my work in progress. My nebulous goal for 2021 was to be pitching my manuscript by the end of the year and I was nearly ready to do so in October until a trusted reader mentioned some possible problems that kept me from hitting the send button. The more I thought about her questions and concerns, the more I realized I need to make some changes. Do I think I could pitch it out right now and get requests? Honestly, yes. The pitch is strong and the overall story works. Do I think I could make the book stronger? Definitely. So why not wait and get it that much better? (Okay, I can think of lots of reasons but most of them boil down to fear that I can’t actually make it better which is bullshit). As much as I’d love to say my 2022 goal is to finally nail down an agent, that particular outcome is out of my control. What I can do is make the book the best it can be and query my little heart out until someone loves this story as much as I do. That is what I will do this year.

Second, I have been studying to be an Author Accelerator accredited book coach and I will start my business this year. I have done beta reading the last few years but felt stymied by the format as well as the lack of follow-up with the writers. I love working with writers and am so excited to be able to take what I’m learning and help others draft and complete the books of their hearts. I am in the middle of working on my submission packet and hope to have that sent off in the next couple of months so I can hit the ground running by spring.

Those are two BIG goals already, but I’m adding a third. By the end of the year I want to have a rough draft of a new book. I have been working on the current book for a while and am ready to rekindle my creativity with something new. I have no idea what that might be yet, but the thought of exploring new things until I find it is extremely intoxicating and I am very much looking forward to that creative process.

Yikes! Even looking at all that on the page together is enough to make me break out into a sweat. But, based on my planning, I think it’s all doable. And if it’s not, that’s what my mid-year check-ins are for. Just because I set it as a goal today doesn’t mean it’s a failure if I don’t accomplish it. Our failures are our teachers after all, so I’m going to aim high in the hopes that I learn a lot this year!

To focus on my goals, I have selected START as my word. Start that edit. Start a business. Start a new book. Just start. I can’t finish what I don’t start. I’m going to focus on taking those first steps and seeing where they lead.

What about you? What are your goals for the year? Do you select a word to help you focus? Maybe a vision board (I did one of those this year, too, for the first time)? Or something else? Let me know and let’s work towards those goals together!

Here’s to a successful 2022!

Let’s get started!

Published by Monica Cox

Monica is a writer, mom and unabashed Tar Heel.

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