Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Counting the cost...

When I'm on a roll, counting how well I'm doing only serves to boost me further. Week Two of 2013 and I'm well on track with my reduced set of goals.

I've committed to editing/writing 1,200 words a week on my novel and while I only managed 700 last week, I made up for it by producing an additional thousand in notes as I worked out how to restart the story in a way that I believed in. Now I've started, I've been able to quickly carry out a third draft on the first chapter and am now ahead of my goal.

A friend invited me on a cycle run last weekend and I'm going to count that as one of my fortnightly runs. It was slightly further than I'd expected at 13 miles and far further than I was ready for. Two thirds of the way round I slowed to a crawl, then realised that I didn't just have soft tyres, the valve on the rear tyre had blown and I was reduced to walking up hills.

I still haven't had the courage to examine the rear wheel to see if it has been damaged.

It was a good cycle though - on the best day of the year so far.

I've now submitted an application for a building warrant and am expecting to be able to begin work on a shower room in the next fortnight.

Signing out now... Are you making progress towards your goals?

Monday, 7 January 2013

...in with the new. 2013 Goals

What are you planning for 2013?

Is it bold? Exciting? Crazy?

If not, why not?

Why should we wait until tomorrow to change the world? We can start today - this year can be the start of something amazing!

It has taken a few days but I've now got a few goals for 2013. Some of them are mundane, some of them - I hope - may turn out to be something special.

Goal 41: To install a shower downstairs and decorate room (I now have a plan and milestones and a deadline of 30 March)
Goal 40: To decorate the bathroom (This one also now has a plan and a deadline of 30 August)
Goal 100: To publish Fallen Warriors (Actually, this goal is being co-opted for 2013 and has been revised a few times over the weekend... I'm now planning to write 1,200 words towards a second draft of my novel. Five thousand words a month is achievable and if at the end of 2013 I have a partially completed second draft of sixty thousand words I will be absolutely delighted!)
Goal 35: To run in and finish a 10 Kilometre race (In fact, I'm aiming to run two 5Ks each month and have asked my family to join me in aiming to complete a 5K parkrun this year. We went on our first training run yesterday and managed 2.5K in under 22 minutes)

I've also committed to helping my family achieve some of their personal goals this year.

I think that is enough to be going on with. As a family we discussed only setting three goals for the year and since the first two are family goals I think I just scrape under that restriction.

As always, I encourage you to set goals and would love to hear your experiences.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Out with the old...

2012 was a big year for me. Perhaps too big to really concentrate on goals?

I turned forty last year and celebrated the event more than once with family and friends. (Why should we just celebrate a birthday once during a year?) Those times spent with people I love are my best memories of 2012.

Last year wasn't all fun and games though. I started the year neck deep in a huge project at work. After a couple of months of regular seven day weeks I was exhausted and determined that I never place myself in a situation again where I feel I can't refuse to work weekends.

Most IT Contractors are - for all intents and purposes - self-employed. I've used what are called Umbrella Companies in the past: companies set up to sort out paying tax and national insurance; arrange liability and indemnity insurance and deal with all the other paperwork required when running a company.

For many reasons, I decided that 2012 would be the year to start my own company. I've a few more months to go before I reach the end of my tax year and can really see how I've fared being my own boss but despite the extra work involved, so far it has been a good experience.

I made some progress last year with the twenty goals I set myself. A mixture of brand new goals and some of my original 100 goals. At the end of 2011 I was convicted of my attitude and behaviour. I'd allowed stress to build up to a point where I was acting in ways I disliked: allowing my temper to flare up; snapping at my kids; swearing without thought of what I was really saying.

I set goals to deal with anger and swearing and it made a difference. None of us are slaves to our emotions but it often takes an effort to really examine and question what we do and say. I've found it worth the effort.

Yet again in 2012 I've found effort to be something I can only devote in a few areas at a time. I ended the year less confident in my ability to lead climb an overhang. I completed reading 7 Habits but stalled on working through the recommendations. I made very little progress on my novel.

Yet I managed to post on this blog fifty five times in 2012 and over half those posts were from when I was in training for the Cumbernauld 10K. Setting such a clear goal and planning and researching how I was going to achieve the race gave me great focus. Also I had a knock on effect from increased stamina and improved general health.

My only problem was I failed to stick to subsequent running goals. I came down with a cold, then another and before I realised it six weeks had gone by and I hadn't been out running once. Bad weather set in and dark nights and I didn't want to risk going out again.

Do I simply need to avoid setting any goals from November to January? Would it be so bad to plan to take three months off from goal setting?

My 100 days 100 goals attempt sputtered to a halt somewhere around the half way point. Around the point I got the first cold. If I didn't have to work and didn't have a family then I'm sure I could have pushed on through and made time for all those goals but then, what would be the point?

My goals are usually well in third place on any potential list of priorities. I think that is how it should be.

I've started to put together some goals for 2013. Some of these are clearer and more focused than others... but more about that later.

What goals will you set for 2013?