While New Years is not my favorite holiday, I love the opportunity for reflection and reinvention brought by the New Year itself. With the upcoming release of my first book in June I have high hopes for 2013. This is going to be a year of transition personally and professionally and I have decided to take this year to embrace change and become the person I really want to be at this point in my life.
To do so I made goals for what I wanted to achieve this year. Unfortunately, they were really vague like, “Save money, get more freelance work, lose weight again, write more, change my life.” I started feeling daunted by how ambitious they were and I when I mocked myself for making them in a Facebook status and added I wanted to do all this without losing my mind on Facebook, my friend M. spoke up with a suggestion. She, like me, is a graduate of a management program, and encouraged me to make my goals S.M.A.R.T.
For those used to planning for a business or organization S.M.A.R.T. stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely” goals. When you break your goals down into these criteria they become more possible to achieve.
One night I sat down with my Moleskine journal and changed my vague hopes for 2013 into goals that I can conceivably follow, with action steps and benchmarks in place. For maximum accountability I wanted to share my goals with you here (minus a few too personal details). So let’s see what 2013 will bring!
1. Save Money
If I’m going to change my life I’m going to need a financial cushion. And you never know what can happen in this economy. So it’s time to get serious about savings:
Up the bi-monthly transfer to my savings account
Put money I earn from freelance work into savings
Define and stick to a very limited weekly spending amount that includes food and extras, like clothes (so this blog will soon become a blog about being fashionable with what’s already in your closet)
Track my expenses
Pay off my credit card debt
2. Get more project and freelance work
I like the chance that freelance work provides to get involved in different types of projects and creative people implementing a vision. It also helps me sharpen different sets of skills:
Follow up with current clients
When my Portfolio website launches (soon!) make it clear I’m available for grant writing, project management gigs
Continue to talk with other freelancers and self-employed people I respect about how they go their start
Meet up with other freelancers regularly for networking, events and work sessions
3. Lose Weight (again)
I managed to gain 10 pounds since the summer and it’s no secret how it happened – I ate a lot of bad-for-me-food (pizza! burritos stuffed with French Fries!) and pretended it wouldn’t matter. Time for some accountability! I’m hoping to lose those 10 pounds by the time June rolls around by:
Track my eating everyday
Exercise 4 times a week
Go to Weight Watchers meetings at least once a month
4. Write more creative non-fiction
Finish a new issue of my zine Indulgence with at least three substantial essays by the Brooklyn Zine Fest on April 21
Update this blog weekly
Reach out to other venues and publications that publish nonfiction and present essay-driven work
Stay inspired by reading more essays and creative nonfiction
5. “Change my life”
I’m contemplating taking a year sabbatical from New York City in 2014 and spending the winter and spring in Los Angeles and the summer in fall in Paris. I’m looking for sun (in California), adventure, and a change of pace! But there’s a lot of logistics that I have to take care of before that happens!
Break down logistics: Research apartment prices, getting a car (or not) in LA, pare down possessions, look into subletting my NYC apartment
Have honest conversations with the important people in my life about what I’m thinking and feeling and how it impacts them
Be proactive: if there’s something on my mind talk about it, even if it feels daunting to do so
Develop a clear vision for what I want in my life and what makes me happy through journaling and focused self-reflection. As my friend Iris in LA told, “Manifest what you want, be specific.”
What are the goals that you hope to achieve this year? How are you breaking them down to make them manageable?
As a post-script, I’ve also launched a year-long drawing project with my friend Michel in Paris. To practice our drawing skills we will each create a drawing on a similar theme every week and post them on our Tumblr “One Week, Two Hands, 4,000 Miles” or 1w2h4m. Follow along with us and see if we can do it!