If you’re in a rush:
Be better is, essentially, what all my specific resolutions, goals, what-have-yous listed below will boil down to.
If you’ve got some time:
Since 2013, I’ve sat down at the beginning of each year and created a page-long list of goals to be accomplished for the year. The lists have all, for the most part, been resounding failures. And I think that’s due to me going too big and getting too specific with goals when I haven’t been specifically sure what I want to pursue in any of the years since 2013 (as well as many before that).
So we’re keeping it general in 2019: do more of the good things, do less of the bad things.
- with music
- self-care & -improvement
- yoga & meditating
- lazing around
- eating out
Full disclosure: I’ve broken an approximate fuck ton of promises to myself. But because I’ve set it up so it feels like I have a lot more riding on this particular new beginning, I want to treat these goals as promises to myself that I also want to hold myself accountable for keeping.
(I mean, clearly I need to hold myself accountable as well. But even if you need to break a habit, realistically nothing’s going to change until you want to.)
In her book, Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis makes the point that you can’t trust yourself (and neither can anyone else) if you can’t keep your promises to yourself. And coming to terms with the fact that I really can’t trust myself because of these broken promises has shed some light on a few of the sources of my self-doubt and low self-confidence.
(But more on that later. With my therapist.)
These promises can be broken down into three different categories:
- Thanks to Poets&Writers, I now have an ex-ten-sive list of creative writing competitions accepting entries of poems for publication over the course of the year. Promise number one is to cultivate a cache of poems to submit to them, starting with the ones with January deadlines.
- Also thanks to P&W, I’ve got access to a database of MFA writing programs and am working on narrowing them down to five I’d be willing to take on student loan debt to attend. Promise number two is to complete and submit applications to those programs during the second half of the year.
If you read my 2018 regrets, you’ve got some idea of how challenging money management can be for me. Well, as of just before 2019, I’m officially less than two years away from 30, so it’s time to get it the fuck together. So,
- Promise number three is to re-launch my Etsy (or look into a Society 6 account or something similar) to sell art by summer-ish. I’ve taken enough arts and crafts classes throughout my life, I should be able to turn something artsy into a side hustle. If I don’t get it together to start something up by then, it’s back to a restaurant and waitressing shifts for supplemental income because
- Promise number four is to set aside a certain amount of “savings” each month that goes directly toward my credit card with the highest debt until it’s under $1000. Then do that with the next one. Then the next. Then that’s it, that’s all my credit cards.
- I won’t call it a promise because, realistically, I can’t say if I’ll have any emergencies that’ll break my budget over the next year, BUT my aim with this is to have at least two of my cards paid off this year.
Though it’s been in hibernation for quite a while, my writer’s spirit needs an outlet. Though I’ve already said I’m not super great with specific goals, I need specific writing goals to cure this years-long writer’s block.
- Promise number five is to finish the book I started during 2018 NaNoWriMo by August. Promise number six is to participate in 2019 NaNoWriMo and get it aaallll done in November this time.
- Promise number seven is to compile that cache of poetry I mentioned earlier and maybe publish it.
- I say “maybe” because I don’t particularly want to self-publish, but that may end up being the only option since I have relatively few singular poems published already.
- If it’s a matter of getting a few more recent publications, I’ll continue on with those submissions through next year and look for publishers for this project then. If it looks like it’ll take way more than that (to the point where it would be years to get to the marketability level I’d need to get representation), I’ll self-publish this year.
- Promises number eight and nine are other new-to-me writing ventures and are under wraps for the time being.
I keep telling myself that I spent the last few days of 2018 watching my cat basically die and then come back to life, so 2019 can really only go up from there. Eventually, I’ll have a better mantra for the year. For now, that seems to be my best motivation.
Whatever the motivation, it’s time to make 2019 the best year I’ve had in quite a while!