2020 New Year’s Goals & Promises


Well, unsurprisingly, I broke a lot of the promises I made to myself this time last year.

I think I’ve been going about things wrong. Neat little lists with concise little goals look good on paper, but they don’t adequately represent the amount of work that goes into each one. And for someone who has trouble keeping even one promise to myself, setting up nine m a i n promises — one of which was writing TWO whole ass novels in one year — was…well, I should’ve known it was setting myself up to not win.


Redrawing Plans & Resowing the Garden

So, rather than making a list and checking it twice and posting it here then forgetting about it for a year, I’m keeping it general. I’m also going back to basics.

I saw a meme the other day that said something along the lines of, “Imagine planting a seed then digging it up every few days to see if it’s still growing.”

And it’s what I do every year. I plant these seeds of inspiration and imagine them growing into the lofty goals I’ve set. Then I expect them to grow and flourish without ever actually cultivating them.

Worse yet, I’m planting the wrong seeds.

Aside from my financial goals (which are mainly just to get back to where I’m afloat, not always treading), I don’t even know if the goals I set for myself each year are the goals I truly want. At least, at this point.

The writing ones make some sense, but I’ve become so self-conscious in my writing, they’re not really appropriate. My goals make more sense for someone who’s sure of their voice, someone who’s ready to take the next step and put that piece of themselves out there. I may have been there once, but too much has happened in the intervening years. I’ve taken too many steps back, but my goals don’t reflect that. Without that base layer, there’s no way for me to finish a novel or put together a book of poems. Without that base layer, every year I’m setting myself up to run a marathon without even stretching first.

My artistic goals, on the other hand, make no sense. They’re all over the place because I don’t know who I am as an artist. And I don’t know who I am as an artist because, even throughout a lifetime of art classes, I’ve never declared who I am as an artist. While I may only lack self-confidence in my writing voice, I at least have an idea of what it is and there’s some structure to it. With my art, I don’t have that. And so it goes that no matter how technically good I get, there’s no life to what I create. It’s clinical, commercial. And I thought the natural next step was selling that?

No. I need to get back to basics. I need to get back to myself. I need to relearn who I am, who I’m trying to become, what I want my legacy to be. I’ve never been one to do shit just for the sake of doing shit, and that’s what every one of my New Year’s listicles of goals and resolutions has been. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to face them throughout each year — because I’ve always known how hollow they were.


So in 2020, I will…

  • Realize I’m farther behind in my life than I’d wanted to be at this point, but that’s okay. I’m at least farther along than last year when I didn’t want to face that.
  • Try to be braver. I wanted to just say, “Be brave,” but I also need to be more honest with myself. And not the mean honesty I’m used to doling out to myself. The understanding honesty that’ll help me find out who I am and why I am the way that I am. That’s the sort of honesty that brings you direction. And holy moly do I need direction.
  • Form goals naturally rather than use an arbitrary date to force the “goals I should have” on myself. I’ll spend the first part of the year soul searching, not expecting anything of myself beyond relearning to be more myself. If that takes longer than the first part of the year, okay. If not, great. Either way, I’m not a failure for taking this time for me, nor am I one for not producing something while on this journey. I’m the one who has to live with myself for the rest of my life; I can’t keep doing it on someone else’s — or even the perceived idea of someone else’s — terms. I need to learn my own. So I will.

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