Goals to complete before the end of the world

I used to do monthly goals blogs. It was an idea I got from someone else. Instead of making a year-long resolution, you make several month-long resolutions. At the first of every month, you review your goals and see how you did, then you make new ones. It worked really well, and I kept up the monthly goals posting for about a year or so. I eventually stopped posting the blogs, but I still made monthly goals offline (seriously, it really helps you get things done, you should try it).

I’m bringing back the goals post for January, because that’s what people do in January. Some call them resolutions, but I don’t like that term for the same reason I don’t like diets. Going on a diet implies that you can be off one. It also sets this expectation in the back of your mind that you’ll eventually be “done” with it, which means sooner or later you’re going to go back to eating like crap. It’s much more effective to just change the way you eat, permanently. Resolutions seem to always have the word “try” in them. I’ll try to lose more weight, try to eat fewer donuts, try this, try that. Goals are about doing. So I set goals for the year.

I found my goals post from last year--it was one of my last monthly goals posts. Here’s what I was hoping to accomplish in 2011:

Get an agent
-Didn’t do this one, but not for lack of trying. I have 16 rejections in my inbox. Four of them are personal rejections, with great feedback. One of them requested and read the entire book, and the feedback from that rejection lead to some great revisions. Two of the rejections came with invitations to submit other work. They liked my writing, just weren’t sure they could sell that particular story. I didn’t hit this goal, but I learned a lot trying.

Sell my book
-Nope, for reasons above.

Run two half marathons and PR on them both
-I didn’t run a half marathon in 2011, but I did do the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Warrior Dash. I didn’t run any halfs because another goal got in the way.

Buy a house
-Yes! We became homeowners in May

Top secret resolution I can't put on my public blog...
-This one was to knock up my wife! Just a week after posting that blog last year I found out Brooke was pregnant. On September 29 we welcomed Parker Light to the world.

Continue to develop and improve my art
-I think I accomplished this. I went to an SCBWI conference in February and attended some illustration panels. I read a bunch of art books, and learned a ton from my doodle-a-day project in August.

I’m happy with my progress in 2011. Having a kid really shook things up, but in the best way possible. Being a dad is awesome.

So it’s time to make some goals for 2012, assuming the world doesn't end, as has been predicted by the Mayans, or Aztecs, or someone. Here’s what I hope to have crossed off this time next year:

-Finish and revise my second book

-Get an agent (for real this time)

-Hit my illustration goals (this one is multifaceted, so I’m leaving it at that)

-Run at least one half marathon

-Get a new dog

-Get a new car

-Volunteer

I’m really feeling good about 2012. The process of working toward and achieving my 2011 goals set me up nicely for my goals this year. Smart budgeting, hard work and an open heart are all I need. As always, I’m optimistic. What about you? Did you set goals last year? How did you do? What are your goals for 2012?