Back in November, I set a goal for this date January 31, 2020 to have a rough draft for my fiction novel that I had set my mind to writing. Did I achieve that goal? How amazing and what happiness that would cause me to say yes. I am going to make you all sit in a little suspense for a bit, so I can jabber about my goals for 2020.
When I was growing up, I had a good friend named Katie. You could say we were best friends, although I cringe a little when people use the term, for it seems so exclusive. I had many “best friends” growing up, but Katie and I connected in high school, for we both came from pretty sheltered and strict homes.
Katie and I had mutual trust from each other’s parents, and both of our parents did not give that easily. The activities we did in high school were not the usual. We weren’t going out partying. Sleepovers were not highly liked by either of our parents. We weren’t dating or dealing with boys; I feared dating and feared what my parents would say about me dating. In missing out on those things, we had the opportunity to be creative with finding things to do, and let me tell you, we found so much happiness and laughter in the things we did end up finding to do.
One thing I distinctly remember learning from this friendship however, actually came from Katies’s older brother. He struggled with depression and at that time in my life, I had no idea what that meant. Katie had a hard time with her brother because of his temper. He had outbursts and a lot of anger issues. I always thought it was jealousy because Katie was very smart, and her brother had a hard time competing with that.
When he went off to college, they had come to some peace. She shared with me their conversation which really hit me and has stayed with me. One of the things he told Katie revealing some reason for his outbursts and most of his envy was not because she was smarter. He readily admitted that and was happy for her. He told Katie he found it hard to live with her and their other siblings, because they would wake up happy. He said when he looked around, all he could do was try to act like everyone else and he hated it because everyday, from the moment he woke, he looked forward to nothing and resorted to just trying to tell himself all the time he should be happy. He was not angry at her, but he was angry at everything and tired of pretending. His outbursts were his feelings all the time. He always felt angry and didn’t know how not to.
This was really hard for me to grasp back then. I thought how unfair was it that he brought so much misery to someone all for being happy. At the same time, I felt really bad for him that he felt he did not know happiness; that happiness seemed out of grasp for someone floored me. I could be unhappy, but I always could see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Happiness is a hard thing. Life is so different from stage to stage. It is easy to look back and say, I had it easy back then, and overall I did; However, there were real and difficult things in my life then as any teenager would face and of course ones that were my very own. Still, I could say I was happy and again, I could always direct my focus and hope for that moment of freeing myself of the troubling times.
I need to clarify I do not struggle from chronic depression, like I know Katies’s brother and so many others I have now met and learned from in life. I will say that I have had days and sometimes weeks where I am just sad. I understand now how sometimes whatever hormones and chemicals we have can just hold us hostage to our feelings, and this can be depression. There are moments when I was so stuck that even the light somehow made me sad.
Honestly, this post has just developed into what it has become, and I’m just writing it all out. What I am trying to get to though, is my goal for 2020 is to be intentional in my pursuit of happiness.
To say to be happy is a goal is not enough; it would really be selling myself short. I have heard happiness suffers most when expectations and reality do not meet. I am no expert on… well, anything, but I do understand the ability to achieve and also measure that achievement depends on how the goals are set up.
They have to be MEASURABLE, which that is a little redundant, but SO important.
They have to have STEPS, NOT LEAPS.
They have to be DYNAMIC.
I took my goal of happiness for 2020 and broke it into achievements I would like to see myself complete what I believe will bring me a sense of accomplishment and therefore, happiness. This is for all to see, and for me to really layout for myself. I believe it matters a lot how you state your goals and making sure you come back on them to hold yourself accountable.
My expectations, no better, my steps to my goals:
1. I expect to write and publish a book. Better, I expect to write every day, and I will average half of a page of writing a day- even if the writing is just mockup writing. JUST WRIIITTE. My adjusted rough draft due date given these steps I am taking…March 31st!
I took another long break from my blog, but I have not taken a break from writing, and I have really enjoyed my escape into writing a fictional world. Back in the NaNoWriMo of November, I made that goal I mentioned above to have a rough draft completed by the end of January.
I have a good beginning, middle, and end typed out filling 45 pages. I have A LOT of filling in and connecting to do, but my plotline, characters, and themes are developed, just very choppy! I have been using page count goals. Though I had hoped for 75 pages by now, a whole 30 pages and about 25,000 words short, I am happy because I am making about a page every other day, and that is at least progress. Again, goals have to be dynamic. I can honestly say I have been trying at about 75% to do my best at writing when I can, and I am 100% happy with the progress. The pace I have established is what it is. I have kids that come first, and that is my reality which I need to take into account for my expectation of publishing. It will happen, so I just have to get there when I do.
I’m going to give myself a little leeway and say YES I accomplished my goal.
2. I expect to cut down on waste. Better, we will start to compost, stick to my grocery list, and tough out eating the leftoevers.
Some things I just have to DO. Compost, stick to the list, eat the leftovers!! I also had a goal to use reusable bags at the grocery store, and I have definitely failed that no matter how I look at that. I have sadly not been able to get past both of the 2 levels of reusable bag shopping which entail first, remembering to put them in the car and second, remembering to bring them into the store. I just gotta DO!
3. I expect to be more patient. Better, I will work on the 5:1 Ratio with my kids.
I read about the “Why Every Parent Should Know the Magic 5:1 Ratio” by Kelly at her Happy You, Happy Family blog. It was very relatable, well written, and very helpful. This will be my management and a more measurable way of practicing patience. I wrote about some of my sleep woes, which have gotten better!! I really hope to improve my ability to keep control of my actions.
My goal for 2020 is to be steady, give myself some breaks, and be happy. Writing has become a true pleasure of mine and I thank all of those who have supported me. I wish happiness to all of you this year. I wish you to find the time to really identify what makes you happy and go after it with baby steps!!