For the second year in a row, I am celebrating the new year in September. This has three big advantages: I beat the inevitable crush of New Year’s blog posts from other writers, the weather is better, and there are far fewer drunks. It’s like going to a beach town in the off-season…
Thanks to the miracles of the Internet I don’t have to vaguely allude to what my goals were last year- instead I can dissect them with all of the verve and enthusiasm of a squeamish middle-schooler gutting a frog. Time to jump into the Wayback machine!
Last year my focus was all about establishing a routine. I was between jobs and comfortable, but I didn’t want to be too comfortable because then I’d be comfortable and homeless.
To remedy this, I set up a strict routine for myself.
It was an ambitious agenda.
Get up at the same time every morning
Have only one cup of coffee, then go for a run
Come back and put on Grown Up Clothes, as if I Am Going to Leave The House
Eat a decent breakfast and help the rest of the family get out of the door on time every morning so I can walk the kids to school
Sit down at the computer and try to write for at least 30 minutes
These are the goals of someone who is trying to deal with the reality that very soon they were going to have to look for a job.
If you know someone in your life who is looking for work, cut them some slack if they seem a little down in the dumps. It sucks.
I’ve had 9 serious jobs since high school, and it never gets any easier. Mostly, I just want to pretend the day isn’t happening.
Get up at the same time every morning.
This was originally intended to help me stay focused on my job hunt. Since I was successful, this problem has taken care of itself. My success criteria for this is how often Mrs. Nostrikethat lets the children come up and jump on me to wake me up, which has decreased considerably in recent months coincidentally with regular paychecks.
I’ve also really started treating sleep like it’s food– making sure I have enough and of the right kind.
Have only one cup of coffee, then go for a run.
My ordinary routine consists of the alarm going off, and then I wake up holding my second cup of coffee. I have always aspired to be a morning person, and this goal was really a formulation of that aspiration. I was going to Do Something!
Well, it turns out I did Do Something, and that was barely haul my carcass to work. I started a project in December that really needed me to try to amp up the number of hours I was putting in. By February I was routinely putting in 60-70 hour weeks, which I am far, far too old to be doing any more.
This was definitely a “Welcome (back) to Consulting” moment for me.
Luckily for me, I was able to make some adjustments and start forcing some time for myself in there. Amazingly, the world kept revolving without me for that hour I spend in the morning exercising. I’m still working on the consistency part of my morning routine, but I think the foundation is definitely there.
Come back and put on Grown Up Clothes, as if I Am Going to Leave The House.
In retrospect, it’s kind of terrifying how low of a bar I was setting.
Eat a decent breakfast and help the rest of the family get out of the door on time every morning so I can walk the kids to school.
I didn’t so much fix this as wait it out. Hannibal and B.A. Barrakus are in middle school and get themselves out the door, demonstrating way more responsibility than their father. My one job is to drop Howlin’ Mad Murdoch off at pre-K every morning. Despite what Mrs. Nostrikethat might tell you, I’m going to put this one in the Win column.
Sit down at the computer and try to write for at least 30 minutes.
If I’m being honest, this one is a big fat fail. I haven’t written very much of The Book at all, and you can glance at the sidebar to see I haven’t written a ton of blog posts, either.
On the other hand, I am a writer. I spends hours a day writing. The format happens to be business communications, but I spend a remarkable amount of my day dealing with the written word, and it allows me to make a decent living and provide for my family. Thank you, my English teachers.
For extra credit, I submit the following:
- I managed to take not one, but two family vacations, and I didn’t even check my work email on the last one (no seriously!); AND
- The never-ending bathroom renovation is actually approaching an end, as I have a grouted tile floor and a working toilet, with a sink close behind.
* * *
My goals for this year are a little more modest. Assuming I can manage to remain gainfully employed, I’m mostly just looking to keep doin’ what I’m doin’:
- Finish the bathroom renovation
- Maintain my exercise routine during the winter, which unfortunately may mean hitting the treadmill once or twice
- Blog semi-regularly– maybe once a week, I don’t know. Just often enough so people don’t say “Hey, you haven’t written anything in a while”
- Write at least 4 more chapters in The Book
Mostly, I’m thankful my life has settled down a bit and everything is starting to even out a bit.
Let’s make #SeptemberNewYear a thing. I mean it’s at least as good as No Shave November, right? For those of you who are still on the January to January resolution cycle, how are you doing on yours?