Last week I wrote a blog post detailing how we should approach writing our New Year’s Resolutions for 2020. To briefly summarize that information there are five things we should keep in mind:
- Begin with the end in mind
- Be specific
- Be realistic with yourself and your goals
- Quality not quantity
- Hold yourself accountable
For a more detailed explanation of those five points, be sure to visit last week’s blog post here.
Using those five points, I am going to share with you all my Resolutions for 2020. I will be sharing my resolutions from most important to least important (something we should all be considering when writing and a facet of Tip #4).
Author Hat: I will finish writing the first draft of my fourth novel in the Guardian of the Core series by June 29th, 2020.
For about five years now I have had the goal of completely finishing my futuristic fantasy series, Guardian of the Core, by the time I turn 30. This happens to be this year in 2020. So far I have two books published in the series: The Trials of the Core and The Curse of Pirini Lilapa. During my first year in China, I managed to get the first draft of the third finished. For the other two years, I have been planning the fourth novel out, marketing the other two novels, and, in reality, being a little lazy.
Currently, I have 1/3 of the fourth novel finished. By having a specific time frame set up—June 29th—I am following Tip #2. With just a little over six months to go until the due date, I will need to write the rest of the novel in order to make this come true. This is definitely doable, assuming that I write daily and that I follow a strict writing schedule, but it will not be easy. That is okay. If a goal or resolution is too easy we don’t feel that sense of accomplishment when we complete it; if it’s too difficult, we give up before we even begin (Tip 3).
To help me succeed in this, though, I will need to keep cognizant of the influences around me, from the people to the activities that vie for my precious writing time. Moreover, I will have to hold myself accountable (Tip 5). But, in doing this, I will be able to then go back to book #3 and make necessary edits and revisions and hopefully publish that sometime in 2021.
Self-Hat / Educator-Hat: I will begin my Master’s Program in Digital Media Strategy online starting the Fall of 2020.
For some time now, I have been wanting to do a Master’s Program. Now that I have five years of experience teaching at a high school level, I feel that it’s only necessary and proper to do my master’s degree. However, at the same time, I am not ready to leave my comfortable situation here yet in China, and I also know how expensive Master’s Degrees can be, so that is why I am opting to do it online while I am here teaching, gaining more experience, and earning more money (Tip #3, be realistic).
Furthermore, this idea for Digital Media Strategy has come around in the last few months. If you remember correctly, my original idea was to go to Colombia for a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. However, after inquiring into the school and seeing some red flags about education there, I have decided that it is potentially not the best option for me.
Moreover, in crafting this goal, I first used Tip #1 (begin with the end in mind) I know that at the end of the day, I would love to teach a college-level creative writing course. It’s my endgame goal. To do that, I would need either a Master’s in Fine Arts (supposedly a terminal degree but not really) or, the more likely scenario, a Ph.D. With competition being so fierce, I would most likely need a PhD anyway in order to get this dream job of mine, but I do not need a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing. In fact, in my own personal opinion, doubling-up on such a thing would be pointless, and I would better position and market myself by doing a different type of writing (like Digital Media Strategy).
Digital Strategy will introduce me to courses such as “social media advertising,” “social media management,” “brand management,” “social media and emerging technology,” etc. All of these things are important as a self-published author because our brand is our life. My series is my life. If anything, it’ll provide me some useful insight I can use myself or help teach other budding authors. This research and specification of why I want the degree (tip #2) is helpful to me in putting it on my priority list in the second-place spot.
Because I’ve started with the end in mind—getting a job as a university professor in creative writing—I know the steps I need to take to get there. In essence, this master’s degree is a form of holding myself accountable to get a longer-term goal and acts as a stepping stone and checkpoint needed to bridge the gap in education standards (tip #5). Also, because I’m already a teacher, a Master’s Degree of any sort will allow me the opportunity to negotiate a higher salary in future jobs and expand my opportunities for advancement. That is why, if you notice, this goal doesn’t only fall under the hat I wear as a teacher, but it is also fulfilling a personal ambition of mine, a self-goal.
Also, it seems, in a twist of fate, I remembered that my first Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire was a double major in Advertising and Creative Writing. This Master’s degree would be a logical step up from Advertising and offers me even further job opportunities and possibilities upon obtainment of that master. From there, I could go into working as a marketer in a company, perhaps teaching some aspects of this to students in high school, a copywriter somewhere—the opportunities are limitless because we have limitless imagination.
Self-Hat: I want to read a minimum of fifteen new books in the year of 2020.
On the surface, this looks relatively simple to complete. Only fifteen books in a year? However, when we factor in other goals like getting a master’s degree or writing a whole novel, fifteen books is not so easy that I can reach it without trying, but not so difficult as to scare me away (tip #3).
Also, there are underlying reasons that I want to complete this task in the upcoming year. First and foremost, one of the books I would like to finish this year is the Bible (tip #2, be specific). I have never actually read it cover-to-cover but I am currently on Psalms and, at the current pace, may finish by end of June. However, if I only listed that I wanted to read that for the year, then it would be too easy of a task, so again, when we craft our resolutions they should be the proper amount of difficulty.
Secondly, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have created a group called Lit Lovers. The goal of this group is to read one new novel every month. In theory, this means that just by continuing this group I will read another twelve books. This group, and the people in this group, can hold me accountable for reaching this goal of fifteen books (tip #5).
Thirdly, I have mentioned that this past year in 2019 has been one of crazy discovery, reflection, and growth on my part. This is partly due to the people I’ve met and also the books that I’ve read. I like who I am now, but I always want to continue growing myself and my abilities. That is why I also have added this to my list. I’ve looked back on who I was at the beginning of 2019 and who I am now, and it’s shocking. I want that same feeling in January of 2021, so I am beginning with the end in mind (tip #1).
Finally, I have added this into the list of resolutions because I like to create habits and resolutions that build off one another. Surely, in the midst of reading these new novels, I will get inspired by some of them to write even more content for my blog, to incorporate ideas into my novel, or even use them in some way when I start my Master’s Program. It is important, then, that when we create our resolutions and we prioritize them, we write down resolutions that function two-fold.
Gym-hat: I want to get into better shape in the gym and be able to lift 220 kg in deadlift, 150 kg in bench press, and 180 kg in squat.
I mentioned this goal specifically in the last blog post that I wrote. For me, this goal is necessary to relieve the stress pressures that I may face from the other goals. Gym is a natural stress reliever for me, so it’s only natural that I present it here in an attempt to balance out my other work-oriented resolutions (tip #3).
In keeping a goal like the gym in my list of resolutions, I am also making sure that I keep the body I have fought so hard to build over the last few years here in China. It makes sense that I only want to continue increasing those goals (getting to 220 kg). That goal is definitely something realistic and I have many other friends who are gym-oriented in their goals so they can help hold me accountable (tip #5).
Furthermore, while making the gym a priority it will also keep me away from other vices that have siphoned productivity from me in the past (like drinking, for example). In this way, it functions two-fold here in making it a resolution and listing it. It acts as a motivator and a force for me to improve myself physically, and it also acts as a shield as now it gives me the reasoning I need to justify why I cannot get plastered. It’ll keep my good habits intact (like counting macros).
To Wrap Things Up
That is all of the resolutions that I feel necessary to write down. A part of me wants to write down “I want to learn Spanish this year.” Or, “I want to learn Chinese.” Certainly, these are ambitious goals of mine, and if I work hard at it, I could definitely learn Spanish or Chinese much better than what I currently know. However, both of these languages require dedication to really get your skills advanced. In my heart of hearts, being true with myself, I do not believe I have the time to dedicate to learning Spanish or Chinese to any measurable goal set.
Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I won’t continue learning here and there, but I will not make this goal of language acquisition a priority. There are already four priorities that mean more to me than those, and that is where Tip 4 comes into play: Quality, not Quantity.
Also, notice how I only have one resolution listed for each hat. By focusing on only three or four of my identities, I can truly dedicate myself to them and put all of my efforts into completing each one. Realistically, although I know I am in the prime environment to learn Chinese, it is one hell of a language to learn and the people who get good at different languages spend hours a day studying. I do not have that time. To me, writing is more important; furthering my education is more important. Chances are most people who I know that are learning another language here in China do not also have a weekly blog nor do they have a novel (or two or three) that they are working on.
Again, this is why in the last blog post I began with the importance of examining yourself, who you are, and what you want at the end of the day.
If you feel like sharing your resolutions with me, go ahead in the comment section below. I’d love to hear them and help hold you accountable in some way if you’re looking for a resolution buddy. No matter where 2020 takes you, I know it will be perfect. It’s 20/20 after all, right?