Last year I decided to go on a bender of self-improvement, which I called the Kalends project (and the series list is at the beginning of this piece). The idea sprang from something I had read about the history of the Kalends, which could be summed up as such:
This single day contains the whole year in it, so that what you do during those spare twenty four hours will determine the character of the remaining three hundred and sixty four.
I broke down the improvement plan over four different sections, with a follow up in November. The fifth element, the Making Happy project, could also be tied into my goals. The sixth goal, about getting fit, has been sitting in draft format since December 2012; that still needs to be written
So here we are, 2014. If the Kalends are true and what I did in the last 24 hours sets the tone, then it’ll be Sherlock and popcorn and good dark chocolate until the cows come home.
But I digress.
What I did not account for, of course, was how many setbacks I would have at the beginning of the year between my second ankle surgery, mental health issues galore, wonky work schedules, and whatever else life throws at you. I crawled up inside myself more than I had liked, I set some very necessary boundaries, and pissed off a number of people.
[Aside: I’m tired of people stating resolutions/goals are cliche because to me, it indicates a lack of self-improvement, life long learning, and wanting to simply grow as a human being. At that point, if you’re not willing to even grow, what is the point?]
Personally, this last year has been one of much growth even if that growth has at a snail pace. The setting of boundaries, the dispensing of fraught relationships, the ability to recognize the crazy when it happens has been tremendous success in helping me define a better path for myself even if that path doesn’t make itself visible to the naked eye. It was painful, scary, and downright terrifying at times, but I did pull through. I always pull through. So even if at first blush I come off as a chaotic train wreck, when compared to how it could have possibly gone, I am positively in a great space.
I treasure that. And you, readers, of course.
So what’s ahead for 2014?
Buy Nothing 2014
To buy nothing in 2014, unless it’s necessary (food, gas, or related),
to genuinely replace, or renews an existing service (i.e. Spotify, Netflix, etc)
What prompted me to start reining in the funds was the 114 orders on Amazon (one every two days) and lord knows what else I bought in 2012. In 2013, I dropped it down to 40 orders from Amazon, much of it spent on gifts or household items rather than items of unnecessary delight. Instead of buying things outright, I asked for them for gifts for holidays/birthdays/etc, and stopped buying things I did not need unless it was to replace. I did see some financial gain from this but with not enough to make a decent savings since other financial considerations came into play later in the year. 2014 will be even more strict and I’ll start being more judicious on recording everything I spend and saving what I can.
2014 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
This was one area I was not as improved on as I had hoped, but talking to my friend Amy who gave an impressive display of her own improvements in 2013, really kicked up my own notches to get going on my own projects. Cheers Amy, for the inspiration kick in the pants!
Year of the written word
Read all the books/comics I own before buying more. Surprisingly doing better with this as time goes on. In fact, I’ve been most impressed that majority of the books I’ve read for 2013 I read in November/December, of which five I finished in one week. Still plowing through the TBR pile, lots of reading being done online for research for the book as opposed to pleasure reading.
In January 2013, I said I wanted to:
- Write 10 hours a week (Does not include blogging)
- Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
- Keep notes on everything
- Write a short story a month.
- Write a poem a month.
- Get something published by my birthday in June
January 1 – December 31, I wrote 151K words over 171 posts / 31 pages. Beyond that, my biggest accomplishment is this post marks the 63rd day in the row I’ve written and posted in this space. What started as a simple challenge in November to complement NaNoWriMo, has become a routine. A glorious routine, I must add. In those 62 previous days, I wrote 67,5 K words (almost half my yearly count in two months!) over 63 posts (some days had two posts). In November I said,
This does not include any notes, work done on paper, editing of pre-2013 posts, and so forth. Add another a rather conservative estimate of 25K words for over 100,000 words this year alone and for that, I’m really proud. Sure, I didn’t get a poem or prose published, but that’s also okay. I’ve got a better sense of what I want to do and what I want to write, and I know I can always do better. Produce more. Leave a mark on the world. Keep pushing forward.
Another challenge I did for an entire year was the Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes project, which tracks all the things I wrote, watched, read, listened to, and liked. What was striking about this particular project is I’m now seeing others do variations of it across the web, so even if I’m not a direct inspiration it’s still pretty cool to see others doing something similar.
The other big thing with writing is I took my fiction writing more seriously, finished a few short stories (which I’m still waiting for TheHusband to edit), and started serious research on a book series I have had mapped in my head since the summer of 2012. I had said, quite seriously, I was going to write the entire first book during my 3.5 week vacation but my mania got in the way as well as other things. But that I had researched and outlined the first six chapters was farther than before, so I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished. I may not have gotten anything professionally published this year, but my output, research, and strengths are increasing. Next year will be even better.
So not exactly spot on and perfect, but I’m fairly pleased with the results. Keep pushing forward.
It can broken down to this:
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists
- Delete unused social media accounts
- Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging
- Get the archives back up
- Stop buying domains
- Stop obsessively checking social media accounts
In my November update, I was pretty sussed with how things were turning out. I was keeping with where I wanted to be with the one exception of the last one: checking social media. Also in November, I made the decision to deactivate my personal Facebook account which turned out to be a really good idea. As of January 1, I’m taking mental health break hiatus from Twitter as well, though I’ll be posting via apps over the course of the time. I need to refocus, concentrate, and work on some big deal projects that are upcoming and putting my energy into something else.
Lastly, the Making Happy and the get fit components which I hope to be writing more about in the near future.
What are you doing for 2014?