But this year, I felt disillusioned by the year we'd just finished. I was sure that good things had happened, but the negatives were so overwhelming that, until I sat down and reflected, they overshadowed the positives.
Still, I sat down and reflected, and, when I did, good things came to mind. Though I didn't put out any new books of my own this year, two books for which I was a contributor came out -- six months apart, in fact. Rosemont College's 50 Over 50: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers released on February 29 and The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion came out exactly six months later, on August 29. I had articles published in Teachers of Vision and Today's Catholic Teacher, and one of the articles in Today's Catholic Teacher even got a mention in the front-of-book editor's letter! I taught classes, sent my daughter off to a college she loves, and made progress on writing one novel and revising another.
When I sat down to plan, I set goals in all of these areas, but first, I reflected on the bad and the ugly of 2016 (I'm not a total polyanna) and the goals I'd set for myself last year. I was pleased to discover that I'd made progress in areas I'd forgotten I'd detailed (that's what happens when you set too many goals, I guess), as well as completely forgetting about things that seemed important six months ago.
I really do love this annual tradition. In fact, I was disappointed that January 1 fell on a Sunday this year because I had to wait until I got home from church to dig in. Laying out all the possibilities makes the year that lies ahead feel full of promise, and it also jump starts my motivation as I take the big goals and break them into action steps that lead me down the paths of my choosing. Though I probably should have set a "go to bed earlier" resolution, it's a good thing I didn't because I got so caught up in tackling my newly created list that I definitely didn't meet that goal yesterday.
How about you? Are you setting any goals for this year? If so, write them down. I have a lovely leather planner that I use (but I'm a goal geek), but an index card you can tuck in your pocket works just as well. I'm a firm believer that the first step to achieving a goal is putting it in writing.
I'm also a firm believer that the goals you set should be more than just self-improvement resolutions. But more about that on Wednesday.