January 1, 2017

New Year's resolutions for 2017

Statistics tell us that few people actually follow through with their New Year's resolutions, and I'm no exception. Last year, I only set two goals for myself (write another novel in Polish, spend a short holiday in the Slovakian Tatra Mountains) and failed to achieve them for a variety of reasons. I did achieve other things: got a Goethe Zertifikat C1 in June with a nearly perfect score, did a bunch of translations (including James Dashner's Fever Code and Neal Shusterman's UnWholly; both books are now available in Polish as, respectively, Kod gorączki and Rozdarci, and I've added two notches to my translator's belt), wrote three short stories and two novelettes (all in Polish). In summer, I spent over a month caring nearly 24/7 for my injured cat, and still managed to meet translation deadlines (yay for being a freelancer and working wherever you can sit down with a laptop for 15 minutes!). In December, I finally set up a decent new author site and started blogging in English. And last but not least, I made one important decision in 2016 that wasn't related to writing or translations, and required some research, lots of thinking and a bit of courage. All in all, not a bad year.

Looking back, I feel that I've finally learned one lesson: trying to achieve a dozen of things at once feels like you're making millimeters of progress in a dozen different directions. You more or less stay in the same place, unless you decide to temporarily shelve some projects in order to finish something else. Until now, I've been quick to describe myself as "lazy and unmotivated, because so many things on my to-do lists stay undone" when in reality I've been shooting at too many targets (this is actually material for a separate post), and it's time to slow down and get focused.

This year, I've decided to participate in the 365 Writing Club for the first time. It's a subgroup of the excellent Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists that helps people develop a daily writing habit. You set a goal number of words/day and log your progress in a spreadsheet. I now have this official-looking Ticket to Write and believe me, I'm going to use it! I have one more unfinished novelette in Polish that needs to be wrapped up ASAP; I need to write the novel in Polish I didn't write in 2016; and my long-term goal for the year is to start writing fiction in English.

I also definitely need to read more. Way too many interesting books are standing on my bookshelf waiting to be read! And finally, I need to focus on my health and make exercise a higher priority. I managed to keep on track with exercising regularly and doing lots of nordic walking in 2015 and let those good habits slide in 2016. I don't need to lose weight (the BMI chart actually says I've been underweight for most of my adult life), but as a non-sporty person who spends lots of time hunched over a laptop, I do have to take care of my spine and knees. Exercise also helps me avoid mood swings and makes my brain work better.

So, to sum up, my goals for 2017 are:

- read daily

- write daily (my goal is 300 words/day on average, I'm aiming low because consistency will be more important)

- log my progress

- exercise daily, even if on some days it'll be just a 30-minute walk.

I'm looking forward to a year that, as usual, will probably resemble a hiking holiday in that plans will be modified ad hoc depending on the weather. I want to get somewhere and have fun along the way, and even if fog or a brewing storm means I can't climb the mountain I intended to climb, I'll ultimately spend my time walking and taking photos rather than sitting at home, and that's what counts. 

To anybody who's reading this - Happy New Year! Do you have any goals or resolutions, or plans? Or do you intend to simply "go with the flow"? Do you think New Year's resolutions are a waste of time? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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