Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!
2018 won't go down as the greatest year in history for the world or for me personally. While 'hot flaming garbage' may be how many decided to describe the state of things, it was also a year where there was positive change in the world and events that inspired hope and optimism. In my own life personally, it was just another amazing year to see my children grow, enjoy the company of a new dog ('Welcome Piper!), and appreciate all the amazing people in my life.
As I get older, the more I've realized the power of perception and perspective. I can decide to be negative about all that surrounds me or I can try to dig around for the positives hidden about. No matter what happens this year, I'm going to do my best to find the amazing things in life. The glass will be half full in 2019.
It is also yet another year where I can make goals and improve myself and make the most of my life. Since this is the day that people like to make resolutions, I've crafted 10 things that I hope to accomplish in 2019. These aren't necessarily goals, because some of these things are not entirely in my control, but in each case, there are things that I can do to send things in the direction of success.
A long time reader will notice that some of these things have been written about before or mentioned at the start of previous years. Yes, it is my shame that they are still waiting to be accomplished. Their repeated mentions means that I really do want to achieve victory and 2019 just happens to be the very best year to do them.
1. Make sure that my family and friends know without a doubt that I love them. I am blessed with the greatest wife possible and the two most amazing kids ever. I've also been very lucky to have incredible parents and siblings, and some pretty amazing friends as well. I will strive every day to make it clear to them that I deeply love them and they are the most important people in my life. I won't always be able to do it with grand gestures but I hope the small things that I do and the ways I treat them will show my true feelings.
2. Live in the moment. Last year, I felt hounded by anxiety and something that felt a lot like depression. I also couldn't stop thinking about the future and the things that I wanted to achieve but was failing. The worst part is that it meant that I didn't appreciate or spend enough time with my wife, Emily, and my two kids, Everett and Danika. My kids keep getting older and changing, and I want to really enjoy this time with them now. I also have an energetic dog that loves me and I can spend way more time training and playing with. I have so much to enjoy now and I want to be better at cherishing every moment and opportunity in life.
3. Land a Literary Agent. I have four unedited and incomplete manuscripts and about hundred different novel ideas. This is the year that I take one, write to completion, do all the editing, and seriously shop around to various agents. While I am shopping the first one around, I start work on my second, and when that is done, the cycle repeats. If I can devote a little time each day, then I will have something sellable to an agent and be closer to one of the biggest dreams in my life.
4. Become a member of the Online Film Critics Society. If I miss the criteria, I want to at least become much closer to being a strong eligible candidate for upcoming years. This means that along with my reviews on The Movie Breakdown podcast, I want to have at least one written review of a new release each week, write reviews for every 2019 Netflix Original movie, and some reviews for older movies as well. I already have plans to attempt to review every Marvel Extended Cinematic Universe movie before the release of Avengers: Endgame and also review every Star Wars movie before the new one comes in December. This is one of my most ambitious goals, but if I accept not all movie reviews can be 800 to 1500 words, and come to terms with a few short 250 word reviews then it is doable.
5. Dramatically increase readers to the blog and listeners to The Movie Breakdown. This is one that isn't entirely under my control as I can't force new readers or listeners. I think the great reader dip of 2018 had less to do with my sucking at writing and lot more to do with sucking at regularly posting on here. In 2019, I pledge to have at least 365 posts of some quality, which you may have figured out means an article/post a day. I'd like to do more, but that should at least be enough to convince people this is a place worth visiting on a regular basis. I also will aim to make each post better than the last, just like I'll aim to improve The Movie Breakdown podcast each week. No complacency allowed.
6. Figure out social media. I'll be upfront, I am largely on Twitter and Facebook as a way to promote my writing and podcast. If we are being honest about that, then I mind as well admit that I suck at it. My follower numbers are bottom of the basement and I am irregular at posting at best. On Facebook, I started a page for this blog and The Movie Breakdown, but I do nothing with them other than post links to new stuff. In 2019. I need to be much better at engaging my followers and figuring out a way to attract new followers through my content. The first step is like my blog strategy, just post new stuff on a daily basis, but after that, there will be some serious growing pains. I plan on trying to master it.
7. Cook a dish that blows away the taste buds. I started cooking way more after Emily returned to work after her maternity leave with Danika ended. Since then Emily's response to my cooking ranges from 'Not bad' to 'At least, I didn't have to cook.' I'd like to think that I've gotten better and my kids do eat everything I make without complaining (well, Everett does -- Danika just doesn't eat anything anyone cooks). This is the year where I hope that I can make a dish that makes my family crave the next time that I'll make it. I want to create my signature dish that becomes the talk of our dining room and makes it to idle party chatter. I also want to stop burning rice, which could be a great start towards this goal.
8. Read at least 12 books this year. For those who have seen a calendar, you know that is a book a month. I'd like to achieve way more than this. I'll start modest and see where I am by the mid-year. I am a really slow reader, so that is another reason I am aiming low. But last year was a pitiful year for book reading, largely because my emotional demons meant I was zonked after putting the kids to bed and couldn't keep my eyes open. I read a lot of books to my kids last year, so I have that, but I hope to read a lot more stuff geared towards my taste. I also find that my creative juices flow must faster when I am reading stories on a daily basis.
9. Lose weight. I'm fat. Okay, it was nice to get that out of the way. I have really let my body go and I think my wife shields her eyes when I'm naked. I'm gross. I get it. This year I need to push myself to actually exercise but also eat much healthier. I am 41 years old now, so what worked at 30 for a guy with a decent metabolism is deadly now. It is time to say good bye to the extra cushioning and take care of my body for a change.
10. Be friendly. I'm a curmudgeon. It wasn't always this way. I once was social and had friends. While part of me would just rather hide away until the end of time, I know it is much healthier to start going out again and discovering there are people in this world. People that are worth knowing and connecting. Even if I don't become way more social, I want to try having a smile on my face and making sure people are at least glad they met me.