At the start of the year, I made a grand declaration that I had ten goals that I hoped to achieve in 2019. We are over a month and a half, and for sake of honesty, I now want to declare I've really sucked at even getting close to actual achievements. I also can confess that month and a half isn't a great assessment point for year-long goals. Out of a hope to become more honest and transparent, I wanted to do a status update on all ten goals. I hope that the simple fact my progress is embarrassing that the shame will be enough at making some significant improvements.
I will list the 10 goals with a quick summation on how I've done at achieving them.
1. Make sure that my family and friends know without a doubt that I love them: I spend a lot of time with my kids. I also end up spending a fair amount of nights and weekends with just me and them. The fact they get excited when they know we will be spending a weekend or night together, I assume they are having a good time. I do think I have done an okay job keeping up that part of the goal. Though my lingering depression and anxiety always makes me feel that I'm not giving my kids the 100% attention and love that I feel they deserve. That same depression means that by the time that my kids go to bed, I almost always crash, so this has meant that my relationship with my wife, Emily, is a flaming bag of poop. Of all my goals, this is the most important and I need to remind myself daily how even if I don't have the energy for grand gestures, that just small things like taking time to talk and show my interest is vital.
2. Live in the moment: There is this invisible ten ton wall that follows me everywhere and makes me feel disconnected from most things. I am at a point where I need to proactively force myself to give my full attention to a task and not let my mind wander. This goal is connected a lot with the above one, because if I can focus on what I'm doing with someone then they should also feel appreciated. This weekend I had a great time helping Everett learn to cross-country ski and I've been devoted some time each day finding games for Danika to learn the alphabet and numbers. In both cases, I made those events my sole focus and I appreciated that time with them, and this focus is huge for someone who is constantly worrying about things and allows his mind to juggle two thousand things at once.
3. Land a Literary Agent. I haven't touched the manuscripts this year. Bur I have been working on a few short stories for a few different contests, so I am writing fiction. I do need to get much better at making sure a little bit each day is devoted to my creative writing.
4. Become a member of the Online Film Critics Society. I do think my reviews on The Movie Breakdown are a solid mix of insight and entertainment, and I'm always actively finding ways to make them and the discussion with Scott more engaging. Where I have completely failed has been doing any written reviews. My ambitious plan had been to review every 2019 release that comes to Brantford and Netflix, while also doing some retro pieces like all the movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and Star Wars. It hasn't happened. Most of the reason has been the previously mentioned depression and anxiety, I don't want that to be my year-long (decade-long?) crutch, but what happens is after looking after the kids and doing work for clients, I mentally crash in the evening and usually just sleep away the hours. Then the end of the week comes and I'm cramming in all the movies that I need to see for the podcast. There is rarely time left to write those reviews and definitely no chance of seeing a movie outside of the podcast (I see all my movies when the kids are in bed). My strategy needs to shift to being okay with the movie reviews coming in late and also allow several of the reviews to be much shorter than my usual (250 words instead of a thousand). I think, I can easily get this goal back on track.
5. Dramatically increase readers to the blog and listeners to The Movie Breakdown: My blog strategy was to at least have a post a day. This would mean the blog needs 365 pieces this year. I am currently 27 posts behind on that plan -- so almost the entire month of February worth. The problem is that I got way behind very early in the year. There was one day (whatever day was the first where nothing got posted) that was particularly busy and I just crashed at night. I had something I really wanted to write that night but my few minutes of rest turned into an entire night slumber. I woke up the next day with new ideas but didn't want to write another blog post until I took care of the nagging idea that was neglected. Then things got in the way and I spent too much time to trying to perfect a piece, then I started getting depressed about not sticking to my plans with the blog and well, here we are. I really think I can achieve this goal if I can just get back on track with offering something of substance every day even if it isn't something long or 'perfect.' The podcast growth will rely on me to continue find ways to making the show engaging but also increasing our marketing. Which leads to. . .
6. Figure out social media: This has been a complete flop. Over the next few weeks, I hope to take a few free workshops and consult a few people. Even before that, I can fix things by just posting something every day rather than keeping all my accounts ghost towns.
7. Cook a dish that blows away the taste buds: I am cooking almost every week day. I haven't had the energy or time to really make something gourmet and spectacular. My kids happily eat most of everything I cook, so that is a good first step.
8. Read at least 12 books this year: So far at zero, Again, I apologize but part of the blame is the crash and burning out I feel every night. Even just a few pages a day will get me closer to this goal. The big thing for all these goals is I need to get better at accepting 'small victories' rather than my current 'all or nothing' approach.
9. Lose weight: I may have gained weight. I haven't checked, because I haven't yet done anything to change my daily habits. I'd blame the lack of energy again, but I am sure you're already worn out on that excuse.
10. Be friendly: I have tried much harder at saying 'Hi' to people I pass and striking up conversations while waiting for Everett to get out of school. I'd also say I have a far way to go on being known as friendly. I also admit that this is the one goal that I can't really determine on my own. I'd have to ask people if they think I've become friendlier, and that is awkward and the response wouldn't be very honest. This one will be harder to determine achieve but instead, I just need to remind myself every day to smile and be kind.