Looking at my blog post on January 2, 2013, in which I wrote about the five main things I wanted to accomplish, I have to ‘fess up that I scored a resounding F! Of the five, I completed only one. I didn’t succeed in completing a finished draft (one that has gone through a couple of revisions that I’m ready to send out) of Sage Of Heaven. That was my main goal. I also failed at writing a first draft of the second book in the Sage Of Heaven series and a first draft of my Filipino-American short story collection, Five Corners. I had a weight loss/back to fitness goal that went by the wayside as well. Although, there were some stretches when things were going really well in this area. The only goal I completed was to read at least thirty books in 2013. Well, I’ve done that. I’m at forty-two or forty-three.
I think my failure at fulfilling my goals wasn’t due to a lack of desire or discipline. I get up regularly at 3am, regardless of when I go to sleep, to write. And, God, my wife and all my friends know there’s nothing more I want than to be a fit working writer. Instead, I think my failings have to do with my overestimation in my abilities to get my personal goals completed while also trying to get my family goals and current work goals in. I’m a teacher by day and writer by any other time so I have other duties and responsibilities that still need to be met. When I do become a working writer, my personal goals and my work goals will, finally, mesh. There are only so many hours in the day and, more importantly, there are only so many hours in the day that are truly yours. In my case, those hours tend to be the early morning ones before dawn.
In setting my goals for 2014, I’m going to have to remember that. I’m going to have to be less ambitious, more realistic in regarding my situation and, perhaps, even reduce the number of goals I want to achieve. I’m going to have to do this because I’ve come to realize, maybe later than I should have, that my life isn’t my own. My parents will say it never was because it belongs to God. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to my life in earthly terms. My life isn’t my own because parts of it belong to my wife, my son, my dog, my students, my athletes, my co-teachers, my friends. And, while I’m still trying to get my life to be the one I want it to be, before I get there, I’m going to have to accept where I am, which is in a life that I hadn’t planned – at least not wholly. There are parts of it that have gone just right but there are many parts that haven’t.
So, as you make your goals and resolutions for 2014, if you’re anything like me and think big while your situation, resources and the time you have are small and you’ve been less than fully successful in 2013, take stock of what you want to achieve for the next twelve months and be realistic about getting them done. Some of those goals may be able to get pushed back a year or two. Accept, too, who you are and where you are. I’ve failed in meeting all of my goals for 2013 but I’m not a failure. Neither are you.
Having said all of the above, here are my main personal goals for 2014.
1. Finish a final draft of Sage of Heaven, book one and get it in agents’ hands.
2. Improve my fitness.
3. Read at least thirty books.
4. Complete the first draft of either Sage Of Heaven, book two, Five Corners, or Aliens Among Us, book one.
5. Get back to and maintain regular Taekwondo training