The new year is almost upon us, and time has my brain screwed up in knots. On the one hand… it’s been a whole year already? On the other hand, wasn’t July a full year ago? And how did November and December pass in a week? Time is just weird, and the way my brain handles time is even weirder. But according to the calendar, it’s almost the start of a new year and a new decade, which means it’s time for reflection, new goals, and fresh starts. So, let’s reflect, shall we?
2019: An Overview
At the end of 2018 I was extremely discouraged, I felt isolated and cynical, and my relationship with God had apparently taken a nosedive. My hopes for 2019 were that I’d find more joy in Christ, that I’d get out of my comfort zone and talk to people more, that I’d break out of my “introvert” shell, that I’d be a light and encouragement and good example to people (especially those younger than me), and that I’d just generally get out more. And I smiled so big when I read that, because I can say that I did make huge progress in that direction! This year, overall, has been fantastic for my mental and spiritual health. I haven’t been as consistent with my Bible/prayer time as I would have hoped, but I’ve made huge progress. I haven’t made any super close friends yet, but I’ve gotten out of my bubble a lot more and started setting foundations for future bridges. I’ve been far more optimistic and joyful, and there’s been a huge contrast between my mental health this year and my mental health last year. So overall, it’s been a super encouraging year!
The beginning of this year was still a little rocky, as I was still coming out of my 2018 depression, but more time with God and extra time with choir for an extra performance helped a lot. In May, I published The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles, which went super well. June was really fantastic, as choir took up a lot more of my time and I got to spend time with the people there and sing and dance and go on a bus ride (bus rides with choir are always the greatest). July included camp, which went fairly well; I got to know one of my friends a little bit better, and practice leadership… and I learned that focusing too much on people can, in fact, be a problem. (My priorities were a little skewed that week, unfortunately. :P) August was great for social engagements and productivity, both. I seem to remember my motivation sort of dropped off in September and October, but then NaNoWriMo went really well (despite a huge drop in motivation about halfway through the month), and December has been… interesting. But it’s starting to pick up again, so I’m hopeful for January. :)
And I started learning French this year! It’s a super fun language, and I’m looking forward to getting back on track with it around the new year and building up a longer Duolingo streak.
I also learned just how much I enjoy ballroom dancing, and my family learned about a homeschool group that does dance classes, so I’m really hoping I’ll get to do more in the future through that class before I graduate.
Overall, it’s been a fantastic year! I’m a little sad to see it go. But I’m hoping it’ll just be the foundation for a better year in 2020. :)
2019: Goals in Review
1. Prayer journal daily
I haven’t been 100% faithful with this, and there have been some weeks or months I’ve neglected it altogether, but overall I made a lot of progress toward prayer journaling consistently.
2. Do a devotion/read the Bible daily
This one… didn’t go as well as the prayer journaling. I still made a lot of progress, especially toward the beginning of the year, but after my first devotional ran out I started falling out of the habit again. But still, a lot of progress was made, and I’ve been getting back into it over the past week or two.
3. Go to church regularly (after I get my driver’s license)
Well, I still don’t have my license, so…
4. Read daily
This is another one I did really well at for a while and then just… tapered off. I think my reading really slowed around October or November.
5. Get out of the house once a week (once I get my driver’s license)
Like I said… no driver’s license. :P
6. Take a day away from electronics once a week
This one worked really well for a few months and served its purpose of helping me keep my sanity, but then the specific thing I’d been giving myself a buffer from became much less of an issue (hallelujah! one of my friends saw their mental health drastically improve, also), so the habit tapered off. As I’ve done Christmasy things over the past couple weeks, though, I’ve realized how much I appreciate unplugging, so this is something I want to bring back in 2020.
7. Dance every morning
8. Drink 3 glasses of water daily
Also an epic fail.
9. Take vitamins daily
10. Get to bed at 10 and get up at 6 daily
Can you tell the physical health goals are where I most struggle?
11. Participate in conversation at every social event (choir, youth group, etc.)
I’m not sure this was really an effective goal to set in the first place? But I did get out of my shell a lot more and have a lot more conversations, so the heart of the goal was still achieved, I guess.
12. Publish Slander & Steel
This book is currently in the “I have no idea what to do with you” category. I’m no longer focusing on publishing it in the near future, but that’s as much as I’ve decided.
13. Edit and publish The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles
Done! :D And with (relatively) resounding success! You can find the book here. ^-^
14. Write one “easy” novel (so I have something to work on that’s not as time-consuming or emotionally draining as The Dark War Trilogy)
Yep! I wrote two, actually. ^-^ I completed The Masked Captain‘s first draft in June and Calligraphy Guild‘s first draft in November.
15. Win all three NaNoWriMo events
I… don’t actually have accurate stats for the two Camp NaNo events, since the website redesign. I think I won in April? But I don’t remember July. I did win November. So… I don’t remember how well this goal went.
16. Write 2k every day
Nope. I was verrrrry sporadic in my writing; some months I wrote a ton, others I wrote close to nothing. But I learned in November that it is definitely possible, so I’ll be shooting for this again in 2020.
17. Find an accountability partner
I found an accountability partner a few months into the year. I found that our method was ineffective, and our check-ins sort of… died. :P (Thank you, though, Leila! I appreciate your time and effort. ^-^)
18. Outline Unstoppable with Allie
We mutually decided this story isn’t working and we need to either completely overhaul it or just… not write it. It’s another limbo story, for now. :P
19. Post once a month on Our Mind Palace
#1) I’m not sure why this was a goal in the first place? #2) I only posted once the entire year.
20. Write a short story each month
I cut this goal in my first quarterly check-in, I think, because it just didn’t suit my long-term goals anymore. But I did write/finish eight short stories this year.
21. Finish and publish Short Story Collection Vol. 2
I decided partway through the year that I didn’t really like half the stories that were supposed to be in this collection, so this goal is postponed until I can figure out what stories I do want to include.
22. Finish and publish Memories & Photographs
This is another one I decided I didn’t really want to do. The stories aren’t really my style, at this point–they were really only fun as a once-off thing–and they’re really old and rough. :P
23. Read the 23 books by the Phoenix Fiction Writers that I haven’t read and can get in paperback
This didn’t happen, unfortunately, but I did read twelve PFW books this year (or thirteen, if you count the one I beta-read in November/December). And I’m still planning on working toward this goal. I aim to have a complete PFW collection, one day.
2020: Concrete Goals
This is just a selection, because some of my goals are either especially irrelevant or more personal, but this is a lot of them.
1. Prayer journal daily
2. Read Bible daily
3. Keep up Within the Static (at least one post per month)
1. Dance every morning
2. Drink 3 glasses of water daily
3. Take vitamins daily
4. Go to bed at 11 every night
5. Get up at 8 every morning
6. Unplug once a week
1. Do something with each sibling weekly
1. Go to Realm Makers
2. Revise Calligraphy Guild
3. Prepare to pitch Calligraphy Guild
4. Draft The Half-Elves
5. Re-publish Lost Girl
6. Re-publish Short Story Collection Vol. 1
7. Write 2k each day
8. Win two NaNoWriMo events
9. Figure out a strategy to finish The Shadow Raven
10. Write a guest post for Story Embers
11. Volunteer at the library
12. Revive my editing services
1. Revise Hands (a poem)
2. Get my license
3. Finish reading A Series of Unfortunate Events
4. Practice French daily
2020: General Hopes
2020 is going to be a weird year. I’ll be graduating (not only from school, but also from choir and youth group), and I don’t really have anything concrete planned for beyond that aside from what I’m already doing. I’ll be taking a couple of trips, hopefully, but I have no college plans or anything like that (2020 will at least be a gap year; I might take an online course in church ministry come the 2021-2022 school year), and I really don’t know what I’ll be doing for most of next year besides continuing to write. It feels like everything will change as far as the big picture is concerned, but everything will stay the same when it comes to daily life. And that’s a little scary.
So I guess my general hopes are to make the most of the last few months I have in choir and youth group (building relationships, especially), to find what God wants me to do with the year, and to keep my joy and hope in Him even after I graduate and I have to leave most of the people I know. And I hope I’ll be able to keep in touch with more of them than I expect.
Honestly, next year scares me more than anything else, lol. But here’s praying God will help me conquer that fear and have joy and faith despite the unknown. *breathes deeply* Easier said than done.
How was 2019, for you? What are your goals for 2020? Does anything scare you about the coming year (or the coming decade)?