2013: Coming soon to a calendar near you

As the new year approaches, here’s an easy first step to kick-start your goals, dreams, and resolutions

By Dave Fox

Hey! We’ve almost made it through another year! As December winds down, we’ll be bombarded with the usual onslaught of media “retrospectives” about all the big news events, celebrity divorces, and life-altering Tweets of the past 12 months. “Experts” will predict trends to look for in 2013.

The future is now! Singapore’s “supertrees” at the futuristic Gardens by the Bay opened in 2012.

Whether you’re into that sort of thing or not, the start of a fresh calendar is a convenient time to look back at your own achievements from the past year, and plot your goals for the year ahead. Equally important is reviewing what you didn’t accomplish that you had hoped to, why you didn’t get it done, whether you still want to, and how you’ll do it if you do want to.

Last December, I made a list of goals for 2012. Things I did not complete: Releasing six short Kindle e-books (I published two) and writing the rough draft of a novel (I made the mistake of scattering my time among multiple projects). Among the things I did get done: Launching the new website and keeping a steady stream of fresh articles coming, getting my first podcast online, selling more articles than I did in 2011, and uncovering a plagiarism scandal in the United States (which was not on my list of goals, but important nonetheless). I visited ten countries on three continents, taught a bunch of writing seminars, and took more than a dozen naps.

My goals for 2013: Completing the rough draft of a new (full-length) book, more podcasts, more article sales than 2012, and within the next few months, I hope to release new series of MP3 audio courses and self-study guides for aspiring travel and humor writers. I’m also excited to be heading in February to southern India where I’ll be teaching travel writing classes to a group of ninth graders from the Singapore American School… and Kattina and I are starting work on a big summer documentary project we’re not quite ready to announce yet. (Its success depends on sponsorship and involves travel in some remote parts of the world. Our first big task is to secure funding, which we’ll begin work on in January.)

Writing down your goals — in a journal or a public forum like a blog — can give you traction and motivation.

And you? How was your year? What did you accomplish? Are there things you hoped to get done that you didn’t? (Not completing a project doesn’t necessarily mean you failed. It might mean you found something better or more important.)

What are your goals for 2013? How will you accomplish them? What are you excited about? What are you afraid of? What are the current obstacles you need to deal with? What will it take to motivate you to follow through?

How about your more long-term goals? What do you dream of doing someday in the future? If you can’t do it this coming year, what can you do this year to begin moving in that direction?

One of my broader ambitions in the coming year is to help people with vague, “I’ll do it someday” dreams start moving toward “someday.” Where do you want to travel? What do you want to write? What other Big Things would you like to do with your awesome self? Master a foreign language? Learn how to swim? Open a llama farm? Learn how to pole dance? Open an aquatic pole dancing school for llamas? We’ve all got some big ambition or another, but many people shy away from pursuing them, intimidated by their size. The trick is to start with a few small nibbles.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching” or “Way of Life” in roughly the 6th century BC. (Public domain image.)

To quote my favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

This is something I’d like to write more about as the new year kicks in – and I need your help. What are your crazy “someday” dreams? What are the things that hold you back? What would you need to get past those things and start working toward what you want to do? What do you need from other people to start working toward them? How can I or other Globejotting readers help? I’d love to hear your stories.

Sometimes, writing down our intentions is the first step in working toward our goals – particularly in a public forum where other readers can offer encouragement and suggestions. And sometimes, the best advice comes from neutral strangers, who don’t have as much emotion or a personal agenda attached to our personal dreams as our family or friends might.

So share your stories and ambitions in the comments area below… or if you don’t feel like announcing them to the world, but would like some feedback (and would be willing to help me get a better sense of how I can help others though my writing), feel free to drop me an e-mail with your thoughts instead. Then, check back to this page periodically. Keep us posted on your struggles and your progress, your frustrations and little victories… and offer advice and encouragement to others too.

I’ll be posting some of my own goals here as well. I struggle with focus myself sometimes, and it’s nice to share discoveries on what works and what gets in the way of pursuing our goals.

If the comments here start getting long, I might move this discussion to a new page… and I am also looking into setting up some new message boards. But, hey, let’s get things rolling now!  Take three minutes and tell us what you hope to get done in 2013 and beyond. It could be your first step in an amazing journey.

Published on Monday, December 17, 2012

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