The Big Reset Button

We’re coming up on a New year! And I know I’m not completely alone in thinking ‘thank God’ at that. 2016 has been rough from beginning to end, no matter what way you look at it. Whatever your political leanings, it’s been a pretty rough year, and the idea of leaving this year behind to move on to the next is an attractive one to say the least.

Of course, this feeds into the illusion that by leaving one year behind and going into a new one, we leave behind all of the problems and headaches of the one before completely. That by going from ‘2016’ to ‘2017’ we hit a great big reset button, restarting all of what’s gone on in the last twelve months and getting another pass at it. This isn’t true, of course. Hanging up a new calendar on the wall doesn’t mean that what happened in the last one is getting erased. Going into a new year, we’ll still be hampered by the mistakes and setbacks of the last. On the upside, we’ll also be building on our successes and any progress that we’ve made.

Going into a new year isn’t a Big Reset Button in the sense that we get to completely restart our lives, fresh and blank like a new notebook, but it is a good time to give ourselves a nice hard mental shake and throw off the stress of the last year. Easier said than done, I know, but if the new year has any tradition other than partying and kissing complete strangers while watching giant balls descend from the sky, it’s using the new year as a new beginning.

Walk it off, baby, walk it off.

Anyway, hitting this mental Big Reset Button means going into the new year with new or brushed up goals, new plans, and new ways of approaching it all. Hopefully.

A new year means new year’s resolutions. Promises to yourself – and others if you happen to announce them publicly – for changes you’ll be making in the next twelve months. Promises of improvements you’ll be making for yourself, your family and possibly the world at large, that the next year will be better than any that has come before because you’ll be dedicated to those goals.

I haven’t made any new year’s resolutions in the last ten years or so, and generally dislike the specific concept of ‘resolutions’ in particular.

That’s not to say that I dislike the idea of improving in the next year or making a promise to put in the effort to do so. Far from it, in fact. New year or not, I’m always going over my old goals and refurbishing them, rearranging the priorities, re-configuring my deadlines as I need to, etc. But that’s where I draw the difference between ‘resolution’ and ‘goal.’

To my way of thinking, and I admit this might just be me, a resolution is a fairly vague kind of statement. When one makes a resolution, and let’s take one of the most common ones as an example, like ‘Lose weight,’ that’s a pretty broad goal. So broad, in fact, that it’s bordering on useless. Much like in writing, when you’re setting goals for yourself, it pays to have specificity. When setting goals, let specificity be your byword.

‘Lose weight’ is worthy enough goal, but be more specific with it. Have a goal weight in mind, write it down somewhere. That’s a start towards your specificity. You now have a definite end goal to reach rather than a vague direction to move towards. But let’s get even more specific than that.

Break down the numbers even more. You have a starting point, where your weight is now, an ending point, where you want to be in twelve months, now it’s time to figure out how much weight you’ll need to lose to get there. From there you figure out how much you should lose each month, and even each week. Having weekly goals to work towards is more effective than having one that’s arcing from one end of the year to the other. It’s something that you can work on each and every day, and with mini goals spread across the year rather than just one large one increases the likelihood that you’ll actually succeed in that larger goal. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, and giving yourself short term, achievable goals is the first step towards that.

So, rather than setting myself resolutions, I set myself a brand new set of yearly goals. This might just be a case of semantics, but it makes me feel better. What are the new goals for the this new year?

Well, even with specificity, I tend to set myself far too many, and I fully realize this. This is the downside to specificity, at least for me. With each of my goals broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces, it increases the number of items on my list. Normally not an issue, but for me it’s easy to look at my new, broken-into-steps list and feel overwhelmed. Ironically this doesn’t usually happen until I’ve added even more overall goals because I feel like my original list is so much more achievable now that there are scheduled plans in place.

Radiohead was right. You do it to yourself, and that’s what really hurts.

That all said, here are some of my super special yearly goals for 2017!

WRITING GOALS FOR 2017:

  • Fanfiction works:
    • Haunted. This is a long background fic for the character Ryou Bakura of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Because I’m that kind of fan.
      Goal: Either finished or very nearly finished by the end of the year. To accomplish this will require one chapter per month. Possible, but will take serious focus, especially when combined with everything else.
    • Ironmonger’s Heart. This is an AU crossover fic, specifically a Thor/Iron Man crossover set in medieval Norse mythology. It’s a kind of retelling of Iron Man and Loki’s legend at the same time.
      Goal: At least three or four chapters posted by December. Considering other goals being set this year, this is the best I can hope for. It’s one I really want to make progress on, but others have been around longer and have a higher priority.
    • Loki’s Brood. This one is unapologetically shippy, Frostiron style. Tony and Loki get together, with Loki’s children Hela, Fenrir and Jörmungandr thrown in. It’s a series of short stories, long neglected.
      Goal: I would love to finish it off and be done, but I’m thinking the best to be done is much like with Ironmonger – three or four installments over the year.
    • Misc. There’s plenty I’m working on in fanfiction besides these, but they’re not so high in priority and will be monthly or weekly sets of goals rather than yearly.
  • Original works:
    • Wolves & Roses. This is my LGBTQ+ retelling of Beauty and the Beast I’ve been working on for about a year and a half.
      Goal: I would like to finish the rough draft of this, get it completely typed up, and make any major revisions in terms of rearranging and deciding what needs to be done to make it readable for betas. To do this, the rough draft is going to have to be finished by June, leaving the last half of the year for typing and hammering.
    • Misc. I would like to have an outline for another novel done before the end of the year and the draft for my children’s book finished up – and some practice in the artwork which I would like to do myself.
  • Blogs:
    • Ehtar’s Place. Yep, this one. Since setting it up I’ve neglected it pretty badly, but I have it as a goal this year to keep it active. Part of that plan includes regular posts such as this and book reviews. There will be more than this eventually, but this is where we’re starting to get me into good blogging habits.
      Goal: One post every week; two regular posts and two reviews per month.
    • @ehtarwrites. This is my twitter, and while I still use it, it has been allowed to languish quite often. My goal is be more focused with it and to use it more for updates on how my writing is going. I would like to use my twitter to keep anyone who is interested up to date on what’s going on on a more daily basis – and to provide motivation for myself to keep writing. Hard to update people if all I can tell them is ‘still nothing.’ And kind of embarrassing.
      Goal: One update, of some kind, every other day.
  • Misc Writing:
    • Star Trek Teenies. Don’t know what this is? Don’t worry. It’s a little photo comic parody of Star Trek I started a few years ago on deviantART which has been on hiatus for far too long.
      Goal: I have scripts for new strips and a set up for new sets, I just need to construct new characters and props, and then actually make the strips themselves. More specificity on this goal will take a little more work.
    • And Love Will Steer the Stars. This is another Star Trek centered thing, a series of essays on the original series, more specifically on the assumed romantic relationship between Kirk and Spock. I can hear some of the groans from here, but it’s a fun project that I do in my mythical spare time.
      Goal: One episode gone over in detail every month. It’s not much, but considering what I’ve managed for the last two years, it’s huge.
    • Bone Zaza. This is a little webcomic I’d like to start on tumblr whose entire purpose is to teach basic bony and muscular anatomy and kinesiology. I used to teach this at a massage school and I miss doing it, so this seems like a fun way to do it again.
      Goal: Practice drawing the teacher, ‘Bone Zaza;’ set up a lesson plan for individual comics; practice at how the comics will be put together.

Like I said, I have plenty of other goals for the year. Goals for reading, for studies, for health, for spiritual practice, and yadda yadda yadda, but if I put them all down here this post would go on forever. Plus writing them all down in this much detail in one place frightens me, quite frankly.

But! Those are my major writing goals for the new year! I’m hyped and terrified all at once, which is probably the best way to go into anything that’s new and big. Frightened, but pumped up and willing to take it all on, head on!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE, LET’S HIT THE BIG RESET BUTTON TOGETHER!

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