If you’re a cynical person (like me!) you probably don’t like the idea of goals, resolutions, new habits and whatever else comes around with the turn of the calendar.
So over the years, I’ve not made any resolutions, and not had any goals.
But I don’t think that’s a good posture either. Because a good thing could be turned into a bad idol if not treated carefully.
The turning of the calendar and changes in season offer a natural opportunity to tweak and change things.
I honestly think it is a *good* thing to make goals and look forward to incorporating new things in your life.
However, if your life becomes ruled by unmet expectations and goals, then that’s a destructive idol…whether you pursue it too hard or give up on it because it seems impossible.
So this year, I am making goals. Last year, I made a few quick goals…
I did #1 and #3, but not so much of #2.
What’s different in 2019?
I have a few more goals, hence the more official blog post rather than just a tweet.
I don’t think I’m doing any more than last year, it just may not take as much work to finish as publishing a novel.
That was a huge goal for me, and I’m glad I got it done. Honestly, my focus on finishing it over several months with a job change thrown in there, too was more difficult than I anticipated.
Honestly, I picked it up the other day and I found a few things that I’d change. But I did it. I published another book while also having a full-time job, a wife, two kids, being active in my spiritual community and watching lots of NBA (priorities!).
The goals for 2019 will take as much energy as writing a novel (maybe more!) but that work will be spread over more tasks. So let’s do this.
1. Pray for at least 10 solid minutes per day.
I find myself as a Christian praying and reading Scripture, but really I was focused more on consuming things rather than listening and praying for others. Yes, I would pray throughout my day and even longer than 10 minutes on other days. But really, it was when the inspiration would strike.
And so incorporating more prayer in my life is something I’m going to do. I may even do it 2x per day, we’ll see.
This will help me be more focused on God, how He is working in the world, on others and my own shortcomings.
2. Grow Traffic on JoshSpilker.com by 25%
You can tell I’d “given up” on my website over the past few years. And it’s been hard to know what to do as I’ve shifted my writing to other places (like Medium) and into my books as well.
I’ve steered away from writing creatively beyond my novels and now do content marketing on a full-time basis. Many of my interests stray from literature to business, so I never knew what this blog and/or domain could really be.
But I’ve learned a lot about blogging and SEO over the past 2 years and want to incorporate more of that in this blog. I won’t have any fiction or personal essays on here (see below) but I will have posts on creativity, writing, art and books.
I’ll probably be posting more, and some of those will be more fun/informational and others will be more topic, SEO-driven. This goal will also encompass doing some site work and tweaks. I probably need to break this down further (OKRs!) but this is good for now.
Twenty-five percent I think is really do-able for this site.
3. Increase newsletter subscribers by 10%
I won’t share exact numbers, but I’d also like to see the newsletter subscribers increase as well. I need to be more focused and targeted to make that happen, but I think primarily focusing on book recommendations is a good way for me to grow as a reader and author.
Sign up to get my newsletter with book recommendations and thoughts on creativity!
4. Grow Traffic on my Affiliate Sites by 15%
Last year, I started two other sites in earnest as experiments.
I’ll try to grow these by posting more content and doing some link building (very important!). I had a post goal for these, but overall traffic growth is more important than regular posting for these.
5. Submit 3 stories to lit mags
A while ago, I stopped submitting stories. I even wrote a blog post about it somewhere that I can’t find now. My goal was to keep working on novels and doing more blog posts like this. I think I can fit submitting in now, even though it costs sometimes (boo).
But to submit means I have to write stories as well…so this is a tricky goal!
6. Save more money
I won’t get into specifics here (ha!) but yeah, my wife and I didn’t do as well saving money in 2018 (we’re fine everyone!). I used to be a lot better at it, even paying for a new car with cash (that won’t happen again for a long time).
But our expenses have increased and so I want to save more money. Yes, I have a goal and percentage in mind, but I’m keeping that to myself for now (b/c I’ll probably have to adjust it!).
7. Improve HTML and Google Analytics skills.
This more of a work thing, but it applies here too. I used to know HTML a little bit, but my skills have rapidly slipped.
My workplace is letting me use Treehouse so that’s nice. Treehouse is an online learning platform for coding. It’ll cover some front end development and code. I’ll have to pick up some more Google Analytics knowledge elsewhere, but I think they offer some free classes.
8. Read more of the books I own (holdover from last year!)
I recently challenged my wife to only read 2 books at a time. My personal challenge is to keep reading what I own, rather than constantly going to the library. I’ve read a lot of what I own, but not everything. I think I will buy more books this year, too, because I’m returning things too fast to the library.
9. Write 20,000 words of a novel
After PLS Advise, I toyed around with a few ideas, and I think I have the idea. I’m just not sure on the approach. My goal is to write 20,000 words of a book this year, which would only be the start…meaning read PLS Advise and Taco Jehovah now because nothing new will be out for a while!
You know, I probably won’t make all of these.
That’s alright, I’m okay with that.
I’m going to try. I’m going to turn off Netflix (sometimes).
I’m old enough to know what I need to do to make these things happen.
That takes some sacrifice, growth and recalibration.
Let’s do it.
Originally published at joshspilker.com on January 4, 2019.