Creative in 2017

I told a few folks that I would share how I am doing my goals chart for 2017. But before I get into that, my friend Charles posted a good reminder today on Facebook, for all those of us who are looking towards the new year with an eye towards starting afresh. He writes:

Note to self….


• Specific

• Measurable 

• Action-Oriented/Achievable 

• Realistic/Rewarding

• Time-based/Trackable

A number of years ago, I took up a goal challenge posed by friend. I don’t rember all of the details, but it was something like ‘get X number of things accomplished in Y number of days’. I don’t think I accomplished everything on my list at that time, but that process helped me work though HOW I set goals for myself.

As with a lot of folks, there are a lot of negative aspects to 2016 I want to put behind me. (Still sad over the loss of Alan Rickman. Sigh. I loved his rendering of Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility.) I feel like the time is right to challenge myself once again. 

So I have chosen 13 goals for myself for the new year. I believe they are all SMART. While I want to keep some of these goals to myself, I will share how I plan to track my actions and accomplishments.

Say two of my goals are as follows:

  1. Read one new book each month
  2. Walk 10 miles every week

I actually create a spreadsheet with the top row listing every date in the year in its own cell. Thus, I end up with a column for every day. The left-most column I leave blank for listing my goals, one per row. Every time I achieve the goal (say, finishing my latest mystery novel on January 13) I record my accomplishment in the cell for that goal and date. I think it is important to SEE how much I have done and where I am going, so my big chart is a very helpful tool for me.

As I start on my chart, I’ll paste a portion of my chart into here and share a few accomplishments and milestones I reach.

Here’s to a productive and creative 2017!


Things to Leave Behind with 2016

I’m back at Rocky for a few brief moments this afternoon. This spot is where I have come to clear my mind, write and think. Many, many times over the last 11 months.

Today is December 26, and the merryment, laughter, friendship and food of the past 24 hours are fresh in my mind.

I scrapped one small part of my weekend plans because of the weather. The winds have been CRAZY. Last night Estes Park and the high country were supposed to have gusts as high as 75 miles per hour. During the daytime, the winds have only been maybe 30-40 mph.

So I didn’t go snowshoeing. (Incidentally, some folks who tried to snowshoe, turned around after a very short distance.)

But this change of plans made me reflect upon some changes that need to happen as I move into 2017.

1) Stop whimping out. The best things in life are often achieved after hard work. So, are my excuses legitimate? 75 mph might be a bit much, but what about other excuses? I need to just go for things. Period.

2) Do not let fear hold me back. A woman at my office says “I can’t do this,” so often out of fear. I won’t share her story much, but suffice it to say that she CAN do the things in front of her.  But she is middle-aged and still crippled with fear when something new is put in front of her. Fear of failure, or fear of trying something new alone (at work), or whatever, I just watch fear hold her back and bring tears to her eyes nearly every day. She is very sweet, and I feel sorry for her. I cannot let fear hold on to me like that. 

3) Make the most of my resources. This is simple. Am I using what I have in the best way, for the greatest good? This is mostly about my finances and talents.

4) Take your ideas and make something out of them. Every now and then, my creative side comes up with something brilliant, even if I do say so myself. But how many ideas go slipping right away without ever materializing? My creative side needs to be heeded a little more often.


So, as I sit here in the park today, watching the wind whip through the dried grasses and trees, I am hoping to let these  winds blow through my lifestyle and rejuvenate me with better habits for the future.