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Goals! Goals! Goals!

"Momentum in Life"

For my 36th birthday, I launched 36 goals to accomplish in one year. The pressure of New Year resolutions paralyzes me. But according to Positive Psychology, "Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life." So I focused on curating specific goals on my annual trip around the sun instead.

Six-Month Progress

I'm halfway through my 36th year and in desperate need of a check in. To my surprise, there's been substantial movement with several goals. Here are a few highlights:


  • Attend a writers retreat: self-curated with writer friends in November 2019

  • Launch a writers' movement: a loosely defined goal at the time morphed into Fight For Our Lives, a performance series advocating for communities targeted by divisive politics. Read more here.

  • Obtain a flexible day job to allow more writing time: with a stroke of luck and targeted networking, I found an afternoon teaching gig that frees up my mornings for writing sessions. Read this post for more info about my routine.

In Progress

  • Run a half-marathon (2x): Soooo....come Feb 7th, a buddy and I will know if we qualify for the Canyon De Chelly 55k Ultra in Oct 2020. 55k equals 34 miles, or more than two half-marathons. Wish us luck? Gulp.

  • Deepen my allyship for Trans/Queer/LGBTQ+/Two-Spirit communities: this will never be a "finished" goal. Building off of Fight For Our Lives, I have a secret project that will take my allyship to the next level, and I can't wait! More news to come.

  • Read 12 books in 12 months (on target): Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, The Truth About Stories by Thomas King, The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara, Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist, Keep Going, and Show Your Work.

  • Apply to at least 6 grants/fellowships/residencies: my total is 4 submissions thus far, which I earned a spot in the Bend Writers Workshop for spring 2020. The other 3 opportunities are TBA. Note: I purposely specified "apply to" rather than "attend" or "earn" these opportunities, as I don't have control over the decision making process when applying.

  • Attend a Mindfulness Retreat: my day job has a generous professional development package, so I'm using that to strengthen my wellness-ish-ness game.


  • Submit work to 12 publications: this is a big miss. I've only submitted 2 pieces of work, 1 of which got published in Homology Lit. The other is TBA. Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Tweaking Required

  • Increase social media followers: Why I thought increasing my social media "influence" was important to my craft is beyond me. A month into this goal I threw it out. After reading Austin Kleon's book Show Your Work, I readjusted this goal to focus on, well, showing more of my work on social media. As a result, I created this blog!

  • Do 100 Push Ups/Sit Ups/Pull Ups: really?! do you scream masculine fragility much? next! [rolls eyes at myself]

The Next Six Months

As you can see, my goals are a potpourri of this-and-that: building my author platform, strengthening my craftwork, increasing my physical and mental wellness-ish-ness, and advocating for communities-in-need. I'm confident that the next six months will be productive, and I've promised myself I won't beat myself up if I don't finish 100% strong, because, dang, I've done a lot so far [pats myself on the back]. The most important thing is I feel the life momentum I was craving on my 36th birthday: the need to change some of my behaviors, help others, and live well(ish).

Interested in building your own goals?

Here's a goal setting worksheet I use with my business students. Start small, however. Don't feel pressured to match a goal number to your age. Do what feels comfortable, realistic, and above all, empowering to you.

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