2020 Goals Expanded

Back in December I wrote a little blurb about some goals I set for myself for 2020 and beyond. I even shared a picture of the whiteboard (complete with my awful handwriting) that I’m using as a daily reminder of what I need to be focused on.

For those that are familiar with the whiteboard picture, or who recently came back from following the link above and saw it, I’m going to be talking about the left side only. I wanted to take a deeper dive into what those goals look like to me and how I might go about accomplishing them as the year goes on. (Next time I’ll go over the right side of the board, the things I need to be avoiding.)

First, a list of what they are and in no particular order of importance, followed by some background and motivations.

  • Publish a novel
  • Build my blog
  • Read MORE!
  • Stream consistently
  • Get healthy

The first three goals are all kind of a bundled package in my mind. They work together and complement each other.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had two problems. Reading, and daydreaming. Some of you might be thinking “But those don’t sound like problems at all!” Well let me tell you, when you’re growing up and you can’t pay attention in class because your imagination runs away with you? That’s a problem. Not a exactly bad problem, just one that impeded my immediate educational success.

Reading, though, was a two-part problem in itself. I loved reading, often times reading several grade or age levels above my peers and therefore more difficult than the things we were tasked with reading in school. This influenced my attention problems by making me less concerned with the rest of my schoolwork. I was often bored with the content being supplied to me by the educational system, as it didn’t feel difficult or challenging enough, so I would struggle to focus and complete the assigned classwork. Compounding on that issue was the fact that because I loved reading so much, I had an expanded imaginative capacity and could easily get lost in my daydreams. Fantasy 1, School 0.

Why bring this all up? Because for all that those might have been problems in the past, I never fully realized my capacity to create things from my own imagination! For years I’ve had this itch to just jot down ideas and get lost in them. See where they go and what they can become. I needed a creative outlet. Naturally this led me to the idea of writing my own stories and trying to share them with the world.

By now you hopefully made the connection between two of the first three goals listed above. I need to read to keep my mind fed so that I can be creative and output content. But why the blog? Well, not everything I “create” has to be a fiction novel, and it needs it’s space, too. I needed a home for the shorter things. A refuge for my thoughts when I just need to vent. Almost like a sort of diary but with the intent that in sharing these thoughts and ideas I hope I can also inspire someone else. In the end, this is where the blog comes in handy. It’s my space to share whatever I have on my mind (and thereby get it OUT of my head so its not consuming me.) Plus it acts as a window for the world to see who I am, and reach a potential audience for all my writing (especially if I hope to publish a novel.)

So, an abundant desire to create, complemented by keeping ideas flowing through reading other peoples work (ideas can be contagious), and balanced by a secondary outlet for…well, everything else!

Now, onward to the next goal. Streaming consistently.

Why is this goal so important to me when I have the other ones for creative outlets? Well, this one has its own complementary factors for the others. Who says that reading a book is the only way to consume content that influences ideas? Plenty of video games have wonderful stories, the only difference between them and a book is that the visual is provided to you on a screen rather than in your mind. Streaming consistently would provide a whole host of benefits that complement not only my other goals, but my normally introverted lifestyle.

I may have mentioned it before, but in case I haven’t I’ll say it again. Streaming is like an extension to one of my already existing hobbies. I love playing video games, and I grew up sharing them with my family and friends. We would take turns and watch each other play. We would experience the roller coaster of emotions in the stories together. As an adult this is a little more difficult. We’re all grown up and leading different lives. Some of us have started families. Streaming let’s me carry the spirit of those experiences into the future and share them with people across the WORLD. Which in itself is important because as a mostly introverted person I don’t like to go out and socialize. Streaming let’s me be social in a different way and meet new people with a shared interest. Another family of sorts, but also an audience that I can hopefully connect, and share with, the stories I intend to craft. It let’s me express myself a little differently than I would if I limited myself to just writing out entry after entry here. For example, I can (in real time) test out jokes, or pitch ideas to my regular viewers to see if they have any input.

I guess the direction that it all really ended up going in lends to all four goals being somehow complementary to each other. It will just be reliant on how I manage the balance between them all.

As for the final goal, being healthy, this should be an ongoing thing. It also sort of stands at odds with the other goals, as those ones focus on being less physically active. However, if I can be healthy (which will include eating right and getting in shape) my body will not only last longer but it will improve my overall brain function (or so they say) which means I can be that much more efficient in my creative goals.

See! They all sort of work together, even when they may not really want to.

Alright, with the background and motivations out of the way, let’s take a look at how I MIGHT be accomplishing these goals.

Publishing a novel is going to require being disciplined (I mentioned this in my other entry linked above.) I’ll need to actually WRITE something before it can even get to the point of being published at all, but it wasn’t enough to just say I wanted to “Write a novel” because in the end what would have been the point of writing it if I didn’t want it published? Thus, “Publish a novel” instead. To accomplish this I scheduled time into my week (through Google Calendar, complete with reminders) to sit down and write. These time slots are kind of catch all slots, though, because I needed to have time to write entries for my blog as well.

Due to time constraints during the week from having a full time job, some of the scheduled writing time slots actually overlap with reading/self-education time. The idea being that if I’m not doing one I SHOULD be doing the other. This gives me an opportunity to always be doing something considered productive towards the goals.

So, four days of my week have time allocated to reading/writing. Two of those days being my weekends, because as I alluded to above I don’t have an active social life. Thankfully, I separated the time slots on the weekends for reading and writing so that they don’t overlap. Less pressure. Again, this is all just for building up that “discipline”. Need to have good habits if I hope to accomplish anything productive. As the year goes on I’ll likely assign myself with more detailed goals. I have some in mind, I just haven’t imposed them on myself yet.

The streaming consistently goal is really rather simple. I told myself I needed to just stream three days a week, a few hours at a time. It doesn’t have to be any specific games (I like variety) and I’m really just trying to build up that discipline. Once I’m comfortable with it, I can explore ways to enhance the quality of my stream. Although, I did slot some time on my Google Calendar for Behind The Scenes work for my stream. Just some time to review what kinds of games are coming out that I want to keep on my radar, as well as be mindful of the games I already have in the backlog I put together (you can find it here on Backloggery if you’re curious.) That way I’m always thinking ahead for what I can be playing on stream and not fumbling around about it and making an excuse to not stream just because I don’t know what I want to play. This also ties into things I’m supposed to be avoiding if I want to accomplish my goals, but I’ll write that entry up later.

As for getting healthy? First thing I’ve been working on is just drinking more water and less liquid calories. I’m also trying to get into the habit of waking up early so I can hit the gym before work. I want to get to the point of going to the gym at least three times a week, even if it is just to walk on the treadmill for half an hour. Barring that, I’m trying to take more walks at work and hitting the recommended 6,000 steps a day that my fitness band keeps telling me I should be doing. (Yes, fitness app, I HAVE tried taking a walk today, you’re just glitched out! So chill.)

There you have it, a deeper dive into my current Top 5 Goals. Going to take them one step at a time and see where it all takes me.