2014 Goals Update: Winding Down the Year

goalsIn the beginning of the year, I let you in on my three goals for 2014.

The first–and absolute most important–was to be a better Erin, of which I’ve done an excellent job. I wanted to be a better version of myself. I never wanted to change who I was, just continue being a person who lived her life with intention and in the present: so far, so good.

I had two secondary goals. The first was to walk 150 miles before year-end, and the second was to write 150 small things by the end of the year. Both seemed impossible at the time. While I haven’t yet completed either of my secondary goals, I’m pleased with my progress.

So far this year, I’ve walked 50.73 intentional miles. I know there were a few additional treadmill or nature walks that didn’t get logged, but it doesn’t count if you don’t write it down! Obviously, I’ve walked much more throughout my days and life activities, but at this point I’ve logged 50.73 miles. Is that perfect? Far from it, but as of October, I’ve met my goal 1/3 of the way, and I’m very pleased. I still have a little more than two months to log more steps, and I plan on going at full force until 2015.

The funny thing about my secondary goals is that when I chose them, I thought walking 150 miles would be much easier to attain than writing 150 small things. Yes, I promise I have a degree in writing, but sometimes self-doubt can really prove impossible to move through. I’m shocked, but so happy to announce that my writing count is much higher than my walking count. Thanks in large part to my job and my literary journal, my “short writing” count is up to 101 as of today! Beautiful, no? There is a very good chance that I will meet my goal and possibly even beat it before the end of the year

Just being so close to my writing goal motivates me to work harder at my walking goal. If I can come this far in my writing (which felt impossible at the time I made this goal), I can easily increase my steps.

How are you doing with your resolutions this year?

This entry was posted in Goals.

May 2014 Goals

20140502-164336.jpgThis month, I hope to accomplish many things, but really, they all fall under the same goal:

Finish EVERYTHING that needs to be done before the wedding in May. Leave nothing for June.

The only exception to this goal is my wedding flowers, which I’ll be doing myself (with one of my bridesmaid’s assistance), because, well, obviously you can’t do flowers six weeks in advance or they will wilt and die and smell.

I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post to go over the list of items I’d like to accomplish, but until then, it is definitely time to get to work.


April 2014 Goal Update

Well, I started the month with what felt like four manageable, yet slightly reaching goals. Remember this:


Well, friends, here is my honest progress report.


  • “Walk 30 miles. Lofty goal? (I hope not) But I already walked one today, so I only have 29 left to go.”
    Well. I hate to disappoint you, but I didn’t meet the goal. Whomp, whomp. I did pretty good though, in that I walked 12 treadmill miles in April. For someone who walked 2.5 miles in March, zero in February, and 7 in January, I think the 13 in April is quite successful.


  • Work on some professional goals.

I did wonderful with this goal. I just can’t really speak on the changes quite yet. If we are friends on Facebook, then I’m sure you   know what is happening, but if not, it will hopefully be revealed here in the very near future.

Actually, I should continue. I know exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this goal on 4/1/14 (the secret above), but I’ve also done some great things with other professional goals too. Spry has just launched the fourth issue. We’ve published some incredible writers and poets and I do hope you’ll check it out. I’ve also done some interviews for Spry and also scheduled a mini-series which will be published between issues. I really rocked it professionally this month.

  • Write 35 more small stories/essays.

Nothing happened here. I think a lot of the reason I didn’t get to any of my own writing was that I was hyper-focused on the writing of everyone else (as the editing and publication period for Spry was this month). I did start writing some ideas to work on, but nothing has stuck quite yet.

  • Spring clean my entire apartment (and trash or donate what I do not need)

Again, another laughable effort here. My apartment is quite clean, like always, but I didn’t get a chance to power clean. Honestly, I don’t think that this will happen until after the honeymoon, so it looks like this will turn into summer cleaning!

Stay tuned tomorrow for May’s goals!

This entry was posted in Goals.

April 2014 Goals


  • Walk 30 miles. Lofty goal? (I hope not) But I already walked one today, so I only have 29 left to go.
  • Work on some professional goals.
  • Write 35 more small stories/essays.
  • Spring clean my entire apartment (and trash or donate what I do not need)


This entry was posted in Goals.

One word, one phrase, two goals

I like to start the year with intentions, goals and a word to symbolize my year ahead.

In fact, I love to-do lists and goals so much that I tend to get a little carried away. In 2012, I set goals every month. I really liked that, except that my goals either weren’t organized enough or were over-planned. Because of that, I decided that I would have no goals for 2013 and even though the year was quite busy, it did feel overwhelming/disorganized and I didn’t like that. So what’s a girl to do?

For 2014, I’ve picked my word of the year, added in a phrase of the year (which I think exemplifies my word), and two big-to-me goals for the year.

Be” is my word for 2014. Be kind. Be happy. Be healthy. Be loving. Be patient. Be calm. Be better.

Be A Better Erin” is my phrase for 2014. That is truly what I mean with my one little word. I want to be a better version of myself. I by no means want to “resolve” to change anything about myself. I like who I’ve become. I just want to try to be a better me throughout my daily routines and throughout some of the bigger goals and opportunity that might present themselves to me over the course of the year. I want to be a better bonus-mom, be a better fiance/wife, be a better friend, be a better daughter, be a better writer, be a better editor. Simply, I just want to enjoy my everyday and put more effort into making my life and the lives of those around be a bit better.

And here are the two main goals I have for the year.

  1. Walk 150 miles (not counting my normal daily steps).
  2. Write 150 new very-short pieces of fiction/nonfiction/poetry.

Now, these goals might seem either super big or super small for some of you, but I think they are just right for me. I like to walk, but as I’m really not a physically active person, I hate to run right now. I also need routine to continue walking. 150 miles seems so huge to me right now, but I think it will be easy enough to achieve by the end of the year. Also, I could probably bust out 150 new very-short pieces of writing in a month, but here’s the thing. I won’t. I’m unfortunately a binge writer. I write for a month or two at a time, and then I don’t. I usually get good output once I start, but it is extremely difficult to get started again. I learned in graduate school that writing comes more easily to me when I do it regularly, and also I produce better material when my brain is in regular writing mode. So I’m hoping these 150 new short essays/poems/stories will help me get into a writing routine by the end of the year.

I’m totally open to new opportunities in 2014; in fact, I’ll be actively searching some out. I just don’t want to overburden myself. I have such high hopes for 2014. This year I’ll be getting married to the love of my life (and enjoying a bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding and honeymoon!) and turning 30! Here is to a happy, healthy 2014 for all of us. Cheers!

This entry was posted in Goals.

I’m a Panelist: AWP 2014

awpSomebody needs to get me this shirt.

Big News: I’m going to sit on a panel for AWP 2014 in Seattle, Washington!

In April, we applied to lead a panel on alumni communities and life post-MFA. We waited a little more than three months for the answer, and I’m proud to announce our acceptance. Below is a screenshot taken from AWP’s List of Accepted Events for next year’s conference. I took the liberty to highlight our panel. Hopefully you don’t have high expectations on my computer highlighting skills. (Also, it appears as if Ashley will need to clone herself to sit on this panel. I’ve only been made aware of one Ashley attending, but I will be super impressed is there is two of her on the panel.)


This link was borrowed from AWP’s list of accepted panels.

Goals: August 2013

Alright, folks. It’s time to get some goals. This month I’d like to increase my blogging. Whether I’m writing a post for this site or for Briefs, Spry’s new blog feature, it doesn’t matter. In the same regard, I’d like to increase my writing overall. In July, I managed to do some freewriting a few times a week, and I’d like to continue that into August.

That’s it guys. Nice and easy. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me around these parts.

I’m No Longer a Yoga Virgin

I went to yoga on July 7th for the first time in my life with Cinderella!

Yoga is something I’ve always wanted to try out, but have always been afraid to do. I’m not the most athletic person, so I shy away from gyms and health centers. To be completely honest, the reason I usually don’t try out new physical activities is because I’m self-conscious. I’m afraid I won’t know how to do what everyone else in the class is doing or that people will look at me funny or something else terrible will happen. Bad attitude, I know, but it’s how I felt.

Now that I’ve made it through my first yoga class, I’m really exciting about going back. It was relaxing, but not easy. It was nice. The best part was that there was a man in the class who farted three times! I’ve heard so many friends talk about people farting at yoga, but it all seemed so unbelievable to me. I couldn’t imagine someone letting out gas-whether purposefully or not-in a yoga class, but believe me folks, it does happen.

Update: I went to my second yoga class on Sunday, and there was no farting all class.


I Want To Do Too Much

Honestly, I want to do too much. That’s been a continuous thread weaved through my life. As a child, I didn’t go to the library to get one Babysitter’s Club book. I went to get ten. In high school, instead of being active in one or two clubs, I was active in about 10 and was on the swim team. I was a double major and double minor in college who worked a thirty hour per week professional job. I started graduate school working a full-time job and a part-time job. I kept that part-time job for 3/4th of the time I was at school, only leaving it during my final semester so I could focus on my thesis. Apparently though, that wasn’t enough for me, so Linsey Jayne and I founded Spry Literary Journal.

Honestly, I like to be so involved. Yes, at times, it does feel overwhelming. At others times, being overly involved keeps me motivated.

My only goal for this month was to create a to-do list and start accomplishing some of the items on the list. Simple, right? Well, I don’t have the complete to-do list right now, I only have scraps of paper that have tiny lists on them. Which is okay. It’s movement in the right direction, and I’m considering that a mid-month victory. I’m going to take all my tiny lists and create a bigger list. If I have too many lists, I’ll feel frazzled. A very long time ago, Kyla wrote a post about being overwhelmed and taking a step back to create an organized to-do list (this was so long ago, that I would honestly have no clue where to link back to). Basically, what she did was take some time to write down every possible little thing she wanted to accomplish, and then she organized that list. When I first read the post, I was intrigued, and thought an approach like that would really help me. So at the time, when I organized my lists, the categories were something like “work, school, home, gifts, finances” etc. So I then went through every item on my master list, and anything that related to school went on my new school list. After it was organized (it took some time!), I felt- for the first time in a long time- prepared. I consistently checked items off of my lists, and knew exactly where to add an item when something came up. It was my most successful attempt at list making/life management.

So, I think I’m going to approach the rest of the month in that fashion. I’m going to really concentrate this week on list making. I’ll spend the first few days coming up with a master list and the following few days organizing it. If all goes well, I’ll have a week and a half left to the month to accomplish as many items as I can.

Now, this might sound like a crazy idea to many of you folks with great memories and organized brains. Oh, well. I’m just a person who wants too much. Let’s see how much I can do.

This entry was posted in Goals.

April 2013 Goals

Goals… Where do I even begin?

I set a few reasonable goals in January. They were goals I could manage, and they were goals that I actually wanted to accomplish. Did I succeed in completing those goals? No, I did not. Well, not really. I did a decent job organizing Wolverine’s closet and my closet, only to let the contents become completely scattered and unorganized a week or so later.

My goal for this month is going to be simple: create a to-do list and then work on accomplishing the items I add to the list. I’ve been feeling disorganized and pulled in a few different directions lately. I swear by to-do lists, and since I don’t have a current one, I’ll bet that is why I feel so scatter brained.

I’m not aiming for perfection with this goal, just a little bit of action. Wish me luck.

This entry was posted in Goals.

Internet Finds: Week One

This week’s internet finds will be focused on the new year and goals! For 2013, I plan on sharing these letters on Saturdays. Sometimes on Fridays (in 2012), I’d find links that I wanted to share, but didn’t because I already published the post for the day. Plus, now you will have something to read on the weekends.

Check out Moments Matter Most from a newsletter I get at work by Priority Management. Daniel Stamp makes some great points about how important the moments are in our lives. Yes, we are all focusing on goals for the new year, but we really need to focus on every moment.

Sarah at Yes and Yes shares 13 Fresh Starts for a new year. The tips are practical and a really smart way to kickstart the new year. Here are two that I will be working on for 2013: Clean out your car and update your resume.

The fabulous Jenny Blake shares 13 Thought-Starters for 2013. These are questions you can ask yourself when figuring out your goals for the new year. These questions really perk your brain up and force you to look at the specifics, the things you might overlook when planning the ordinary resolutions (like weight-loss…don’t worry, it’s on my list too, but let’s pick fun goals too).

Finally Jess Lively shares her 2014 letter to her future self. I’ve always wanted to do this (and usually forget to do it every birthday). I think writing one right now will be great as I’d love to surprise myself in 2014 to see if my year went according to plan, and if my intentions for the year influenced how the year did in fact play out. I probably won’t share my letter like she did, but I do hope I will write it. If you want to write one, remember that you can go to futureme.org and schedule a date to email the letter to yourself.

Finally, and this is an awesome one, you should check out Nicole’s workbook, Why Wait? A Bullshit-Free Guide to Jump- Starting Your Goals for the New Year. I printed my copy (in black-and-white whomp whomp) on Wednesday and I’m really enjoying working my way through it.

January 2013 Goal: Organize

January will be for embracing organization.

Do you like how I used my one big word for 2013 and my goal word for the month together in one sentence?

This month I have two main goals.

The first will be to prepare my correspondence for the year ahead. I want to sit down with a calendar and cards and organize myself so that I can mail out birthday, anniversary and holiday cards each month. Sending letters or cards is something I always say that I want to do, but I never remember to do so. This will be the month that I spend some time organizing my cards for the whole year. If all goes well, I’ll be able to grab my cards at the beginning of the month, write a personal note inside and then mail them.

The second main goal will be to draft a plan for the year. Molly from Stratejoy posted sometime last year about how she does quarterly check-ins, kind of like performace reviews, with herself. That idea has stayed with me since I first read it, and I’d like to start fresh with 2013. But I won’t be able to review my progress if I don’t have a plan. So this month (I’m not going to rush it and try to complete it all tonight) I’m going to zone in and draft my ideal 2013. I want to list the easy things I plan on accomplishing, to list the wild dreams I dreamt up for the year. I’ve said it before, but I have very high hopes for 2013. If there is anything I’ve learned in the past, it is that intention creates life. So I’m going to plot out my intentions.

I also plan on organizing some areas of my house. Organizing my stuff will be a goal you’ll see in the next few months at well. For January, I plan on tackling Wolverine’s room, my closet and my top drawer of my dresser.

In 2013, I’ll be checking in on my goals during my monthly observations I post on the last day of the month. I’m excited about my goal for this month and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

This entry was posted in Goals.

Thoughts On My Goals for 2013

Where to start?

For 2012, I tried to pick one main goal for the month and focus my energy during those 29-31 days on that specific item. Some months I did really good, like in January when I wanted to waste less or February when I spent time organizing and removing unneeded items from my life or November when I tried to blog daily about the things I was grateful for. Overall, I worked pretty hard on my goals for 2012. The months that were the most successful were the ones I had really planned out ahead of time. In January and February, I had been thinking about being resourceful, not wasting, minimizing unused items for quite some time. The goals fit in perfectly with what I was prepared to work on at that time. The months that were the least successful were months I either didn’t pick a goal until the very last-minute or months that I was a bit unpractical with my goal. Like when my goal was to write something new every day toward the end of my thesis. I knew I was going to be editing more than writing at that point, and I couldn’t devote the time and patience and dedication needed to generate new material. One thing I think could have helped in 2012 is if I had a long list of goals I wanted to accomplish, so that when it came time to pick a new goal for the month, I would have an abundance of ideas. This is especially important for those months that I felt a little lost in my goal-picking. Some months were easy, but many would have benefited from a previously created list.

So that is what this blog post is all about.

During the month of December, I brainstormed goals that were important to me. My list is about 70% full of goals that I can work on one at a time, or at least devote one month to. The other 30% are goals that I’ll work on throughout the year. I’ll keep this list open, free to add newly generated ideas to as they come to me throughout 2013.

Like 2012, I plan on picking one main goal for the month, but I’m really going to keep this goal challenge as rule-free as possible. In fact, for January, I’m going to attempt a few goals at once, but I’ve picked a word to try to symbolize the overall goal. (Check back later tonight for a more specific post on this month’s goal). Basically, this year will be half super-organized and half fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.

I haven’t figured out whether or not I should share my long list of goals for 2013 on the blog, or just list them as I tackle them month to month. If I decide to do so, I’ll just do a follow-up post with my goals.

I’m ready to embrace a year full of exciting challenges, strike with self-improvement, growth and love.


This entry was posted in Goals.

Nice To Meet You, 2013.

I’ve been waiting for 2013 for quite some time now, and I’m beyond grateful to be here.


I mentioned last week about how I am going to pick a word for 2013. I did so in 2010 and 2011, and those were some pretty fantastic years. I firmly believe that 2013 will be a spectacular year in my life, and I think it deserves its very own word. I toyed with many words for 2013, but none seem to fit perfectly. In 2013, what I want from my life is to communicate more and better with the people I love. I want to enjoy all the moments: the big, the little, the medium, the easy to remember, the easy to not notice moment. I want to love. So after much indecision, I have finally made a choice:




I want to embrace 2013 with open arms. I want to embrace the ones I love physically and emotionally. More hugs for the ones close to me, and more communication for the ones farther away (well, I hope to better communicate with the ones close to me as well!) either by letter-writing or phone calls or even emails. I want to embrace opportunities. Those that I am actively searching for (like the teaching positions or growing Spry) or those that by fortune of circumstance (serendipity!) travel my way. I want to embrace the tough moments–not to accept them, but to become an active participant in my own life. I think it is easy to be passive during the more tough or trying moments in life, but I want to take charge of those moments, to embrace them in whichever way necessary. I want more hugs and kisses from my guys, Wolverine and Mr. O. I want to be present; I want to feel alive. This is going to be a miraculous year for me; I can feel it in my bones.


Thank you (ahead of time), 2013. I fully embrace you.


Photo Credit: The Phraseology Project