Cervantes Bike

18 plus achievements in 2018

What I achieved in 2018.

A couple of months ago I found a printout of an email I sent myself in February listing my goals for 2018! I got carried away – a habit of mine when I actually start goal setting. I even set tasks to achieve my targets and I planned out a fortnightly action plan! I mapped out my days – when I’d do what and for how long. It all met with varying degrees of success.

Here are my achievements based on my daily non-negotiables and broader goals.

1. Journal writing every day, preferably first thing in the morning for up to 30 minutes. This is my mind decluttering tool. Get the head clear. Get on the right track. Shift the mindset into a positive frame. Sometimes this was added to a time in the day when I got stuck in whatever I was doing. I find it works – every time. Nice. Though not done every day, I give myself a tick for this goal.

Journal writing – always with pen and paper. There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about the tactile act of actual writing.

2. Music every day – play or listen to it. Turn the radio on! Mega fail! I’m a creative and other people’s lyrics in my brain distract me. Finding fresh music that appeals is an ongoing challenge. There’s only so much classical music I can take before I’m mind-numbed. So I check out Perth’s radio stations and stream Coffee Chill or low volume Country. Ads drive me insane so the volume is always low. If it’s on at all.

Another way of putting music into my day is playing my piano. Moderate success. I even gave a few lessons to a local who wanted some hints and tips. Nice feeling.

My Great grandmothers piano stool overflows with old sheet music I choose from to indulge my whim to play the piano.

I still haven’t learned the flute yet, though. The breathing is tricky so that goes onto my 2019 list. Smile. Breathe!

3. Write my contemporary fiction/women’s fiction novel – 1500-2000 words per day. A mixed bag of success here. I’m happy to say, in March I finished my second draft. I had a reader read it and report back. It was full of plot holes and I needed to review the first person/third person preference.

Draft 3 is now my work in progress – my goal to finish it by November now extended into 2019. Fail? NO! Success! If I’d done my word count per day I’d be finished. But life got in the way! It’s my first novel so the only pressure I’m under is what I put on myself. Another smile!

4. Write and revise my poems – hmm…. Let’s move that straight into 2019!

5. Scan and refile family history – dedicate a day a week. What a goal! In case you don’t know, I’m the keeper of family history. I’m reluctant to clutter my home with memorabilia and cases of paperwork and photos. But – I – am – it. And I need to pull it all into better order. Mixed bag of success here.

Wall of suitcases in my spare bedroom.

I studied a unit through UTAS and wrote my paternal grandmother’s biography. Success! Yes. It needs re-writing to be shared, it’s so over-referenced for academia. But it’s done! And so is the case of photos and documents associated with her.

And now I have a grandfather I want to write about. Oh, and I need to revise my mother’s biography before it is shared. I pulled together random snippets into a sort of bio – it needs a few notes added here and there and so on. A work in progress.

All of the above in (5) were planned for a day a week. Very ambitious! Hello New Year!

6. Sew. In my spare time – when I’m not writing my 2000 words, when I’ve done my journal when my poems are begging to be written and my family history is done for the week, I sew. I achieved a few cutesy items this year. I let go of a business idea – finally – and decided to focus on family requests. My skills are in straight sewing so I made (in reverse order of achievements) half a dozen tank tops for my 18-month-old grandson; a couple of gorgeous bags for shopping or storing my knitting; a skirt for my mum. Oh, and I made several fiddle rugs for dementia patients and gave them to my local CWA branch to distribute; I made a rug from crocheted squares that were intended for another project but hey – that’s done now ( a story in itself); and so on. So I can tick that box. In 2019 I hope to make a few items for my own wardrobe and review an invitation to supply to a local business.

Some of my sewing projects

7. One day per month learn about social media. Mega TICK THIS BOX! Is it the notion of accountability to a group and the leader? Is it meeting with people who become friends? Whatever the reasons, my decision to take on Mastermind Classes with Amanda Kendle-Consulting is one of my most rewarding goals and outcomes this year. I’ve learnt so much and put it into practice. In the process, the ever impatient me had to acknowledge my own learning curve and let it happen. Impatience with self is not my best characteristic, so the pathway to implementing new strategies and knowledge is littered with positive realisations about my own learning style.

8. Health – hmmm…. MEGA TICK! I’d like to say my health is perfect – wouldn’t we all! With a few long-term challenges, I discovered two alternatives that proved very helpful: one is Scenna and the other is peiec. Major shifts for the better are always welcome and these very different techniques proved immensely beneficial. Other helpful strategies – use my medical benefits to advantage. This might sound obvious, but paying a health fund and not using it is crazy, so in fits and bursts I availed myself of the benefits of podiatry, physio, and the like and feel better for it! Common sense, this one, what do you say!?

9. Time with Family – This proved to be a curved ball. Two major ones and one lesser one this year. As I seek to support my mother after a diagnosis that set us all on the back foot, we now spend as much quality time together as we can. In a different scenario, we said farewell to my younger daughter as she moved overseas to live. On the upside, we celebrated my eldest grandson’s entry into his 20’s – where did those years go?! I enjoyed some beautiful outings with my 15-year-old granddaughter. Our eldest daughter lives in Perth and time with her two little ones, a four-year-old and an eighteen-month-old is always refreshing and invigorating. Joy d’vivre. On the immediate home front, we faced another operation for my husband and while that was scary, he can now hear me. Not sure that’s a plus! Bah!

This goal took precedence in the second half of the year. I think it’s why I’d forgotten I’d made any goals or plans at all! Road trips on weekdays and weekends became the norm as I drove to the country to see my mum and to take relatives for visits. Playing host to interstate rellies was a pleasure. It meant precious time catching up with a cousin I rarely get to see.

It’s rather obvious what this is!
Shackleton Sculpture
Shackleton Sculptures line the main street. (Road trips must have been slow in days gone by.)

10. Holiday – I DID THIS ONE! It’s amazing how a holiday can slip into place. In July I attended a Winters Writers’ Retreat with Tess Woods and several lovely authors. Through this, I met beautiful people and formed deep connections that I treasure. I also made a quiet life-changing decision to focus my time and energy on my writing and this continues to grow.

In November my husband and I spent a fabulous week in Cervantes with my daughter, her partner, and their two beautiful children. After a few months of being on an emotional rollercoaster, it was a welcome break to sit back and relax by the beach.

11. Budget. I started putting a few dollars a week aside for holidays. I kept to our budget. Doesn’t sound like much of a goal? Who doesn’t live within their budget? Right? Well, along with my decision to focus on writing I stopped working for the big bucks and focussed on living within one income. I still amaze myself by staying out of shops, making my own clothes, and generally cutting down on things we don’t really need!

12. I love photography. This wasn’t on my list of goals but I certainly indulged it! I took photos of everything that interested in me and used many of them in my Facebook and Instagram posts and some in my blogs. I’m a point-and-shoot photographer. I use my mobile phone mostly, for sheer convenience and occasionally get my SLR out and fiddle with the settings for a random exploratory shot. But mostly I have a backup of all photos straight to the cloud via my phone. That is so easy, so accessible for media posts and also gives me peace of mind.

Wildflower Mix
I indulged my whim to take photos and captured some this year’s stunning wildflowers.

13. Sort my drawers and cupboards aka Declutter. After much mind-numbing decision making, I decided I’m too young to care about tossing stuff out! Lol! I hear you roll over in laughter and see you roll our eyes! But it’s true. I don’t need to move house. I don’t need to bother. End of story! I did, however, go through my wardrobe and pass on a good number of items to a dear friend who kindly asked to be allowed first choice and two huge boxes went to charity. That really did feel better. I now have room for an occasional newly made item. (See sewing!) Win-win!

14. Submit my manuscript for assessment. YAY! I did this and got some fabulous feedback. I feel encouraged to keep writing, that my story may be – is – worth writing. A huge win! It’s time to let you in on my story – watch for it in 2019.

15. Create photo books of trips and travels and outings with my grandkids. Hmmm! Not done! Let’s see what 2019 brings! I aim to use a new online photobook program and this should be less of a challenge. A few years ago I made several coffee table books so I know it’s relatively easy! It’s actually just a matter of setting aside the time!

16. Mix with writers – meet new people. A definite YES achieved here! Through the Perth Writers’ Festival; the Winter Writers’ Retreat, the West Coast Fiction Festival; Social Media Mastermind Classes; book launches and WA Author Events at Just Add Passion Emporium I met lots of beautiful people. Talking with fellow writers and readers is so affirming!

Friendships were formed
Everyone gathered for a group shot at the Winter Writers Retreat.

17. Catch up with rellies and long-time friends I don’t see often. A BIG TICK for this though I’d like to have done so more often and with more of you. Much love to you all.

18. Become more mindful – in the moment. Let go of what’s not working and focus on what is working. Go with the flow. This undercurrent gradually took hold and with a momentous year now almost behind me, I’m so very glad to be on track with peace of mind.

Sunset end of year
Goodbye 2018

Susan is a writer based in Perth's Darling Range, Western Australia. Her love for writing began as a child and is a life-long passion. Susan is also passionate about reading and attributes much of her learning to the wonderful world of literature. She enjoys photography and art and loves to write the occasional poem. She is often found indulging in a good cup of coffee and gazing over the hills from her backyard.

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