monthly goals recap -> may + june.

YAY — it’s Friday! Does anyone else feel like it’s the technically short weeks that always feel the longest?

In a few hours, Matt and I are getting on the road to Connecticut to celebrate two of our favorite people getting MARRIED! I’m a bridesmaid (you may remember when I went to the bachelorette party in Savannah back in February), and I feel super lucky and honored to be part of this special day. There are few things I love more than celebrating love!

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Before the festivities can begin, though, it’s time for me to update you on how I did with my goals for May (and to look ahead to June, of course). While I was reviewing my list yesterday, I was honestly a little surprised at how many items I checked off! You may have sensed a little frustration from me over these last few months — and if you did, you were right, so I’m really proud of myself for getting focused and back on track in May.

  • Reboot the book project and start a fresh outline. √ YES! I didn’t get as far into the outline and the specifics this month as I would have liked, but I have a main character in mind, and I’m starting to build the story around her. I feel so much more inspired by this new direction! It’s a topic that requires some research, and it feels great to really have something to sink my teeth into.
  • Break into a new outlet or start working with a new client. √ YES! It’s nothing that I’ve been able to share with you yet, but I submitted work to a new client mid-month.

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  • Break two hours in the Brooklyn Half. Yes and no. Officially, I finished just a few minutes over the two hour-mark… but, Matt has developed a “five minute rule” over his years of being a spectator of this particular race. Because there are so. many. people. running it (this year, there were about 30,000 participants!), he typically subtracts five minutes from my finish time to account for all of the extra seconds it takes me to wind my way through the crowds. By that logic, I met my goal — but either way, I’m happy with my race. I was much faster than last year, and had a great team here cheering me on!
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My favorite working spot is One Girl Cookies. It’s right around the corner from my apartment, and they have this awesome garage door-style thing going on that makes it really easy to enjoy the good weather.

  • Change up my work environment.√ YES! This might have been my favorite goal of the month! It’s been really good to get out of the home office more often. Even a few hours at a coffee shop one day a week does wonders.
  • Invest fresh energy in the blog.√ YES! 
  • Book a vacation with Matt.√ YES! We have a long weekend trip planned for our first wedding anniversary (which is just three weeks away!), and we started talking to my friend who works in the travel industry about a bigger vacation in the fall.
  • Read three books. √ YES! I read The Animators, Beyond the Bright Sea, and Tuesday Nights in 1980. I would really recommend The Animators and Tuesday Nights, especially.
  • Higher quality “me time.” I need to continue working on this, but I did make some progress this month. In May, I was a lot less likely to spend whatever free time I could grab in front of Hulu (although I’ll admit I did watch my fair share of the Kardashians). I’ve been trying to block off time to read while I eat lunch, or to take myself for little walks (even if it’s just to run errands, I make the walk feel more like down time by zoning out to a cool podcast and not making any phone calls).

And here are my goals for June! Just like last month, I have a few focus outlets and projects that I’m keeping to myself, too : )

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Getting our wedding album in the mail yesterday (finally!) was a great way to kick off our anniversary month. 

  • Celebrate an amazing first wedding anniversary! As I mentioned above, we have a long weekend trip on the calendar, and we’re planning on eating our cake (I’m a sucker for tradition!) and getting our vows printed and framed to hang in our apartment. I also want to come up with the most perfect, meaningful gift for Matt, preferably one that will be a total surprise. Generally speaking, I’m just really excited to go big with celebrations for this first year of marriage, and to set the tone for the way we approach our anniversaries in the future.
  • Successfully finish my big copyediting project. If you follow my Instagram stories, you may already know that I am copyediting a biology textbook. Who knew I would be learning so much about the skeletal and excretory systems (yup, excretory system) as a full-time writer? My deadline to finish the project is June 22, and I’m looking forward to finishing it strong.
  • Break into a new outlet. I’ve pitched to some new editors recently, and I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get good news back soon!
  • Continue research for rebooted book project and/or start outlining. I’ve always told myself that I need to set aside time to work on my book every single day. I wish I could make that happen, but honestly, I think the whole idea has felt overwhelming — and maybe even a little discouraging. This month, I’m going to try to block off time three days a week, instead. That seems more manageable, and I’m hoping it will help me pick up more momentum!
  • Research writing classes and possible graduate programs. In order for me to really get where I want to be with my creative writing (most importantly, of course, with writing my book), I think it’s time I start taking some classes. I haven’t decided yet if that looks like a full-blown degree (if anyone out there has experience with MFA programs, especially, I’d love to hear from you!) or just a few workshops here and there. In June, I want to spend some time looking into my options and weighing which one is best for me. More to come!
  • Read three books. I know this one is probably kind of boring by now, but I like having the chance to share with you what I’ve read at the end of each month (it’s the old publishing pro in me, I guess!).
  • Decide where we’re going for our fall vacation. As a couple, Matt and I are not always that quick to actually commit to the plans we’re talking about — and I want to make sure we don’t miss out on an amazing trip by waiting too long!

What are your goals for June? Fill me in with a comment below!

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monthly goals recap -> april + may.

hello may

When I sat down yesterday to review my April goals and start planning for May, I did a lot of reflecting — more reflecting, I think, than I’ve done since I started this monthly goals process back in January. I wasn’t expecting for it to happen… it just kind of happened, but after the crazy ups and downs of April, it felt really good.

Last month started on a really calm note. The warmer spring weather gave me this unbelievable sense of freedom, and I’ll never forget the first afternoon I spent working on a rooftop overlooking the Manhattan skyline. That moment felt like a new chapter of this working-for-myself journey. After a long winter in my home office, I felt totally unleashed, like I was finally going to start living all of the luxuries that people associate with being self-employed. In the second half of the month, though, all of those feelings just sort of got lost in the mix of a heavy workload and a lot of weekend commitments. I became a total workaholic. I reflected on all of this — and how I can handle it better going forward — while working on my goals for this month.

With that in mind, here’s how I did with my plans for April:

  • Finish first draft of three chapters of the book. So. Something kind of crazy happened. I was deep into the second chapter of my book over the weekend when I decided that I’m scrapping the project and starting over. (hah!) I’ve had a nagging feeling in my stomach for the past few months that I need to go back to the drawing board, and I’m finally going to listen to my gut. The fact that I’ve been working on this at such a slow pace is a sign to me that this isn’t the exact book I’m supposed to write, and I don’t want to waste any more time.
  • Successfully pitch another article to the New York Post. √ YES! Stay tuned! I’m really excited to share this one with you.
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m halfway into my third book for the month, so I didn’t quite get there. I finished The Rules Do Not Apply and What Remains and am now working my way through The Animators, which I’m loving.
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Sneak peek of one of my favorite spreads of the finished album!

  • Finish our wedding album! √ YES! Matt took a last look at the pages this weekend and gave his final OK. Yay! I’m so excited to order the album. I fully expect to pore over it every day for at least a month.
  • Move ahead with new project/outlet leads. √ YES! I worked really hard in April to keep the momentum going around new projects and to maintain relationships with new contacts, and I think I did a pretty good job. It got a little overwhelming to keep track of everything about halfway through the month, but I bought a big whiteboard for the office and came up with a new system to organize it all, which has been helping a lot.
  • Meet half of my fundraising goal for the Brooklyn Half. I made it to about 35% of my goal, which is nothing to sneeze at! There’s still plenty of time to donate, though! Check out this link if you’d like to show your support for Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
  • Work on a new creative/craft project. √ YES! A few weeks ago, I walked up and down the aisles at Michael’s trying to figure out what project I wanted to work on, and left after about an hour, feeling totally uninspired by everything. Later that night, I found an old crossword puzzle book, and it turns out that it was exactly what I needed! Crosswords weren’t what came to mind when I first set this goal for myself, but it turns out that creative thinking was really the outlet I needed (at least for now).

And now, it’s time for May! I made one change to the way I do my monthly goals this time around. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you probably know that I usually make goals around successfully pitching stories to particular outlets every month. Going forward, I’ll be making a list of “focus outlets” each month instead. I’ve learned that a lot of the pitching process is out of my control, but I can focus on a handful of sites and publications by researching them, reading their content, and pitching ideas when it makes sense. In some ways, I think I was setting myself up for failure before, and I like this method a lot better. For May, I’m going to be keeping my list of focus outlets to myself (because the list is on the long side), but I’ll be excited to share where that goes in the future! Here are my other goals for the coming month:

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There are few things that make me happier than a new notebook. Seriously.

  • Reboot the book project and start a fresh outline. I can’t believe I’m going back to the start of the outline, but I know it’s the right next step. This weekend, I bought a fresh notebook, which has always been a symbol for me of something new and exciting!
  • Break into a new outlet or start working with a new client. I have some new sites on my radar and I’m in talks with a few companies about corporate blogging, etc.
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It was so fun cheering on my friends at their half marathon this weekend in Central Park. They totally inspired me for my race in a few weeks!

  • Break two hours in the Brooklyn Half. My training has been super up and down this year, so I don’t know if I’ll set a personal record, but I’d like to finish at a time comparable to the last two years I’ve raced.
  • Change up my work environment. In April, I was totally in “keep your head down and work” mode, and while it’s great to be focused, I feel like this attitude meant that I was going through the motions every day — and that’s not very inspiring, is it? My goal for May is to try to switch up my surroundings at least once a week (and to find outdoor work spaces as much as possible!).
  • Invest fresh energy in the blog. I’m excited about some of the things I have coming up here on Finding Plan A!
  • Book a vacation with Matt. We’ve started planning two getaways — one long weekend for our anniversary in June and one “bigger” trip for later this year. I’m hoping to get one officially on the books in the next few weeks.
  • Read three books. I love having this goal on the list every month!
  • Higher quality “me time.” In the craziness of April, I defaulted a little too much to binge watching on Hulu every time I had a spare moment — and I don’t think that refreshed me in the way I needed it to. This month, I am going to be more intentional about taking time for myself a few times a week. I’m learning that being alone while I’m working from home is definitely not the same as real “alone time”… and this introvert needs some of that!

What are your goals for May? Tell me in the comments below!

 

 

 

monthly goals recap -> march + april.

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Hi! I’m back, filling you in on how things went with my goals for March! If I’m being honest, I think I may have been a little overly ambitious last month. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but I do think that it’s possible to overcommit — and as a result, to find it difficult to do all of things you want to do and do them well. Being accountable here on the blog is great, but I’ll also admit that it might make me feel a little extra pressure to look like I’m taking on all. of. the. things. I’ve definitely taken all of this into account with my goals for April (more on that later!). Anyway, here’s what happened in March:

  • Successfully move forward with the new projects/outlets I mentioned. √ YES! It was great to have some new projects and outlets on the docket in March. One of my personal favorites was my first article for the New York Post online, which went live at the end of last week! (It was about a sweet, heroic golden retriever… it doesn’t get better than that.)
  • Break into a new outlet. √ YES! The New York Post! I also turned in an essay to a new site that (I hope) will publish soon so I can share it with you. I’ve also generated some new contacts that have me feeling really optimistic about opportunities over the next few months.
  • Finish first draft of at least two chapters of the book. Not quite… BUT, I did complete the first chapter and start the second.
  • Successfully pitch to Marie Claire, Refinery29, and Bustle. I continued having great conversations with editors at two of these three outlets in March. Even though my timing hasn’t been quite right on any of my recent pitches, I feel like I’m getting a better feel for what each one is looking for, and that’s a personal victory in itself.
  •  Finish our wedding album! Let’s just roll this one on over to April, shall we?
  • Make progress on Project Puppy.  This project has stalled a little, simply because there were so many other things that required our attention this month. Matt and I are still doing research here and there and reaching out to breeders, etc. where it makes sense, but this is such an important decision that I’m honestly not sure why I thought it was a good idea to put such a strict timeline on it.
  • Read at least 3 books. √ YES! Finally! I read The Underground Railroad (for my book club) and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I also listened to my first audiobook while I was driving to and from Pittsburgh last week, and I’ve decided to count it! (All the book bloggers do, right?) The Nest was awesome, and I think I would have loved it whether I’d read or listened.
  • Curb my sweet tooth. √ YES! I was more careful with my grocery shopping this month, and it really paid off. I also tried to be more intentional with my snacking.
  • Set clear boundaries for “down time.” √ YES! I spent the last week or so of March feeling under the weather, which more or less forced me to slow down a bit. Knowing how crummy it feels to push myself a little too far (I think that’s partially to blame for my getting sick!), I am going to continue making this a priority moving forward.

As I mentioned above, I think I may have set myself up for failure with some of my March goals, so I’m definitely going to keep things simpler in April. Here are my goals for the upcoming month:

  • Finish first draft of three chapters of the book. Just keeping chugging with this one, right? Now that I’m out of the outlining process and in a better rhythm with the actual writing, this feels doable.
  • Successfully pitch another article to the New York PostI had such a great experience writing my first story, and I can’t wait to do another!
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m trying to make reading more of a priority (especially as it relates to that whole “down time” concept I already mentioned). Now that I remember how good it feels to be back in my reading routine, I want to keep it up.
  • Finish our wedding album! It’s gotta happen.
  • Move ahead with new project/outlet leads. There are a few new articles/contacts brewing in the very early stages. I want to keep those moving in April.
  • Meet half of my fundraising goal for the Brooklyn HalfThis year, I’ve decided to run my half marathon to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which is Matt and my favorite organization (we hosted a cookie swap in December to raise money for them, as well). My goal is to donate $1000 to Alex’s after the race on May 20, so I’d like to raise about half of that this month. Check out this link if you want to learn more about how to contribute! I would so appreciate anything you can give to this amazing cause : )
  • Work on a new creative/craft project. Writing is, of course, a creative outlet in itself, but since it’s now my work, I think it’s also important that I’m pursuing projects just for fun! I had so much fun doing DIY last year for our wedding, and I think it would be good for me to take a trip to the craft store again.

What are your goals for April? Fill me in with a comment below!

monthly goals recap –> february + march. (+ the giveaway winner!)

Thanks, as always, to everyone who entered this month’s giveaway. Based on a random drawing, our February winner is LINDSEYGSANDERS! Lindsey, I’ll be in touch today about getting the necklace to you : ) Don’t forget to tune in for another giveaway next month!

Here we are… in MARCH! The first part of the year can be such a bummer sometimes, and March always feels more promising. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we East coasters will be out of our winter coats for good and starting to enjoy some spring weather! Higher temperatures and sunshine are good for the soul. I might be a little biased, but I happen to think that there’s not much better than that first warm day in New York City when everyone is finally back out exploring their neighborhood and looking forward to the spring and summer ahead.

With the new month, of course, comes my opportunity to check in about my February goals and to look ahead to what I want to accomplish in the next few weeks. First, let’s talk about last month:

  • Successfully launch the Bulldog Yoga blog. √ YES! It’s been such a fun process working with this team, and I love watching the blog take shape.
  • FINISH my book outline and start the writing process. √ YES! This was touch and go, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it happen, but I got in some quality book work while Matt and I were at the Jersey Shore last weekend. I had been pushing myself to complete an outlet for the entire book, but I’ve decided that what’s going to work for now is an outline for the first half, which has given me enough to work with to dig into the first chapter. Lots more to come in March!
  • Write another piece for Bustle. Not this month! I pitched a story that wasn’t the right fit, but at least I gave it a shot, right?
  • Feel strong and healthy in my first month of half marathon trainingI can’t decide if I should officially stamp this one with a check mark and a YES. I felt really great during my runs for the first three weeks of the month, but the last week or so has been harder. I’ve been out of my routine because of some weekend traveling and I’ve also been a little under the weather, so my last few workouts have been a struggle. I’m hoping to get some rest and get back on track next week.
  • Continue pitching to Refinery29. Not this month!
  • Break into a new outlet. √ YES! I’ve signed on to do some writing/content strategy work for a bridal designer here in Brooklyn, and in the last week, I’ve had story pitches accepted at two great new sites! I’m going to keep the details quiet for now so I don’t jinx it, but look out for more details in March : )
  • Read at least 3 books. Ugh, guys. Did you know that Grace and Power is SO long? Well, it is, and it put me off my reading plan for the month. In March, I’m hoping to do some lighter reading.
  • Finish our wedding album! Not yet! It would have been great to complete this by March 1, but it’s also not something I want to rush, so I’m OK with the fact that it’s taking a little longer.

February was tough. I felt every bit of those three missing days of the month, and I didn’t check as many things off my list as I would have liked. The good news is that I was able to meet some of the financial goals I’d set for myself, which feels pretty great.

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Getting ready to fill up my Passion Planner with March goals! 

Looking ahead to March, here’s what I’m hoping for…

  • Successfully move forward with the new projects/outlets I mentioned. I want to do quality work and see these stories go live before the end of the month!
  • Break into a new outlet. Always, always, always.
  • Finish first draft of at least two chapters of the book. Now that my outline is in good shape, I am going to jump into this! Two chapters seems like a totally reasonable goal for March.
  • Successfully pitch to Marie Claire, Refinery29, and BustleI had such great experiences working with these three outlets over the last few months, and I’d like to land another story in at least one of them soon.
  • Finish our wedding album! This is still a top priority.
  • Make progress on Project Puppy. After years of discussion, Matt and I are finally starting to take very. small. baby. steps toward getting a dog later this year (!!!!!!!!). I won’t say more, because nothing is definite, but I am cautiously optimistic, and I hope we can continue moving forward in those conversations this month — even if we don’t bring home my our new furry best friend for a while.
  • Read at least 3 books. Yep, still here.
  • Curb my sweet tooth. As you all know, the struggle is real for me in this area. I’m going to try to cut back a little!
  • Set clear boundaries for “down time.” Something that I found really challenging in February was feeling frantic. As a result, I spent a lot of time trying to simultaneously work while “relaxing,” and it didn’t do me any favors. I want to make more of an effort to designate off hours (when I can!) so I can actually recharge and do better work.

What are your goals for March? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

 

 

monthly goals recap –> january + february.

It’s (somehow) the start of a new month (how did that happen???), which means it’s time to check in on my goals for January and start looking ahead to February. Here’s a recap from last month:

  • Work on my book outline. √ YES! This process is still slow-going, but I’m happy to say that I’ve at least gotten started. I spent the first half of the month researching best practices for book outlines and then started working on research and an outline in Scrivener during the back half.  
  • Hit 45 blog posts. As of today, I have 43 posts (this is my 44th). While I didn’t technically “achieve” this goal, I’m not going to count it as a failure because I actually feel really good about the pacing of my posts this month! Would you like to see me post more or less often? Feel free to let me know in the comments below (or contact me elsewhere)!
  • Run 5 miles. √ YES! Half marathon training is officially underway!
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m very close to finishing my third book from the month of January, but I didn’t quite get there. To be fair, I’ve been reading pretty hefty books — but I need to do a better job at making time for reading, which is still one of my favorite things to do.
  • Confirm first copyediting/copywriting gig. √ YES!
  • Write another piece for Bustle √ YES! I pitched a few pieces to Bustle earlier in the month that didn’t quite land, so I wasn’t feeling too confident about this goal. At the very end of the month, though, I had an unexpected opportunity to write this piece about the late, great Mary Tyler Moore and what her show (and its theme song) means to me.
  • Break into at least one new outlet. Not this month!
  • Keep weeknights sacred. √ YES! I’ve been doing a much better job at this so far in 2017. Matt and I are really enjoying having more time together during the week just to spend time together and recharge.

Yesterday, I wrote out my goals for February in my Passion Planner (which I’m still loving, by the way). Here is what I’m hoping to accomplish in the next (short) month:

  • Successfully launch the Bulldog Yoga blog. I’ve been hired to launch and run the blog for an amazing yoga studio near Philadelphia. The content will go live in the middle of February, and I can’t wait to see all of our hard work come together! (P.S. If you live in or are visiting the Philly area, you should definitely check out Bulldog.)
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I got to spend a day at Bulldog Yoga earlier this week… how cute is Gracie, the mascot?

  • FINISH my book outline and start the writing process. I thrive off of organization and structure, so I’m hoping that once I have an outline in place, I’ll be able to jump into a first draft a bit more easily. The outline process is more labor-intensive than I would have expected, but I think it’s going to be key to my success on this project.
  • Write another piece for Bustlereally enjoyed working on my latest piece for their Feature section, so I’m definitely hoping to pitch and write for them again. Let’s get some momentum going!
  • Feel strong and healthy in my first month of half marathon trainingA few days into my training program, I’m already feeling great! My goal is to keep myself healthy so that I can make the most of my runs and lay good groundwork for the rest of my race prep.
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This morning’s run!

  • Continue pitching to Refinery29In early January, my essay about “quitting The Bachelor ran on this amazing site. I pitched a few more concepts to my editor there mid-month, and none of them were exactly the right fit, but I’m going to keep trying in February.
  • Break into a new outlet. The constant freelancer’s goal!
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m going to get my reading mojo back!
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The next books on my reading list. Let the record show that there is not a “light read” among them!

  • Finish our wedding album! I started creating our album (using the amazing photos from Bri Cibene Photography) in mid-January, and I’m hoping to have it finished and ordered by the end of February. I’m having so much fun making it — the only problem is that I want to include all of the pictures and there just isn’t space!
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Here’s a sneak peek at the first full spread of our album!

What are your goals for February! I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!

monthly goals recap —-> december + january.

Last month, when I shared my goals for December, I promised I would use this blog to help keep me accountable. If I’m going to stay honest, it seems only right that I come clean about what worked for me last month… and also what didn’t work so well. Here’s a recap of my December goals:

  • Cut down on sweets before the holidays. √ YES! For the first two weeks of December, Matt and I both eliminated sweets from our diet. It made it a lot easier to enjoy our favorite treats for the rest of the month (especially on a day like the cookie swap), because I was feeling less reliant on sugar.
  • Break into at least one new outlet. √ YES! I had my first articles published over on Bustle and Refinery29.
  • Run five miles. Unfortunately, not so much. I was sick in the middle of the month and the antibiotics made me feel pretty crummy at the gym, which set me back. I was up to about three miles before the end of the year, which I can’t say I’m totally proud of.
  • Hit 35 blog posts. Debatable. I had 34 posts by the end of December. Can we count it as a success?
  • Confirm first copyediting gig. I still have some feelers out there for copyediting, but I wasn’t able to officially lock anything up last month.
  • Write another piece for The KitchnI haven’t had any new articles actually posted on The Kitchn, but I did have some pitches accepted by the editor. I actually turned in three more essays this morning! I can’t wait for those to go live so I can share them with you.
  • Expand the reach of Finding Plan A. √ YES! It’s harder to measure this goal, but I did get more great feedback (from new voices) on the site in December. As always, I’d love for you to continue to share the blog, and don’t forget that you can subscribe so it comes directly to your inbox (instructions here)!
  • 20 pages OR a substantial outline for my book. Once again, this goal fell to the wayside. I need to work harder this year to make working on my book a priority.

I jotted down my goals for January earlier this week, which I’m excited to share today. In my last goals post, I talked about how much I love using a paper planner, and I actually just bought a new one that I can’t wait to start using. It’s called a Passion Planner and I think it’s going to be super helpful in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to structuring my goals. It just arrived in the mail yesterday so I haven’t gotten a chance to get it all set up yet, but I’m planning to dig into it this afternoon. I’ll share more in the next week or two, because I have a feeling I’m about to become obsessed with it.

In the meantime, here are my goals for January:

  • Work on my book outline. This is a carryover from last month. Instead of putting pressure on myself to start the writing process, I’m setting the more reasonable objective of having an outline.
  • Hit 45 blog posts. Let me know in the comments (or contact me elsewhere) if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me post about this month!
  • Run 5 miles. I start my “official” training for this year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon later this month, so this should help keep me on track.
  • Read at least 3 books. Something that I’ve really struggled with since leaving my job in publishing is making time to read. When I was working in the book industry (and spending more time commuting by subway), I was reading an average of one book per week. My reading hobby has definitely suffered over the last few months. I LOVE books, so I’d like to make this a priority again.
  • Confirm first copyediting/copywriting gig. I’m rolling this one over from December.
  • Write another piece for BustleI’d love to build up my portfolio with this great site!
  • Break into at least one new outlet. I think this will show up pretty consistently on my list of monthly goals, because I want to continue to diversify my writing and expand my network.
  • Keep weeknights sacred. Before the holidays, I was having a really hard time saying “no” to social events during the week. While it’s important to me to spend time with friends regularly, I also want to make sure I’m prioritizing time with Matt and down time at home where I can step away from my office. We all need to recharge.

What are your goals for this month? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below?

monthly goals.

december

Image credit: Pinterest

I’ve always had a thing for paper planners. (Since I’ve already admitted to being a nerd, this may not surprise you, but) one of the things I was MOST excited about when I started middle school was to finally get my hands on a school-branded assignment book. While I try to stay cool with higher-tech organizational tools, I just can’t seem to let go of my old-school planner.  In my office job, I figured out an easy way to keep track of pretty much EVERYTHING within that one little book, and I’ve adapted that system for my freelance needs over the last few months.

Something that I’ve added to my planner routine since becoming my own boss is monthly goal-setting . One of the biggest challenges of being on my own is the lack of feedback from others. While I have regular dialogue with editors about my work, it’s not quite the same as the ongoing conversations I used to have with my bosses about what my next steps within the company might be. I’ve built that concept into my personal process by spending time at the beginning of each month jotting down goals — both professional and personal. I’ve been doing this since September, but have decided to share it with you today in hopes that it might be a helpful tip for you in whatever work you do — and to help keep me accountable for my own “stuff” as we near the end of the year!

Something I love almost as much as a paper planner is crossing boxes off my to-do list, so I’ve had to learn to resist the urge to make my goals too attainable. I try to list at least a few items that are a stretch to ensure that I’m constantly motivated and hustling. If I don’t achieve a goal one month, I shift it over to the next month. No shame in my game there!

Check out a few of my goals for the month of December (by the way, how is it already December???):

  • Cut down on sweets before the holidays. As I’ve shared before, I have a raging sweet tooth. Since I’m generally very healthy, I try not to obsess too much over what I eat, but after a little too much Thanksgiving, I’m doing a mini-cleanse for the first half of the month. Sweets and desserts are a total trigger food for me — once I start snacking on them, it’s hard for me to stop — so I’m cutting those out for now and also laying off the booze so I can feel my best for the rest of the holiday celebrations!
  • Break into at least one new outlet. A big challenge with freelancing is juggling multiple streams of income and reminding myself to constantly explore new projects. I never want to stop exploring new opportunities, so I’m continually pitching stories to new outlets. I’d like to make progress with at least one new publication before we hit 2017.
  • Run five miles. Three years ago, I trained for my first half marathon, and I’ve been running them every spring since then. My favorite race is the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which I run each May. I train really hard starting after New Year’s and usually switch up my routine away from running once the race is over. In December, I like to start gearing up again so it’s not too much of a shock for my body when I start running more regularly in January.
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Crossing the finish line at this year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon!

  • Hit 35 blog posts. This is post #25, so look for ten more before the end of the year!
  • Confirm first copyediting gig. In addition to writing, I’ve always enjoyed copyediting, and I’m currently in conversations with a few people about taking on those projects on a freelance basis. I’d like to confirm one of those this month. (If you or someone you know needs something copyedited, feel free to reach out!)
  • Write another piece for The KitchnI had so much fun writing this essay, and working for this site was a great experience overall. I have a few pitches in right now and have my fingers crossed that I’ll have the opportunity to write for them again.
  • Expand the reach of Finding Plan A. I’m always grateful for my audience here on the blog, and I hope to continue growing it. Please do continue to share the site, and encourage anyone interested to subscribe so it comes directly to their inbox (instructions here)!
  • 20 pages OR a substantial outline for my book. My biggest profesional insecurity is the BOOK I’ve always wanted to write (just typing that out here for you to read gives me butterflies!). Since I’ve made space in my life to write, focusing on that book is a major priority, but I’ll admit that I’ve really struggled with getting it started. Lining up paying gigs has been my immediate priority, but I know I need to stop making excuses and really dig into this project. I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I am planning to jump into the book more starting in January. I’d like to go into 2017 with 20 pages or a substantial outline. In both October and November, my monthly goal was to have 50 pages written, which I think may have spooked me a little. This month, I am setting my sights on something a little more attainable in hopes it will be the kick in the butt that I need to get working!

Now that I’ve put this list out into the world, I feel a little extra pressure to get it accomplished! Thanks for helping to keep me accountable — your support (and tough love) means a lot.