“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-ExuperyFrench writer (1900 – 1944)
I’ve never been a big one for making resolutions for the New Year. I don’t know why. It could be that it always seems so forced to me. You can “resolve” to do just about anything but if you don’t have a plan in place to make it happen, you’re sure to fail. Wishing on a star isn’t going to make it a reality—regardless of what the fairy tales tell you.
Curmudgeonly grousing aside, I do get excited about the idea of a new year. It’s a fresh start and a new set of 12 months to succeed, start new projects, finish others and discover new things.
In the last year, I’ve released a new novel, a new children’s book and a short story. I’ve promoted the documentary project on lobster divers and appeared on national television for it. I’ve undertaken a new documentary project on West Virginia war veterans and conducted dozens of interviews for it. And that doesn’t include the projects I’ve done for others as a freelancer. All that’s kept me very busy, but for some reason I’ve been feeling as if I was missing something. I was having trouble keeping my plans straight and looking ahead.
I’m very visual person. For many years, in jobs I’ve held for other people, I’ve used a year-at-a-glance calendar to keep things straight. I would find myself staring at the calendar to think through the steps necessary to make something happen and avoid conflicts. Now that I’m working fulltime as a writer, I kept thinking I was missing something in my office, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Until now.
A few days ago, I bought a 2013 vertical year-at-a-glance calendar for the wall in my office. I already have things on it as far out as July. That may be a little extreme for most people. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how soon St. Patrick’s Day comes after Christmas. Sometimes it seems like the two holidays are only a week or two apart. And right after that, it’s the Fourth of July. Just a few days after that, we’re looking at Christmas trees in department stores (unfortunately, that last one is often true as retailers keep making Christmas preparations earlier and earlier.)
The quote at the beginning is something I live by. We can all hope and dream all we want, but making a plan to make it happen is the key to everything. I talk to people all the time who tell me they want to do something or they have this great idea…but they don’t have a plan to actually get where they want to go. Without that, it will never happen.
Happy New Year!
Now go make a plan to do something and see how much faster it happens.