My first--and most important--goal for 2013 is to take back my health. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed about five years ago, and it's been a downward spiral for me, health-wise, since then. Before the RA, I took 2-4 ballet classes a week, and I was in terrific shape. I was back en pointe, even performing with a local company. And then....suddenly my joints started to hurt. I could barely get out of bed. I sprung a low-grade fever every afternoon. It took my doctors more than a year to diagnose me (I have no idea why they didn't check for RA on the first go-round). By the time I started working toward getting the disease under control, I had gained 20-30 lbs. I was totally and completely out of shape, and the very idea of putting on a leotard and standing in front of a wall of mirrors was abhorrent to me. I half-heartedly tried to get into other forms of exercise, and I did pretty okay during the summer months, but as soon as cold temperatures set in, I was back to being a total slug.
These days, I barely recognize myself. I used to be trim, fit, and energetic. Now, I could easily sleep 20 hrs. a day if you let me, and something like a shopping expedition at the mall totally wears me out. I realized a few months ago that if I didn't start doing something now, my overall health was going to become irrecoverable. I tested out a '30 days for $30' gym membership in December. I cut out soda completely, and started drinking water all day. I started to watch what I eat. And you know what? I started feeling better. A lot better.
So, for 2013, I have now committed to a gym membership. Working out has become part of my regular routine, and I'm finding that I actually enjoy that "me" time. I'm not really losing weight yet (probably because I'm adding muscle), but I have gone down a full jeans size (almost 2 sizes!) and I feel SO much better. Even my chronic migraines are better. This is going to be the "new me." I am 100% committed to it.
As a side note, I know a ridiculously high number of authors who suffer from some sort of autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid and other forms of arthritis, Lupus, and even the fairly rare autoimmune hepatitis). It's sort of a "chicken or the egg" thing--are writers simply more susceptible to these diseases because of our lifestyle--hour upon hour of sitting in front of a computer screen, plus the stress that comes with the biz--or is there some connection between the highly creative type and autoimmune diseases in general? It's an interesting question, and one I wish someone would look into.
My second goal for 2013 is to make my writing routine more....well, routine. I work on projects in spurts. Sometimes I go weeks--even months--without working on a manuscript. Most of my books are written in a sprint during the last weeks before a deadline, in a haze of working 12-18 hour days/staying up all night. It's crazy, and it adversely affects my health (see above!). There's simply no reason for it. Writing is my full-time job, and my kids are middle schoolers, so I have the house to myself pretty much from 8:30 a.m. till 3:30, sometimes 5:45, every single day. What do I do during those hours? I have no idea. I am sitting in front of the computer most of that time. And some of what I do is legitimate, career-related work (social media, blogging, etc.). But the rest of the time? Wasted.
So, my goal for 2013 is to get into the habit of writing during the day--every day (at least, every weekday). No more excuses of "but my muse seems to work better at night!" Okay, maybe she does, but she's going to have to readjust to my schedule. I'm going to strive to write for at least four hours every single weekday. Night and weekend hours will be bonus hours. No more weeks off; no more waiting for the pressure of a looming deadline to get busy on a book. No more all-nighters; no more crazy stress as I struggle to meet a deadline. Because the stress just makes my RA flare up--my migraines too. See, my two goals are interrelated.
So, here's to 2013--and a healthier, more fit, less-stressed, more productive me!
What about you? Any goals for 2013?! C'mon, don't be shy...I fully believe that "publicly" declaring your goals is the first step toward achieving them!