Resolutions, Pirate’s Code Style

Hello everyone! It’s the new year and you know what that means: time to make a bunch of resolutions that no one ends up keeping past February, anyway. It’s sad, but it’s true. At least, for me, it definitely is. I have had the same general resolutions for the past couple of years and I have always failed to keep them, even though I really want them to happen so I can be a healthier, happier person. And I think I’ve figured out why I can’t keep them.

One, I either don’t share my goals or I don’t have a distinct plan on how to achieve them. By not making it concrete, complete with steps, alongside short- and long-term goals, I am just looking at the end result instead of how to get there. And if I don’t tell anyone my plan or what my goals are, I can’t ask anyone to hold me accountable. One of the hard things that I have learned about myself is my weak sense of willpower. Any of the resolutions I will list below I could complete. My body is ready for change and my mind is ready for a challenge. I have the knowledge and the tools in order to complete these goals. Yet my mind is what I need to overcome; my mind and the fear that sometimes creeps in. I always find excuses that cause me to fail, making each goal ten times harder than they ever should be. Because I need to work on my own willpower, I need to find others to help hold me accountable so that when it gets tough or when I feel like I can’t do it, others are already there to make sure to remind me that I can do it — I just have to ignore the doubt and fear in my mind.

So, one way I am asking for accountability is by writing this post. Listed below are my three resolutions or goals for 2015. I tried to make them as detailed and as plan-oriented as I have fleshed them out so far, both so that I have a working plan and so that you know the plan. That way, if you choose to, you can hold me accountable; you can text me randomly and see how it is going or just check in from time to time to see if I am keeping up. I will still reach out to certain people for certain goals, but feel free to hold me accountable, if you want! 🙂

Another aspect that sets me up for failure is my expectation for perfection. With resolutions, they are usually associated with some sort of pattern or schedule. And if I mess up that schedule, I automatically turn against myself and start blaming myself, feeling bad until the point that I end up failing or giving up completely. It is sad, but it happens. But this year, I am trying to realize and remember that expecting perfection is, for one, not healthy, but two, it is also not realistic. Yeah, I wanna work out five times a week, but sometimes, those extra two hours of sleep really will benefit me more than that morning workout. Sure, I want to write all of the time, but just because I choose hanging out with my friends or family instead of writing one afternoon does not mean I am going to fail at being a better writer. I have to learn that it is okay to mess up sometimes. True failure is only when you let an occasional mess up or off-week derail your entire train.

In order to remember this, I decided that 2015 is the year I am going to become a pirate. Random, I know that’s what you’re thinking. Or weird, may be more apt (but if you know me, you should expect this, really). You see, by becoming a pirate, I can live by the Pirate’s Code or the Code of the Order of the Brethren, which is discussed most notably in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. There, in an exchange between Elizabeth and Captain Barbossa, Barbossa reveals that not only does the code only apply to pirates, but that “the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” The code is more flexible, more easily changed based on the circumstances, more realistic. By thinking of these resolutions as actual guidelines of how I want to live my life instead of harden rules — rules that, in the past, if I broke them once, then that meant I was a failure forever, in my eyes — I believe that I will have a healthier mindset when it comes trying to make these resolutions into lifestyle changes.

So, without further ado:

Nicole’s 2015 Resolutions:

1. Become Healthy

  • Why: For a long time, I have really wanted to become skinnier. I am at the point in my life where I am the heaviest I have ever been. I am also about to reach a great changing point in my life, as I am about to graduate college and don’t have a concrete plan on where life will take me come May. And I don’t want to reach that point in my life with this negative attitude towards my appearance and this lack of confidence. By working out consistently, I believe that by the time I graduate, I will have reached a mindset where I can walk with confidence I don’t have to fake and be ready to embrace this next chapter of my life without fear of how the world views me physically.
  • How: My plan is to work out five times a week, every day, at 8a.m. This gives me time to work out, shower and eat breakfast before class. And though I am not a morning person in the slightest, this will help me become more of one, which I need to be, especially as I might have to get a job soon that doesn’t have the flexibility of letting me sleep in like I love to. And I know that even though I enjoy actually working out and love the feeling afterwards, if I don’t do it right when I wake up, I dread working out for the rest of the day and usually find some excuse to not do so. So 8am it is! I am going to start when school starts, that Tuesday, January 20th. At first, I am going to do Shawn T’s 10 week T-25 plan, which is working out 25 minutes a day to build my foundation. By the time that is over, it will be Spring, so I will go to the Rec in the mornings to run and lift, continuing to build upon the foundation I will have built in T-25. I also plan to use a reward system to help encourage me to continue working on losing weight, which I have never tried before. The rewards are as follows:
    • 5 Pounds: New Book or Movie (Hastings Trip, basically)
    • 10 Pounds: Trip to the theatres
    • 15 Pounds: New outfit (Pants and Top)
    • 20 Pounds: New tattoo!!! (Losing 20 pounds would be a big deal to me and though I wish I could lose 40 or even 50, I think 20 is a great start and a huge achievement. And I want nothing more right now than to get my first tattoo to start working on my sleeve. So by making this a goal of working out, I hope that will help motivate me to work hard so I finally get what I really want, while also giving me time to save up money for it!)
    • 25 Pounds: New outfit (Pants and Top)
    • 30 Pounds: New Haircut by Ann (best hairstylist ever)
    • How You Can Help: Notes of encouragement are always appreciated! A simple text or Facebook message just telling me you believe in this goal of mine, wishing me luck and anything of the sort will be more appreciated than you know! Unfortunately, I loathe working out with other people, so having a workout partner is actually more detrimental than beneficial. But, having someone checking in on Wednesday or Thursday and making sure I am still working out is always a bonus.

2. Write More

  • Why: Obviously, I want to be a novelist. I want to be published and live my life as a novelist. And that dream is one I am still working towards. But there is absolutely no reason why I can’t live as a writer, now. I may be unpublished, but that doesn’t mean I can’t continue on making myself better and continue trying to become published. With two manuscripts already underway, I am definitely making strides. But when I only write once every couple of weeks, it is hard to truly find my voice and grow, using school, friends, work, clubs and KU basketball as an excuse not to write. I’m “too busy.” That’s poppycock. So, I really want to write more, everyday, if I could.
  • How: 
    • Book: I want to work on my trilogy, Destiny of the Dragon, at least once every day. My goal is to sit down and write at least once a day for 15 minutes. No matter what, I should always have 15 minutes free. And I know some days, I will barely get down a sentence. Others, that 15 minutes will turn into five amazing hours of writing, and I know I won’t ever be happier than when I am in that element. But I always want to work on this trilogy, at least once a day. Because by doing so, I will be able to keep a flow of a story and have this story consistently on my mind. And I think that the story would only benefit from that!
    • Blog: I love this blog. It is a great avenue to rant and discuss topics that most people prolly don’t care about (like my resolutions, for example ;P), but it just serves as a great outlet for me, personally. It’s a very selfish thing, this blog. But if I can help inspire or motivate or speak to someone who reads this blog, then I can only be grateful and humbled, because as a writer, that’s all I want to do. Last year, I wrote 16 posts. Sixteen. That’s a poor amount for a year! So, I want to write more on this blog, For now, my goal is one post every two weeks, but eventually, I’d like to increase it to one post per week.
    • Book Reviews: I have always wanted to write book reviews. I love to read and as you can see below, my goal is to read more. And while I don’t want to read critically — in the sense that I don’t want the sole purpose of reading for pleasure to turn into looking for grammar mistakes or trying to pick apart the novel’s structure — I do want to express how the book made me feel or what it made me think; my reactions to the piece, as it were. When I read for fun, I almost always love the book. I almost always get “too” invested, as some people would say. But why? I want to figure that out. I think by writing reviews of the books I am reading, I can learn to be a better writer. So my goal is to write a review of every book I read over on Goodreads and keep up my reviews over there (find me here, if you like: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11996245-nicole)
    • Journaling: Finally, I want to journal every night. Unfortunately, I have discovered that at night, I am usually glued to my phone until I fall asleep and I hate that. The last thing I see before I go to sleep should not be some vision-destroying screen and social media. I don’t want that and I don’t like that I am becoming slightly attached to my smart phone. So, I hope journaling each night before I go to bed will help remedy that. Like this blog, my journal will be a place for my thoughts and my ideas, my personal emotions and my feelings; a roadmap to what my year looked like, once 2016 rolls around. And it’s another way and type of writing to help challenge my writing style.
  • How You Can Help: A lot of this is more just me holding myself accountable and doing it, because I also can’t really do this with a group. But, again, you could text me and ask me what my blog is going to be about this week. Or you could ask how the edits are coming along in the book. Or, if you live with me, if I tell you I need to write, you respect that time and we hang out on the weekends or at dinner. That would mean more to me than anything else, that respect (not saying that I am going to be completely non-existent Monday through Friday, but I need to put more importance on my writing. Balancing friends and these goals may be tough, at times, but I believe I can do it!)

3. Read More

  • Why: The other way a writer can improve is by reading more, both in their genre and outside of it. My goal this year is to read at least 1.5 books a week (equaling to roughly 80 books by the end of the year). I read a quote by Stephen King that he said a good writer reads roughly 2 books a week. I haven’t been able to do that at all since high school! I always read a lot of books in spurts, reading twenty books for fun in two weeks and then not reading any for a month. I want it to be more consistent, but not just because I will unconsciously learn to be a better writer. I also want to read more because I love to read. And I keep finding awesome authors I want to read. And because I am truly happier when I am reading for fun, because it is one of the best escapes I know.
  • How: I track what I read on Goodreads. I put my goal for the year at 78 books and it tells me if I am staying on track or not, which is great! But basically, I plan on always carrying a book with me, in case I ever have an idle moment; breakfast, waiting for the bus, waiting for class to start; even if it is just five minutes, though five minutes here and there will add up. And I hope to destress each night by turning off the electronics, turning on the classical music and reading either before or after I journal, so my mind is clear and ready to escape to whatever world I just read about in my dreams.
  • How You Can Help: This one is kinda on me. But if you ever want to hear about what book I am reading or if you have suggestions, HIT ME UP. 😀 And read the reviews that I will be posted after reading each book, too, if you like!

Okay, I must stop in order to end this monster of a post (I think this is the longest bloody thing I’ve written on this blog). But, finally finishing it, I feel confident and lighthearted. I am glad that this is written somewhere as a reminder for myself and that my goals are set up. And if I can truly accomplish them — and with your help, I believe I can — than I know 2015 is truly going to be amazing. And maybe in 2016, my resolution can be brevity. 😉

Thank you! ❤

Cheers,

Nicole

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

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