2020 Goals and Tools

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

― Douglas Adams

Like I said Yesterday It’s that time of the year again. Most nowadays eschew New Year’s Resolutions. And this year, after the horrible shitshow that was 2020 a lot of people will be happy to survive. However, since I had a few days off work over the holidays and there is nothing to do because of the virus I decided to wax philosophical and make some plans for the upcoming year.

OK, first… my actual goals, more or less:

Weight loss – won’t bore you with this – everybody has this as their #1 goal… pretty much. So there it is.

Cycle equivalent – 3,000 days. Ten miles a day, with a few days off. This is either a real mile on a real bike or an equivalent on my spin bike. I put an odometer on the thing so I can measure it. The spin bike is a little easier than the streets, a little quicker… so be it.

Submit 100 short stories for publication (2 per week). I have well over 100 short stories written. But writing isn’t writing, editing is writing. I will edit… and submit. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

Publish 2 ebooks of short stories. One tentatively would be 100 Days of Flash… the other 30 Bad Ways to Die.

Write cumulative 300 words of fiction a day. This is about one hour a day of writing. I intend for the cycling goal above to be pretty much every day, while the fiction writing goal to be mostly a weekly thing. 2100 words a week.

…And those are the major goals. I went ahead and jotted some minor goals down, more as ideas.

  • Get up early
  • Read more
  • Listen to more podcasts
  • Stretch
  • Lift weights
  • Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Learn to use Scrivener
  • Walk (an underrated exercise, might add a derivative of this to my cycling totals, maybe)

I have to be careful about daily habits/goals. I can really pile them on and there are only so many hours in the day.

I also made a list of tools that I intend to add to/edit as the year goes on:

  • Planner
  • Daily Record
  • Journal
  • Strava
  • Blog
  • Google Calendar

Themes, Goals, and Records

“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.”

― Neil Gaiman

Pond at Fair Park
A pond in Fair Park. The red paths are part of a massive sculpture by Patricia Johanson – I have always loved those red paths running through the water, weeds, and turtles. A neglected jewel in the city.

It’s that time of the year again. Most nowadays eschew New Year’s Resolutions. And this year, after the horrible shitshow that was 2020 a lot of people will be happy to survive. However, since I had a few days off work over the holidays and there is nothing to do because of the virus I decided to wax philosophical and make some plans for the upcoming year.

First – to get these out of the way – A couple of small changes for me this year….

(1) For the last few years I have struggled with using a Bullet Journal as a planning and recording thing – and it didn’t work for me. For this year I have decided to go back to a ringbound planner. I use Steven Covey seven ring traditional size binders (these are half-sheets, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, or approx. A5) – I have one at work and one at home and one small one that I carry around. I design my own filler pages, print, cut and punch them. I have found that I like to hand draw the filler pages (todo, notes, thoughts, contacts… and such) – it adds a bit of personality, plus I change them as the year goes on (usually print a week at a time).

I will use a fountain pen friendly bound notebook (an EXCEED A5 from Walmart, of all places) as a daily journal and electronic means (Google calendar) for appointments and set events.

I feel good about how this will work out – will keep y’all updated in case you are interested in how it goes.

(2) Making the switch from Map My Ride to Strava to track my bicycling for the year. No real reason – I was happy with MMR. I have become fascinated with the Strava Heatmap.

Instead of RESOLUTIONS, I think of Themes for the year and then place Goals under these themes. I’ll put down my themes today and discuss my Goals tomorrow.


  • Health
  • Live Outward
  • Create
  • Tidyness

Health – Ever since my health emergency in New Orleans a year and a half ago I have been struggling. I was doing better for a while but backsliding lately – seeing a new specialist in a few days. Obviously, I have weight and fitness goals, like everyone does, but mine are taking on a new importance.

Live Outward – After the year of Covid isolation I am suffering from loneliness, claustrophobia, and acedia. I think everybody needs to dedicate 2020, especially after the restrictions begin to lift, to reestablish their connections to their fellow man.

Create – for me, that mostly means writing. In 2020 I was able to meet my goal of writing 100 pieces of flash fiction in 100 days and put then on my blog. I have been writing more fiction and keeping it to myself. I have goals for amounts written and stories submitted and publishing attempted. Wish me luck.

Tidyness – I am naturally chaotic and, if I’m going to meet some of my other goals, will need to be more efficient and distraction free. This is more difficult for me than it should be.

So there it is… I’ll post a few discrete goals tomorrow and see what I think about them.

The Emptiness Below Us

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula, Texas

Now, here is is, the first day of a spanking new year. And I have these goals for 2018 – I’ve worked hard on these… and the main three are:

  • Read 100 books
  • Write 50 Short Stories
  • Ride 3000 miles on my bike.

Since this is only the beginning, I didn’t want to get behind right at the start. So I cheated on the reading a hundred books – and jumped the gun by starting two weeks early. I’m up to six so far… which is good. I’ve already written one short story – so I’m OK there.

But I am stuck in a beach house with no bicycle and freezing cold… incredible wind… what we used to call a blue norther. I had planned on a little flexibility on my goal – knowing that I get sick over the winter and need other means to keep up with my goal.

At home, I have two exercise bikes – so I decided that riding one of those is worth ten miles for each hour riding. That way I can keep up if I’m forced inside.

At the beach house I thought about it and decided that, in a pinch, I can walk to make up the goal. Only in emergency situations, like now – the first day. After some thought and internet research, I decided on a three mile walk, at a brisk pace, would equal ten miles of riding. I walk at about three miles per hour, so that’s about an hour – which corresponds with riding or stationary. Also, that’s in addition to whatever I walk on a normal basis – the usual strutting around doesn’t count.

So at the end of the day, I layered on as much as I could (the temperature was below freezing and the wind was… really strong. I walked out to the beach and watched the kids fire off the last of their fireworks, then headed out down the beach. There is a little creek that emerges from the dunes and blocks off the rest of the beach from where we were and I knew that to that creek and back would get me to the three miles I needed.

I started out into the wind, pulling my hood closed so I was looking out a tiny circle at the water on the right and the dunes on the left. The moon was full, so there was plenty of light. It was very cold. But I started walking.

And it put me into the thought of all the other times over my life that I had walked on the beach, especially at night. From Panama to Nicaragua, to South Padre Island over spring break (That was a long drive from Lawrence, Kansas) to this very beach over the years with my kids growing larger and larger.

There is a rhythm of walking on the beach, in the wet sand between the surf and the loose part (in Texas it is generally allowed to drive on the beach, so, especially at night, you want to stay close to the surf), as the time and the miles go by all those old memories become telescoped in to the present day, the experience of being and moving along a border between two worlds.

It was a lot easier to walk back with the wind behind me. So now I have the equivalent of ten miles of bike riding on the first day of January. Still on track – so good, so far.

The Path to my Fixed Purpose is Laid With Iron Rails

“Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

Downtown McKinney, Texas

Oblique Strategy:
Don’t be frightened of cliches

Are you making your plans for next year? Do you have fixed in your mind the exact person you want to become?

Your mind, though, is not of one voice – but of at least two. Do you hear the little voice already telling you that you will fail and you will never become the person you think of? “It is too late anyway,” the voice says.

Where will you fall? Who will win in the end? Does it even matter?