Every year I vow "No resolutions, just goals". What's the difference? Resolutions for me tend to be things that aren't to do with writing but more things like staying healthy, going to the gym, walking more ... and they don't last long, sad to say.
Goals are the things I write down and pursue. I've been doing this for years, and my writers' group also does goals together in February. Usually I have the same list all round - no point having two! I also keep most of my goals to myself (I share them with my group, because they understand what writer's goals are, whereas other people like my family might want to ship me off to the funny farm). I put things on my goals list that are steps towards publication - simple jobs such as sending out my work regularly. If you have ever sat down to send out query letters or manuscripts to publishers or magazines, you'll know how that will eat up a whole morning without even trying. It's part of the job, but often a part that I don't focus on as much as I should. That's because I'm usually writing in the spare hours!
But my big goal right now is to clean out my office. That's BIG. That's not a two-day job. It's a two-month project, at least, that will require a hard heart and a large rubbish/recycling bin. Not to mention some boxes for all those books that will be going to the charity shop.
It's not that I'm a hoarder (I am, a bit) but more that I tend to keep stuff in case I can use it in class for teaching. I'm not organised enough to tear articles out of magazines and file them, so I keep the whole magazine. I also firmly believe that if I had room for one more large bookcase in my house, I could get rid of the piles of books everywhere. Yes, I also know that if I stopped buying books, I'd begin to solve the problem, but there is just nowhere to fit another bookcase right now.
The whole project is so overwhelming that I decided to approach it the way I do other things - one little step at a time on a regular basis. Yesterday I did one shelf on my main bookcase, and managed to throw out one-third of what was there. Onward and upward!
I'm also keeping track of words written this month, which I don't normally do in a formal way. Maybe I'm mentally setting a benchmark for the other months of the year?