The Annual Experiment of Renewal: Thinking About My Goals for 2020

Photo by Christian Joudrey on Unsplash.

I’m an optimistic soul. I tend to be flooded with ambition at the beginning of each new year. THIS will be the one, I tell myself. This is will be the year when I will do better, be better, accomplish all the things. In past years, I’ve set clear goals — sometimes massive lists of things I’d like to achieve, sometimes a single goal (as with last year).

There is value in taking stock of where you’ve been and envisioning a path for where you want to be. The way forward is sometimes confusing, and it helps to come up with a roadmap.

Figuring out how to shape that map is a form of experimentation in and of itself — setting up resolutions, goals, or habits, and testing them out to see what works. Maybe it’s a single word to embody the year. Maybe it’s a specific habit you want to create. Maybe it’s a new area of learning or craft you want to pursue. Maybe it’s a list of specific things you want to get done.

Coming into 2020, I’m feeling a little more tentative about my goal setting. The single goal that I set for last year locked me into path that caused more confusion and frustration than pleasure. I learned a lot from that experience, though it left me a little tender.

I could list off any number of writing projects and personal objectives that I would like achieve in this year — but after carefully meditating on the year to come, a single phrase comes to mind: Follow Your Passion.

For me, this means working on the projects that feel alive and inspiring for me,

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling more tentative in my goal setting for this year. I’m still a little raw from the fallout of last year, even though it all ended well.

In thinking about what I wanted to achieve this year, I could list off a number of projects and things that I would like to do and achieve — but what really comes to mind when I think about the new year is a single phrase: Follow Your Passion

What this means for me is bringing focus to the projects and work that I’m excited about, rather than just out of obligation. Finding space to connect with the things that move and inspire me, such as reading poetry, visiting rivers or the ocean, connecting with other humans.

My path toward following my passion has started by trying to establish some morning routines, essentially a groundwork the will provide a foundation for the passions I want to pursue. I get up at the alarm, stretch, do a short meditation, write a quick morning poem, pull a tarot card — all simple actions, even one or two of which help to center and prepare me for the day ahead and the tasks I’m need to get done.

How are you approaching the new year? Have you set resolutions or goals? What is your focus?


My short story “How Bluebeard Ends,” which was published by Corvid Queen, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I’m so honored to have my work acknowledged in this way, especially for a story that was rejected numerous times before finding a home.

Book of the Month

When the Tox — a disease that turns the body strange — strikes the Raxter School for Girls, the site becomes quarantined, the girls who remain alive struggling to survive with a lack of food and resources. Outside the fence, the forest is infected and twisted as the girl’s bodies have become, full of things that hunger in the shadows.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power is a stunning body horror story, offset by a claustrophobic sense of isolation. Trapped and hungry and virtually alone (with most of the adults dead), the girls of this school are fierce, strong, and passionate, banding together into tight-knit groups of friendship and love. With little hope of outside rescue and the threat of impending death hovering over each new dawn, Hetty and her friends Byatt and Reese fight to determine their own fates. A thrilling read.

Check out the rest of my Culture Consumption for the month of December, with all the books, movies, TV, games, and podcasts that I’ve enjoyed.

More Good Stuff

Every Noise at Once

“The world can be monstrous for women. Those of us who write horror invent monsters to fight and defeat because we’re often powerless against the real ones. In doing so, we change the expected shape of the genre, making it bigger. Making it better,” writes Damien Angelica Walters in How Women Authors Are Reshaping the Horror Genre

Lisa Marie Basile discusses her forthcoming book, The Magical Writing Grimoire, which I can’t wait to purchase and read.

33 Photos Of Weird & Rare Flowers That Look Like Something From A Fairytale