06 January 2013

What I Learned in 2012, and My Plan for 2013

2012 was my year of challenges. I took great pride in accepting just about every challenge presented to me - and conquering almost all of them.

In May, I wrote a 20,000-word middle grade novel in 72 hours (actually, I was about 500 words shy of the goal, but as I write my drafts by hand, I wasn't aware of the deficit until after I finished typing... and the 72-hour deadline had expired. I still count it as a victory, though, because I was awfully close, and I did write a complete story in that time.)

In November, I wrote 50,000 words on my new novel (although, once again, my slow typing got in the way, and I only managed to actually type up a little more than 49,000 words before midnight on December 1st), and I took the PiBoIdMo challenge, coming up with more than 30 picture book ideas (as well as a few ideas for YA and MG novels) within the month.

I accepted the challenge to create and post Crock Pot Gourmet recipes on my blog weekly... which then led to the additional challenge to create delicious Gluten-Free and VegetarianVegan recipes for my friends with special dietary needs.

And I conquered numerous other challenges in 2012, always proudly proclaiming "I won't back down from a challenge!"

I learned that I can do a lot, when I put my mind to it. I can conquer just about any "impossible" task that I set my mind to. I also learned that taking on too much is totally unhealthy. Just because I CAN do everything, doesn't mean I SHOULD do it all! Because I can only keep pushing myself beyond my limits for so long before I crash and burn. And as my month-long illness in December (following my way-too-crazy, sleep-deprived November) showed, the human body can only do so much before it has to shut down.

So the biggest thing I learned in 2012:

I can do anything I set my mind to. But I can't do it all at once.

And my plan for 2013: I'll keep moving forward. I won't allow fear of failure to stop me. But I'll move forward wisely. This year, I'll be more selective in the challenges I accept for myself, because sometimes, a new challenge can show you things that you didn't even know you were capable of... but sometimes, they lead you off on tangents that prove to be more distracting than enlightening.

2012 was the year of embracing challenges. 2013 will be the year of "no." I will not be afraid to say "no" when I have too much on my plate to take on one more thing. I will remember that my body has limits, and that I, like all other mortals, need to sleep sometimes. And I won't feel guilty about taking time for myself from time to time. Because you can't pull water out of a dry well. And sometimes, you have to take the time to refill and renew.

I'm not giving up. I won't stop moving forward. But this year, my challenge is patience. I'll take the time to remember that I don't have to reach the end of my journey today. The important thing is to keep moving forward, one step at a time!

*Note: Hubby's latest picture would be perfect here to illustrate my desire to break out of the "doing everything because I feel like everyone expects me to" rut, but blogger is being a pill and won't let me upload the image, so I'll share it via this link instead.

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