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Happy New Year! Goals vs. Resolutions, and how I plan to utilize a social media reward system

New Year's Eve Central Park My new year’s resolutions are always the same. Write more. Draw more. Exercise more. I don’t usually focus on doing other things less, which I think is part of the problem. By not cutting down on the activities that take away from things like drawing or writing, I’m not actually giving myself the space to do “more.” Resolutions are also kind of wishy-washy, and easily dropped.

This year, I’m setting goals and intentions. Goals need to be written down, and we must frequently remind ourselves of them. (Mine are getting posted on the wall next to my bed, and another copy is going in my wallet.) In addition, an action plan is necessary to make any goal a reality. It’s all well and good to say “I want to learn to dance,” but if you don’t take the steps to make this happen, it’s just a dream. (For this goal, action steps would be deciding on the style of dance, researching classes, comparing locations and prices, and then actually signing up and showing up.)

For goal setting, I was taught to use the SMART model – goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. Goals can also be changed, and action plans revised. In fact, I would recommend checking in and revising your action plan on a monthly basis, to stay on track. Resolutions feel like they’re set in stone, and if you don’t keep up then you might as well give up. Goals are flexible.

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NaNoWriMo – Week 3 Pep Talk – Halfway Point!

NaNoWriMo Grand Central Terminal writing

NaNoWriMo participants at Grand Central Terminal

Today is November 15th, which marks both the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month and the first day of Week 3.

Week 3 is the week of numb shock. Perhaps you’ve written more than you ever have before. Perhaps you can’t believe how far off course your characters have taken the story you intended to write – and you love them for doing so. Or maybe you just can’t imagine how you’ve managed to sit down and write EVERY DAY for the past fourteen. Week 3 is where the seed of hope planted on November 1st starts to unfurl into a tiny leaf of OMGamIreallywritinganovelinamonth?!

If you made it through Week 2 and you are still writing or at least still want to write, congratulations!

I’m totally serious, so I’ll say it again: CONGRATULATIONS.

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NaNoWriMo – Week 2 Pep Talk

National Novel Writing Month logoIt’s November 8th, which means we’re entering the dreaded Week 2 of National Novel Writing Month.

For those new to this 50k-words-in-30-days endeavor, Week 2 is when your initial enthusiasm starts to flag in the face of Week 1 word exhaustion. It’s when you start to think about what you’ve written and your inner editor rises up to whisper criticisms that suck your motivation dry. (Unfortunately, it’s also when nasty little articles like this pop up. Whatevs. Haters gonna hate. Ignore them.) Week 2 is when you start to wonder if this undertaking is worth it, and if you can really do this thing that you’ve set out to do.

Yes, and yes. It is worth it, and you can really do it. 

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RIP Steve Jobs

Apple / Steve Jobs by Jonathan Mak

Image by Jonathan Mak

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
-Steve Jobs


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In Defense of Barbie

Girls playing with BarbieWhile babysitting earlier this month, I made an offhand comment about having 100 Barbies. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but I certainly had no less than 60. The little girl I was watching told me that her mother doesn’t like Barbie and thinks Barbie is stupid. (Possibly not the word she used. I don’t think this family uses that word, but it was something close to it.) She’s almost 5 years old, and she said this a little sadly while holding her one Ariel doll (from The Little Mermaid).

Clearly my parents had no such reservations, and Barbie in the 80s was a totally different doll than she is today, in many ways. But the thing she has never been in my lifetime is stupid. Barbie taught me that a woman can be anything she wants – a doctor, an astronaut, a rock star, a veterinarian, a teacher (like my mom) – and can look good doing it. (Many episodes of What Not to Wear have shown me that this is a hard lesson for women to learn.) In recent years Barbie has added such professions to her resume as computer engineer, architect, and art teacher (like me!). These are not the career paths of a stupid woman! On top of all that, she still leads a vibrant social life, apparently raises a slew of siblings, and maintains a healthy relationship with no visible signs of codependency. (We won’t talk about the Blaine years.) Isn’t this the type of superwoman we’re told we should be?

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