In December of each year, I begin reviewing the year coming to a close and reflect on what events occurred or goals I achieved, how they affected me and those I care about, and how I want to move forward.
I know through experience that unless I take stock of my accomplishments and shortcomings for the previous year, goal setting for the new one will be ineffective. No matter what I didn’t like about the year’s events, I need to own each of them if I am to move forward.
I do this for a number of areas in my life. For our purposes here on this blog, I will list those that apply to my Practical Buddhist practices.
Review of events / accomplishments for 2012
- Publication of The Practical Buddhist on Amazon.com
- Beginning a community for TPB on Facebook
- Creating a Google Plus page for TPB
- Establishing the technical framework for a membership option on TPB in 2013
- My Practical Buddhist practice
- My personal nutrition and fitness
2012 year end review and takeaway lessons
Publishing the Book Publishing TPB on Amazon.com was positive for me personally, as well as for those who were kind enough to purchase it. To date, over 1,000 people have purchased it. I’m not getting rich off this effort and to be honest, it wasn’t the intent to make money off of it. I’m surprised at the reaction I’ve received from readers. I am grateful for each one and for the reviews posted, both favorable and unfavorable.
- Do it again. I enjoyed this writing and publishing the book. Yes, it was a lot of work, but definitely worth it.
- Engage a professional editor. I tried to self-edit the book but found I was too close to it to do a decent job. I’ve already decided on the editor for my next book. Cori, heads up. 😎
Facebook Community I’ve learned that while Twitter has been mostly a bust for me professionally, Facebook is where many TPB readers hang out and it’s where many of my readers come from.
- Keep building this presence. The promotional advertising I took out on FB gained the budding community 150 members and only cost about $50. I’ll keep experimenting with FB to see if I can build better engagement.
Google Plus Page G+ is a great place to build community. I’ve found it attracts a different kind of reader. G+ readers are more interactive than are typical Facebook readers. G+ recently introduced a Communities function and this may be another way to build engagement.
- Keep experimenting. Read Danny Iny’s Engagement From Scratch as it’s already on my Kindle (and because the word ‘engagement’ has appeared a few times in this post – it must be a sign).
- Act. Enough said.
Memberships on TPB A membership option on TPB is still in, what I call, the fuzzy vision stage of planning. But it’s and important growth area because in the world of online writing and blogging you must thoroughly understand the technical aspects of what you accomplish before you can present it to the world. I’ve begun working with some new plugin software to accommodate membership opportunities in the future.
- Keep experimenting and developing this fuzzy vision
My Practical Buddhist practice I’ve not been satisfied with my commitment to daily practice for about six months. Like some of you, I too go through periods of regular practice and then life throws me a curve ball and my regular practice frequency is the first to show the reaction. It’s the classic swing-and-a-miss for me. I am disappointed that I allow this to happen, but I also acknowledge that my humanity and imperfection are characteristics that aren’t likely to change. So I go forward.
- Renew my commitment to daily practice. Look inside. Breathe. Forgive. Breathe. Rinse and repeat.
My personal nutrition & fitness I am also not pleased with how I the nutritional planning in my life (and that of my 16 year-old son) has played out this year. I traveled less, but skimped on meal planning toward the end of the year. We’ve both gained weight and decreased our level of physical exercise. Not pretty, but true.
- Renew my commitment to weekly meal planning. When I did this in the first part of the year, we ate more healthy, home-cooked meals. Because I’m a single parent, I’m also chief cook and bottle washer as the saying goes. Change in this area is necessary.
- Experiment with shopping online for groceries. I’ve noticed I make better choices when I’m not physically tired, in a hurry, or tempted by impulse items. My local chain store (Safeway) offers online ordering of groceries and a fee-based delivery service. This could be an option for us and I’m going to give it a try.
- Invest in home workout equipment and/or hire a trainer. I’ve thought about this for a while now. Gyms required many commitments other than financial. There is the commuting to and from the facility, scheduling issues for two people, and the financial commitment. I’m not a fitness expert so I’m also considering hiring a trainer to get Justin and I on the right track and perhaps do that initially before investing in extensive strength training equipment or making a commitment to a gym membership.
That’s how 2012 impacted me as a Practical Buddhist. For the coming year, these are the areas/goals hat I’ve identified.
2013 Goal Growth Areas
Meditation practice – Keep a consistent practice of medication and yoga in early mornings by incorporating the following actions:
- setting reminders in my iPhone
- thinking of my morning practice a sacred commitment
- keeping a meditation journal of my experiences
Mindfulness practice – Build a regular practice of mindfulness into my daily routine by:
- setting reminders into my iPhone
- when the reminder lights up, stop and ask where my mind is and if it’s in this moment or thinking about something else
- commit to staying present going forward
Compassionate Kindness practice – Create opportunities to act compassionately each day by:
- listening to others with my total concentration
- observing what’s going on around me in the lives of others
- acting selflessly at least once each day and do something kind and unexpected for another, preferably a stranger
- keeping a compassionate-kindness journal
Writing practice – Create a writing and publishing schedule that works for me and TPB readers by:
- Publishing twice weekly to the blog
- Publishing membership content once a week
- Outlining and completing my next TPB book project
These are my goal/growth areas for 2013. It seems like a big list but one I am comfortable with.
Are you looking ahead?
- Do you also do end of the year reviews?
- Do you also plan for the new year?
I’d live to hear about them. Would you be willing to share some here in a comment?