Thoughtful Thursday: Just the Beginning

While this is the final installment of my ten part series on planning for a new You in the New Year, it really is just the beginning…for me and I hope for you too. Now it is time to get down to the tough business of making all those dreams come true…and as I do battling Fate’s sadistic ass. I love when I do get one over on him.

So what thought do I want to leave you with?

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That is what I am doing right now, folks. Last night, I bought some things to fix up my flat…to make it as liveable as it can be until… I am also making my To-Do list for this first month of the year. And finishing up old projects from 2015…those quilts and Christmas presents.

I won’t torture you with an audio file but…

She’s making her lists…

She’s checking it thrice…

She’s deciding when to be naughty and nice…

The all REAL Tara Neale is coming to life.

Oh, and my ex’s girlfriend got me the most amazing Christmas present EVER.

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Ain’t those the most awesome Big Girl Panties for 2016?

I am determined to fill them well.

So tell me…what are your dreams and plans for 2016?

 

REAL Woman Wednesday: Not in my Drawers

Get your mind out of the gutter…no, I am not letting you in my ‘drawers.’ Those are reserved for Captain America and Thor. But as we wind down this blog series on goal setting, I want to talk about what happens to them. And that reference is about what becomes of all too many goals…you go to all the trouble of writing them down and they end up stuck in a drawer somewhere.

Don’t feel bad. It is not just you. It is major corporations too. They pay consultants a small fortune to come in and work with all their stakeholders…employees, customers, management, suppliers. They spend weeks, sometimes months, researching with surveys and focus groups.

They may even do ‘retreats’ to fancy resorts or worse yet those ‘team building’ wilderness weekends (oh yeah, because we ALL want to spend our precious days off with work colleagues sans showers). In the end they write a three to five year business plan that will ‘transform’ the company…make it the best place to work…earn billions of dollars for stake holders…ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.

Then you know what happens? That nice shiny three-ring bound business plan that cost tens of thousands of dollars or more gets stuck on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. While the company goes back to business as usual. Actually…worse, because now employees are disenfranchised. They keep thinking about all that big talk about change and making things better for them…that came to nothing.

So how do you keep your goals from becoming a nick-knack collecting dust in a drawer somewhere?

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This is a quilt I sewed last year. It hangs on the wall at the foot of my bed. It is the first thing I see every morning and the last at night. My Wheel of Life is at its center. And my goals for those eight pieces of that pie (five this year) are all around it…along with other things like quotes, words to favorite songs and different inspirational exercises. It is a constant reminder. But even before I made the quilt, I would do something similar using poster boards and hanging those on my GOALS wall.

But it does not stop there. Remember those objectives? Well, I use those to plot a course on a monthly and weekly basis using my notebooks. Yes…To-Do lists! I know, joy of joys.

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It gets worse too…

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At the end of each year, I take down the old…evaluate how well I did. Forgive myself and then file all those goals and Wheels of Life away in a special box. When you are feeling down/depressed, it is wonderful to look back and see just how far you have come in the past five (this makes six) years.

So those are my ways for keeping those goals from becoming just another set of New Year’s resolutions that are broken and forgotten in the first week.

And this year…in an effort to deplete my sewing hoard, I am GIVING AWAY a goals quilt. Yes, I am sewing another one…and will mail it anywhere in the world.

So how do you win, you ask? Several ways…

To be fair…I will max entries out at five…so twenty comments still only earns you five chances. Deadline to enter is January 31st, 2016.

Tomorrow, we finish this series by looking at the importance of clearing out the old to make way for the new.

 

Tease Tuesday: Bullseye

So far in this series, we have dreamed big, taken a long hard look at reality, plotted a course to get from where we are to where we want to go, and then broken that course down into manageable objectives. Feeling ready to conquer the world yet?

Good…now for another of those reality checks. Know what percentage of my goals I reached last year?

About 50%. And that is just fine.

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In fact, IF you do make all your goals then one of two things…

  1. You did not set ambitious enough goals…or worse yet…
  2. You focused so much on your goals that you forgot to actually live your life.

And neither of those are a good thing.

Here is the story of one man I admire, who actually did that second one…and what the experience taught him:

http://goinswriter.com/better-work/

Those lessons are pretty spot on actually.

So why do it at all? Why did I waste all this time listening to you, Tara?

Two things really…

First of all, like that saying goes…shoot for the moon. There is another one that says it a bit better,

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Goins had it right there in bold letters in the middle of his blog…

Happiness is a byproduct of purpose.

This whole thing has been about discovering your purpose…your destination…your dreams. And if you don’t reach that goal this year, well that is not only okay…it is expected.

Enjoy your journey. Stop and smell them roses. Listen to your child. Share a cup of coffee with your friends. Laugh. And above all…

LOVE with your whole heart. Not because they deserve it, but because you do. 

Then in the end…you will have no regrets…whether you made all those lofty goals or not.

One more thing to remember though…focus on the IMPORTANT TO YOU goals. The ones that give your life purpose, make you happy and fulfilled.

Tomorrow, we talk about some tools that you can use to help you achieve those goals.

Miscellaneous Monday: Objectives

Yesterday, we looked at my practical, ‘hard’ writing goals for 2016. Today, we go that next step and turn our goals into objectives.

What is an objective you ask?

A specific result that a person or system aims to achieve within a time frame and with available resources.  (Business Dictionary)

12122514_10153674395039785_4679972285193834019_nIF I refused to put time limits or be specific in my goals…well, objectives are the place to do so. Objectives are about pulling out calendars and budgets and setting them side-by-side with those goals. It is about looking at exactly how the hell am I going to get this job done?

For my finances…my 12-month budget will be my objectives. And for environment? Well, at this point that one is still more dream than practical. Since we have a barely adequate roof over our heads and will be making do with that for now, my objectives are going to be a photo collage of used RVs that are in my price range. That is the next step…

But it is also the file on my laptop that contains all the pictures of interesting decor that I might want to include in Rainbow’s End one day…but that day is just too far off to know anything for certain.

So what do those writing goals look like when broken down into objectives?


Release 9 new books this year (2 Sergeant Mike’s, Rings of Fire, 3 Njords, Priestesses of the Goddess, Nothing Done in Love plus 1 more)

  • February (before Valentine’s Day): Njord’s Captive – Complete but requires MAJOR writes and professional edit as well as cover (erotica)
  • Late March: Njord’s Bride – Complete with some re-writes, edits and cover (erotica)
  • Mid April (for Earth Day): Rings of Fire –50% (sci-fi/end of world romance)
  • May (for Memorial Day): Sergeant Mike Book 4 –To be written 0% (military romance)
  • June: Njord’s Wife – 25% (erotica)
  • Late June (4th of July): Nothing Done in Love – 50% still have to do the guys’ side of things (military erotica)
  • August (for 9/11): That Morning -25% (literature)
  • Late September: Priestesses of the Goddess – 75%+ (sci-fi/fantasy romance)
  • November (for Veteran’s day): Sergeant Mike Book 5 – To be written 25% from An Angel’s Wish…or maybe An Angel’s Wish becomes a prologue, then Trav and Keisha have their own romance story and finally Mike and Esther visit? (military romance)
  • Plus ??? Night Walker’s Woman, Fall of Man, Zombie Soldiers

One story/chapter per week at Literotica

  • Ægir’s Wife – 2 per month until finished (approximately April)
  • Night Walker’s Woman – 1 per month
  • Fall of Man – 1 per month
  • Forbidden Fruit? Small Town Secrets? Sommer Lovin’?

Monthly newsletter

  • Exclusive story/chapter
  • Follow-up/more in-depth to blog
  • Latest news/updates on releases
  • Contest

Daily blog (transferred to more powerful platform and domain name)

  • Miscellaneous Mondays (REAL Man?)
  • Tease Tuesdays
  • REAL Woman Wednesdays
  • Thoughtful Thursdays
  • Freaky Fridays
  • Sensual Saturdays
  • Serious Sundays

3 to 5 Facebook posts per day – only one sales

  • REAL life things that are intimate (personal) – crafts, parenting, relationships
  • Military stuff (personal and Sergeant Mike)
  • Updates/teases on writing (author)
  • Blog snippets (personal and author)

3 Tweets per day

  • Quote of the day
  • Meme of the day
  • Blog updates
  • Writing related

$100 per month paid advertising budget

  • Book Gorilla for all new releases ($50 to $200 – only Amazon though?)
  • AllRomance ($50 to $200 – OmniLit and AllRomance only)
  • Investigate and trial other options (up to $30)
  • In addition to Tribe Writers and BookDaily

Can I do it? Is this realistic within the time frame and available resources (time and money among them)?

Well, that is what we will look at in more detail tomorrow…But this should give you some ideas of how to turn those lofty goals into practical objectives…or at least an idea of what you can expect from the All REAL Tara Neale in the coming year.

Did your favorite book/series make the cut? If not, scream at me…let me know what you want more of! I’ll see what I can do with my copious free time…LOL!

 

Serious Sunday: Hard Goals

Yesterday, we looked at how I was setting relationship goals for family/friends and specifically for ‘love.’ I called those soft goals, touchy-feely or fuzzy ones.

Today, we get a tad more down to earth with those three interrelated trouble areas of my life finances, environment and career. But since my readers don’t really care about my budgets or how miserable I am stuck here in London and missing home, the example I will use is the one they do care about…my career…my writing.

As I said before, in the past, I have tried setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time oriented). But unless you are a complete Type A personality, who wants nothing more than work in your life, then those types of goals tend to be less attainable than they appear at first.

12106887_10153599306223290_351734715539154893_nEven those Type A can run into that bastard of Fate. They can give their all climbing their way to the top of the corporate ladder, knocking people off, then have the rug pulled out from under them with downsizing or the demise of the company. Worse yet, you could reach every goal you set only to discover that being at the top does not make you happy.

As a priestess of the goddess, I need the flexibility to put people first. As the mother of a little beauty with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s as they used to call it), my day can go from perfectly organized to disaster zone in about 30 seconds. As a sub/girlfriend/partner and now mentor, I have responsibilities to those I care about.

And here is honest…an indie author has next to NO control over sales. I cannot make you buy my books. And I do NOT ever want to become one of those types who only ever takes to a blog, Facebook or Twitter to push a new release. That hard sale is not me. You are my friends before you are my readers and I believe in treating you that way.

To make it even worse, Amazon, the largest e-book distributor, keeps changing the rules to make it harder and harder for indie authors to make money. Which is why I am removing ALL my books from their exclusive to KDP/KU select program and making available to other distributors.

So given all that…how the hell do you set goals that are so crucial to your future happiness?

By focusing not on the outcomes that I cannot control but on the inputs over which I have complete control.

I cannot make people buy my books…but it is for certain that they won’t buy books that are not available. So getting some finished and half finished ones, done, edited and covers made becomes a top priority. So that I can give them the chance to buy a new book.

So what are my Career/Writing goals for 2016 you ask…

  • Release 9 new books this year (2 Sergeant Mike’s, 3 Njords, Priestesses of the Goddess, Nothing Done in Love plus 1 more)
  • One story/chapter per week at Literotica
  • Monthly newsletter
  • Daily blog (transferred to more powerful platform and domain name)
  • 3 to 5 Facebook posts per day – only one sales max
  • 3 Tweets per day – quote of the day, meme of the day and one writing related
  • $100 per month paid advertising budget

You see I chose to focus not on the sales over which I have no REAL control but upon the ingredients that go into those sales totals…things over which I do.

So for you, the reader, all that means…

  • You can keep listening to my big mouth here…
  • Yes, I am finishing Ægir’s…and re-writing it to correct loads of inconsistencies and plot holes…
  • I am also revisiting some old favs like…Night Walker’s Woman, Fall of Man, Priestesses of the Goddess and who knows what else at Lit…
  • And my pride and joy…Sergeant Mike has a couple more stops on his miracle tour this year with Esther on the ‘bitch seat.’ And one of those stops…Hot-lanta, GA…yes, they will be visiting Trav, Keisha and Bree.

Yes, those are pretty ambitious goals in their own right, but like I said people cannot buy books that ain’t finished. So if you want daily updates, inspirational quotes and memes, the chance to win stuff and more, then click the buttons to the right to follow me on Facebook and Twitter too.

I saw this Facebook post…describe 2015 in one word. My answer was…better. And 2016 is going to be BETTER still.

Tomorrow…join me as I take those big goals and make them into an actual workable plan, which is the next step…setting objectives from your goals.

Sensual Saturday: Setting Relationship Goals

After that Christmas wish yesterday, I promised that we would get back to goal setting for the New Year today. And I am keeping that promise.

But first…here is something to consider: you have eight slices of your pie of life (Wheel of Life): career, finances, environment, family/friends, love, leisure, health and growth. Do you actually need goals for all of them?

When I was first exposed to the Wheel of Life, it was a self-development course at the mental health day center following my breakdown/depression after my miscarriage. The instructor specifically told us to identify just one area of our lives that we felt needed work and to write goals for that one.

I did three (can you say Type A over-achiever?). Those three were related though: career, finances and most importantly environment. In that year, I managed to get an apartment for just me and PanKwake (getting out of an unsafe environment), more than quadruple my income and begin work as a chef. So you can’t argue with success.

Since then I have set goals in ALL eight categories…BUT in this new more Zen method of goal setting…no more. There is no point in having goals in areas that simply are not important to you at this time in your life. So this year, I will not be writing goals for: health (for a woman my age I ain’t doing so bad), leisure (honestly, I don’t have much time for it anyway) and growth (because frankly I do this one so naturally that it is ridiculous to write goals for something that you are 100% satisfied with).

Of the five remaining areas, I will be setting two different types of goals…soft goals for things like love and family/friends and more concrete task oriented goals for career, finances and environment (ironic that it is once more those same three areas that I began this journey with). But we will look at those hard goals tomorrow. For today, let’s focus upon one set of ‘soft’ goals…love.

For much of the past six years that I have been setting goals, love has been one of those red areas. Whether I was in a failing marriage or alone, it was always red…and I felt completely helpless to actually do anything about it. I suppose you could set goals about joining dating sites or something, but I have always felt that love just happens. You can’t really plan it.

Only once in those six years was I actually in a relationship…2014. And I set all these lofty goals about being there for him, being a good sub. It was over within six months.

So in 2015, I decided that my pie only had seven pieces…no love, no goals. Then about three months into the year, I changed my mind. But not in the traditional way. I decided that I would focus on LOVING MYSELF. I wrote goals about doing things that would lift me up, make me feel better about who I am.

You know what happened? Not one but two kick-ass men came into my life as friends (well, back into with Captain America) and they were attracted to that new, more confident me.

So this year, am I setting more of those ‘relationship’ goals about being what they need me to be, the perfect sub, whatever?

NO!!! I am setting more of the same…goals about working on me.

Why?

Because you have NO POWER to change another person. You have no right to even set goals involving another person. Even setting goals as a couple can be intensely tricky…tried that once with the preacher…the year we separated…

When it comes to relationships, whether it be love or family and friends, the only ones in control are the goddess (of love) and Fate. I love this saying…

Reason or Season

And the cold, hard truth is…you can never really know which.

No relationship lasts forever. Think about it…even if it is perfection, it changes over time. Hopefully for the better, but it still changes. What’s more, all relationships end one day…even if when you or that person dies.

So, yes, I am blessed right now to have two amazing men and a sweet protege in my life. But I can’t know for sure if they will be in it next year. And if I base my ‘love’ goals on them then I am setting myself up for failure, disappointment and pain…like I did in 2014.

No, this year my love goal is simple…

I will learn to forgive.

Not because they (and there are LOTS of they’s in my life…exes, sperm donors, friends…) deserve it, but because I do. Because I do not want bitterness and hatred controlling me. Because I am better than that. Just for me…

Now will that affect my relationship with Thor and Captain America? Damn straight it will. Make things much easier and perhaps avoid disaster.

But even if one of them or both are no longer in my life…that goal will be worth attaining.

How’s that for a soft goal? Simple…no idea even how to do it. But that is why it is about the journey and not the destination, folks.

Tomorrow, we will look at more concrete goals and how those goals might differ a bit. Hope you will join me then.

 

Festive Friday: All I Want for Christmas…

Actually no, but one Christmas my youngest son was missing his front teeth. His older brothers and sister kept singing this song to him. Poor kid was afraid that his teeth was all Santa would bring him.

And I am not going with the trite world peace either. When you think about it, given human nature there is really only a couple of ways that is likely to happen…1) alien invasion unites all humanity aka Independence Day or 2) a strong world dictator (the biblical anti-Christ type) removes all our freedoms and forces it on us. We can all hope for a new enlightment…a jump in human evolution.

But actually, my wish this year would do that. In 2016, I want ACCEPTANCE. 

Acceptance for…

  • My autistic daughter when she has a meltdown…when she is in her special needs buggy…when she can’t stop talking.
  • My curvy daughter that just would not look good as a size zero anyway…yes, she goes to the gym. Hell, she is a Tough Mudder. So no, she is not just lazy.
  • My special needs adult son that was supposed to never be able to hold a job or live on his own…no one at his work knows that though.
  • My beloved Captain America, who gave so much, is it too much that his service be honored and a bit of understanding for his PTSD.
  • Myself…my crazy, submissive, masochistic self…and the rest of the kinky community.
  • Those struggling with mental health issues and/or chronic health problems.
  • Those in abusive relationships…the male victims as well as the female ones.
  • Those far from home…or not even sure where home is any more.
  • Awwww, hell, even the ‘normal’ people…goddess bless their hearts.

Like I talked about yesterday though…acceptance is one of those things that you cannot wish upon others. You cannot make someone accept you…and you should never have to tolerate their abuse, verbal or violence.

But I can keep hoping, wishing and writing about the tough REAL life issues that affect so many…and maybe just maybe one day this message of ACCEPTANCE will catch on?!?

Until then…Merry Christmas, Happy New Year…may the goddess bless, protect and heal you and yours in 2016.

Remember…

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