2017 Goals and Aims

I have spoken at some length in a previous post (see http://www.markkeating.me.uk/2016/11/11/the-me-me-goal/ ) about one side of goals, which i called the ‘me goal’ a form of internal embiggening[1] yourself. Today i am going to speak about my goals for 2017.

Well not all of them.

And this is not a continuation of the previous post just I thought I’d mention it so that you could go and look and I could make some mild link that has no value because the kittens have knitted a jumper.


This year I have set myself a number of challenges to do with personal, professional and family life. I have also accepted a challenge from Leigh (www.leighkeating.me).

I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Personal: Been feeling fat and unhealthy and my lifestyle in regards to food and drink has got out of hand. So I have decided to lose weight, exercise more and drink less. I started on the 5th January. I am 2 stone lighter, I am eating better and drinking less. It is a hard regime, I am not massively overdoing it, but I am being firm with myself. So that’s going well, but I need to see if i can mange a year.

Leigh: Leigh asked me to publish a book, I did do one last year and you can find it for free (or make a small donation) on The Dog Ate My Bookshop website. The last book I published was a series of Haiku’s from 2015. this time around it will be a novel of some sort.

Family: Well I have kids and a wife that is devoted to me. I have resolved this year to make the most out of that and to sort out some better way of being a better husband and father. This is not to say I am crap, just that I know I can do better and I know they deserve the best version of me.

Professional: This is a hard one as I am pretty dedicated to my professional work. But this year I am trying to extend the notice that I give to what I, and my work colleagues, do.

We spend a lot of time working with communities in groups both in meat-space and elsewhere. I want to make sure that we get the acknowledgement (this is not respect, recognition or promotion but simply awareness) of what we do. So I have been focusing o making sure I put news on the company website (go take a look if you like) and trying to blog more about the company and the people.

That’s some of the goals I have for the year.

I don’t call them resolutions and I don’t conceive of a fully structured plan. These are changes I want to make or think I need to make and as such they have few requirements or definitive aims.

The weight loss has a general goal, as does the fitness. the challenge from Leigh has an aim but I am not bound to it. And in family and company these are desires to see a change that will benefit a group not an individual-only need.

Hopefully I will report back to you later in the year on how I am doing.

[1] yeah I stole it from The Simpsons


The Me-Me Goal

Been thinking a lot about goals and motivational structures recently and I am not quite there when I express my thoughts. This is probably down to the nebulous way in which my brain works, there are not really superhighways of communication more a wool jungle that’s infested with kittens. But the area itself is a little flimsy.

Mostly, probably because of the yearly Nanowrimo competition, I have been thinking about how people face down a challenge or a goal that is an externally originated condition.

There are many people who crave structure, and even some who prefer an imposed structure no matter how abstract or arbitrary as it focuses them on a task. I look at this and think that they are using this to supplement, or maybe supplant, a different desire. It isn’t really a goal that this gives them as they themselves have constructed a different goal, that of completing a challenge. So it is an external challenge that forces them to perform. It always makes me think that this is more to do with an internal desire to combat an expectation.

This expectation might be a self imposed world view that they are unable to perform from some devaluation of themselves, or a perceived devaluation in the society they operate within. It is a combative approach to a challenge, it is about overcoming.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What are goals for if they are not for forcing us to achieve. Whether that is a placebo for the addressing of some other inner narrative or need is probably irrelevant.

Of course there are some darker emotional waters here. There are people who need to address a challenge not to satisfy internal structures of accomplishment but to rail against some perceived injustice or appraisal.

I see people who use a global competitive challenge, that is based in personal achievement, as a method by which to control others. I also see them manipulate people into seeing the goal not just as an achievement but as a challenge for proving their worth.

So they use an arbitrary goal of numbers as a method of distinction not by personal achievement but by the reduction of others. It is even veiled as friendly challenge. There is a certain value in being mildly competitive, there is value in supporting others and spurring them on. But for some people their cheerleading of others, whether conscious or unconscious, is actually being used to highlight their own achievement.

‘Don’t worry that you only managed two thousand words, there are still two weeks to go. I found the first five thousand words super hard and have struggled to get to thirty thousand so I know how you feel. You can do it. I think I will fail every year but somehow I manage it. So if I can do it you can.’

The above sentence is a commonplace style of this mentality. It looks supportive, but read deeper and what is actually being said is that they have turned their attention to how hard things are for them, how much they have achieved, how difficult it is for them each time, but yet they still succeed. It is a me-me focus statement.

The last sentence, which is more commonplace than you think is the painful twist of a knife. Put simply it tells the poor sod who is far behind in the challenge that you are going to complete, which means you have to now, if you don’t then you are not as good as me and I struggle every year.

Of course not everyone who enjoys sharing their numbers has this in mind. There is a certain buzz you get if you have achieved a good push with writing. I know lots of people who are just being friendly and sharing their hard work. That’s actually positive and I love seeing how surprised and happy they are. There are even those who are juggling multiple challenges and supporting others And many who are genuinely happy to hear what your word count is and to indulge in a friendly word sprint (word war).

Don’t confuse that with the harsh focus of the word-self who uses every opportunity to make the focus them. Also don’t assume they even know that they are doing it, it could be for deeply sad reasons. Maybe what we should feel is pity instead of anger at their desire to turn it all into their story.

Their goal, therefore, is perhaps to be recognised, maybe to be admired, maybe loved or respected. Or maybe they don’t care about other people as they see themselves as the principal reason that existence spirals around. The only shame is that this can be a drag on emotional equilibrium to those inside their social group.

So their goal is actually to give themselves attention. Again know what your goals are and how they fit with others. It isn’t wrong t want attention, respect or adulation, we all have an ego, it is just bad to achieve that at the expense of others.

Write A Day 2

Back in March, in my last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a writing challenge in 2015 where I would write at least a page for each day in a small journal. It’s the start of 2016 and I haven’t really blogged much here (though i have managed to blog significantly to my company blog and news pages). I can happily report that I completed my challenge.

So the three things I set out to do (not resolutions but goals) in 2015 that I completed:

  1. Write a page for each day in a journal; Completed.
  2. Write one Haiku for each week; Completed.
  3. Complete 50,000 words in november for Nanowrimo; Completed.

I didn’t complete the two other writing goals I had set myself, but I had a feeling that I wouldn’t as the whole wish list was pretty large. However i do feel very proud of what I have done.

So what now? Well I have already announced to some friends that I have at least one goal for 2016 and I will let you all have another here. I will be publishing the Haikus I wrote in 2015. They need a little editing and a little cleaning but I will publish them as an eBook. I will likely make this available for free to download with a donate if you like link. The idea of a pay what you want appeals to me for the poems, there are at least 52 of them with a few others spread around. This is on the list for release sometime around Easter to Summer. I hope to let you know more soon.



Write A Day

Back in December Leigh published the following blog all about the diary challenge that she had recently completed and how you could do the same.

It was a call to action to all of us who want to write and sometimes have an issue in finding the time or the motivation.

The basic story is that a few years ago Leigh decided to fill a page of a diary each day with writing for a single year. Life, of course, didn’t make things easy and it took her more than the one year to finish the diary. The important part is that she finished the diary. The really important part is that in doing so she not only achieved a goal but she built up good habits about just writing.

Writing isn’t easy and it isn’t natural and people who say that it is are generally not telling a whole truth. It can become more practiced but it is not easy, and I am not so sure it should be. In order to write you need a lot of motivation, you need to make time and you have to be prepared to keep at it. Like any skill it generally improves with practice. Sure, there are some people who find it easier than others, some natural advantages from evolution, upbringing and attitude perhaps, but even they say probably don’t say it is easy.

I have had some issues with my motivation. I haven’t been writing fiction or even wanting to write. I haven’t felt like even writing my diary entries. All of that was not making me happy.

I did motivate Leigh to publish her call to action to inspire people and I know it has done so as they responded and I have spoken to some about their efforts (keep at it guys, if you miss days don’t stress). If you missed the 1st January don’t worry. I would say that you can start anytime in the year and now is likely a good time to start as you can pick up a diary for less cost.

As for me. I don’t generally use my diary except for work appointments and the formal tasks that I live my life by. I don’t really find the format of a diary condusive to writing for me. It reminds me too much of my structured work and community life.

I like note books.

I like journals.

I like mixed media.

I like the book I bought to try and write every day this year.

I have done so every day this year.

I write a page each day, probably less than 200 words so fairly light. Sometimes I write a little more, sometimes a couple of pages. I write poems and draw sketches in there as well. I have wrote every day so far. Sometimes I have written more than once a day.

On the one day I missed, I wrote twice on the following day to catch up. That was once, I don’t feel it was a fail, but I made sure to think about what I would write before going to sleep even though I was too tired (and a little drunk) to write, and then wrote it the next morning. If I don’t have my journal with me I write in any A6 book I can find and then tear the pages out and put them in the journal later (yes I am bloody odd, thanks for asking).

I was inspired, you see by these words:

“If the diary challenge has taught me anything it’s how to get over that fear of the blank page.”

I am not really scared of a blank page I got over that, but I am for sure tired of never filling one of them. I got tired of looking at a blank page and just not caring if I wrote on it. I wanted to kill my de-motivation. Also, I kinda liked the idea of somethign as crazy mad as this:

“It would be difficult for me to give a break down of exactly what is in the damn thing. At least 1 complete script, 50,000 words of a novel, and many many many short stories, flash fiction, ideas, characters, bits of novels, plots and poems. There are zombies, pirates, aliens, apocalypses, angels and demons, bond villains, parallel universes and a lot of weird Christmas stories. Sounds like the best book ever, right? Well it wasn’t all fun. There’s at least one page describing my fishtank, some shockingly bad poetry, and some filler days that are just my RPG characters having arguments with each other, just to mention a few of the pages I’m less proud of. But it’s done.”

So I want to thank my beautiful, and slightly bat-sugar-insane, wife for inspiring me. I am one sixth into this crazy challenge and I am two thirds through my first A6-ish mixed page journal. For the curious types I use these journals for writing and sketching in, love them.



The Prepared Mind

I love this particular saying:

> Chance favours the prepared mind

I love it because my mind is rarely in a state of preparedness, or at least that’s how I feel about it. However this is misleadibng as i know it is, to at least some degree.

take today. After a great week of good behaviour Ben has a mood on him this morning. We ended up rushing out of the door to get to drama on time. Oh drama on the way to drama!

I normally have a laptop, an ipad, a phone and my journal with me. I always use the 90 minutes Ben is at drama to do some writing on blogs and news items. Today I have the bags for them. Today I should not be able to work.

I left the laptop plugged in and the ipad on charge. I went out of the door with the bags but not the stuff they carry. Derp.

But chance favours the prepared mind…

I do have my phone, and it has lots of Apps including two intended to help me blog. I also have my portable keyboard (mini) that I keep in my journal bag.

I got the keyboard out for the first time in three months and discovered I had left it turned on, the battery is dead. No matter as I have a small power brick in my laptop bag for emergency phone problems – I actually have two but one of those is also on charge at home. Derp.

Oh no, I have left the cable in the other one on charge at home. No worries I have spare cables and a spare multi-head cable for those times that I have the wrong cable.

So, while my son is at Drama and I am remembering that I have to re-pack some stuff into bags and re-charge power bricks. I am also still writing articles and news. This was the third.

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Night View from Brussels Hotel


This is the night view from my hotel room in Brussels.

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Clear Day in South Wales


2nd January and a clear day in South Wales for a walk.

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Canal Turn


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