Tag Archive for plans

2013 Reboot

It’s been a long year already. Most of my plans have been derailed, but now it’s time for a fresh start.

Here’s the deal:

Late last year, my karate instructors told me they wanted to put me up for black belt in March. Two other candidates and I put together our attack team and we started training on Sundays. This also meant attending more classes, practicing and studying more often at home, and following the New Year the three of us started additional weekly training separate from our team.

Writing karate papers today

My writing and studying through the first quarter of the year looked like this

Training soon trumped everything, including writing. If I were a full-time writer, it wouldn’t have been an issue. However, I still have obligations to a day gig and I have a family, so something had to give. For the time being, unfortunately, that meant the writing.

I didn’t want to mention it here because I didn’t want to jinx it. See, my dojo doesn’t play games when it comes to black belts. It’s earned, no question. I felt confident I would pass the test, but there’s always a very real possibility of failure. I had to write three essays, take a 120-question written test, attempt the various physical requirements several times, and the test itself took about eight hours and covered just about everything I’d learned from white belt up to that point. I certainly didn’t want to be the guy talking up my upcoming test in public, only to turn around and have to admit I failed it.

Fortunately, I passed.

Our Kamiza

Our brown belts left on the altar following the kamiza ceremony

All three of us passed, in fact, and I scored better than I expected to. Two of us attended a seminar for our style, Shuri-ryu, the weekend following the test, and then this past weekend we had our formal promotion ceremony to receive our black belts and make things official.

It’s a huge load of pressure off, and it’s nice to finally have real free time again. My karate training will continue, but now I’ll be able to dial things back down to a sane level again. I’ll have my Sundays freed up and I’ll have more time for writing in general. I’ll be able to fiddle around with the camera again, and I can revisit my writing plans for the year once more.

Back on Track

Back on track, in more ways than one

I’ve resumed my normal fitness routine, too. I got back on the weight bench last week, and this morning I went out for my first run of the season. It was short and not near what I hoped, but I’m glad I could get back out there. I’m hoping to run the Warrior Dash again this year if my schedule allows, and I can’t let this stubborn Winter slow me down any longer.

It’s also catch-up time. I owe a few people a few different things. It’s about time I handle that, too.

So here I am with a fresh start on 2013. And it’s Spring Break, so it’s a good week to kick it all off. Stay tuned here this week for more news and updates, and thank you all for sticking around while I’ve been quiet.

Your patience will pay off!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Resolutions Old and New

The plan worked.

Every year the primary focus for my goals are my fitness, my writing, and my photography. One year ago today, I decided on a new technique to help me stay motivated: dropping alarms in my Google Calendar throughout the year. Two or three times a month, I got a helpful little popup on my computer and my phone asking me if I worked out that day, prompting me to take a photo at a certain event, telling me to write all day during a school holiday, and so on. Writing them down helped commit them to memory, and the popup reminders worked on time, but this plan also helped keep my goals in mind at all times because I’d see the reminders when scheduling other tasks or events and I knew they were coming.

Later today, I’ll be setting up similar calendar events for this year. At least two ore three a month, scattered randomly throughout the calendar. It’s important to note these aren’t resolutions. Resolutions are too easily forgotten, as most people well know. Between the “I’ll start tomorrow” attitude and making resolutions without a plan to back them up, it’s easy to see why resolutions fail. Don’t make resolutions, set goals, plan for them, and put them somewhere you’ll see them.

Woody Guthrie's Resolutions

Woody Guthrie's New Year's resolutions

Every year around this time, Woody Guthrie’s resolutions make the rounds. These are pretty cool. I especially like “wake up and fight.” I wonder, though, how his resolutions played out. Did he write them down and forget all about them, or did he revisit this page of the notebook frequently? And with a list of 33, was he just setting himself up for failure? These are a lot of behavior changes to tackle at once.

Creating a small set of goals with a plan for each is a lot more attainable. Anyone who made a resolution after the ball dropped last night should write it down and sketch out a plan to achieve it. When the plan is done, re-read step one, then do it. Make it something you can do today. If it’s not a step that can be accomplished in a single day, then at least kick it into motion today. Take action.

If you made resolutions last year, revisit them, but don’t bask in last year’s successes or beat yourself up over last year’s failures, concentrate on moving forward.

Scan for New Opponents

Wake up and fight!

With my own plans, I did well. I succeeded in my Photo Friday 2011 project, but that doesn’t mean I’m done. It’s pushed me toward developing a habit, but now I can work more to improve technique. I succeeded in losing a little weight and I definitely feel I’m in better shape, but I will need to keep working to maintain it. I improved my karate, but I’m far from done learning. My plans from last year will evolve and help shape this year’s fitness and karate plans.

Then there’s the writing. I didn’t do near as well. However, I finished Lie with the Dead and accomplished a few things, so I’m good. Rather than sulk about it all day, I’m going to get to work on the next book and a novella I’m working on. This is my last day of Winter Break, so I’m going to take action today on my new writing goals. The tweak to the writing plan will be to pay more attention to those calendar prompts. If it tells me “Today is a school holiday and you need to write,” then I need to stick to that and not decide to play Call of Duty with my sons all day (it’s happened).

Constant goals, ever evolving. Steady improvement. January 1st isn’t a magic reset button, it’s just a convenient border in time.

Make your plan and get to work.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.