My resolution of last year was pretty simple: be kinder to myself and others.

I’d say I didn’t really do so well at it. Not that I was unkind to anyone else, but then I’m generally not–it was more of a mental change I was looking for rather than an actual behavioral change. And mentally, wow, was I hard on myself last year. C’est la vie. I should probably keep trying, but it’s not going to be my resolution again.

No, this year, my mental goal is to try to appreciate the moment. I started with “remember to appreciate the moment,” but that’s very in-your-head. I don’t want to be thinking, “Enjoy this, this day will never come again.” Instead, I want to be enjoying it. So that’s the goal. Appreciate where I am. (At the moment, the dog is licking my foot with deep concentration. It tickles.)

On a few more practical goals, I’m going to start tracking word count. I made myself a little Excel spreadsheet. I’ve never done this before: I’ve never liked the focus. What good is it write 1000 words if the words go nowhere and do nothing? But in the interests of seriously cultivating better writing habits, I’m going to give it a try. (Resolution failure waiting to happen is when you say you’ll “give it a try!” So maybe I’ll be a little more specific–for the next two months, I will track my word count and if it’s helpful to me, I’ll continue.)

I’m also going to try to do a 20/10 every day. (If you’re not a #UFYH follower, that means 20 minutes of cleaning, followed by 10 minutes of rest.) Every single day. There’s always plenty to do–there are some deep goals, like cleaning out closets and the spare room and the garage that I never get to because they seem so overwhelming. So this year, when things are in shape, I’m not going to say, “well, it looks pretty good, I think I’ll skip today.” That way lies the descent into “ugh, how did this place become such a disaster area?” Instead I’ll use my 20 minutes to tackle one of those seemingly irretrievable areas and/or to drive to Goodwill and donate.

Last, but not least, I’m going to really teach myself how to format ebooks. I’ve trusted in the software process so far, but I’m tired of never really feeling certain what’s going on behind the scenes. I want to feel safe that my books are as perfect as I can make them and–okay, it’s a little obsessive of me–I’ll feel that way not by paying someone else but by knowing how to do it myself.

Do I have writing goals? Probably. Finish A Gift of Time for March release, finish A Gift of Grace with less pain and suffering than Time has already caused. Maybe write a couple more Akira short stories for the fun of it. I have to think that their wedding ought to have some associated drama. But I’m not going to stress too hard on those.

This year might be the very last year that R lives at home (or it might not, life is long and strange) and I want to be sure that my focus is on having a healthy life/family/work balance. I don’t get these days back again. If I’ve spent them all grinding away trying to become a successful writer…well, honestly, I still think it seems really unlikely. Most writers can’t earn enough to live on by writing except by making the 18-hour day commitment that JA Konrath and Bella Andre talk about. And for me, making that kind of commitment now means giving up something that matters more to me. Maybe it’s worth it if being a professional writer is the only job you’ve ever wanted, but I’ve had plenty of other jobs I’ve enjoyed. Every job has trade-offs. The writer trade-off tends to be that it has to be the only thing you care about and for me, right now, that’s just not how it is. Maybe in 2014–especially if R is living elsewhere–it will be.

So! 2013, here we are! May it be a joyful and lucky year for all of us.