For reasons I’m not ready to write about publicly, January 2020 was the worst month of my life. So my New Year’s goals were nowhere near front of mind.

Fortunately, I spent most of January in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting with my church. My faith, my family, and my close friends got me through the things I had to face and I know they will get me through the things to come.

But I want a do-over.

So, 2020 starts for me today. And since February is my birthday month, this month truly will bring the start of a new year.

If January was a dumpster fire of a month for you, too, let’s start over together. Happy New Year!

Here’s what I’m doing to get back on track with my New Year’s goals.

Think It Over

Before I set my goals for February, I took some time to look back at January. Here are some questions I asked myself:

What goals did you achieve and what projects (personal, creative, and professional) did you complete in January? What do you think helped you achieve these things?

Which goals did you not achieve? Why do you think you didn’t achieve them?

This helped me realize that despite the trials I faced last month, I did get some things accomplished. My husband and I launched a Facebook Live show called Party of Two. I walked for at least 30 minutes every single day last month and lost 10 pounds. I completed the MLK Day 5K in Birmingham. I went all in with 21 Days of Prayer, rising early to attend 6 a.m. prayer services at church.

As for my freelance writing goals, I didn’t send pitches to any of my dream publications as I had planned, but I landed a new corporate client and worked on LOTS of stories for bread and butter publications.

Take a moment to review last month and I’m sure you’ll realize you accomplished more than you thought you did, too.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

One day while journaling I was tempted to make a list of everything — big and small — that went wrong in January. But I canceled my RSVP to this pity party and decided to make a list of things I’m grateful for instead.

I’m grateful for my husband, my friends, and my church. I had to spend $1500 on my car but I’m grateful I had the money to spend and that I have a car in the first place. January brought bad news from my doctor but I’m thankful for health care.

Take some time to make a list of all the things you’re grateful for today.

Refocus Your 2020 Vision

Review your goals for 2020. Be sure that these goals are aspirations you truly want to go after this year. Sometimes we set certain goals because we feel they are things we should want when in reality we actually don’t.

For each 2020 goal that you still want to pursue, set a corresponding goal for February that will bring you closer to making that dream a reality.

Here are my February 2020 goals:

  1. Start my 40 Before 40 Project. I’m still working on finalizing this list. Feel free to leave your suggestions here.
  2. Do strength training twice a week. My fitness goal for the year is to walk for exercise every single day for 366 days. At this point, walking has become as much of a habit as taking a shower. So I’m adding strength training to the mix.
  3. Host a personal branding workshop for writers. One of my goals for 2020 is to have my first $10K month. While I don’t expect to make five-figures from this workshop, my hope is that I’ll attract new people who will be eager to join the See Jane Write Collective when membership reopens. Details about the workshop are coming soon! Sign up for the See Jane Write Weekly so you won’t miss out.
  4. Send pitches to four dream publications. This will be the toughest goal to accomplish this month because I have so many writing assignments for February already. But if I commit to one pitch per week I can make this happen. And sending these pitches will get me closer to achieving my 2020 goal of writing for 10 of my favorite national or digital publications this year.
  5. Take a creative non-fiction writing class. Writers should always work on their craft. That’s why this month I’m taking a creative non-fiction writing class at UAB’s ArtPlay, which is being taught by See Jane Write Collective member Audrey Atkins! My hope is that this class will help me with my 2020 goal of completing my book.
  6. Reach 4,000 followers on Instagram. Successfully launching a podcast and having my first $10K month are both 2020 goals that will be easier to achieve if I have a larger audience. So I’m going to continue to work on growing my Instagram following. You can follow me @seejavaciawrite.
  7. Reach 3,000 followers on Twitter. Twitter is not my jam. But I know it’s one of the best social media platforms for writers — whether you’re looking to connect with a literary agent to represent you and your books or looking to network with the editors of your favorite magazines. But sometimes I forget Twitter even exists. However, I figure if I have a very specific Twitter-related goal, this will motivate me to be more active on this platform. You can follow me @seejavaciawrite.
  8. Join a small group. This year I want to start leading small groups for my church again, but first I need to get back into the habit of actually attending a small group.
  9. Attend the February BABJ meeting. Being active in the National Association of Black Journalists and the Birmingham Associaton of Black Journalists is on my 2020 goal list. Attending this meeting will be my first step.
  10. Meet with The Women’s Fund development director. I hope to raise $2,000 for The Women’s Fund this year. This month I’ll be meeting with the TWF development director because TWF would like me to once again chair the planning committee for their biggest fundraiser of the year — Smart Party.

After setting my goals for the month, I made a list of all the smaller tasks I need to complete to accomplish my goals for the month and then used my planner to schedule when I will do each of these tasks. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

What are your goals for February 2020? How are you getting back on track with your New Year’s goals?