Growing up, I was taught to write down the things I want to do with my life and to look at them often. This, I was told, is the best way to ensure that I do everything I want in life.

So, in continuing the tradition, I’d like to share with you my goals and resolutions for this year:

Goals for 2011:

1. Travel to new places
2. Experience new things
3. Make new friends
4. Volunteer
5. Finish revising my second novel, then find an agent to represent me and seek publication
6. Begin a new fiction project
7. Finish writing and release my first e-book
8. Publish my non-fiction work in new places
9. Reach 50,000 hits on Beyond the Gray
10. Help someone else follow a dream

On-going Resolutions:

(My first four resolutions are based on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz)

1. Don’t take anything personally – Instead of feeling hurt or offended by the sometimes inconsiderate actions of others, I will remember that people’s actions are based on their own dreams and perceptions of reality, not mine.

2. Don’t make assumptions – I won’t jump to conclusions about people’s motivations behind the things they say and do. Instead, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt or ask them to clarify the situation if need be.

3. Be impeccable with my word – I’ll use my words to send positive energy out into the world, to empower and uplift people, or I won’t use them at all.

4. Do my best – No matter what the task, I will always put my best effort forward so I can never feel guilty or question myself when things don’t work out the way I want them to.

5. Live healthfully – Not only does this mean cutting out ice cream sundaes at night (and all the other goodies I get in to at work), it also means getting enough sleep, not drinking too much caffeine (or booze) and getting regular exercise to feel an all around sense of health and well-being.

6. Forgive – No more grudge-holding.

7. Be patient – This affects all areas of my life, from my writing dreams right down to driving etiquette.

8. Enjoy the moment – Stop waiting for tomorrow and just enjoy today.

9. Trust my gut – I will listen to what my instincts are telling me in every situation, they are more reliable than I give them credit.

10. Be Erika – This one is inspired by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project), who resolves to “Be Gretchen.” That is, to stop wasting energy doing the things I think I ought to do, or the things that others want me to do, and just do the things I want to do.

11. Value the right things – In the past I’ve based too much of my happiness on the accumulation of “things” only to find that the shine of those things wears off far too fast. I want to focus on valuing the things that bring me true, enduring happiness.

12. Make the most of my time – There are 1,440 minutes in a day. I want to spend mine doing things that are meaningful to me or make a positive contribution to the world.

13. Live simply – With each passing year, more layers of responsibility and complexity accumulate in my life, many of which are unnecessary. I want to reduce those unnecessary complexities and live as simply as I can.

14. Reduce toxicity – We all have toxic people and situations in our lives that drain us of energy or fill us with negativity. In the past, I’ve waited and hoped for those people and situations to change. At times, I’ve even tried to change myself to be more accepting. Moving forward, I want to eliminate as much toxicity from my life as possible and focus on the people and situations that bring me happiness.

15. Plan less and allow the unexpected – Some of the best moments of my life (including meeting my husband) happened by accident. I want to stop overplanning and overthinking every decision and allow the unexpected to happen.

Well, there you have it, my goals and resolutions for 2011. (If you’re wondering why I have resolutions AND goals and what the difference is, click here). Follow along as I revisit them throughout the year to see how I do.