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Final Goal Rundown 2008

At the end of 2007 I made myself a list of goals.  It’s been a year. How did I do?


-Get English Degree
It’s done. I could tell all the stories again: how there were days I didn’t think I’d make it, that things didn’t turn out the way I’d planned, blah blah. It’s over. I’m applying to grad schools. I’m gonna teach. I love words and I love helping other people love words.

-Keep weight below 140
At last weighing I was at 139. That’s too close for my comfort given that I probably won’t be losing any weight over the holiday food binge, so I just a few weeks ago I started hitting the gym on a semi-daily basis. As a bonus, my new exercise ball will make a nice meditation chair!

-Submit Portfolios to various MFA Programs for entrance in Fall of 2009
I’ve submitted my first portfolio. The other two will be submitted within the next month.

Mixed Results

-Continuous reading
I’ve read about 6 novels this year, but by no means was I reading consistently or daily. To some degree I can chalk this up to burnout, but I need to make it happen next year.

-Save $150/month
I successfully saved for most of the year, but a series of car/legal problems this August I saw my emergency fund drained to zero. Since then I’ve been trying to rebuild it to no avail and frankly I’ve spent most of the fall & winter sputtering as I struggle to stay above water. Starting in January I’m setting up automatic monthly withdrawals.


-Zazen 3 times/week
It’s often said that Zen is something you do, not something you believe. By that standard I’ve been a terrible no good awful Buddhist this year.

-Submit 6 short stories for publication
I sent 5 stories and received 5 rejection letters, which is fine, but essentially I didn’t meet this goal because I got lazy.

-Write a novel
lol. Didn’t happen. I had a bad habit of telling everybody about my ideas before I’d actually started working on them; by the time it came time to write I didn’t have any excitement left. I won’t make that mistake again: I’m working on a new idea now, and I’m not telling you a damn thing about it.

-Reduce car debt to below $3,700
This goal was created before I understood exactly how much I was paying per month in interest. :-/


Three of my nine goals were unambiguously reached. I’ll drink to that.

Two goals proved to be messier than I’d anticipated, but that’s life, right? You don’t know what’s coming. I should probably stop beating myself up for bottoming out my emergency fund over the course of a few rapid-fire emergencies, shouldn’t I? I did it. Rebuild and move on.

The four failures can be explained by lack of ambition, lack of motivation,  and lack of knowledge. If I want to reset and give these another try in 2009 I’m going to have to ask myself: what do I really want out of this? What drew me to writing/Zen practice to begin with? Do I want to continue? Why? How bad do I want it?

I’ll have to take all this into account when I make my list of goals for 2009. Tonight I celebrate my successes.


About Justin Jacoby Smith

I’m Justin Jacoby Smith. Some people call me “hoosteen.” I live just outside Washington, DC. I like punk rock & country songs. I’m a data monkey. I Occupy DC, because a better world is possible. I’m a cohost & contributor for Voices of the 99%. I’ve served on the editorial board of the DC Mic Check. I briefly developed digital strategy for The Parley. I write poems. Sometimes I get published. Dig it.

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