New Year, New Goals!

Dec 30
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Preparations, Reflections, Writing

Every January, I set new goals. It’s not that I don’t set goals throughout the rest of the year as well; it’s just that January represents a time when goal-setting is in the air. I like to take advantage of the opportunity to “reset” my energy, and I do it with a great deal of intention each year.

I rarely make New Year’s resolutions, per se, because I see a difference between a resolution and a goal. A resolution is a new resolve–a determination to BE something different in the new year. I find resolutions daunting. “To be more organized,” for example, is a resolution (which I’ve set for myself many times, to tell you the truth). “To lose weight” or “to start exercising” are also resolutions. A bit vague, even though they are action oriented.

I don’t have anything against resolves (in fact, I like them and think they are important), but I do think they’re tough to complete because they aren’t measurable. To get something done, one needs to know what success looks like and have a deadline.

A goal is a specific determination to DO or to FINISH something. The completion of a goal is easy to assess if you make your benchmarks specific and obtainable. I’ll say more about this in a moment.

At the beginning of 2012, I set a few goals for myself: I wanted to find someone to help me market my business by the end of September; I wanted to run marathons in at least two States by the end of the year; and I wanted to issue a challenge to friends to run their first full or half marathon and to follow along with their progress. I also wanted to complete my new book, Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions. All of these got done. (What didn’t get done? Well, I don’t know if I’m any more organized than I was the year before!)

In 2013, I have a handful of goals I’m excited about, too: I’m planning to train to shave off at least a half hour from my best marathon time (4:53); I’m going to double my twitter followers in service to my business (follow me at; and I’m going to publish an anthology of women writers writing about writing! I also plan to start two group coaching courses and run them repeatedly throughout the year and to complete (by September)the writing of a novel that I’ve been working on for more than a decade. It’s a big list, but I promise you I’ll get through it!

How, you ask? Keep reading.

Let’s talk about your goals, now. I’d love to support you in reaching your goals, catching your second wind, and living an abundant, happy life this year, so let me share with you the end-of-the-year process that gets me to my goal setting and, more importantly, my goal achieving. You can do it with me this year.

The first week of every January, I spend some time writing about the previous year and crafting my goals for the next. Below are the questions I use for journaling this process. Why not give them a try now?

1. What are all the things from 2012 I’m proud of? What did I get done? (Write down everything that comes to mind, big and small!)

2. What did I learn in 2012 that I’d like to remember for 2013?

3. What do I want to accomplish in 2013? (Write down everything that comes to mind, big and small!)

4. Which of the above items are most important to me? (Circle up to five, but no more.)

5. What steps do I need to take in order to complete each of these? What are my deadlines for each of these steps? (I make a spreadsheet with the months of the year across the top and the goal along the left-hand side. Then I fill it in with benchmark objectives I plan to reach. Check out a printable version of the table here: 2013 Goal Planner.)

6. How will I celebrate or mark the completion of each step toward progress?

7. Who/what do I need to support me in this goal?

As you can see, this is a simple process. But it works! It works because the focus is not on changing anything essential about yourself. There is nothing shaming or condemning about these questions. There is no need to go back and look at your failures or to decide there is anything problematic or pathological about you. The key is breaking down the goal into bite-sized, achievable steps.

If you have a specific goal you’d like to work toward but feel stuck as you go through this process, why not give me a call and let me walk through it with you. I’m offering free half-hour consultations through January and February to help people identify their goals and objectives for 2013.

Happy New Year, Second Wind-ers! I look forward to hearing from you on facebook, twitter, or email throughout the year as you report on your successes and wins!

The Next Big Thing

Dec 28
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Conversations, Reflections, Writing

Every once in a while I have the fun of getting tagged in one of these blogger memes. I love them. It’s an online ponzi scheme wherein one author tags five other writers who each completes a self-interview and names five more bloggers/authors. This meme is called The Next Big Thing, where I get to share a little more about my next big thing. It’s perfect because I was just going to write about my next book and let y’all know when it’s coming out and what it’s about.

For this interview, I was tagged by Rebecca A. Saxton, writing teacher and blogger at Binding Wor(l)ds Together. Keep your eye on her because you’ll want to read her book when it comes out!

Here are my answers to the interview questions:

What is the working title and genre of your book?

My first book, Second Wind, was such an incredible delight to live and to write. Once the hubbub of marketing died down a little, I had the chance to think about what I might like to write next (I mean, besides this cool running blog, which I LOVE doing). I’d been discussing a project with a friend of mine for a couple of years that picked up on one of the sub-themes in Second Wind: Religion and faith. After a great deal of work this past year, I’m pleased to say that our new anthology, Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religion, will be coming out in April of 2013!!!
This is obviously not a book about running, it’s an anthology with 25 authors writing about their own spiritual journeys getting into and out of religious communities that, in some way, apply restrictions the secular world wouldn’t choose to adhere to.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Spirituality has always been an interest of mine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to try and understand the numinous, the Mystery just beyond my reach. My co-editor, Susan Tive, and I met in a memoir writing class and discovered that although we came from different religious traditions, we understood one another’s struggles to distance ourselves from the harshest aspects of religion while still trying to remain grounded. We decided that we’d invite other women to join in on the conversation and it became a book.

Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie version of the book?

Well, I’ve always fancied the idea of Kate Winslett playing me in the film version of Second Wind. I wouldn’t mind if she’d like to play me in the screen version of any book I write, I suppose. We’d need a “binder full” of powerful actress to play the characters in Beyond Belief. I’ll have to think about this one.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Women write about their experiences getting into, staying inside of, and leaving restrictive religious communities.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency or publisher?

Seal Press will be publishing Beyond Belief. They are the same publisher whom I worked with on Second Wind. I love them.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

This book took a year. We had to find our writers and then work with them in the editing process. It was exciting to meet so many interesting women!

What other works compare to your book?

Drinking Diaries: Women Serve their Stories Straight Up (editors Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Eptsein) and Love InshAlla: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women (editors Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu) are both collections of women’s writings that let us see inside private spaces often not talked about.

What or who inspired you to write this book?

I’m genuinely inspired by my therapy and coaching clients, to tell you the truth. Over the past 12 years I’ve had the privilege of sitting with individuals as they sort through the complex questions of life and try to move forward out of difficult situations into meaningful and productive existence. Faith/spirituality/religion is one area of deep, deep grappling for many people, and I’m inspired by how brave many of my clients have been as they ask hard questions and make tough decisions–especially when they decide they must walk away from something their community still values.

What else about your book might pique interest?

Susan and I were privileged to work with some pretty awesome authors who contributed fresh pieces to the anthology, including but not limited to:

Julia Sheeres (bestselling author of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown)

Lucia Greenhouse (fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science)

Donna Johnson (Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir)

Mary Johnson (Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and an Authentic Life)

Carolyn Briggs (Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost)

* * *

Tagged Authors:

Wendy Welch: The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

Jennifer Wilke: THEN now

Pam Helberg

Jolene Hanson: Jolene’s Life in Focus

Kari Neumeyer: Rhymes with Safari

The Fit School by Carol Frazey

Janet Oakley: The History Weaver