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My 2012 Mantra

In know, I know, I’m a little late to the party…but…really I do have a good reason.

This year instead of writing a list of goals, with good intentions, I actually took the time to put some thought in to how I was actually going to follow through on these goals. Where are my weaknesses when it comes to fulfilling my resolutions? Why do I and so many others fall down on this task?

Goals are not hard for me to set, I’m a big goal setter my nature. I set goals daily, weekly and monthly. I read everything there is too read on goal-setting. I’ve taken workshops and completed worksheets of varying degrees. A New Year’s resolution is no grand mountain for me to climb. Unfortunately, where I stumble is by using goal setting as a way of skirting the real work. If I just keep planning, I never have to sit down and focus on the work and ultimately the scary part –Ship.

I believe too often we fall down on giving our goals the attention they deserve because doing the work means shipping – putting it out their for the world to see - just too darn scary! Shipping is the ultimate goal, it’s what makes things happen, it changes us, it makes us grow, it fuels our passion for the next thing. Yes, perhaps we will fail, which is why many of us stop short of shipping- the thought of failing or change.

However failure and change are a part of the journey, and failure is an integral part of success and I need to embrace that aspect. So more shipping I must do! What about you?

My New Year’s goals have probably been in place for a couple of months now. However, like I said, what I have really given some heartfelt thought to was how I was going to carry them out.

You see when you work from home everyday, and make a to-do list everyday, it is so easy to get distracted, you can walk away from the list at anytime through the day, knowing you have tomorrow. When you’re in charge of your own deadlines, then your also in charge of changing them. This has been happening a lot lately.

I think I do fairly well at producing but I also know I can do much better. I have so many more creative ideas to offer if I could only channel my energy, stay focused, and do the work. That is where my intentions will lie this year. How am I going to that?

First, by making myself accountable to someone other than myself, that’s why I teamed up with Kathryn Lake Hogan from Looking4Ancestors. Read her commitment to this challenge in Answering the Challenge or Double-Dog Dare 2012. I have always been a believer in partnering and mentoring, read Genealogy Mentoring - Creating a Valuable Partnership. We all need someone who understands what we do, shares our passion, give us that shove over the edge when our fear holds us back. I invite you to join the challenge and find a peer and push each other beyond your fears.

We’re accepting the challenge of Amy Coffin from We Tree Genealogy Blog and Denise from Family Curator and becoming genealogy buddies. We’re meeting monthly via skype and holding each other accountable for our goals. As fellow Canadian genealogists we share a lot of the same passion, concerns and hurtles. We also have chosen similar yet different roads to these goals.  I think these differences will make this relationship both beneficial and educational.

First I must deal with the focus issue because if I don’t change the focus the list of resolutions is pointless. Raise your hand if you agree or have the same problem.

1. I am going to schedule chunks of writing and research time, with no distractions. I have a few tools I’m going to try, I will report back to you later about them and how and if they are working.

2. Scheduling my social media time so that it does not overtake my day. Social media is important. So I’m not talking about walking away from it but I do need to find another way to manage it so it doesn’t distract me from my other tasks.

3. Scheduling time to learn. I seem to learn on the fly these days. I need to schedule some formal learning time for myself. Conferences, webinars and online classes both in genealogy, writing and blogging. I’m a big advocate that in order to be of value to others, and produce a quality product I need to be continually learning myself. Often that becomes an after thought once you start producing.

4. Making my self accountable to my genealogy buddy Kathryn and of course to you.

Kathryn and I have chosen the format of choosing Organization, Research and Writing as the three areas we will focus our specific goals as laid out by our predecessors.


1. Put that Flip-Pal to good use and scan my mountains of pictures. I have projects for these pictures but I can’t contemplate getting started until this job is complete.

2. My time - I can organize my office, my books, my documents, my digital files all I want but really my biggest organization problem lies with my time. I need to stick to a schedule, and stop letting others hijack my time. I'm not passing blame here, because I do let it happen. However, I need to dispel with the idea that because I work from home, I am available for anyone and anything 24/7. (note to self- buy a Do Not Disturb sign – now if only the dog understood.)


1. Continue the journey to find the death certificates for my Polish GGGrandfather and GGGrandmother and a great uncle. I believe by finding these death certificates I could reveal a rather pivotal part of their story.

2. To make a connection with living Polish ancestors.

3. My Irish GGGGrandfather, darn that guy is elusive, just one document to prove his existence would be nice. The search continues.

4. Continue to document the journey of my French-Canadian ancestors.


1. Let’s just say the long list of writing assignments I have for my business/blog – which include a few ebooks, and multiple article ideas is daunting but I hope my commitment to time management will go along way to fulfilling this goal. My goal is for you to see me listed on Amazon before the end of 2012.

2. I really need to get serious about my next family history book, The Vaillancourt Family.  The goal to finish this by the end of 2012.

Of course, I have a lot more goals, personal, in the way of health, finances and relationships, and at the end of the day it all comes down to the same thing; my time and commitment.

What about you, have you committed to making 2012 your best year yet? Have you set your genealogy goals? Do you have a plan for accomplishing those goals?

After working through my goal-setting exercise I came up with 3 words - Focus, Work, Ship! That will be my 2012 Mantra!