About a month ago I posted about my goals for 2020 and how I fared. Not too badly. I definitely set myself up for failure on a few of them, and on others I sold myself short and was able to accomplish so much more.
So now it’s time for the 2021 set.
I don’t make resolutions; growing up I always saw people make them, make a big deal about them, and then by MLKJ Day they were dead in the water. So instead I like to set goals for the year. Things that will take year-long effort and work. Last year’s goals were a little bit of a disaster. Using what I’ve learned this year I’m going to try to map out a plan to tackle some of the things that are most important to me and things that I need to work on for personal or professional growth. I feel that in some goals hard numbers are the way to go, in others more vague ideas for progress is going to be the way to go.
Let’s start with the easy ones.
- Read 35 books. Yes, I read more than this year, but I’m shooting for 35 quality books. I’m not going to factor those easy mind-numbing reads that are like brain toilet paper. Yep, next year they don’t count.
- Run as much as possible. I don’t want to set a hard goal here, I’ve come a long way in the last month and I feel that any goal that I set is either going to undersell what I’m shooting to accomplish and will mentally hold me back, or drastically overshoot what I’m actually capable of and I’ll end up frustrated. So yes. Run as much as possible.
- Make progress with lifting. This goes hand in hand with the running one, as I’ve integrated lifting a few times a week into my workout routine. I need to push myself to get stronger. Years of injuries to various body parts has left me a little wary of pushing limits. But if I push the limits, those body parts will ultimately get stronger. Again, no hard numbers here, just looking for progress.
- Quit vaping. This is going to be a long term goal and not one I tackle as soon as the clock strikes 00:00 on January 1st. I need a plan, figure out how I’m going to do this. Quitting in the past has ended badly both physically and mentally. I’m currently using vaping as a crutch, so it’s coming time to ditch it and really focus on getting my health back.
- Increase how much attention I pay to detail. This is kind of multi-faceted – I tend to see the forest instead of the trees, but also if I’m rushed, I miss details. I need to drill down and learn to see the smaller picture. I need to be more diligent in my work.
- Keep working on mental health issues. I’ve come to find over the last month that while I don’t need therapy consistently for the large mental health issues, I’m benefitting from working on the smaller ones. Things like my relationships and how I approach them, my issues with food, how I deal with stress and anxiety, etc.
- Stay organized. I’ve got my planner system for next year and am all ready to move in when we roll over to January. The planning process has taught me how to prioritize what needs to be done and how to manage my time. I both need and want to continue this into the new year. This is definitely a process that helps my anxiety and whatever form of AADD I apparently have. It makes me feel like I’m in control of my day and ultimately my life. I’ve got a good system worked out, and I just need to stick with it.
- Save money. In general I do ok with this, but also not. I save a little from each our paychecks, but I want to do more. I need to become more disciplined in what I’m spending and when I’m spending it. I’m going to start watching my spending behaviors and figure out where I can trim the fat. There are things that I want to do that are going to require some savings to dip into. I need to map out the things that I want to do and how much they’re going to cost – everything from tattoos, to buying a bike, to going on a real vacation sometime in the next two years. This is going to entail building a better budget for us as a couple, but also building one for me, personally.
- Spend less time on both my phone, and on social media. I’ve already managed to dial back on my social media consumption, but I want to step back even further. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, etc. I can lose a lot of time in the day. I could be doing something more productive, more stimulating, more fun. Very little of what I see and read is important or relevant. I’m not going to leave completely, but I am going to walk it back a bit. I’ve been thinking that taking a step bad for a month – no posts, no likes, etc. might be the way to go. Going a whole month with limited social media, I’m thinking, is the way to go. That isn’t to say that I won’t browse Reddit or Tiktok or Facebook, but no posting, no liking, nothing. And there’s a time limit per day of how long I can scroll, say thirty minutes? An hour a day? Hopefully all of this will keep me from falling down the black hole.
- Declutter. There’s going to be a bit of Kon Mari-ing going on here. I need to declutter my closet, my bookcase, my kitchen, my life. If I don’t wear it, use it, it doesn’t make me happy that it exists, it’s gone. I’m done holding onto things because I feel like I need to. Or should. I’ve inherited a lot of stuff from family members that have passed. It’s time to look through everything and see what I actually want to keep and what I have no intention of ever using. Our basement storage rooms and garage are filled with stuff. I need to get it all organized and figure out what I want and what I don’t. Time to trim the fat.
These are a little harder to define and a little more vague.
- Learn to live in the moment but also not get stuck in it. I tend to live in the future in that I’m always thinking about what happens next. I need to start enjoying the moment. Even simple things like not thinking about dinner when I’m about to eat lunch. Spending an evening with Mike and mentally running through everything I have to do over the next few days. I don’t necessarily mean stop planning for the future, but rather enjoying the here and now.
- Grow this blog. Again, no hard numbers, no specific ideas, just the idea that I’d like to expand my outreach.
- Learn a new skill. I’m not 100% sure what this is going to be, but I’m leaning toward photography. Or getting better at knitting. Either or. Or maybe something else. Cake decorating. Who knows. I’m currently exploring options – some things that I’ve dabbled in once or twice, others I’ve never tried with any seriousness.
- Buy a trail bike. I want to get into trail riding. There’s a ton of state parks in driving distance, and I want to get a half decent trail bike off of Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and get into biking. This, though, ties into points 1. and 2. above in that I need to increase my fitness level before I tackle this. Also, I’ve never ridden a bike with gears and I have no idea how to use them.
- Continue learning French. I’ve been using Duolingo for most of the year to learn basic French. I’m far from fluent, barely even conversational, but I’ve made a lot of progress this year. I’m not sure where I want to end up; I’m pretty sure Duolingo isn’t going to make me anywhere close to fluent. But maybe by the end of the year skip over to another medium that will help advance my skills. Rosetta Stone, maybe? Anyone have experience with this?
- Be kinder to myself. I tend to be my own worst critic, and can be very hard on myself. I need to learn to respect myself and believe in myself. In doing so I need to learn to recognize my limitations and also the aspects of myself that I can work on.
- Work on my relationships. In some cases that means opening up more, in others it means setting firmer boundaries. Each one will be different. I need to learn to be more present and available to some, letting some walls down, committing to plans with some, and with others it means being firm on where the line is, making myself less available all of the time.
- I need to do things for myself. I can’t constantly put everyone ahead of my own needs and wants. Time and things for me are going to be the name of the game going forward. I need to make it a priority to do things for myself and take care of myself. In my 38 years I have never put myself first. It was always taking care of family, or doing things for friends, doing what others expected me to do. It’s time to take control of my life and do things for me be they things I want to do or things that I need to do. Part of this is going to be teaching myself that I matter more than I have previously believed.
So there we go. Eighteen goals. Some big, some little. Some quick, some slow burning long term. But I think that at the end of the day it’s all doable, attainable.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, doing whatever it is you want to be doing with whoever you want to do it with. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)
Stay safe, friends!