A few years ago I took a cue from Anne Bogel and Emily P. Freeman and started writing down what worked for me the previous year. It’s been a great way to ensure time for reflection and to think about where I can make changes in the upcoming year. So many things are out of our control; I want to find the things that are most important to me and ensure that I’m doing everything I can to make the most of the time I have.
Here’s what worked in 2020 and what I wanted more of in 2021. I revisited those goals in May and in September. My overarching goals in 2021 were pretty simple and are ongoing, so I’m going to make things really easy for myself and stay the course. Here’s some specifics that I’m aiming for:
Put my phone away
This was a success for me in 2021. I’m not active on any social media and I’ve done a good job of reigning in the obsessive obituary checking (such a weird habit, I know!).
* Continue to monitor my weekly screen time report.
* Keep my phone in my bedroom.
* Don’t mindlessly open another app when I finish the one that’s open.
More Time Writing
This was a rollercoaster for me in 2021, especially the last few months. 2020 was an excellent year of writing. To look at raw numbers: in 2020 I published 217 posts, or around 4 posts a week. That number dropped to 142 posts in 2021, or an average of about 2.5 a week.
Now — the quantity of posts isn’t what’s important here. I believe the quality of my posts increased by writing fewer posts each week.
However — I know I spent less time writing in 2021 despite intending to do the opposite. There were so many things that I wanted to blog about; I would jot them down in my notebook but never actually sit down to do the hard work and get it done.
* Stay active with the Discord writing channel. (you are welcome to join; just let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you an invitation.)
* Set weekly goals, ensure success by setting small goals.
* Success = time at my keyboard. Spend time early in the year thinking about how much time would be a success.
* For the month of January: set a stopwatch to monitor how much time I’m actually at my keyboard. No goal here yet – just a general idea about how I’m spending my time.
Embrace the slow
This is where I thrived in 2021. I kicked my reading goal to the curb in September and focused on reading for the sheer enjoyment. No ulterior motives. I also embraced the slowest craft I could think of: cross stitching. It made such a difference knowing there was no pressure to finish things quickly, even though the pressure was only from myself. I still managed to keep myself busy despite not finishing all the things in the world. And seeing tiny things come alive, stitch by little stitch, is immensely gratifying, no matter how slowly it happens.
* Keep going! Don’t get distracted with the next shiny new thing, stay the course.
* Finish big books and slow crafting projects.
* Don’t focus on the quantity of anything – only the sheer enjoyment of the process.
Drink more water + physical movement
Another rollercoaster in 2021! There were months when I would have impressed almost any gym rat. And then there were months when I was my typical self who did no exercise at all. I need to find a happy medium that I can maintain.
* No coffee after 10am.
* At least 1 cup of green tea daily.
* 2 Nalgene bottles of water daily.
* Vegetables with every lunch and dinner, as often as possible.
* Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 4 days a week.
* Complete Adriene’s 2022 30 Day Challenge at a pace that works for me.
This has been a “goal” of mine for decades and I can’t seem to make any consistent headway with it. I am deeply affected by my physical environment. When counters, floors, and shelves are full of things, then I am off-kilter and find it difficult to stay centered. I have to figure out what I actually need in my home and stick with it.
* Break my de-cluttering goals into smaller pieces by tackling one hot spot a month (Marie Kondo wouldn’t agree with this method and I’m sure she’s right, but I have to start small or I don’t think I’ll really start at all. I can’t depend on finding large chunks of time for anything.).
* Write out a plan in my notebook.
* Don’t put off what can be done quickly like: putting things in their proper spot, picking up small messes on the floor, sorting mail when it comes through the door, making a decision about throwing something away.
I do my best to revisit these goals quarterly, so I’ve put reminders in my calendar. Last year I found that my focus shifted as the year went on and based on the seasons. That’s okay! I cannot tackle everything at once and taking small, bite-sized action is better than no action at all.
The last few years were hard for us all. Not only because of what’s been happening in the world around us, but we’ve also all experienced our own personal challenges. The only thing I know to do is continue to look at the big picture and try to make small choices each day that lead to something bigger. I hope you’ll stick with me in 2022 and help me honor my choices to find moments for reflection whenever possible and to recognize and experience joy despite it all. I’m looking forward to what this new year has to bring. After 2020, we know it could be anything. I hope we can stick together no matter what’s down the road.