2021 | What Worked For Me

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:

(picture taken this summer. The ground is white right now!)

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!).

2022: Intentions:
* 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.

2022 Intentions:
* 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.

2022 Intentions:
* 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.

2022 Intentions:
* 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.

Less clutter
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.

2022 Intentions:
* 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.

12 thoughts on “2021 | What Worked For Me

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  1. Very inspiring post Katie and I so agree about quality vs. quantity. That applies to so many things ! Thank you so much for sharing the link to Adriene’s 2022 30 Day Challenge, this was perfect timing and something I needed.

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  2. I think small steps are the key to success, Katie! I have always struggled with the “big step” model… it just is too daunting and I give up! I love your intentions for 2022, and yes! I will absolutely cheer you on!

    I think the best thing that all this Pandemic Living has done is pared down what is really important in life. It is now easier to decide if something is important, or not so much. Perhaps this means that I have identified my “risk-factor”, and perhaps that is true, but really I think it means that I have gotten better at identifying what matters!

    Here is wishing for a year that challenges us just enough and provides more than enough of those moments of pleasure we need to keep tackling those challenges!

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  3. I’d love to stick with you this year 🙂
    As is often the case, so many things you bring up here resonate with me, and it feels like we could talk through an hour-long walk without a break! One of the many things–I had a very short stint on social media–and left it (I was only on IG) last Jan. It wasn’t a productive space for me…
    And I hear you on the clutter. Having a houseful of kids has always made that hard–though it HAS gotten easier as they’ve grown. RE; messes, I say this to my husband (because he can never figure out what will set me off–and what won’t): if it’s a creative clutter, that’s one thing. If it’s beautiful clutter, I’m okay with that sometimes, too! It’s the crappola clutter that I can’t handle. I can’t think in the midst of it! So one thing I did when my kids were at peak mess years was to get a lawn + leaf bag from the garage and fill it. Or fill however many it takes. And I just get it all out of my line of sight. Clothes, single socks, toys, parts to puzzles or games, play instruments, single markers, roller skates, you name it. (Then stash in the crawl space or basement.) For times when I couldn’t or didn’t want to commit to yet MORE cleaning/decluttering in place of something more enriching, these black bags did the trick.
    Yikes. That was a bit long. xo

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  4. I’m sticking with you!

    I am taking January off from Instagram. The first day I *really missed it* but since then I’ve found other ways to occupy myself! I’ll probably go back in February but it will be with a newfound knowledge that I don’t need to constantly check it.

    I wish you well with your goals in 2022. Even if you don’t “achieve” all of them, just having the goals and stating them will help you do *some* of the things that you want and mean to do. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, right?

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  5. I love year-end reflection posts, and I appreciated how thoughtfully you chose your goals for yourself for the year. As you can probably tell from reading my blog, I’m too often guilty of just setting goals with obvious “endings” or completions or outcomes, rather than consciously setting intentions that will help me to be a better human. Reading over these makes me want to become better about that. Thanks for sharing your insights, and I wish you all the best on these in 2022!

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