I have an unfinished blog post sitting in my drafts folder from last May. It’s called Going Back to Goals. When I was in college, I set personal goals every single semester, but hadn’t really done that since graduating (which was 3.5 years ago!). Last May, I was thinking about setting seasonal goals again but of course, it was 2020. Pandemic anxiety combined with the stress of floundering at work meant I did not get back to goals last year.
I have no unrealistic delusions about 2021 being a magical year. But I do love a fresh start, and given that I was able to rekindle my motivation and creativity through a combo of NaNoPoblano in November and a ton of time off work in December, I’m ready to work towards some goals again.
I’m doing my best to set goals that are realistic while avoiding continuations of habits I’ve already created. In the past, I have tended to set similar goals over and over: start doing yoga. Continue doing yoga. Do yoga 3 times a week. This worked in college when I set semester-long goals, because some take longer than a few months to achieve. But as achieved goals turn to habits, they get stale (and I think that might be part of the reason I quit doing them for awhile).
Instead, I’m focusing on using my time intentionally. Over the past three years, but especially last year, I spent way too much of my down time scrolling through social media. This has also led to me rushing in the mornings much more than I want to (although I’ve never really been good at getting up on time anyway). I really, really want to avoid both of those things, so I’ve chosen goals that will help me kick those habits while creating healthier ones.
- Stick to a healthier morning routine. Normally, I’m out of bed 15 minutes before I need to leave and inevitably leaving late. I don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast so I eat it at work. I’m so sick of doing this. Starting the morning I wrote this, I’m leaving my phone to charge in the living room overnight instead of on my nightstand, so I can avoid scrolling first thing in the morning. I’m using an actual alarm clock to wake up, with a goal of giving myself an hour in the morning to get ready, make coffee, and eat breakfast at my kitchen table like a human. I’m starting off with the tiny goal of doing this for a week straight.
- Read 40 books in 2021. I’ll be tracking this at Goodreads if you want to join or follow along. With my last blog post, I realized that I’ve been reading an average of 20-25 books per year for the past three-ish years. That’s still a lot of reading, but I know that a the time I waste scrolling social media in the evening could be better spent with a book. Right now, I’ve just begun How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman (on the recommendation of Rebekah at She Seeks Nonfiction) and am close to finishing How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi with my book group.
The two goals above are the ones I want to prioritize. I know myself well enough by now to know that I sometimes get a little ambitious. The final two goals below are ones I still really want to achieve, but onthe days/weeks/months I lose bandwidth these are the ones I’ll let go for a bit.
- Blog once a week. I’ve set this goal several times and rarely manage to make it longer than a few months. But it’s worth trying again. Doing NaNoPoblano showed me I can write every day if I really want to, so I think I can make this work.
- Complete 4 embroidery projects in 2021. I am getting back into embroidery a bit after doing it briefly in high school. I found about the #YearinStitches project around November and toyed with this idea of doing it, but I’m just not there yet. I do, however, want to keep playing around with this. I plan to write about what I’m working on soon and have a few other projects I would like to do after this one.
Whether I achieve any of these goals or not, I mainly want to stop filling time and start using it. I spent altogether too much of 2020 filling time by looking passively at the vast interwebs, and I don’t really like the person that I am when I fill my time that way. I love learning, I love moving, and I love creating things. I don’t know why it takes this much effort to actually do the things I know I love doing, but this year, no matter what comes my way I’m going to do my best to use the time I have with intention. I don’t want to scroll my life away.