Every year when I sit down to plan out my goals for the upcoming year, I have a feeling of déjà vu. I often feel like my goals for the upcoming year are very similar to the goals I set for the previous year. And don’t they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Am I just continuously attempting to do the same thing, and continuing to fail every year?
I had the same feeling of déjà vu this year, when drafting what you’ll read below, and the feeling made me stop and think more deeply about my goals. In the end, I realized that it’s not necessarily the goals themselves that are the same year after year, but it’s the areas of my life that are important to me that remain the same: writing, wellness, continuous learning, contributing to my community, starting and growing projects, and building relationships. And rather than being insane, I actually think that’s kind of nice.
I want to get back to writing again. In 2014, I said I’d write for 15 minutes every day, and for about a third of the year, I did. In 2016, I’m recommitting to writing for at least 15 minutes every day. And because I don’t think it’s enough to just write, but it’s also important to finish, I have a goal of producing 50 blog posts on my blog- that’s about 1 per week.
I’m determined to make this the year I become a runner. Maybe I’ll discover I really do hate running, and then I can lay this goal to rest forever. Or maybe, as I somewhat suspect, I’ll discover that when running isn’t making me feel like I’m dying, I’ll actually kind of like it. I’m going to do it right this time. I’m signing up for races (and paying), so that I’ll actually (maybe) show up. I’m following a plan, so it’s not just “how far do I feel like running today?” And I’m actively searching for a running buddy.
Beyond running, I also want to stop being a weakling, i.e. strength train. It would be nice not to feel like I’m dying every time I carry groceries home. This is an area I literally know nothing about, so might take a lot of work to do well/right.
I started figure skating again in the fall of 2015, and this time around, I want to do two things that I never did while skating growing up: land an axel, and pass the preliminary test. I’m pretty sure this is going to require a third thing as well: hire a coach.
I want to learn my way around the kitchen a little better. I haven’t learned to cook anything new since I started apartment-living almost 3 years ago. I want to learn to cook 5 new meals over the course of the year. I also want to learn to use the freezer, so that a) I waste less food and b) eating real person meals is easier and less time-consuming.
Developing a sleep schedule that is relatively normal would be the icing on the cake.
The learning never stops when you’re me, and I certainly don’t intend for it to stop this year. I want to make a decision on what to pursue for my masters- and potentially even start the degree. I always want to learn more about social media and content strategy, marketing, communications, etc. This may involve venturing into the world of Instagram and Snapchat this year. I still have an interest in coding and web design, and actually plan on overhauling this website this year (it might even get a non-Wordpress URL!). Graphic design is still on the docket as well. Additionally, I want to learn more about research and data analysis this year. I want to be able to incorporate that into my career, so I need to have some knowledge!
As per usual, reading is a goal that falls under this heading, and the #52in52 is back. I also want to start reading more intentionally this year. For the last while, I’ve been wandering into the library, pulling a few books off the shelf that looked appealing, and checking them out. This has led to reading a bunch of books that were okay, but not great. With so many great books out there, I don’t have time to waste! Along these lines, I’ve undertaken a reading challenge along with 3 of my closest friends. Check out the photo!
I want to explore the world of podcasts this year. This is an area I haven’t really ventured into at all to this point, so I’m not really sure what the goal is, but I want podcasts to be a thing in my life this year.
I don’t know that this really fits in this category, but it doesn’t fit in any other either, so here it lies. I want to watch more TV shows and movies- intentionally, and not just to pass the time. Basically, I want to be a little more up on pop culture. I want to watch all of the movies nominated for Best Picture, and watch some of the movies that I probably should have seen already, but haven’t yet.
CONTRIBUTE TO MY COMMUNITY
I was just getting going on this in Halifax when I moved, and now I have an entirely new community to contribute to. I want to find an organization or two that I can get involved with and contribute to in a meaningful way. Really, I want to find a cause that I truly, and my deepest of hearts, care about and can selflessly devote time to. I also want to get out every now and then and volunteer at one-off opportunities and events.
I want to not only contribute to my community, but I also want to start making Kingston feel like my community, and not just a place I’m stopping in. A while ago, a friend of mine pointed out that a certain NHL hockey player was from Kingston… and my reaction was basically: “so?”. I don’t react that way for Crosby or MacKinnon. I want to be able to be proud that people come from where I live- in Kingston.
While I fully believe that investing time in your community is hugely important, I also think I need to begin contributing financially in a more meaningful way. I want to choose a set amount, and ensure it gets donated to causes I care about over the course of the year.
My community is more than just Kingston. I also belong to a professional community that I want to begin contributing to. I want to find ways to participate in and contribute to both NODA and CACUSS.
START AND GROW PROJECTS
Way back in 2013, I briefly started looking into what various universities were doing in terms of mental health programming, and I always intended on doing this somewhat comprehensively. Since then, I’ve also become interested in the reality and the research behind some of the mental health practices in higher education- fall reading weeks, student debt, scholarship criteria, etc. This year, I really, really want to make this mental health project of mine a reality, and create a Medium project to share my findings with the world.
For the last two years, I’ve said I’m going to undertake #thenew52, and then have just hermited at home on my couch (or more realistically, in my bed). This year, the idea is back, but different. Instead of undertaking to do one new thing each week, I’m simply creating a list of new things that I would like to do, and am going to try and check as many items off as possible by the end of the year. There’s more potential with this approach, I can feel it in my bones.
Does this ever change? I want to spend more in-person time with my friends. I want to stay more connected with friends I love, but don’t talk to often. I want to make sure the people who are important to me know that, and more importantly, feel that. I want to surprise them, and delight them, and have hugs galore.
I think building relationships is more important this year than ever, since this year it needs to be about more than strengthening old relationships, but also developing new ones. I need Kingston friends! It’s a little hard to set goals in this area (‘By September, I will have forced 5 people to be friends with me’ sounds little weird), but I think ensuring I’m putting myself in the position to meet new people, and ensuring that I make an attempt to take some of those relationships beyond their original ‘meeting capacity’ fits the bill, and is realistic.
Travel doesn’t really fit in any of my pre-defined categories, but I’m tossing it in here because what creates better memories than going on a trip with someone? I want to go somewhere new, somewhere fantastic. Maybe twice. And I want to take more weekend trips. So many places are so close to Kingston- I can very, very easily go to Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal whenever I want. Niagara Falls isn’t that far. The border isn’t far either (although that darn dollar!).
2016 is a leap year, which means there are 366 ahead of me in which to make these goals a reality. It’s on.