People love to make a long list of resolutions in the new year, and it is well known that many people give up on these resolutions by February at the latest. I’ve never been a huge resolution person..I like new starts and I love lists but I find that if I get going on a list of items I want to improve on it quickly grows out of hand. The past two years, I have combined my love of lists and visual things with small goal setting.
I am a very goal-driven person. In school, I was motivated by the goal of making good grades (even though now some people say that is not good motivation..it worked for me). I was motivated in running by the goal of ever-improving my races times, or increasing the distance I ran, or the frequency I ran. After leaving college, and no longer being able to run due to a chronic foot injury, I have struggled with finding benchmark measurements of success or improvement in my life. In the hospital nursing world, there are no quarterly reviews of progress. Sometimes there are annual evaluations, but with our frequent moving I have yet to experience many of these. A good portion of the feedback you get from patients or doctors is negative, and it is hard to quantify if you are doing a good job based on patient outcomes alone. Sometimes the best care in the world will not fix them. That being said, I needed some form of tracking improvement, or at least consistency.
In 2020, and since then, I pick a few categories that I want to improve on, or stay consistent in. For me these have been: reading books, playing the piano, learning in some form, travel, being social (yes I have to put that), and doing some form of Bible-related thing. By this point in time, I’m a very active person so doing some form of exercise or movement everyday is just a part of my day and not something that I need to newly implement, so that was not listed.
I at first set lots of goals like “read the news everyday, study Spanish 5 times a week, volunteer once a week, go to a physical church once a week” etc. I learned the best way for me to stick to things is a broad objective that can be formed into a habit, and over time fine-tuned to involve more specific goals. That being said, if there is a time limit to your goals (such as a race, or a work or school deadline, or financial deadline), specificity and a clear-cut action plan is good. For me though, my over-arching yearly goals are more personal.
- Learn in some way, five times a week: This has been a goal since 2020, as it is so easy once out of college to stop learning. If I watch a youtube video, or read a nonfiction book, or listen to podcast I will count that as learning. I personally learn best by visual and interactive things, so taking notes works better for me than listening to a podcast. I find it difficult to find motivation to learn things without the external validation of grades, so learning new things that I can apply to my real life is what works best. Learning for my job, learning music theory or information about the music I’m playing, and learning about how to garden are examples of new information I try to learn.
- Read at least 55 books: In 2020 I put 50 as a goal and far surpassed it (partially thanks to the pandemic and living in place with limited activities to do). So in 2021 I set the goal of 65 books and fell short. For 2022, I think 55 is a good goal. There’s no minimum or maximum number of pages, type of genre, just read something.
- Play the piano for at least two hours a week: this goal has evolved from the initial goal in 2020 to just play the piano for any length of time once a week. In 2021, I downloaded a piano tracking app (which is just a stopwatch and a note box to say what you practiced) and set the goal to practice for an hour a week and learn Clare de Lune. This year, I have decided to increase my practice based off of the fact that in the later months of 2021, I practiced more than an hour a week on average. I hope to learn all three movements of Moonlight Sonata and Liebestraum No. 3 by Listz.
- Travel: In 2020 I had set out to travel to at least ten new places. We all know how 2020 worked. In 2021, we moved to a location far from the airport, so air travel became much less feasible. In 2022, I aspire to explore new places within my state and not become complacent with staying at home. There are many places to travel within a five hour drive of our Washington home. I hope to travel to Canada more this year, and to the Palouse region of Washington.
- Be social with someone other than my husband at least once a week: I am not a social person at all. I do not dislike spending time with friends, but I inherently avoid doing it. I do not know why I am like this, but I know I am.
- Have a “date activity” with my husband once a week: We are not huge on eating out since it is expensive and we are good cooks. So trying to do something each week that is focused on just us, like going on a new walk or watching a movie or playing a game, is good. It doesn’t happen enough, but we try. It is so easy to get caught in our own worlds and interests, or to not be fully present when spending time with one another.
- Do something Bible-related five times a week: The goal is to read the Bible, whether that’s guided by a devotional, a reading plan, an online church service, or a book, five times a week. I am guilty of not attending an in-person church, which I’ve pawned off on covid and moving, but those are not good excuses. I at least try to do that.
Some other goals I have for this year are to finally join a church with a Bible study, to find a job that brings me more joy than stress, to compete in one swim meet for the masters swim team I joined, to find a place to volunteer at, and to form a solid cleaning routine for our new house.
So there you have it, a long-winded list of my personal goals for the new year. Happy 2022!