2018: Goals and mantra
Sometimes you set out goals for yourself — and then your body says Nope! and you’re sick for six days.
At least I had company.
One of the books I enjoyed last year was Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. If you’re not familiar with her work (start with The Happiness Project — srsly, though) she tackles life hacks with gusto. In this latest foray she explores how people are motivated and influenced. Which of the following applies to you:
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I:
a) Make them and keep them
b) January 1st is an arbitrary date. If I want to change something, why start then?
c) Make them and try to keep them, but I don’t seem to stick to them!
d) Don’t make them — why would I box myself in?
(If this intrigues you, go take her Four Tendencies quiz now to learn your tendency!)
It will surprise no one that I wholeheartedly answer A. Until reading Rubin’s book I admit I’ve been a bit baffled as to why some people struggle so mightily to make and keep goals. But the tldr: Learn how you respond to external and internal expectations and work with that to accomplish what you want to achieve. Brilliant.
The good thing about being sick for almost a week is it gave me time to think about what I wanted to achieve this year (okay, okay and also catch up on my shows!). So here are some of the things I’m setting out to accomplish in 2018:
I’ve spent a lot of time focused on health and wellness in 2017 and I’d like to continue that trend in 2018. One thing I found interesting was reading that people who set up “If _____, then______” statements were more likely to reach health goals (eg; “If I’m hungry before lunch, then I’ll eat a piece of whole fruit.”). For some reason, this logic helps our brains make a healthy choice in the moment. I’d like to spend some time this month (January) coming up with some new If-Then pairings to get me fired up for the year.
I’d also like to start the year with data! It’s been two or three years since I’ve done fitness tracking, so I ordered a new FitBit Alta HR to track steps, sleep, and calorie burn. I also found a small notebook that I can use as a food diary. I don’t have a goal to lose weight (I stopped using weight as a health measure last year) but to make healthier choices for my body. I hope that these two will help feed data into my If-Then statements.
Lastly, I’d like to round out my fitness routine with some different types of exercise. I went into barre (too) full-force and want to train in a more balanced way. While it was great to hit my goals related to flexibility and extensions, I think I’m in physical therapy today because I didn’t have the right balance between small and large muscle training. In addition to keeping up with physical therapy, I want to swap in a day of more traditional strength training or cardio (running or boot camp) to make sure I’m balanced. In the new stuff camp, my barre sessions with my trainer will become ballet sessions this month to see if I want to move further into that discipline! As someone who thought she was never good enough to dance, it’s happening. Take that, fixed mindset!
Choose a challenge.
I love a challenge and there are a few things that will challenge me this year, mainly in the professional realm.
I celebrated 11 years with The Company in October, and it was a good time to step back and reflect upon where I have been and where I am today. I have a new manager (as of May) and she said something I thought wasn’t possible for me — “I think we should put you up for promotion.”
“But I didn’t know it was possible.”
“Of course it’s possible. And you deserve it.”
So that’s that. I have no desire to get promoted for the sake of it. The extra $$ is nice, but I’m very happy with my current compensation. The title is the same. But what does push me towards pursuing this is that I know it means I will continue to have autonomy in my work and I’ll be offered (what iI perceive to be) more interesting projects. I’ll learn more this month so I can put together a case for one of the two promotion cycles this year.
The biggest professional challenge I’m taking on is opening up my own coaching business. The Company now allows people like me to coach externally as long as we don’t coach clients from competitors. I have my first meeting with a potential client on Friday(!). The biggest challenge is mentally getting over myself to set up a website, choose billing rates, etc. I’m excited to coach people from different walks of life and to
The last professional challenge I’m taking on is finishing my coaching program and becoming certified. My last class is in February and then I have six months to enroll in a cohort. Once I complete the calls, observations, and practice hours I can take my oral and written exams. This has been many years in the making but I’m excited to finish!
I think that’s enough challenge.
I’m always far behind on trends (see; athleisure, avocado toast, and sheet masks), but better later than never! Last year I read a wonderful book that introduced me to hygge (hoo-gah), the Danish art of cozy, comfortable living. It made me reflect on the things that bring me joy in life, things that feel safe and comfortable. It’s not that I tried to avoid comfort, but for many years it felt weak to choose things that seemed easy or comfortable. My struggles with mental health taught me that I had to let go of those mistaken beliefs and choose things I love.
I want to make sure that I have plenty of recovery periods to indulge in my nerd hobbies — Lego, puzzles, reading, crosswords, music, and painting.
I’m working through a Lego build of a Snow Speeder — once I’m finished with that, I need to decide if I want to finish Slave I or the Sandcrawler (both started but abandoned because of structural issues). If not, I would like to find new homes for them and buy a new model (probably BB8 because I’m obsessed).
I have a whole stack of puzzles waiting for me (six! six of them! best Christmas ever!). I don’t need to run through them too quickly, but I find it helpful to tinker, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes a day. I’m particularly interested in puzzle-swapping if anyone else would like to. I want to puzzle without storing 25 puzzles!
I set a book goal of 96 this year (up 6 from my goal of 90, though I read 120 books last year — thanks travel!). I’m always looking to connect with other reads on GoodReads. I already have a huge stack thanks to some Christmas gifts — I need to not purchase more books until my bedside stack is less than 5 books tall! — to get me started. I’m especially interested in reading books from authors of color and from countries I’m less familiar with to get a broader perspective on the world.
I got back into crossword puzzles a few months ago as a good activity to break up reading when I travel. My goal is to take a crossword book when I travel so I can do a few puzzles each trip. It keeps my vocabulary strong!
My baby grand is still one of my favorite purchases — very pricy, but worth every penny! Last year I really got into hymns because they are comforting and relaxing. I just ordered three more books yesterday and I can’t wait until they arrive. I’d like to record two songs a month to post on my YT channel to share my love of music with family and friends. Where music is concerned I’m also toying with the idea of vocal lessons. S and I sing in a choir at work and I would like to learn more about my voice. But given all of my work goals I’m not sure I want to commit to something big like this at the moment. I’m also eager to take up a new instrument, probably the harp. I think those two gaols will be for 2019!
S and I started doing the Paint and Sip classes together a few years ago, and I try to make it to a few each year. We need another location for all of our artwork! I’m a huuuuuge Bob Ross fan; when I was stuck in bed with my anxiety I would watch his shows to calm me down. When he said that anyone can paint, that stuck in my head and I decided that, Yes, I can paint and enjoy it without being an expert. Not surprisingly, trees are my favorite! This year I’d like to sign up for 4 classes, one every few months, to continue doing something that brings me comfort!
I’ve made a lot of progress in our house — sorting through papers and shredding them, organizing our photos and my momentos, and finding homes for more than 500 books! I reorganized our basement storage room and, one year later, still have a KonMari’d closet and dresser!
But there are areas that need some attention. First up? Our pantry and our freezer! We don’t have a good organizational system — we have one, but it doesn’t stick (thus it’s not good). Underneath my bathroom sink? Another disaster zone! We have a lot of extra stuff lying around in the basement.
Beyond cleaning and tidying, we want to add some more charm to the house! I spent a lot of time making our master bath a sanctuary and I want to bring that same warmth to our main floor bath, which is bland and cold. Last fall we ordered new couches for the living room, but we sent the chair back because it didn’t work, so I’d like to replace it. We need to hang up some of our paintings (see above) and add some new photo collections from last year’s favorite trips to our stairs.
The biggest project is our home office and crafts/projects room. We love the room and it’s in pretty good shape considering all of the use it gets, but we would love to ditch the IKEA furniture and finally get all of our built-in bookcases, desk, and (hopefully) window-seat. We need to find some vendors and get some bids so we can get going!
And if I can get a mirror for my barre in the basement, bonus points!
I love spending time with people — except when I don’t. Because I spend most of my workday interacting with others in a pretty intense manner, sometimes when work is over I want to crawl into a (metaphorical) hole and be alone.
I’m not looking for random connection, but deeper, meaningful connection with family and friends. I’d like to schedule a meaningful friend interaction once or twice a month. I know enough about myself that if it feels too taxing (at a loud place, an activity I don’t enjoy, or after a long travel stint) that I’m more likely to dread it and feel anxious. So I’d like to combine friend hangouts with things I love (like painting or crafting or coloring or eating) so that it feels easy and natural.
Choose something new.
It wouldn’t be a resolutions post if I didn’t talk about… travel! There are few things that I love more than a good trip, and 2017 brought a lot of wonderful travel — Berlin, Edinburgh, Rome, Florence, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu! I want to keep this spirit going in 2018.
I hope to get in a nice domestic trip in March (New Mexico? Texas? Nashville?). I think I’ve convinced S to travel to Finland and Estonia in May/June, and I know we’re agreed on Australia and New Zealand in the fall (we just need to make it happen). After a fair amount of… developing country travel as of late, I’m feeling the need to mix it up a little! And who knows what work might bring? I travel a lot for work and I hope some new destinations will be in the cards this year.
So — that’s a LOT! But I like to live big and shoot for more than I can achieve, knowing that
If I were going to sum up this year with a mantra or an intention, it’s PASSION! I want 2018 to be a year filled with things that get me excited and thrilled and remind me why it’s great to be alive!