Here we are, almost halfway through January and I’m just getting around to posting my 2020 goals. Some people like to have their resolutions/goals/word of the year ready for action on January 1. I prefer to enjoy the holiday season that leads up to the New Year and work on my goals for the year once the holiday fun is over and the full focus is on the year ahead. I give myself a period of transition into the year, rather than rushing to finish by January 1, or even the first week of the year. Most of these goals have been written down for weeks, but I took a little extra time thinking about them and fleshing them out. Deliberately simmering on these goals and things I want to do this year helps me think about why and how I wanted to accomplish them. With 12 months (or 11 ½) to work on these, I want to make sure I’m pursuing them for the right reasons and that they are really what I want to focus on for the year ahead.
In 2019 I set eight goals with an action step for each. Some of these I really feel like I did well with, and some I want to continue to cultivate into stronger habits this year too. Last year felt almost like two separate years, with med school in Chapel Hill in the first half and our move to Nashville and the start of residency in the second half. The huge change made me dig into some of my goals for the year (like ‘embrace change and uncertainty’), but threw others for a loop (finding a budget accountability system). This year is a little different, since we understand what lies ahead a bit better and we feel like our location is less transient. I can already see how our new location and phase of life have impacted my goals for this year, and it will be interesting to see how some of the goals from last year translate to this year.
Before we get started on 2020, here is a look back on my 2019 goals and how I fared:
1. Embrace change and uncertainty
Just as expected, 2019 brought lots of change and uncertainty. As someone who wants a plan and struggles with uncertainty, there were times I felt like I did very well with embracing this crazy uncertain time of our lives. There were also times I sulked in it and certainly did not embrace it. Overall though, I think I was able to figure out ways of embracing the change that made it easier for me to transition.
2. Take more photos of real life and get them off of the phone/computer.
This one is always something I will need to work on in this digital age. As I look back at my camera roll, I think I took more photos of real life moments, but I didn’t get many of them printed. Part of this issue that I’m still trying to figure out is the question of where I will put them once they are printed. So this goal was half completed, but still working on the printing.
3. Stay active and add exercises to feel stronger
I feel good about this one. I added more strength training workouts to my schedule, especially when the weather wasn’t great for running outside. I’m carrying this over to this year because it is an area that I want to continue to improve.
4. Read more
I did read more! It may not be a lot by some people’s standards, but I had neglected reading for a while so it felt good to make progress and read multiple books for fun. This is another goal I’m continuing in 2020 because it is a habit that I want to keep cultivating.
5. Develop new environmental habits
Once again, I’m moving this goal to 2020 because I think there is still a lot of room for growth. We have pretty good environmental habits overall, and I did implement some changes in 2019 that I’m proud of, but there is always something else that we can do and little-by-little I want to continue to chip away at them.
6. Explore our area (the Triangle and potential new home)
Yes, yes, yes. We explored some parts of the Triangle we loved and some new places before we left, and have absolutely loved adventuring to new-to-us places in our new city.
7. Dig into career development
I completed both of my action steps on this goal in the first half of the year, which was a great feeling. Once we moved I felt like this stagnated a little bit as I was thrown into the job search process. I’m glad I did the first steps early in the year because I think they helped as I was looking for a new job.
8. Find a budget accountability system that works for us
This is the one I feel least confident about. Since we moved to a new city in the middle of the year, we felt like we should adjust our existing budget based on the cost of living in our current location. Because of this, the budgeting accountability system was pushed to the back burner for a while as we tried to figure out what we could expect to spend after living here for a few months. I may try to continue this quest in the new year, but I feel okay about what we are currently doing so I’m not setting it as a yearly goal.
And now for my2020 goals!
1. Read more.
There are lots of people who some large number of books that they want to read for the year (52 books in a year, 4 books a month, etc). I am not one of those people. There are so many things I want to do in my free time, and while reading may be one of them, it doesn’t always get priority over others. I was proud of my improvement in this category last year, and I think setting monthly goals to finish specific books helped, so I’m carrying it forward to this year as well, with a more deliberate effort to read before bed more evenings.
– Finish the Bible in One Year plan.
– Read at least 6 books this year and read books in more than one category.
– Come up with to-read list
– Read before bed 2-3 nights a week
2. Introduce more green and clean habits/products into our lifestyle.
While we have a lot of great “green” habits (using reusable tote bags at the grocery store, recycling, composting, using silicone food storage bags, etc), there are many ways we could still do better at stewarding our resources for the environment and using products that are better for ourselves too. Since this is such a broad category, I’m setting three specific goals for the year with the idea that I can add more as they come up later in the year.
Specific goals and action steps:
– Analyze my beauty/skin care products and replace some with cleaner versions as they run out. Get to 40% clean skin care by 2021.
– Use fewer disposable coffee cups – I don’t go to coffee shops as frequently as I used to, mostly because it isn’t quite as convenient before work, but we have a ton of good local coffee shops nearby and going to them is one of our favorite dates. I want to start to bring reusable travel mug to the coffee shop or get it in a mug “for here” when we can.
– Use fewer paper towels. This is definitely an area I have room for improvement. We got a few dishcloths at the end of the year that are great for wiping up the counter and I feel like they have already helped cut down on my paper towel usage, but in order to keep it up I’ll need to get some to use while those are in the wash.
– Participate in Julia from Lemon Stripes‘ monthly sustainability challenges
3. Get in front of the camera in more pictures.
I take lots of photos of food, scenery, or things we are doing, but am sometimes hesitant to get in them, usually because I don’t feel like I look “photo ready” or no one is around to take a photo. No matter how I look or if I need to take a selfie instead of a more posed shot, I still want to remember the fun times and the company I was with. I want to do a better job of forgoing the notion of looking camera-ready or getting the perfect shot and get in more photos to preserve the memories.
– Get in more pictures ;)
4. Let go of stress from comparisons and imperfections. Give myself and others more grace for my expectations.
Admittedly, this is a big, broad, vulnerable, and difficult goal, but one I have thought about a lot recently. I have high expectations for myself, and because I expect so much from myself, I sometimes can unfairly put those expectations on others. I also often focus on my shortcomings more than I think about my strengths, and easily fall into the comparison game, focusing on my perceived weaknesses while comparing them to other people’s strengths. I am thankful to have people in my life who are wonderful about supporting me and helping me see things I am good at, even when I feel like I struggle in comparison to others. However, I want to have enough confidence to recognize this on my own and not feel like I need to have the same accomplishments as other people, and certainly not the same achievements as everyone else combined. This is not to say I have no shortcomings, or need to be perfect, but rather understanding that I don’t need to be perfect at everything and it is okay if I don’t shine in ways someone else might. There is a quote I saw a few weeks ago about this that resonated with me, “The only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” I want to remember this as I’m going throughout the year.
– Try the Headspace app. I have heard great things from other people about Headspace for helping reduce stress, anxiety, and worry. I have a free account through my work that I’m looking forward to trying.
– When I feel myself dwelling on comparisons, judgements, or shortcomings from expectations, think of something positive about the situation instead.
– Read Wonder Over Worry?
5. Embrace spontaneity in hosting.
Some of our favorite memories so far during residency have been the get togethers with our friends, both planned and spontaneous. Since the resident’s schedules are so crazy and their time off doesn’t always match up, we are always excited when we can find a time that works for everyone to join. Some of our friends are great about hosting on short notice or spontaneously inviting us over when they are doing something fun and I want to be better about this too so we can have even more opportunities to have fun and deepen our friendships here. The biggest barriers to this are feeling like our apartment isn’t clean enough and not having a collection of dinner recipes I feel comfortable making for company. An obvious solution to the first part is to keep our place cleaner, but that is easier said than done ;). That would be ideal, but I think another part, similar to the above goal, will be to accept that it doesn’t have to look perfect and that’s okay.
– Create a list of good meals to have with guests or for parties, poll family and friends on some of their favorite dishes
6. Exercise to feel strong and incorporate strength-building exercises more regularly.
After running regularly week after week since high school, I feel like I have a good routine with cardio, and usually find it less difficult to do because I don’t mind it. Strength training on the other hand is something I need and want to do in theory, but don’t always get around to because it takes more work or isn’t as easy (for me) as lacing up my shoes and going for a run. As I get older, I know strength training will be important and helpful for my bone strength and my day-to-day activities. I have some small at-home weights and exercises I can do, but can be limited because I don’t belong to a gym. I want to figure out some at-home exercises I can do to build strength that I enjoy (or at least don’t dread) doing so I can incorporate more into my weeks.
– Find some strength-building exercises I enjoy and do 1-2 days of strength training a week
7. Make our apartment and Nashville feel more like home.
Now that we have lived here for 7 months, I know my way around town better and have been able to settle into our apartment more and more. There are still times when I think we could make this rental feel more cozy or more personal to us, and there is definitely room for us to keep exploring Nashville and find our favorite spots around town.
– Apartment: Hang pictures, determine places that may need a rug, get a floor lamp for the living area, brainstorm what I like about my saved photos on Pinterest and Instagram and if there is anything from them we can incorporate here.
– Nashville: Try new places and make a list of our favorites as locals and our favorites to take/suggest to visitors
8. Create a repository for go-to meals.
One of the things that will help us with our week to week meal planning process and will improve our confidence in spontaneously hosting is creating a good list of dishes we like that are easy to make, our go-to meals for weeknights and for company. With friends and family having babies, I also want to make a list of good meals for new parents (I hope to share that here as well).
– Come up with our favorite dinners, print the ones that are online, gather them all in one place, make a sheet to organize them by season and dish type, check pinterest for more ideas
– Start a list of meals to make for new parents with healthy options and freezer options
If you made it this far, thank you for reading! I’m excited to pursue these goals throughout the year!