This year is a year of change. We will find out where Will will do his medical residency in March, he graduates from medical school in May, and we will have to be wherever residency is by mid-June. Even if we end up staying at a program in the area, the first year of residency will likely be a drastic change for us, and if we move to another city that change will be even bigger. No matter what, we are anticipating and trying to embrace all of the change that the year will bring.
As a planner, both at heart and in my profession, not knowing where we will be or what this change will look like can be difficult, but I am trying my hardest to enjoy this time in our area while we know we have it, and lean into the uncertainty, reframing it in my mind as an adventure instead of a hurdle. In September I would have told you that I was very stressed out about it (because I was), but after months of seeing the process move along and mentally preparing for every option, I am now at a much better place and have made peace with this crazy system of matching. I am looking forward to and excited about the next step, whatever it may be. I know that parts of this huge change will be stressful again, which is why I have included “embrace change and uncertainty” at the top of my goals list for the year. The idea is not to never be stressed, but instead to welcome the newness and not worry so much about the things I can’t control. It has taken me a while to work through what I want my goals for this year to be (hence this post in the second week of January), but I feel good about the thought that I have put into them and am excited to work on all of them. I have tried to think of action steps and/or subgoals for each of them and hope that those will be able to be easily incorporated into my monthly goals.
1. Embrace change and uncertainty
As I mentioned, we are preparing for big changes this year, namely medical residency and potentially a move to a new city and home. I want to embrace the exciting adventure that this is and trust the process, instead of worrying about things I cannot change. I want to see the silver linings in situations and find peace with the uncertainty.
Action steps: Imagine life in each city on our list and find a few good and exciting opportunities about those, including the situation that we don’t move. When I begin to worry about uncertainty or unknown, think of at least one good thing about the situation that is causing stress.
2. Take more photos of real life and get them off of the phone/computer.
At the end of every year Will and I send photos to his Aunt for a family calendar. Each year I struggle to find photos of the two of us and vow to take more photos with us on the other side of the camera. This year, I’m going to make it happen. In addition to taking more photos of us, I want to capture more pictures of everyday life, and organize the photos I already have filed away on my computer. This goal has lots of parts and lots of steps, but at the end of the year I hope we will be excited when we look back at all of the memories, even in the mundane weeks.
Sub goal: organize photos on my computer and make room for more photos
Action steps: Create a photo album for our 5th anniversary; look for a photo from the week on my camera roll every Friday
3. Stay active and add exercises to feel stronger
Last year I completed a huge bucket list goal of running a marathon! It was such a great experience and something I will always be proud to have accomplished. While I love running and do a good job of using it as my regular exercise, I would like to feel stronger and make sure that my bones are strong to support me later in life.
Action steps: Add one strength training workout to my weekly routine
4. Read more
I used to love reading, but have not made it a priority in the past few years. I want to get back into the habit of reading more regularly. In addition to other books, I would also like to start working on one of my 60 before 30 boals of reading the whole bible, little by little. Sometimes I can get out of my reading routine because I don’t know which books to read next, so if you have any ideas – spill in the comments please!
Action steps: read Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming; start a “Bible in a year” reading plan (even if it takes me more than a year)
5. Develop new environmental habits
I believe that it is so important to take care of our planet, and want to do my part to help. We try to be environmentally friendly – we produce more compost and recycling than trash each week, don’t eat meat at home, use public transportation (or bike or run) to commute, use energy efficient light bulbs, and keep our home warm in the summer and cool in the winter. Still, there are many ways that we could improve. This year, I want to start using small dish towels in place of paper towels, to cut down on the number of paper towels we dispose of. I would also like to replace our dryer sheets with wool balls to cut down on drying time (and save energy), and eliminate waste that we create by throwing away dryer sheets.
Action steps: Buy small dish towels; research wool balls
6. Explore our area (the Triangle and potential new home)
Since we might be leaving the area, I want to soak it in and explore it while we are here. We have a Triangle bucket list that we have been slowly but surely working through to get the most out of our time here. If we do end up moving for residency, I want to take some time to explore our new home. Both Will and I have spent our entire lives in North Carolina, so any new location will be full of new things to do and see for us, and we want to embrace that as we learn about our new home.
Action steps: Decide on one new place we want to try each month (could be a coffee shop, a museum, a restaurant, a running trail, anything goes as long as it is a new adventure for us!) while we are in the Triangle.
7. Dig into career development
I stepped into an interim role for 9 months at work last year. This role taught me a lot, but also led me to determine that I would like to do more career development to be better in whatever role I have. I started working on this last year, but got busy and sidetracked and didn’t finish. I’m setting a few concrete subgoals/action steps to make sure I complete this goal to some degree this year.
Action steps: Apply for and take the CSEP exam; Finish reading “Designing Your Life” and finish the workbook exercises (I started this last year, but didn’t finish)
8. Find a budget accountability system that works for us
Oh, the sensitive taboo topic of money and budgeting. With a two-person household, one income, and medical school loans, budgeting is a necessity, and usually something we actually want to do. We make a new budget at the beginning of each year, and I find some categories easy to stick to because I can remember them week to week or month to month (groceries or clothes for example). But sometimes, I find it difficult to remember what we spent and what we said we should be (or should not be) spending. I have used the Mint app in the past to help track spending so I don’t have to remember everything, but it can be pretty terrible at categorizing purchases sometimes, which throws off all of the categories. This might still be a good option to use, but I want to look into other options and/or find a better way to use Mint. Suggestions welcome here!
Action steps: Research budget accountability apps or systems
I’ll post my January goals here soon, but I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2019 too! Do you have a word of the year, intentions, goals, or resolutions? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear! Let’s do this together!