‘I’ve got three big targets for 2021. They fall under three creative aspects of my life: learning, creating and doing.’
I made that commitment – to three well-defined goals – this time last year. I checked in after 8 months to provide an update on my progress, to share how I’d been getting on and, hopefully, to provide a bit of inspiration. I highly recommend that you read that post in full but, in short, it was going okay. I found that I was often getting into the gym, just not as much as I’d like to. I was writing a bit more, especially during the height of lockdown, but not as much as I’d like to. And I was reading more – a lot more – but there was no guarantee that I’d hit my 25 book target for the year.
Now that we’ve made it through yet another pandemic-filled year, it’s time for a final reflection. Did I meet my goals this year? And what am I aiming for this year? Are there any lessons that I’ve picked up along the way?
For all of my life, I’ve struggled with reading. It’s a pastime that I enjoy but can’t commit to. I’ve always been a slow reader, and am determined to employ my productive mindset to boost my reading speed.
Yet, last year, I only read 10 books. That was well off the 25 book target that I’d set, and re-set, for this year. Thankfully, this is one goal that I’m able to tick off my list. It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t discovered the joys of listening to audiobooks on 2.5-3x speed, but I’ve been exposed to so much more content as a result this year. Next year, I’m gunning for 30 books.
Let me be upfront with you: I didn’t do well with this goal – at all. I took the summer to backlog as much content as I could in preparation for a busy first term back and, as a result, failed to make much progress on the novel-writing front.
My original intention was to get 500 words done every single day. Sometimes, though, you get back from work and want to do anything but sit behind a screen and write. Sometimes, you just want to switch off.
Going forward, I’ll maintain the brilliant blogging habits that I’ve developed, but that novel-writing goal will have to change. I’d like to write 500 words, five days a week. Whether that’s on a Sunday, Friday or at the start of the week, if I can get at least 2500 words written every week, I’ll be content.
Doing more to get bigger
Well, what a year 2021 was when it came to lifting weights and working out. I rejoined my local gym in April and was able to go every now and then, but eventually dedicated a lot of that time to marking Year 11 assessments for Teacher Assessed Grades. Then, the summer came along and I visited my family home for a considerable amount of time. Of course, I had the best intentions, but the home workouts never really happened.
September rolled around and my school was able to reopen their fitness suite. Hooray! The consistency started to make a comeback, especially since the friction to working out was reduced, since I was already on-site. However, I’d still fall off the bandwagon time and again when the marking load grew too large to justify jetting off to the gym.
This year, barring any potential future lockdowns, I’m targeting 3 days a week for working out again, but will endeavour to get in the gym even if I only have 30 minutes spare. I think it is so important to incorporate fitness into your life, as dedicating time to being active, making yourself hungry enough to eat a lot, and refuel with a well-earned sleep, can do wonders for increasing our personal productivity when getting on with the tasks that are important to us.
If there’s one message to takeaway from this year when it comes to goal-setting, it’s that I need to hold myself accountable. I’m a huge advocate for making goals as public as possible (within reason…), since letting someone know about what I’d like to do makes me more likely to do it.
Accountability partners are what you should really aim for having. They’re the reason why you feel so much more motivated to go the gym with a friend, or to eat healthily if a sibling does it with you: you make each other accountable for the others’ actions. As a result, this year I’d like to provide the internet with more regular updates on the journey towards my goals for 2022.
Will that actually happen? Who knows. But hopefully it’s one small step to getting what I want out of life