Buckle in, friends. This is a long one!
I’ve written before about how the new year is always a time of hope for me – even though it is really just a Tuesday turning to a Wednesday, divided by the fairly arbitrary line of 31 December and 1 January, it always feels like a clean slate. I’ve also written about the importance of people with endo being realistic in their goal-setting. Today, I want to talk about my goals for 2020, and hear yours.
First, a brief note on my 2019 goals. I achieved two of them. They were to improve my Arabic, get my scuba qualification, and read the Old Testament of the Bible. Well, I succeeded in my scuba qualification (a few months later than planned) and will be getting my advanced qualification later this year. I managed the Old Testament with time to spare, and I’ll crack on with the New Testament in 2020. As for Arabic – turns out that is really hard to learn yourself, because trying to get any two courses, youtubers or Arabic-speaking friends to agree on the way to say something is impossible. There are too many dialects, and trying to find a consistent source for Modern Standard Arabic was a wild goose chase. However, I did start Mandarin lessons, and I can now tell you ‘Wo mao feichang shuai,’ (my cat is very handsome), although apparently you should only say ‘shuai’ about people, not cats, even though Max is a very handsome cat indeed.
Ultimately, I think I took the lessons from my own post to heart, and the Arabic failure was because I lacked resources (which I should have researched more) rather than because my goal-setting process was flawed.
This year, my goals are a little different. I still want to finish off the Bible by reading the New Testament, which is fairly easy to plan out and achieve; it just requires a bit of commitment. My other two are more projects than goals.
Project 20 in 2020
My first project is very involved. Have you heard of the ’20 in 2020′ craze that’s sweeping the bullet-journalling community? Basically, you set 20 goals to complete in the year 2020 – bonus points if they somehow incorporate the number 20 (e.g. 20 days with no social media, 20 days of walking 20k steps or more, etc). Now, trying to do 20 sets of 20 things isn’t realistic for me, so some (most) of my goals are per month instead. I’ll be trying the following:
- Publish 20 posts on this blog!
- Reading 12 types of books I don’t normally read (e.g. I’m a fantasy/sci-fi girl, and rarely read autobiographies);
- Reading 20 books by women (my first list was a little male-heavy; this list is also diverse in terms of ethnicity and genre);
- Watching 12 movies I don’t normally watch (I’ve committed myself to such cinematic horrors as a gangster film and a sports film – two genres I would never normally touch);
- Listen to 20 new artists (I felt like 20 works for this category as it is pretty easy to listen to music – please leave some recommendations in the comments!);
- Go on 12 walks around the local region;
- Go on 12 adventures (a coast trip, more scuba, a day at a museum, laser tag – anything fun and different);
- Go on 12 dates with my husband;
- Run 20km per month (or swim 4km, if running isn’t possible);
- Go to the gym twice a week;
- Save 20% of my income;
- Write monthly emails or letters to my grandparents;
- Write monthly notes to my sponsor child;
- Bake 12 new things;
- Cook 12 new meals;
- Complete 12 art projects;
- Do 12 pieces of calligraphy;
- Complete 12 pages in my beautiful Citrus Book Bindery journal that my wonderful parents bought me for Christmas;
- Get rid of 20 items of clothing (that is a net reduction – if I buy 20 new things and get rid of 20 old things, that doesn’t count – I’d have to get rid of 40 old things. Getting rid of can mean selling, donating, re-purposing, or binning only if it is beyond salvation, as a way of trying to live green).
- Finish one computer game per quarter (I’m terrible for buying a bunch of games and then just not finishing them, unless they are Batman or Tomb Raider).
Now, this may be an epic failure, because on the face of it, it breaks a lot of the rules I set out in my goal-setting post. However, take this list with a pinch of salt, because it has two important rules.
- My health comes first. If trying to complete these things starts to cause my health to decline, everything else takes a backburner, no guilt, until things are back where they should be.
- Even if I remain in perfect health all year, this is a list to try, not a list I will berate myself for not completing. The aim of this list is to be open-minded, try new things, have adventures, and see if I can be a more well-rounded, better-educated person with more experiences at the end of it. I want it to make me into someone who doesn’t put things off for another day (which tends to result in them not getting done ever). If I manage that, this is a success, even if I don’t complete a single category on this list.
I want to do it all, but if I can’t, I’m not going to be unhappy with myself. I will only be unhappy with myself if I don’t even try.
You’ll notice I haven’t put traditional New Year’s guilt goals in there (lose 20 kilos, for example). This list is about making me better and happier through new experiences and good habits, not about guilt.
Project Better Life
My second project is to take control of my life again. Last year, my goals related to singular events that I wanted to achieve, and once achieved (or abandoned) I kind of just drifted along a bit. This year, my focus is broader.
What does reclaiming my life look like? Well, it involves the following:
- Using my time productively: instead of mindlessly scrolling the internets or watching something on Netflix I’ve seen a hundred times before, I’m going to use the time in furtherance of my other goals. That might mean reading one of the books from the above list, using my commute to listen to Audible or a new artists,, spending time with my husband, or going to a gym class. My time is valuable and could be used for so many good things. I don’t want to waste it any more.
- Follow the two-minute rule: if a task can be done in two minutes, do it. That means no more floordrobe, breakfasts prepped ahead of time, etc.
- Being consistent and persevering until I have good habits: I’m going to set myself tasks and schedules(flexible and subject to illness) to see what sticks and what I can keep up with. For instance, I wake up earlier than my husband, so if I can get a load of laundry into the machine on Saturday mornings before he does, I’ll actually have my favourite undies clean and ready to go each week instead of having to resort to the Emergency Knickers (you know, the ones that aren’t that comfy and maybe give you a wedgie but you just can’t justify throwing them out so you shove them into the back of the drawer and wear them when the other ones aren’t available. I’m sure I’m not the only person with this sort of underpants division). Once things are automatic, they’ll be easier to keep up.
- Acting mindfully, deliberately, in pursuit of my long- and short-term goals, and in support of my mental and physical health. I want the choices of what I eat, what I use my time for, what I do at work, to be deliberate and take me in a specific direction. I am going to check back in with my goals regularly to make sure I stay on track.
The reason for this project is simple: endo – any chronic illness, really – robs you of control. I already know that when I have a habit, it is easier to keep it up when I’m lacking in spoons and just want to collapse. I know I sound like a self-help book right now, but I’m feeling positive. I want to ride this wave of energy through the first quarter of the new year and into new, good habits. Once I hit the quarter-year crisis, hopefully I’ll be fore-armed and be able to keep things up on a more long-term basis.
You’ll notice none of the above relate to my endometriosis specifically. You just can’t plan for or control chronic illness. All you can do is deal with it as it happens and keep your mental health strong.
Once again, I’m using my Leaders in Heels ‘Make It Happen‘ planner as a goal-setting tool. I’m not sponsored by LIH or anything; I just really love this planner. It has a great layout and devotes a heap of space to breaking your goals down and referring back to them.
What are your goals and plans, dear readers? What do you want to change this year, if anything? Do you set goals? Once again, please drop recommendations for new music in the comments – new adventures too! I’d also love to hear your thoughts on what you want to see in Bubbles in the Brain this year. Do you have questions about endo you want answered? Topics you wish I’d write about? Let me know.