What to do with 2020 goals in December
2020 has been garbage fire, let’s do what we can with the last month.
The world has been burning, and I, for one, have felt the flames this year.
I started this year, the same as most people, feeling distraught about forest fires. I spent my birthday in lockdown. I spend my grandfather’s 80th birthday in lockdown and the birthday of basically all of my family members since that in lockdown. Now with Christmas around the corner, I’ll be spending it, you guessed right! In lockdown.
A measly Skype call doesn’t ever feel like enough when you live in an entirely different country. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve felt like testing my luck on the borders carrying a birthday cake in my backpack.
As I look back on this year, I see that my overwhelming emotion has been anxiety. I know that for many others, it has been the same.
So what can we do about it at the end of November?
I tend to set intentions for my day. These aren’t like habits or to-do’s but rather a general thing that I either want to accomplish or feel.
For the last six months, my intention has been ‘stay calm’.
I started thinking a few weeks ago that I should really start to fix that. 2020 has been a dumpster fire, but it doesn’t have to steal who I am and what I want for myself.
So over the last week, there has been some variation in my intention setting. Including such gems as ‘start essay’, ‘feel calm’, ‘sort out leftover’, ‘be happy’, and ‘write on Medium’, that last one is why I’m here today. Not all of these will make sense to you but they do to me… and yeah feel calm is the same as stay calm but on that particular day, I really did need to feel calm.
At the beginning of the year, I was going to finish the first draft of my book. Somehow against all odds and a NaNoWriMo loss, I have managed to do that. Not to a great standard, but at least now I have something to edit.
I also wanted to work towards my poetry book.
Hit a certain financial number.
Gain followers on various platforms.
Read 52 books
and a couple of other smaller things.
I’ve failed most of these goals when I normally wouldn’t.
At the beginning of the year, when my extensive planning began to fall to pieces, I did the worst thing that I possibly could have.
I didn’t forgive myself.
I held myself to an unrealistic standard and got angry when I approached the ladder and couldn’t reach the rung.
In an age where people are getting better at self-kindness and self-forgiveness, I somehow managed to screw myself into a tiny ball of self-loathing.
Let’s face it that doesn't help anybody.
What we can do about it now.
We’ve got a month to go. I’m picking my biggest goals, deleting the ones that are too stressful to handle or catch up to and being kind to myself.
We did the best we could this year, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
So, my priorities for the next month are:
Do what makes me happy.
This one is going to be key for me. I’ve spent so much of the holidays upset about Christmas and New Years, trying to figure out how to organise presents across seas and figuring out if I can cook a turkey in a microwave oven.
Whatever happens, I’m going to do what makes me happy. This morning, for example, writing on Medium. Something I really missed. I might not be posting again for a while, but I will post when it makes me happy.
Plan a nice Christmas dinner for my husband and me
That microwave oven isn’t going to stop me. At this point, I deserve a nice Christmas, and there is more than one way to cook a bird. I’m going to celebrate Christmas traditional or otherwise!
Make a reasonable list for 2021
I can’t tell the future. Everything might go back to normal next year, or we might adjust to this new normal a little bit better. What I do know is that I’m going to have a list of goals that I can get done regardless.
I’m going to spend the next month figuring out what my next steps are and making sure that I’m set up ahead of time for success.
For example, I’ll be graduating in 2021, so I can set up my CV to a standard that I’m happy with now, so when it comes time to start looking for jobs I’m ready. These little steps ahead of time will mean that I get less overwhelmed in the future. It’s just setting myself up for little successes.
I’m not a believer in New Years Resolutions. I’m much better with milestones. I’m not setting up habits or lifestyle changes in the new year. I’m just setting tangible goals for myself.
This year my goals could be anything from editing my manuscript to taking care of myself every day.
New Years isn’t a good time to introduce lifestyle changes. Take it from me. I only stopped biting my nails once I started habit tracking in March. Lifestyle changes take a lot of time and a lot of failing and a lot of readjusting, but you’ll make those changes eventually.
There is no point in adding time pressure.
The kind of goals I want you to set are ones that will genuinely benefit your life. Forget giving up chocolate, that’s unrealistic. Let’s try finding a type of exercise that you actually enjoy doing instead.
This one is from personal use, turns out sweating hard in a gym doesn’t work for me, but rollerskating for a few hours is a dream! Instead of continuing to try what doesn’t work for me, like a gym, I went out and found my own version of exercise that I could actually enjoy!
Forget all of the unrealistic dreams unless you really mean them.
Give yourself a why
Set up goals that will enhance your future, that will take you towards the path you want to go.
Maybe it's writing on Medium.
Maybe it's starting the novel.
Maybe its cleaning your house more regularly.
Make sure your goals have a clear outcome and intention. Please give them a good why.
Write on Medium — because you want to get better at short-form content.
Start a novel — because you want to be an author.
Clean your house — because it's better for your mental health.
Forget the kind of change that won’t change your life for the better. Chocolates are great, and everyone should eat them once in a while.
What kind of change will really make you happy?
What kind of change could change your life?
This year I’m going to be kind to myself and give myself goals that I really want to get done. I think you deserve that too! As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!