21 Goals for 2021

When I wrote my “20 Goals for 2020” last New Year’s day, I had no idea how prescient some of my plans were, especially “Take the sewing machine out of the box” and “Figure out Ipad grading.” That I’d be attempting to sew a mask during a global pandemic and that all grading would soon be electronic… I probably should’ve bought lotto tickets.

Despite the pandemic, I made progress on a number of my main goals for last year. The book got done! I nearly doubled my “Try 30 new recipes” target. And I even hit my exercise and reading numbers, goals that have eluded me for years. I actually finished 104 books in 2020 (goal: 100), and exercised an average of 188 minutes per week (goal: 150 minutes, per the American Heart Association’s recommendations). That I listened to those books while dragging the dogs around the neighborhood for 9,794 minutes/163 hours(!) but still didn’t achieve my “Fit comfortably in my pants” goal is in direct relationship to my robust recipe trials. But if I’ve learned anything in the last 10 months of quarantine life, it’s to be kind to myself.

I’m not going to beat myself up that my plans for volunteering, flying, blogging, and travel went undone. I’m not going to fret that my pants still don’t fit. Working from home has meant wearing pajama bottoms or shorts exclusively. And that’s been one gem of quarantine: Being really, really comfortable while working.

So, in the spirit of kindness and flexibility, because heaven knows what 2021 has in store for us, I’m plotting the following 21 main goals for 2021 (with several 2020 holdovers and along side my usual 50 other smaller projects). And if I only get #1 done, no worries whatsoever.

Walter and Clyde
Part of my wellness plan is taking regular breaks. Luckily, Walter and Clyde make that easy… by demanding them. ha!

1. Prioritize wellness. I deleted “survive” because it sounded too negative, but that’s part of the intention. I want to continue eating better (cough, even more vegetables) and find ways to lessen the work burnout (suggestions are welcomed!).

2. Fly 30 hours. This will entail getting the airplane in shape and getting myself current, but I’ve been on the ground far too long.

3. Make a (dang) lemon meringue pie already. This has been on my goal list for a damn decade, but every time I read recipes, I get too intimidated. If you have a good simple recipe, please send it along!

4. Fix veggie garden drip system. Word on the street has it that we’re going to Home Depot tomorrow, so hopefully this will be an early in the year accomplishment. (Mr. T, are you reading??)

5. Finish touching up baseboards and trim. I painted the parts that were bugging me the most during the summer, but we moved some furniture and there’s more work to be done. Sigh.

6. Build better community with my online classes. Ya’ll. Teaching exclusively online has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Part of the challenge has been due to university and structural constraints out of my control, but I’ve been really missing the usual energy and easy relationships that make my classes fun.

101 Pat-Downs Cover
Forgive me for the shameless self-promotion, but did you know my book is available for pre-order? (SUCH A SURREAL SENTENCE!)

7. Start a new book. I still have some editing and indexing work on 101 Pat-Downs, but I’d like to get started on a new book this year, beyond the puttering I did during NaNoWriMo in November.

8. Fly somewhere new. Seriously this year. Please.

9. Average 150 minutes of exercise per week, with at least half being high intensity. Last year, I followed the American Heart Association’s recommendation for exercise, but thanks to gyms closing, most of it was lower-intensity dog walking. This year, I’d like to get back into shape with more high intensity and strength training.

10. Fit comfortably in my pants. Because I’m SINCERELY hoping I have somewhere to wear them this year. PLEASE universe.

11. Fix up the front yard. We’ve got plans for a whole front yard revamp in progress and I’m hoping it will be done in the first part of the year. I pray it will be a final goodbye to the Bermuda grass that haunts me.

Watermelon in a sling
A 2020 highlight: Wee melons! (No, they weren’t supposed to be wee, but look at this cuteness.)

12. Plant more veggies again. As planned, I expanded my summer garden fare from tomatoes and basil, to green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and watermelons. AS ALWAYS, I was a zucchini failure. How? I do. not. know. I’m the only one on planet earth that doesn’t get drowned in zucchini during the summer. But, I shall persevere again this year, hopefully with more success. Currently, I’m growing winter veggies and let me tell you, the mini broccoli heads are giving me life right now. Fingers crossed I get a Brussel sprout or three.

13. Dissertation model paper. Because lo and behold, it didn’t do itself last year either.

14. Put art up above our bed. Another holdover from last year.

15. Build a fancy bar. T and I are arguing about whether it should be a cart or cabinet, but I’d like something to display some of our pretty glassware and bottles.

16. Plan useful conference events. Because “no” left my vocabulary for a bit last year, I find myself the Second Vice President of the Western States Communication Association and the Vice Chair Elect of the Org Comm division of the National Communication Association. The upshot? I’ve got a lot of stuff to plan!

Seared scallops with saffron tomato cream sauce, instant pot mushroom risotto (amazing), and green beans.

17. Cook seafood twice a week. Related to goal #1 and thanks to meeting with a nutritionist a few weeks ago, I’m working to improve the household diet. One tweak? More fishes. I’ve incorporated shrimp and scallops recently, both good for low-cholesterol diets. I’ll be adding cod and halibut at some point soon. Please send recipes my way and any tips for cooking fish without stinking up the house! (And do note: I hate cooked salmon and really fishy flavored fish (Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous). So save those recipes, please.)

18. Boost nutrient levels. Recent bloodwork told me I have the B-12 levels of a vegan and desperately low levels of vitamin D, among other things. (Narrator: She likes cheese and steak way too much to be vegan). So I’ve been taking a number of supplements recently. Here’s hoping my levels get to healthy soon!

19. Co-author with students. I’ve wanted to collaborate with students for years now, but have been too busy during the tenure-track hustle to take the time required. Now that I’m an associate professor with tenure (Woot! Not everything in 2020 sucked!), I’m ready.

20. Plan our grand European adventure. I’d hoped for 2020 to be the year we visited Europe to mark a life goal and celebrate our 10th anniversary. But, alas. Because I’m sure travel will be precarious for most of this year, I’ll settle for just planning our grand adventure.

21. Holiday trees. Remember folks who coped with early quarantine lockdown by decorating for Christmas in March? That wasn’t me (grumble), but I did promise: When I put up the tree at Christmas, I won’t take it down again until quarantine is over. Sooooo, stay tuned for holiday trees… I’m currently plotting Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s, Easter, and the patriotic holidays. Will take suggestions for other occasions to mark as well. Perhaps National Donut Day? (Yes, that’s for you, G!)

Happy New Year!


P/S I’m also trying to revive my “Blog three times a week” goal, but if this year is anything like the last in terms of screen time, blogs might be happening regularly during breaks and more when I’m back in an actual classroom. We’ll see!

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