A couple weeks ago, my social media timelines were alive with people discussing their top 2021 accomplishments. My first thought? I survived.
Despite so much hopefulness about vaccines and a new administration, 2021 was one of the most difficult and stressful years on record for me. An entire year of virtual teaching from my living room had a lot to do with it, but I can’t quite remember a year filled with so much sadness, uncertainty, pain, and loss.
The last couple months were especially brutal, so when New Year’s rolled around and I started thinking about my annual goal setting post, I was shocked to discover I actually achieved more than half of my 21 goals for 2021. The lemon meringue pie? Sublime. (Thank you for the recipe, Amy!) The 30 hours of flying happened during our cross-country trip to Wyoming, Illinois, and Osh (one big bright spot from last year). The veggie garden drip works. I upcycled an old cabinet into a whisky bar for Mr. T. We fixed up the front yard finally. Heck, I even coauthored with a former student, cooked seafood twice a week, started planning a trip to Europe, outlined a new book, and crafted a dozen holiday trees. (Let’s not talk about the exercise or pants-fitting goals, ahem).
What I unfortunately missed almost entirely? Prioritizing wellness. I did take my vitamins and do near-daily dog walks. But last year felt more stressful and exhausting than any year of my existence, including back when I flew once a week while finishing a dissertation. One big reason? I took on way too much work. And more to the point, I cared too much about it.
So, thinking about goal setting in year two of a pandemic, my personal theme is boundaries. I’m going to continue my quest to care less about work, to take things less personally, to let the annoyances of the world hit my heart less. (Wish me all the luck, please.) And I’m going to be better about communicating my boundaries, especially as they relate to work/life negotiation.
I’m starting by tailoring my goal list to things I actually want to do, rather than the things I’ve told myself I have to do. Like the dissertation model paper that’s been on my to-do list for almost nine years now. I need to come to terms with the fact that some goals are derived from made-up expectations and “shoulds” that bring a whole lot of undue pressure and guilt. Because yes, I’ve felt guilty for the last going-on nine years that this damn model paper isn’t finished. And it’s not like anyone is sitting here waiting for it. And it’s not as if I haven’t already written an entire book on the topic. SIGH.
So, my 22 goals for 2022, no shoulds allowed:
1. Prioritize wellbeing. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
2. Finish new book proposal. I started in October and got waylaid by my (over) commitments.
3. Make croissants. I finally hopped on the Great British Bake-Off train. My entire goal list could be baking related quite frankly!
4. Finish the NaNoWriMo novel. Started a novel in November and, shocking, got waylaid by my (over) commitments.
5. Plant more veggies. All garden box irrigation systems are functional. I repeat: All garden box irrigation systems are functional. They’ve never worked properly since the boxes were built in 2013, so join me in celebrating the prospect of backyard bounty unhampered by my haphazard watering skills.
6. Average 150 minutes of exercise per week, with at least half being high intensity. A hold over from last year’s list. As in past, I achieved the American Heart Association’s recommendation for exercise last year, but didn’t do much beyond low intensity dog walking. This year, I’m getting back into shape with more high intensity exercise and strength training.
7. Fit comfortably in my pants. Because I’d sincerely love to wear the nice clothes I own some day.
8. Do the splits again. Don’t ask me why this goal popped into my head last year. I decided I wanted to be able to do the splits again by my 40th birthday. Which, oh. my. gawd., is not that far away.
9. Put art up above our bed. Another holdover from last year(s).
10. Create a gallery wall in the living room. I’m hopeful this will tamp down the twinge to repaint the living room
11. Keep cooking seafood twice a week. Health goals continue!
12. Organize the office. We’ve finally realized that a huge reason for our office clutterbug status, aside from the obvious correlations between messiness and genius, is that we lack proper storage. So many things don’t have a home, so they end up piled on our desks or on the floor. Hopefully not for much longer!
13. Finish touching up base boards and trim. A holdover from last year.
14. Fly 30 hours. Would love to get back to Mackinac one of these years!
15. Enjoy a Grand European Adventure. I’m hoping and praying COVID settles down so we can celebrate my 40th (and our 10-year anniversary) in France, as planned.
16. Stain backyard veggie boxes. Because the old guys must be jealous of the fancy front yard boxes in their fancy coats.
17. Transplant succulents. I’ve got an overflowing wheelbarrow of succulents that would dearly love more space.
18. New range top. This goal is entirely Mr. T’s fault. In November, during the one time I was out of town all year long, he initiated a mini kitchen makeover. It started by replacing our over-range microwave with a stand alone stove hood, and buying me a microwave/air fryer-in-one contraption. Next up will be replacing our cooktop with a range top, swapping white enable for stainless, and hopefully with open burners.
19. NIH grant. Although I’ve worked on several federally funded grant projects, I have yet to test the waters of major grant writing on my own. Hopefully that ends this year!
20. Plan successful conference events. Because my over-commitments continue, I’ll be planning several conference events this year. Hopefully COVID won’t quash them (again).
21. Get my 182 up and running again. To facilitate the flying and also because I’m having Cessna withdrawals.
22. Blog three times a week. And because I’m on sabbatical this spring (WOOHOO), it might just happen this year.
What are you planning for this year?