Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very goal-directed person. Last year, while I was working at a new position, I was asked to set goals. I did; every day, I worked towards those goals. But, the trouble with goals is that they don’t exist in a vacuum, mostly because you don’t exist in a vacuum. As the saying goes, life happens.
In my opinion, goals are most often attainable when they are:
- Set realistically
- Sincerely Communicated and Desired
- Supported by those around you whether that be family or co-workers or friends.
Despite the fact that I am no longer working, I still have goals – both personal and professional. Today, I’ll share with you what some of my goals are and why I have them. I’m viewing this as somewhat of a public accountability page. Next month, or three months from now, or even next January, I can check back on my goals to see how I am doing in my pursuit of them. You, my readers, can feel free to stop by anytime to see how I am fairing, as well.
Goal #1: Blogging
Sometime during March of 2020, I will have made 1,000 blog posts on The Apples in My Orchard! Wow! Three years ago I set my sights on a goal of writing every day for the month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. Three years later, I am still writing every day. Well, almost. Last year I had 315 posts out of 365 days. In 2018, that number was 340 posts for 365 days!
My goal for this year is to attain at least 1,000 views a month. I just met this goal for this month, and January has been typically slow for me in the past! I am excited that I seem to be setting the pace to accomplish this goal.
Goal #2: Reading
I enjoy reading for pleasure, as well as reading to learn. I love being in the middle of an interesting novel and stealing away a few minutes in the afternoon to take in a few pages of the story. I find that when I don’t have that time, I miss it. This goal does not include audiobooks, for that is not really reading. Is it? This goal might be lofty for me, but I would like to read at least two books a month in the coming year. I think I might miss this goal already this month, however. Unfortunately, I’ve only finished one book in January, Stop People Pleasing by Patrick King. But now, I am reading Of Windmills and War. Also, in the process of being read is Little Women ( yes, that Little Women – the original), and The Boys in the Boat. So, while it might look like I’m currently behind if I finish the last three by the end of February, I’ll be right on target!
Goal #3: Establishing a regular exercise routine
Up until today, this meant trying to get to the YMCA with my husband two mornings a week. I’ve been walking on a treadmill while he swims. Boring! And, while it’s good for my cardiovascular health, I would really like to tone up AND lose about 10-15 pounds. If truth be told, I’d feel successful if I just established a routine for exercise. This morning I spent 20 minutes perusing various workout videos available through Amazon Prime. Three or four were passed by after I “tried” the video for a few minutes. Various things disturbed me, like the tone of the coach’s voice or initial exercise being too difficult. So, I landed back on a video I had already purchased – Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I did the warm-up and decided this work out would be “it” for the next month for me. I’ll let you know how it goes. Walking twice a week on a YMCA treadmill and once a week outside with a friend will continue also.
Goal #4: Speak at a Professional Conference
In all honesty, this was a work-related goal that I decided to carry over to my personal life when I resigned in early October. I’ve spoken at conferences before. Some of them include the Wisconsin State Master Gardener Conference (2015), the International Master Gardener Conference (2015), the Spring into Gardening Conference hosted by our local Master Gardener Association in 2018, and the WEAC Professional Issues Conference in 2015. I am not a stranger to doing this. But, in March, I will speak at a Citizen Science Conference in Wisconsin! It will be the first time I’ve spoken with my environmental education degree in hand! In other words, I now have a legitimate authority to speak! Long having been involved in Citizen Science, I am thrilled to be included amongst the presenters for this conference.
Goal #5: Cultivating Priority of Self
Yeah, I know this sounds weird. And, so it might be. But, I have long put my needs aside for others. It has been my choice to do this. However, it is now time to care for me and make self-care a priority. This means being conscious of who and what has a negative effect on me. It also means that I need to set limits on what I can and should be doing for others, in place of doing things for myself. I am being purposely ambiguous, but I know this is something that I need to do. If something or someone affects me negatively, then I need to step back or step away. This will require a great deal of work but I am ready to do it.
Goal #6: Care for my Aging Parents
Again, this is hard. I live almost 900 miles from my parents. My father received a sobering diagnosis this month. Luckily, other than being completely healthy, it is the best we could have hoped for. He is 83. He has outlived his own father. But, as is true for anyone, it is hard to see your parents age. And, I believe their aging has had a greater effect on me because I see it all at once after not being around them enough to note the gradual day to day changes. I’ve resolved to call them more frequently, let them know I care in a variety of ways, and travel to see them as often as I can. After all, they won’t live forever. I am the one who now needs to make more of an effort.
Goal #7: Don’t let the outer world affect my inner world.
In the last few years, I’ve noted that my quirks have risen to the surface more often. For example, I get very upset at social injustices. This does not really include the horrible things you might think like our plastic waste problem as described in this excerpt from a Van Jones TED talk in 2011.
The outer world problems that affect my inner world include things like a broken educational system, broken health care systems, a dying planet, everyday bias, greed, and misinterpretation of what integrity really is. Many of these outer world problems are things I’ve spent time trying to fix over the last two decades. But, you see, I’ve come up short. People, many people, do not want change – they want to continue to live with bias, ignorance, selfishness, and bribery. These three things affect every facet of our lives today. But, if you bring any of them up to the surface, for discussion, you immediately become an outsider, a trouble-maker, or renegade!
For my own health, I need to not let the outer world affect my inner world. And, this means not being consumed by social media, the 24/7 news cycle, gossip, false claims, negativity, and insincerity. I need to watch what I consume and put myself on a cognitive diet if I note leakage of angst into my daily life. It’s just not worth it.
So, as you can see, I have some pretty lofty goals for 2020. However, I do believe we are all works in progress. The progress is gauged by individual goal setting and measuring. I am looking forward to 2020 being a year of personal success!