It’s that time of the year where people make their personal promises for the year and then most fail to keep them going by 18th January. I know that I have fallen into this trap time and time again, year after year, expecting the shift from December 31st to January 1st to miraculously cause a personality shift that allows me to change everything I deem wrong with myself and my situation, and result in the birth of an entirely new, better being. If 2020 taught me anything it is that you don’t really know what lies ahead; no matter your plan, all you can do is roll with the punches. None of us saw 2020 going the way it did. We can have our expectations about how this year will my year and how this is the year that everything changes but we can’t really know what lies in store. So, with this in mind, I want to take a different approach to 2021 where I won’t set definitive goals but instead set focuses for myself. It sounds vague and ambiguous but, for me at least, I hope it will help me focus on tasks this year but also adapt to changing circumstances.
My focuses for 2021 are:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Blogging and Development
- Career and the Future
Now, these are very open and vague topics that could include any number of milestones, but the way I see it is that if I can improve at least one thing for each of these then I am doing better than I was in 2020. For example rather than telling myself, ‘I will lose a stone’, I will instead focus on staying healthy and being sensible with what I eat and drink and realistic with the exercise that I plan to do. Its about taking it day to day, small step by small step rather than the end goal and major dramatic routine shifts. I also know that this contradicts a lot of what people believe is the way to do it, which is to set achievable goals and then track your progress against it and, in a way, my plan this year can be seen as a cop out and may well fail. But I know myself and I know that my motivation and focus, at the moment at least, wavers a lot and to not achieve goals actually becomes detrimental to my wellbeing and drive going forward. So I am hoping that this approach allows me to take it at a slower pace but offers some consistency and maybe a gradual improvement.
Health and Wellbeing
Probably THE most promised resolution every year is to get fit and get healthier etc and I am no exception to this. It has been something I have promised myself annually while my piles of unused weights, fitness mats and running gear are a testament to my many broken promises. This year, I am not going to say I am going to run more or stop drinking because I cannot guarantee I will do either of these. Instead, I set myself a few broader goals that sit within this focus.
- Feel better about myself – This means getting my head in the right place, building my confidence up and making sure I am happier in myself. Basically, shelve miserable Ryan for a few hours a day.
- Get healthier – No weight goals here because if I start exercising and get stronger technically I would get heavier for example (already with the excuses see). No, this one is simply about shifting the beer belly and getting ahead of some of the bad genes I have in my future.
- Consume sensibly – Probably the vaguest one of the lot, but its basically drink less and eat less shit. I don’t want to feel bad for indulging myself, but I need to ensure that these are treats and not routine.
Blogging and Development
Since July 2020 when I restarted the blog, I have actually surprised myself. I managed eleven posts across five months, each of varying quality. Given that this blog has actually existed for several years, that is the longest period of commitment I have had on the site since its conception. Its even more impressive that I have managed this blog alongside the TripleXP blog (shameless plug here) making it twenty four posts sinceJuly. So all I need to do this year is to continue this trend although it wouldn’t hurt to have some consistency in terms of regularity and quality. However, I need to make sure that I continue to enjoy blogging and that it remains a hobby and not a chore; if it becomes a chore then its not something I would like to spend my time doing as I haven’t time for that.
In terms of the development side of the focus, the reason I have put that here is because the blog has provided a solid way of keeping my focus and keeping me active while I have had a lot of downtime. It could be that I push this further with the Blogging for Beginners course here which could help me develop my writing skills further. Or it could be that I learn a new skill. I want it to be open but by the end of the year I would like to make sure I have taken time to develop myself in one way or another.
Career and the Future
2020 turned everything on its head for me, as it did millions of others, and it has made me realise that I need to re-engage with my professional side a lot more. Something I have often relied on and that was taken away from me this year was a clear career path and direction and this left me feeling pretty rudderless. I am not saying I have found my rudder but I think going into 2021 I need to come to terms with a few things:
- Have a more flexible career plan and be open to new opportunities – I have always thought about where I want to be in two/five/ten years and that has seemed to change every year. I need to reset my priorities and be realistic with what I can achieve while also being open minded to what opportunities are in front of me.
- I will never know the future, all I can do is best prepare myself for uncertainties – I was fortunate enough to have put some money aside last year and if I hadn’t the end of 2020/start of 2021 would have been much tighter than it has been. It’s okay to have dreams but I think its sensible to have something to fall back on.
- Understand my skillset and experience better & own it – In the spirit of embracing new opportunities, I need to be realistic with what I can do, what I can’t do and what I can learn to do and own it. I also need to come to terms with my mistakes in the past and any missed opportunities and instead simply move forward, knowing I am who I am now and to grow from there.
As I have been writing this, I have noticed that it could be very easy to a) justify to myself that I have achieved all of these while doing very little and b) it could be difficult to feel a sense of achievement without the clear milestones… however I am sticking to my guns on this one and trying this approach. After all, the clear milestones haven’t worked out well in the past so rather than trying something I have failed at time and time again, it can’t hurt to try a new approach. This blog as well isn’t designed to say the ‘set a goal, achieve the goal’ mentality is the wrong one, this blog is more to hold me accountable for 2021 and to make sure that I make a clear effort to improve on each of these areas in at least one meaningful way. If I do this, then I will have improved over the year and then I can revisit this again. So I guess its time to stop talking and get to it….