I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating the shape of my 2021 goals. Initially, I just made myself a traditional list, the way I do most years. Then I started to think about what I’d really like to accomplish – not just accomplish, but work toward. I started to think about the theme of that work, and hit on a One-Word for 2021 that feels 100% right:
I realized that I don’t just want a list of tasks this year. I want a journey. I want a path to travel, even if I don’t make it to any specific end-goal. I want to look back on 2021 and see what I’ve accomplished in action, even if action doesn’t necessarily end in progress. There have been too many years when, no matter how hard I try, I don’t reach my number-oriented end-goals. This year, I want to do something different. So I’m building these goals around the concept of Momentum, with the hope to build a Better Me through 2021.
Note: I designed these goals prior to discovering (on 12/26) the probable root of my inflammation/illnesses/health issues (what shall be known from now on as the Devil-Bed). Going into 2021, I don’t know if removing the source of these problems will allow my body to regain its health (and normality!), or if the past 5+ years have caused permanent damage. It’s possible that I’ll be able to reach specific end-goals in 2021. It’s also possible that I need time to heal, or adapt to this being a permanent “normal” for me. So I’m not changing my original ideas, and will continue to focus on actions rather than results.
Medical: I need to catch up on the many, many backlogged medical tests/exams/visits that I’ve put off either due to covid or distrust (with good reason) of doctors. (A mammogram, an orthopedic surgeon, a urogynecologist, a sleep specialist, an endocrinologist, and a rheumatologist.) I also have a combo functional medicine and PCP physician covered by my insurance that I plan to change over to if my current new doctor ends up being hyper-focused on symptoms rather than the whole situation. Note: If my body goes back to being normal after removing the Devil-Bed from my life, some of these visits won’t matter anymore.
Fitness: Generally, I’m pretty good in this category, so I’m aiming for some stretch goals here. I want to train for a half-marathon (can be walked or walk/run) throughout the year to build endurance with a tangible finish line. Along the way, I’d like to walk/run/hike 500+ miles and explore some new-to-me areas. Bonus points if I can improve my current mile and 5K PR!
Nutrition: This is an area that will require a lot of tweaking. Everything I’ve done – for the last five years – in terms of nutrition (food sensitivities, carb-balance, etc) has been influenced by the Devil-Bed, so I need to rediscover the best nutrition for my body. I’ll need to retest for food sensitivities, improve hydration-balance, and test carb-balance. Furthermore, I plan to cut coffee altogether (the earlier, the better) and generally move toward eating more real food again, with higher numbers of fruits and veggies (always a challenge for me!). This category may be a bit fluid depending on how my body changes post Devil-Bed.
Sleep: Insomnia remains my #1 health issue, ongoing for over nine years now. I’ve just replaced my Devil-Bed, which I hope will improve the situation. Furthermore, I plan to cut coffee altogether, get my nutrition right for my body, take regular magnesium citrate supplements, see another sleep specialist if necessary, and turn off all screens and blue-light early in the evening. (Yes, some of these goals are overlapping other categories. Health is interrelated!)
Injury Prevention: Part of moving forward is making sure I’m not forced to a grinding halt, yeah? So I need to be consistent with stretching, yoga, foam rolling, and strength training (even when I dislike the latter two!).
Home Environment: As we continue to shelter at home during this pandemic, I need to make my home environment more comfortable and less chaotic. Some of this is tangible, like finishing the house-construction bits that we can do ourselves (front yard; back siding; internal walls from siding construction; replace the boys’ toilet; rewire the garage). Some is monetary: paying down debt and not adding to it (especially with further house issues if at all possible!). The last bit is personal: begin mornings with some gentle yoga; improve and follow my routines even with everyone home (this is far hard!) especially on weekends; do more to keep the house uncluttered.
Mental Health: Considering what 2020 has taken away, my mental health has been remarkably stable over the last year. To keep it that way, and improve it further, I need to return to regular yoga practice, continue hiking socially, get together with old friends when that’s allowed again, take a vacation if at all possible (our last one was Sept 2018!), get out of my comfort zone to explore new things/places, and potentially look into Sondermind to find a better therapist than I’ve been able to get in town.
Contribution: My family has been very fortunate throughout this pandemic, and it’s made us more conscious of the ways in which we can give back. Jason and I together decided that we want to avoid using Amazon and other big businesses as much as possible in 2021. Instead, we’ll focus our purchases on small or local businesses, especially women-owned, women-oriented, non-white-owned, and/or LGBTQIA-owned. Additionally, if at all possible re: covid, I’d like to volunteer at my local library this year.
Career/Identity: In 2020, I decided against the career I had in mind, because I realized that I absolutely do not want to go back to the traditional academic route. I’ve spent months thinking about careers I’ve considered over the last decade. One has stood out over the rest. I’m not ready to discuss the details publicly, but in 2021, I’d like to read, study, and explore this direction to see if it ends up a viable, feasible path for me. “Career” has never been a dream of mine, and I’ve never had more than a vague thought about what I wanted to do beyond raising and taking care of my family. So when I do choose a path, I want it to be more than “a job.” I want to do something that I can put my passion into. This goal is about discovering if my initial passion and interest is one I can mold into something more. (And yes, I 100% recognize that this is an incredibly privileged place to be in, and am grateful for the opportunity to explore.)
This is my vision board for 2021 – focused on Momentum and the actions that I want to take. I look forward to seeing where this vision takes me!
Yes, there are results I’d like to get out of my 2021 goals. I’ve built these goals around forward progress rather than end-results, because end-results aren’t always within my control. These markers aren’t aims to reach for, but hopeful outcomes. Some of these are already mentioned above:
- Find/fix any secondary cause(s) of my inflammation/illnesses
- Improve VO2 Max
- Improve resting heart rate
- Improve one-mile and 5K PR times
- Decide on a future career path
- Walk/run/hike 500+ miles
- Complete 30+ pushups
- Decrease overall family debt
- Lose weight (yes, I have a specific number in mind, but more importantly, I’d like to get my weight generally trending in the right direction)
- Find doctors I can trust and that will help me
In the past, I’ve rewarded myself for end-results rather than actions taken. This year will be different. At the end of 2021, I’d like to take a critical look back over how I achieved my goal of Momentum. (As illustrated by the Judgement tarot card.) If I’ve done well – regardless of results – I’ll give myself a big reward. I have one in mind: a larger, more expensive tattoo that I haven’t been able to justify in the past. This feels like a good thing to work toward without also becoming a hinderance in the form of “but I’ll never make it.” And if I don’t do well, if I fail to make progress, Judgement is a good time to look back, reevaluate what did and didn’t work for me, and make new plans going forward. Even that, in a way, is a good step forward.