Each year, January comes with a burst of energy that comes from having a fresh start, and people everywhere make sweeping declarations of all that they hope to change this year — I’m going to lose the weight! I’m going to stay off my phone! I’m going to read more books! And then, so often, life happens, and we remember just why all those things were so hard to do in the first place. Or maybe we realize, after giving a new resolution our all, that it wasn’t what we really wanted after all.
Last month, I took the chance to ponder over my original 101 in 1001 list. I was coming up on the year mark of having made the list (and knew that because I’m working on those, I wouldn’t be making my traditional New Year’s resolutions), and I wanted to make sure that all of the items on it still felt fresh, relevant, and were things I still wanted.
And you know what?
I initially thought I wasn’t going to change hardly any, but I actually ended up changing twelve–over 10% of the whole list.
I’ve been setting goals (both the traditional resolutions for each new year, as well as lots of other kinds) for many years. And, at the danger of sounding braggy, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping many of the goals I’ve set for myself. However, it hasn’t always been that way–I’ve definitely learned a few really key things that need to happen in order for me to stick with a goal:
1.The goal needs to be measurable, and it needs to have a deadline.
People talk about setting SMART goals for a reason—vague declarations don’t get us anywhere, at least not for long. As my dad often quoted to us growing up, “Progress measured is progress accelerated.” So I try and make sure that all of my goals are measurable and have a specific time period to them.
2. I need to read over my goals frequently.
With some goals (like my goal this month to go off of sugar), it’s easy to remember because it’s so big and so frequent that you don’t need the reminder. But often, with other good intentions, it can be all too easy to totally forget them unless they’re written down AND actually looked at frequently. I keep a notebook that has my 101 in 1001 list at the very front, and I write my monthly goals and my weekly to-dos in the same book, and each week, I make sure to read over my 101 in 1001 list and my monthly goals list as I’m making my weekly to-do list (and then I just check the weekly to-do list on a daily basis). It guarantees that my goals are usually top of mind, so I’m much more likely to complete them.
3. I’m more likely to complete my goals if I have external accountability.
This doesn’t always hold true for everybody, but I know that for me personally, if I tell other people, I’m WAY more likely to follow through. It’s for this reason that I blog about my goals frequently.
4. Goals that are actually new habits I want to implement need to be tied to the routines and habits I already have in place.
One of the most useful things I read from reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before was that if you want to establish a new habit, it’s best to attach it to a habit you already have in place. For example, Matt and I have both seriously amped up our study of the scriptures over the past few months. Our secret to success? That we both read right after putting the kids into bed. Since the kids need to be put to bed every night, we had a built-in habit already in place that was easy to stack another habit right on top of. As a result, neither of us have missed a day of scripture study in months.
5. I need to feel excited about my goals, which means that I regularly need to evaluate why I’m setting the goal in the first place.
Over time, my priorities and interests shift (not to mention the time, money, or energy I’m able to put into certain things). That is why it’s important to regularly evaluate whether my goals are still working for me. Sometimes I discover that I set a goal because it was something I felt that I “should” do, but not something I really *wanted* to do. Sometimes, something that once held a lot of importance for me simply ends up not mattering much to me several months later. Other times, I just want a fresh goal–something new I’m particularly excited about–rather than just a so-so goal I might have set in the past.
The glorious thing about a 101 in 1001 list is it hits all the bullet points above, and it also lends itself well to being changed occasionally, as the time period (of almost 3 years) is a longer one. I’m in a different place now than I was a year ago when I set those initial 101 goals, so it makes sense that over that much time, certain priorities and interests and focuses have changed.
And that’s okay! It’s absolutely okay to change up your goals! A past version of myself would have kept on trucking on a goal no matter what (even if my heart was no longer in it), but my time to work on personal projects and goals is so limited now that I choose only to focus on what is most important and most fulfilling, and it’s been a good shift.
So, here are the twelve goals from my original 101 in 1001 list that I’m throwing out and why (the numbers are the line number that each item was on my original 101 in 1001 list):
- #4 – Do 50 push-ups in a row
- Back when I was younger, I did push-ups on an almost daily basis, and I’d worked my way up to being able to do over 100 push-ups on my toes. I wanted to capture that same feeling of strength and power, but push-ups are not a go-to exercise for me anymore (as they tend to hurt my wrists and now my back), so it doesn’t make sense for me to keep this goal, especially as I wasn’t excited to work daily on it.
- #17 – Take a cooking class
- The thought of adding one more regular appointment to our evening schedule was daunting, and I knew there were other ways (that wouldn’t cost a cent) for me to reach a similar end result without boxing myself in to yet another weekly obligation.
- #19 – Type up all my personal journals
- This has been on my general bucket list for a long time, but after I successfully typed up all my mission journals and went to start on the rest of my journals, I discovered that most were filled with cringe-worthy pages of boy drama and teenage angst, and I honestly just couldn’t stomach the thought of reliving all of that at the moment. So I’m shelving this goal, perhaps permanently (because let’s be honest–my other personal journals written up until I was about 21 don’t have that many nuggets of wisdom or insight worth typing up).
- #35 – Read 2 plays
- Here is the perfect example of a goal I set because I felt I “should.” The fact is, I’ve never been a huge fan of reading plays (including Shakespeare…*gasp*!). Perhaps as I get older, I’ll try this one again, but for now, I’m okay with my reading life as it currently stands.
- #50 – Complete my Sudoku book
- I still love doing my Sudoku puzzles, but I quickly started to realize that unless I did one just about every day, I wasn’t going to finish this one. And I never want one of my “fun” things to suddenly feel not fun because it’s something I HAVE to do every day. So I’ll keep working on some as I get a free moment, but I won’t frantically try to get through the whole book by the end anymore.
- #52 – Reach 50 people on my email list
- If I’m still blogging when my kids are all in school (if blogging is still even a thing people do/read), I would love to have an email list where I can send out weekly or monthly newsletters, do bonus content, and tell you about personal projects I’m working on. For this season of my life? It’s just not something I can prioritize right now–I simply don’t have the time or energy.
- #53 – Reach 100 people on my email list
- Ditto. (By the way, you can still subscribe through your email to get a notification every time a new post goes up, but I’m not going to be supplementing those anytime soon with other content.)
- #57 – Reach 300 followers on Bloglovin’
- Bloglovin’ is still one of my favorite ways for people to subscribe to all my posts (which is why I’m still keeping #56, which is to reach 200 followers on that platform), but after doing a lot of soul searching over the past few months, I’ve realized that I don’t have all that much time, energy, or desire to actively grow the blog right now. The truth is, growing a blog takes a LOT of work outside the obvious work of writing posts, and it’s work that involves a lot of tracking analytics and comparing numbers of followers and time spent on social media, all of which I’m trying to do less of at this point in my life. I’ll still do some promotion of posts, but I’m not going to be spending nearly the amount of time I was before (which is one reason I announced on my personal Facebook page that if people wanted to follow my blog posts, they needed to subscribe to my blog’s Facebook page because I was no longer going to be sharing the posts in both places anymore).
- #61 – Finish the first draft of my book
- I have long cherished the ambition of publishing a book, which is still a dream I might go for someday. However, the book I was working on–though it could have been promising, as I thought the premise was original–no longer excites me, and hasn’t for a long time. While I will always love writing, I don’t know that I will ever translate that love into trying to get an actual book published. But we’ll see. I’m not throwing out the dream forever, but I’m just choosing to not work on it now (and probably won’t ever finish the book I was in the middle of).
- #65 and #66 – Reach 500 (and then 1,000) followers on Instagram
- Although Instagram has been a useful place to increase the traffic to the blog, I HATED the feeling that I was getting caught up in a numbers game I was destined to always feel I was failing at. When I was super actively pursuing this, I was feeling the need to post nearly every day (even if I didn’t feel like it), and I would often get frustrated by the hordes of people on IG who follow and then unfollow you, just in the hopes of increasing their own visibility. Lately, I’ve felt that the benefits of social media don’t outweigh all the negatives, so I’ve been largely opting out of the game. And I’m better off for it.
- #74 – Finish reading over Matt’s book
- I’m definitely still planning to give feedback (and lots of it) on the trilogy Matt was has been working on for literally years, but as he keeps going back and making significant revisions after his own readings, I’m not sure I’ll be stepping in to give my feedback during the span of this 101 in 1001 project, so I wanted to set a goal I had more control over.
And now that I’ve wrapped up all the goals I’m throwing out, it’s time for the fun part–the goals I’m adding in! All of these are a lot more relevant to me right now in my life, and although many of them feel pretty daunting (especially because many of them involve significant chunks of money), I’m still excited to make some progress on all of them! So, here are the twelve goals I’m adding in:
- Buy a new laptop
- Matt and I own two computers–a very nice desktop computer that we purchased for my photography business (but which Matt will use too for his own personal projects) and an ancient laptop that Matt has had for over 10 years. The desktop is in our basement office, which makes it ideal for working on more focused projects. The laptop is in our kitchen, and it’s the one I use most, for when I need to pay bills, look up a recipe, blog where I can hear/see the kids playing, etc. (keep in mind that we don’t own smartphones, so our old laptop gets a lot of use!). However, the laptop has been on the fritz for awhile, complete with not having been able to hold a charge for the whole time we’ve been married (almost 8 years), shutting off right in the middle of projects (when the cord comes unplugged, because the cord has to be in *just* the right place in order for the computer to stay on), and being so slow that I regularly keep a book by it to read for when I’m waiting for my pages to load (yes really). Time for a change. (Note: as we don’t buy things on credit or in installments (including our vehicles), I should note that all these goals mean paying for these things in cash.)
- Perfect my homemade pizza
- This is my goal that’s replacing the goal of taking a cooking class, and it’s one I’m super excited about! I’d consider myself a pretty decent cook, but for some reason, my homemade pizza never tastes quite as good as most others that I’ve tried, and I’m determined to change that! I’ve already dubbed Friday nights (in the winter, anyway) as pizza nights, so I should be able to figure this out over the next year and a half.
- Learn 3 new songs on the guitar
- Matt surprised me big-time this Christmas by getting me the guitar I’d learned on years ago (which was owned by my brother), and while I don’t have a ton of time to work on my musical skills anymore, I figure I can at least learn 3 new songs between now and October 2020. It will be better than nothing, at any rate!
- Re-read Jesus the Christ
- I first read this amazing work on my mission, and I’ve been wanting to reread it ever since.
- Read five books recommended by five different people
- I’m pretty good at assigning myself books and finding stuff that I think I’ll like on my own, but there’s just something that sounds so fun about someone else getting to choose what I read!
- Update at least one light fixture
- Changing up light fixtures is one of the easiest ways to add a totally fresh look to a room, but it’s always kind of scared me to try it. There are quite a few rooms I’d love to change out the current fixture in, but I want to try and get around to at least one.
- Install shelves in the upstairs bathroom
- I mentioned this in my last post on house updates we hope to tackle this year, and it’s one I’m hoping to cross off in the next few weeks!
- Buy a bigger vehicle
- It’s no secret that we’d like to add more kids to our family, and as soon as we add a third child (whenever that is), our current car situation is no longer going to be feasible. (And if any of you local people know of anyone selling their minivans or SUVs over the next year or so, let us know!)
- Install book racks in kids’ room
- Another project I mentioned in my last post.
- Buy a full-frame camera
- This has been a dream of mine for years and years, but if my photography business keeps on growing like it has been, this one should be do-able. (I’ve got my eye on the Nikon D850, in case you’re interested.)
- Fill up a sketchbook
- As a teen, I was really into art and took all sorts of art classes throughout my junior high and high school years (although interestingly, never a photography class). However, due to a bad case of comparivitis in high school (when I convinced myself I could never be as good as anyone else whose work I admired), I abruptly stopped and never looked back. I’d like to start again with absolutely zero expectations for how it will turn out.
- Open up savings accounts for the kids
- Nothing fancy — just a couple savings accounts through our credit union. I figured that’s better than a jar in their bedroom 🙂
There you go! The 12 new goals I’m adding, and why (in way more detail than you probably cared to know).
Do you ever change your goals partway through? Do you ever feel guilty anytime you do? (What, just me?)