Preparing for planning 2021

Brașov, December 2020

One thing I like most about December is that it brings hope for a new beginning, as the year is coming close to an end..

I am usually busy in December. It’s a tough month at school with mid-term finals and generally people try to squeeze more work into fewer weeks in order to have more relaxed holidays. So I usually end up feeling rested on 26th of December and ready to plan my goals for the following year.

Which is always tiresome, as I don’t have enough time to reflect on the past year and I usually focus on the next. Like last year when I spent much time devising a complex goals system which turn out to be to cumbersome and I gave it up one month in and continued to focus on what was already important to me anyway...

This year, however, I started early. At the beginning of the month I started to reflect on this year, what sadness, what joy, what people, what opportunities, what disappointments, what boredom, what hopes and what sorrows it brought. I hope this list would help me be more focused with setting my priorities for the next year.

Because one thing I’ve definitely learned this year is that life is short. Later can come or not, so we’d better do what matters to us right now, when we can still experience it.

So I am searching my brain for achievements, moments, experiences I had in 2020. Those I look back on include, though are not limited to, the following:

  • having dinner in January with my friends talking about Covid in Asia;
  • being scared in the airport in Paris in February while realising Covid is no joke;
  • loving the Lisbon air at a conference once again and setting up my Zoom account in March;
  • working out almost every day in April and preparing my online courses;
  • running in May for the first time before the end of the lockdown;
  • resuming my long walks and bicycle rides and playing badminton with the boyfriend in June;
  • working at the Faculty in July;
  • finally deciding to buy my dream laptop, spending time with fam and hiking in August;
  • talking on the phone all day on my birthday in September;
  • loving autumn, mourning my father and carving a pumpkin in October;
  • spending time with my mom and my brother at home in November.
  • December isn’t over, but one particular moment that my students created during a seminar will be close to my heart for a long time.

It will soon be time to set my goals for 2021. A new decade is upon us so maybe I will spend some time reflecting on where I’d like to be in five or ten years. I was always bad at this and I don’t believe that I can actually consider where I’ll be in five or in ten years. But I can reflect on, if I make it there, what kind of person I want to be.

What I want for 2021 I don’t yet know. I don’t know what I want for Christmas either, except for health for us all. Maybe to have the power to push through the hard times, to find hope, to persevere, to have courage and kindness and to follow our minds and hearts. So a lot of the more difficult strengths.

To set up my goals for the new year I will probably focus on what to continue, what to start and what to stop doing – I’ve got this idea from muchelleb’s YouTube channel, but I just can’t find that video so I am linking here her channel instead of the respective video…

First, I intend to reflect who I want to be at the end of 2021. It’s clear to me by now that I can’t control anything other than by behaviour and my reactions, therefore my goals are in line with this. I will then proceed with writing down steps and concrete actions on how I can get myself there. And then I will just do it.

I must say I am not really sure there will be many new things. I will just start one or two new things, as my intention for the new year is to continue many of my current activities and good habits.

At the same time, I must say that my main reason for setting up goals is that I want to be more focused and more intentional on how I spend my time. I feel great about my life when I can actually find value in what I do. Don’t we all?

I do recommend setting some goals for 2021 especially to those of you interested in being happier or more satisfied with your life. The goals don’t have to be big goals; they should just encompass desires turned into small steps that you can take, behaviours which will actually improve your life.

Thus, it’s not about weighting x amount of kg, but rather about moving your body for 30 minutes five out of seven days. It’s not about publishing a book, but rather about working for 30 minutes every other day on the book. It’s not about becoming an influencer, but rather about posting a video or a podcast episode every week. It’s not about being an expert in a field, but about reading on a topic every day for about 60 minutes. And so on, so forth. It’s not about the results, but about living a life that fulfils you.

I’ve been monitoring myself a lot since 2016 when I went though a phase of feeling overwhelmed. I’ve learned so much about myself though the process like noticing that many of my habits didn’t actually brought me joy although I thought they do; why else was I watching so much TV? It turns out, I was procrastinating more than I enjoyed a series. Paying attention to how food tastes I realised not all fried potatoes are created equal and those which taste different than what I like don’t deserve the gain [in weight, I mean].

Therefore, the steps we take in order to live the lives we want are to be small at first. There may be life changing moments and some of you may have the motivation and power and courage to change it all at once. In my experience, this is seldom the case. Most times, we need to do a little something every day in order to actually enforce the behaviours we want to repeat.

Do I believe everybody should have goals for 2021? No. I do believe, however, that people would be happier and more focused if they had goals. Not necessarily for 2021, but for spring, for summer, for autumn or for winter, for the week, the month, the semester, or for the next birthday, or for tomorrow. In general, to have goals. Not dreams, but goals.

Make today count!

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