To me, yearly goals or resolutions are like a mid-distance race. Start out too fast, and you’ll burn out. Too slowly, and you won’t have the time to catch up and finish strong.
A few months ago, I updated some goals I had for the next 1-5 years in several areas of my life. I believe that goals are dreams unless you actively move toward them, and part of that process for me is to check-in every once in a while to see what kind of progress I’ve made. Additionally, I’d like to hone in on exactly what I hope to accomplish in 2019 so that I can put the most energy into those things.
I’ve recently been realizing that my energy, motivation, and attention span have limits; before, I’d try to do a little of everything, accomplish big things quickly, and feel disappointed when I don’t. It’s only natural that I struggled learning Japanese and Chinese simultaneously, so I dropped one. Budgeting meals and gaining muscle mass doesn’t mix. I’m not interested in piano enough to put in the hours of practice I need to be good at it. And so on and so forth. I’ve made a lot of progress towards the things that are the most important to me in 2018 when I focused on just a few things. Work. Chinese. Friends. Games. Yoga. Traveling. Still a lot. But not more than I could handle. I’m still only 26 after all.
Looking back, 2018 was about re-discovering myself. Getting back into the state of mind that makes me most productive, social, and content was something I don’t think I was in since I graduated college. Good study habits and life balance kinda fell off the wagon without really realizing it. I used to write to do lists and weekly schedules and keep my room nice! Living in China helped me to get back into those ways, and I need to focus on keeping good habits and positive mindsets, because that’s when I work and live best. Mindfulness was also something that I haven’t really put effort into in the recent years; being far too stressed about both my pasts and futures to appreciate the present. 2018 was a good year for that because I knew I’d most likely be in Shanghai for only one year, so I did my best to live in the moment and be present.
That being said, let’s look at how my other 2018 goals went:
As of: January, 2019
-Run a marathon:
Moved this to a long-term goal. Not really in love with running anymore, so it’s more like something I’d want to do after some of my other short-term goals.
Nope, no plans to, but if the opportunity comes, then I’ll do one.
-Another Spartan Sprint:
Maybe this year!
-100 push ups/sit-ups every weekday:
Fell off the wagon for a couple months, but I’m back on it.
-Handstands every day for 1 year
A challenge that I’ve started with a friend for 2018. Another way to improve the way I use my body + it’s fun. UPDATE: I’ve completed this challenge! While I feel that I haven’t made much progress the past couple of months, I know that I’ve progressed very far from when I started.
-Keep practicing yoga
Using an app called DownDog, I practice about once a week. My goal for 2019 is to make it out to some classes in my area so that I can meet new people and evaluate how far I’ve come on my own.
-50-70K a year position:
Working on it. Being back in the states makes it easier.
-Get back into advertising:
Currently working as a marketing coordinator for a Title & Escrow company, which is a good step in getting relevant work experience. While not specifically advertising, a lot of the work I do is the same, so it’s an ideal situation for me.
-Maintain a professional motivation to improve and rise; keep learning and growing:
-Stay close to my friends/visit when possible:
Now that I’m back in Hawaii, staying close to friends is easier, and I’ve been reconnecting with them the past few months.
-Practice mindfulness and appreciate moments as they come:
-Take care of my hygiene/style:I’ve begun to find a personal aesthetic that I really like, which is something that I haven’t really had in the past.
-Develop Mandarin/Japanese language as much as possible:
Right now, I’m at an HSK II level in Mandarin, basically meaning that I could probably get around as a tourist in China if I needed to use Chinese, but I’m still far off from where I want to be. Within the next year, I hope to take my HSK III test, the first one that tests my knowledge of Chinese characters. My eventual goal is to be able to hold a conversation in Mandarin and be at a Business-adequate level. In Japanese, I haven’t done much, as Chinese is my priority at the moment, so I’m moving it to a 5-10 year goal (although I’ll probably be back to Japan a couple times before that point).
-Xi’an and Zhangjiajie:
Two places that I missed while traveling through China. I’m also interested in Tibet and the Silk Road, but those trips will probably be separate since getting to Zhangjiajie is a little complicated.
-The Killers/Blink-182/Chance the Rapper Concerts: Nope
-South East Asia
More in 2019:
If 2018 was about re-discovering myself, then 2019 should be about re-discovering friendship. I’ve been MIA for much of the last 4 years, and living in a variety of places makes it hard to consistently see your old friends, and moving away means that you won’t be seeing new friends as much/at all. In this communication is key, and for me, it’s a bit hard to be super talkative all the time especially if you’re not part of my daily life. It takes consistent, dedicated effort to maintain my friendships with those who are living elsewhere, and I hope to amp up my efforts in order to be more of presence this year.
A big focus for this year will be getting my financials right; it’s an area that I’ve had constant stress in since I graduated while I traded stability for experiences. While I don’t regret it at all (I think that all the traveling I’ve done over the past few years has been crucial to my personal development), I do need to put myself in a position to be more financially independent so that I can do the things I want to do and have more positive experiences in the future. For this reason, I’m looking at staying in Hawaii for at least the next few years, then re-evaluating where I want to be long-term.
That being said, I’m also itching to travel more, so I’m living frugally in order to be able travel sometime next year. Most likely to Japan for a second-time, but options in South East Asia are really cheap so it might be more prudent to explore there.
Health-wise, I want to get some form of cardio back. Though my running days are behind me, I don’t feel as good when my cardio is shit, so I want to make at least a bi-weekly effort to get in the pool and get some laps in. I don’t want to be the person that’s out of breath walking upstairs, and I don’t want to be held back by my body from doing things that I want to do. I will continue to do yoga, at least at home, so that I can maintain some core power and build up leg and shoulder strength (while saving money that I’d use going to a gym).
Finally, in 2019, I want to take better care and attention of my emotional health. I found something online called ‘Year in Pixels’, which basically notes how the day was for that person, color coded with different emotions.
In doing this, I hope to be more aware of my emotional state, and make adjustments on the fly to create a better emotional health. It’s not a very scientific thing, but I hope that it’ll help me be more emotionally aware and controlled this year.
All this being said, here’s my checklist so that I can update it at a later time:
-South East Asia
-Pay off credit card
-Save up 10K by the end of the year
-Get hired on permanently
-Stay mindful and dedicated to my work
-Keep writing (at least 4 more blogs this year)
-Stay positive and mindful
-Complete my Year in Pixels
-Make time for friends every month
-Study Chinese for at least 5 minutes every day
-Another Spartan Sprint
These are some of my goals for this year. What kinds of goals and resolutions do you have for 2019? Keeping them in mind throughout the year can help you move towards them and even if you don’t achieve all of them, it’s important to view your progress as learning rather than failure.