goal setting

17 Goals for 2023 (List-cember #8)

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you might know that I typically set 17 goals at the end of each year. It is my jumping off point for the year to come.

In the six years (!) that I’ve done it, I’ve set some really good goals. They’ve pushed me out of my comfort zone, inspired me to try new things, and led me places I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.

This year, while trying to figure out my next 17 goals, I kept coming up with ideas that weren’t necessarily tangible or trackable. They were just things I wanted to improve on. At first, I set them aside, calling them “emotional goals” that I wouldn’t necessarily talk about. But then I decided to put them in the mix, to prioritize them with the rest of my goals.

So I’ve included them in here, and I’m honestly very excited.

Here are my 17 goals for 2023:

.

1) Learn when to pause

While listening to the podcast, Still Coloring, this year, I noticed how host Toni Collier was able to give her guests space to talk. Sometimes the conversations were difficult and there were points where there wasn’t anything Toni could say, there was just a need for a pause. To let what had been said just sit there. Toni is great at pausing, and I’d like to get better at that. To not feel like I always need to give a response, or to give the “right” response. I want to learn to fearlessly listen to what other people are saying and know when to just pause.

.

2) Take another UCLA writing class

I thought about saying, “finish my writing certificate”, but I’m honestly not sure if I will have time. I only need to take two more classes, so it’s very possible that I *could* finish, but in the interest of setting attainable goals, I’m going to say one. Anything else will be a bonus.

.

3) Don’t always apologize

I have a tendency to think that I am always on verge of doing/saying/assuming something wrong. Oftentimes, after I’ve hung out with someone, I’ll go home and replay everything that happened, and have a compulsion to text and apologize.

Sorry I talked so much about myself.

Sorry I was so reserved.

Sorry I wasn’t funny enough.

Sorry I kept circling back to that thing that was bothering me.

Sorry I was quiet.

Sorry for not existing correctly.

I could find an apology for absolutely everything. And while sure, there are times when I do need to apologize, there are also a lot of times when I’m just a person, when I’m not perfect, and when my friends know me and my heart and don’t need or want me to apologize for the small things my anxiety has decided make me a bad/boring/unworthy person.

.

4) Use my library card

I am an avid fan of the e-library. It is almost exclusively where I get my books. But at times it does require some *patience.* And sometimes, like while I was taking a writing class, I didn’t have time to be patient. So I ordered the required reading on Amazon. It was only after I had a stack of books that I remembered I also have a physical library card, AND I live less than a mile from a library. There’s something so magical about checking books out, so I’m sticking that on the to-do list this year.

.

5) Ask hard questions

This is sort of like #1 (learning how to pause), but it is also about not being afraid to go deep with people. I wrote this post in November about how I spent a long time being afraid to cry in front of other people because I thought it made me look weak. Recently, I’ve noticed that I get flustered when I’m talking to someone and they start to cry because I’m afraid that they too feel weak, and are in turn angry with me for making them feel that way. To avoid this, I often avoid deep questions. I try to avoid entering that territory all together. But then I have such a craving for deep relationships. So this year, as I continue my own progress in letting my walls down, I want to do better at creating space for people to do the same with me.

.

6) Take the train

I drove to San Diego a few times this year to visit my best friend and her family. When you time it right, it’s an easy drive, and I like getting those two hours of *me time.* But I’ve also been wanting to take the train. It’s one of the most scenic rides out there, and it gives you the power to take your hands off the wheel and zone out. Plus, when you don’t have to do it a lot, it’s kind of fun to be a commuter. To people watch and to become a part of that overarching question of “what’s her story?”

.

7) Move slow

This has been a goal of mine for a while that I’ve never fully been able to articulate. Whenever I described it, I felt like I was saying I wanted to move in slow motion. But really what I want to do is find confidence in myself that allows me not to rush through interactions and tasks. I want to take calm, slow steps through the grocery store. I want to listen to what a stranger is saying and then respond, rather than sit on the edge of my seat while they talk, feeling like I have to make a witty comment in response or I’m going to burst into flames. I just want to dial it down a bit. To be more deliberate, more present, more calm.

.

8) Break in my new hiking shoes

A while back my dad, sister and I hiked Mt. Whitney. In training for that hike, I bought new hiking shoes. I then kept those hiking shoes up until last year. Did I mention that we climbed Mt. Whitney in 2014? And did I mention I somehow never twisted my ankle or rolled down a hill in the no-tread, sorry excuse for hiking boots that they became in the eight years I insisted on wearing them?! It’s a miracle. And it’s an even bigger miracle that I bought a new pair. So this year I’m hoping to get back out there and do a few hikes. These boots need to be broken in, and I need to get back on the trail.

.

9) Use better self-talk

As a whole, I can easily say that my improvement on this from, say, when I was sixteen years old is INCREDIBLE. However, I think I could still do better. I am quick to criticize myself, quick to assume I’m in the wrong, quick to say I should have done better or that I should look better. And sometimes it isn’t jarring, loud self-hatred, it’s almost imperceptible micro-aggressions. It’s apologizing for my hair being messy, or calling myself lazy or “bad” if I don’t exercise for a few days. It’s calling myself dumb or embarrassing for not knowing something, rather than embracing the opportunity to learn something new. This year, I’m trying to weed out those little things that I put myself down for. To give myself more grace.

.

10) Staycation

I’ve always wanted to do this but have never really given it a proper go. I just think it would be so fun to rent a hotel for the night or for the weekend—not in a new place, but right where I live. To be able to explore a different part of where I live by placing my home base in a new spot for the weekend. And to be able to get free breakfast and someone to make my bed and bring me fresh towels. Maybe even order room service and spend the entire day in a hotel robe watching movies. I don’t know. The possibilities are endless, and the drive is easy. 

 .

11) Assume people like you

This was also on the List-cember post for “Best advice I got this year”, and I liked it so much I’m making it a goal for next year. I really want to embrace this mindset. To go into interactions and situations assuming people do (and should) like me. Not everyone will, and that’s okay. But eliminating the idea that nobody will (or should) like me, will put me in a better headspace to meet new people, and might make those interactions a lot less stressful.

.

12) Log unplugged hours

I have talked in the past about my struggle with social media and my attempts to try and separate myself from it—or at least lessen my need for it. I always find that I feel better on days when I don’t spend a lot of time on my phone. Earlier this year, I saw Hannah Brencher mention her quest to unplug for 1,000 hours. She made a conscious attempt to put her phone down—put it away as much as possible. If we do the math, 1000 hours is just over 41 days. And when I think about the fact that we are spending DAYS looking at our phones, I get a little sared—and sad. So I’m going to start putting my phone down when I get home from work. I’m going to stop spending as much time getting sucked into social media—I’m looking at YOU Tik Tok. I’m not saying I’m going off the map or deleting all social media, I’m just reminding myself that I don’t have to look at it all the time. I don’t have to open Instagram every time the TV goes to commercial. I don’t have to spend my first hour after work scrolling through my For You page on Tik Tok. I can do other things. There are other things to do.

Hannah’s goal was 1,000 hours, but I’m not going to focus so much on the number. I’m going to keep a log and just see how many I have at the end of the year.

.

13) Say you’re welcome

I heard this advice on the Best Advice Show and I loved it. I also felt *slightly* called out by it, but sometimes that’s a good thing. While I consider myself to be very well mannered—perhaps compulsively polite at times—I also have a habit of using manners to deflect compliments. Sometimes I even use compliments to deflect compliments.

If someone were to say, “thank you for doing that” I might say, “thank YOU for giving me the opportunity.”

If someone said, “you look nice” I might say, “I was just about to say YOU look beautiful. I love your dress!”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s spreading positivity, it’s creating an air of appreciation and gratitude. But it is also preventing me from absorbing the appreciation and kindness someone is trying to share with me. It’s preventing me from hearing and thus believing that I am worthy of that compliment, that I am loved, appreciated, etc.

There is nothing wrong with paying people compliments, there is nothing wrong with paying good deeds forward, but I want to better accept kind words. To say you’re welcome when someone says thank you.

.

14) Compliment strangers

Speaking of compliments. In May of this year, a group of friends and I went wine tasting. While we were standing at the counter, a woman walked up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder. “I have this same dress at home!” she said, “it looks marvelous on you.” I had been feeling self-conscious the whole day, but she changed that. She made me feel beautiful with the smallest of passing compliments. When I like something, I tend to lean into the person I’m with and say, “I like her purse” or “I like her hair” or “I like his shoes,” and then slyly point at someone across the room or in front of us in line. Maybe it’s because I’m introverted, but I tend to keep those compliments like secrets. I want to try and change that. This goal won’t be limited to strangers, but I’m trying to encourage myself to go the extra mile. Compliment people. You never know how much they might need it.

.

15) Do the Jar Full of Joy Challenge

I saw this idea (created by Ingrid Fetell Lee) on The Art of Noticing newsletter and I loved it. It is a win win.

Win #1) You notice when you are having (or had) a joyful moment during a particular day, and you write it down. This helps you stay present and to notice the happy things happening in your life, both big and small.

Win #2) You put each thing you wrote down into a jar, and then at the end of the year you get to relive all of those happy moments! It is a scrapbook of all the joy you experienced throughout the year.

I bought my jar. I might even go so far as to decorate it!

.

16) Be in more pictures

I, like my mother before me, do not like having my picture taken. I get too in my head. I have trouble looking at a picture objectively and thinking, “look at this moment we captured,” and instead think, “I look terrible.” Whether it’s my outfit, my body, my face, anything and everything really. I can almost always find something to dislike about myself in a picture. What’s worse, I am constantly bummed I’m not in more pictures—that I don’t have better proof that I visited a cool place, or that I don’t have better documented memories of good and exciting days. I want to do better at this. So I’m setting a goal to be in more pictures. To take more pictures. To ASK to have my picture taken, even if I—GASP—don’t look perfect. (This goal will tie together nicely with #9)

.

17) Post monthly recaps

This one is kind of funny when you take into account the unplugged hours goal of #12, but this is something that I really like about social media. When a new month starts, I love seeing people post groups of photos and videos that summarize the last month. It’s amazing how we are able to memorialize those experiences, allowing us to remember them a lot longer than we may have otherwise. I also think it might be a good way to reflect on each month, rather than let them slam into each other. I think this will be a great way to force myself to pause and ask, “what did I do this month?” And ideally, if I’m in more pictures (#16) these recaps will be a lot easier for me to pull off 🙂

.

Wishing you luck with any and all goals and/or resolutions you might be setting for the new year!

May we all find somthing we’re looking for.


You can find more List-cember posts here.

17 Goals for 2021 (List-cember #8)

In 2017, I made my first list of 17 goals. They were bold—crazy even—and they were hard, but they also pushed me to do things I never thought I’d do. Since then, I’ve figured out a rhythm to goal setting. I’ve made sure to set goals that I want to accomplish rather than those I think will impress people, and I’ve set goals that are a good balance of challenging and achievable, rather than outlandish and impossible. After all, it’s easy to make big proclamations about all that you’re going to do after that New Year’s clock strikes midnight, but it’s very difficult to stick to those promises in the 365 days that follow.

Plus, some years you set goals and then a global pandemic happens, making most of them literally impossible. So you gotta work with what you’ve got. And you’ve gotta give yourself goals for you—goals that will inspire you, challenge you, and/or just make you proud you put your mind to something.

With that being said, these are the goals I’m setting for 2021:

1) Volunteer 5 times

This is a staple on my list of goals and one that I always look forward to. With COVID restrictions still in place, I might have to get creative with this one, but no matter what’s going on in the world, there is always a way to lend a helping hand, so hopefully I can find where I am best able to serve.

2) Watch the sunrise

I have watched many a sunset in my life, but far too few sunrises. And if I’m asking myself for one. One early morning. One day out of 365. One drive before dawn to a good spot where I can watch a new day begin, I think I can handle it.

3) Raise my VO2 Max score to 40

In late October, I came across a statistic on my FitBit called “VO2 Max”, which is essentially how efficiently your body uses oxygen during exercise. At the time, my score was a 35, which was marked as “average” for a woman my age. And even though I’d never previously heard of this measure of health, or had anyone telling me I needed to improve it, I instantly decided that I could no longer live a satisfying life unless my score was in the “good” range—which is a minimum of 36.5. As of now, my score is a 37, making me cleanly and wholly in the “good” range, so naturally I am now striving for the “great” range. Great is marked by a minimum score of 40.7, but for this year I’m going to start with a goal of 40.

4) Get published

Last year I made it a goal to take a writing class, and in looking for a class to take I found an entire Creative Writing Capstone through UCLA Extension that I am now in the process of completing. In doing so, my writing brain has been kicked in to overdrive and I have started to write about things I may have never had the courage or drive to write about before. So it is my hope that I can continue to write, submit and have something published in the next year.

5) Donate blood or plasma

This is another goal that I’m going to try to make an annual thing—even if it’s a little nerve-wracking and involves needles—because it’s an easy way to help those in need, and you get free snacks at the end. I’m not sure what the world of donations will look like in 2021, so I’m leaving the goal at a single donation, but if I’m brave enough, I’m going to try and do more!

6) Reduce screen time to 3 hours/day (or less)

If you have an iPhone, you might get those weekly reports on the average amount of time you spent on your phone each day. I will admit, in quarantine, my numbers skyrocketed, and I have been trying desperately to bring that number down ever since. So for this year, I want my weekly report to average 3 hours or less every week. Preferably less and less as the weeks go on.

7) Finish this writing prompt book

In September, I bought this little book of writing prompts as a fun way to get my creative mind working. For a little while, I got into a good routine of doing a handful of prompts per day, but I have since fallen off that schedule, and admittedly haven’t opened the book for a couple of months. So I’m hoping that this year I can get back into it and even finish it. Who knows, maybe one of the prompts will inspire a future blog post. (find the book here)

8) See one WLRA

A couple years back I made this list of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions and I set out to see as many as I could. I have crossed out a good handful since then and I am hoping to cross off another one this year.

9) Read 5 books on this list

After I came across this list of inspirational books I decided to make reading through the list an item on my bucket list. So, in order to start working towards that goal, I’m setting out to read five of those books this year.

10) Cook 1 new recipe every month

I am a big creature of habit. And while a few years ago I got really into cookbooks and trying new recipes, most of the time I make what I know and what I love, or what I know I’ll love. So I’m hoping to branch out a bit this year. Nothing too crazy, just one recipe I’ve never tried each month.

11) See all the movies nominated for Best Picture (and maybe even predict the winner!)

It has always been a goal of mine to see every movie nominated for Best Picture before the Academy Awards, but somehow I have never managed to accomplish this. I want to feel like I have a real opinion on the matter, rather than just rooting for the one movie I happened to see. So, this year, the moment that list comes out, I’m filling the gap between what I have and haven’t seen and I am making a prediction!

12) Finish my Dodger Stadium cross stitch

One of my favorite quarantine projects has been a counted cross-stitch of Dodger Stadium that I designed myself. Some weeks I work on it a lot, others I forget it exists. As of now I’d say I’m about 70% done with it, but I have a feeling that last 30% might take me a long time. So while I think this is an easy goal, it’s also one that I want to hold myself accountable for. I want to get this project finished and show it off!

13) Learn to curl my hair

I am embarrassingly uneducated in all things hair. About five years ago I cut my hair short for the first time since I was a kid, and it was at that time that I first learned to properly blow-dry my hair. And as of now, that’s about all I know how to do. So, with a new straightener in tow that I got for Christmas—one that I allegedly can use to curl my hair as well—I am aiming to get a little more educated in the hairstyling department, and more or less emerge as a hair goddess.

14) Try acupuncture

My mom tried acupuncture for the first time this year and has become a firm believer. I followed her lead this past year on trying out the chiropractor, so I’m going to continue following in her footsteps and give acupuncture a go!

15) Read 12 books of the Bible

I often get overwhelmed by daily devotionals or reading plans, because I always fall behind, and then I fall so far behind that I give up and stop reading all together—which is very much not the point. So my sister suggested this goal, which I like because it gives me room to read more if I’m in a good groove, and it gives me room to catch up if I fall behind.

16) Keep my plant alive

One of the cutest gifts I got for Christmas was a little succulent in a ceramic dinosaur plant pot that my sister gave me. If you know anything about me, I deeply struggle with keeping plants alive, so she got me this in the hopes that I might, you know, not kill it. And I am so dedicated to this new plant child—that I have named “Bronto”, like brontosaurus—that I have made his well being one of my goals for this year. #prayersforBronto (find the plant pot here)

17) The Tuesdays of 2021

My final goal of the year is a little photography project. In years past I have done a one photo per day project and I have done a one second per day project. And while they were both fun and turned out really cool, they were also stressful and hard to remember to do every. single. day. So this year, I thought, why not choose one day a week to take a picture or record a short video? And why not make it a random day like Tuesday? There are 52 Tuesdays in 2021, most of which might otherwise have been relatively forgettable, but this year I’m going to have a little memory of each and every one, and to be honest, I’m already excited to see them!

Did you set any goals for 2021?


You can also check out my previous lists of goals here: 2020201920182017