goals for 2021

2021 Goals Wrap Up (List-cember #6)

As always, the goals I set for this year took me a on a ride.

I am forever learning to go with the flow when things don’t quite go as I plan, and to tweak goals when appropriate.

I am also still learning and growing every year, which I love!

This is how my goals went this year:

1) Volunteer 5 timescompleted!

I mentioned in my Things I Tried this Year post that I took on a new role at Food Forward this year, which opened me up to volunteer more than I usually could. I also started actively volunteering at my church each month, and the combination of the two not only helped me reach this goal, but double it!

.

2) Watch the sunrise completed-ish!

Early in the year my sister and I went to our first big wedding since COVID. (I wrote about it here.) We were both bridesmaids and so the weekend consisted of a handful of bridesmaid duties, including getting up super early the day of the wedding to get our hair and makeup done. My goals were fresh on my mind and my sister knew them too, so as we got in our car on the morning of the wedding, looking disheveled and tired, we noticed that the sun had only recently poked its head above the horizon.

“I think this counts as watching the sunrise,” my sister said, drinking her coffee.

“I think so too.”

In the moment, I assumed I’d plan another day where I would intentionally and officially watch the sunrise, but sleep won that argument for 40 straight weeks. Oops.

.

3) Raise my VO2 Max score to 40completed!

To the distinguished court of “pics or it didn’t happen”, I’d like to call to the stand, my sister, Natalee, who can testify on my behalf that I did in fact raise my score to 40 in the summer of 2021. No, I did not take a picture, and yes, I did stop running about the time of my birthday and so my cardiovascular level, and thus my VO2 max score, has gone down to a 38 in the meantime BUT IT DID HAPPEN. I was a 40 for like, two whole months. Thank you, your honors, I rest.

.

4) Get published

I think if I didn’t get so much writing done this year, I’d be more bummed about not being published, but I really did make great progress on so many projects. I wrote pieces that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, both for UCLA Extension classes and for myself, and I completed a big writing project that I can hopefully tell you about soon! Overall, I’m just really proud of how much time and effort I put into my writing this year, so I think that’s good enough.

.

5) Donate blood or plasmacompleted!

The process of figuring out when and how it is best for me to give blood has been a journey (one that suggests I stick to donating only blood for now) but I did give blood twice this year and I’m going again tomorrow! So I’m very excited about that and I hope to keep giving in 2022!

.

6) Reduce screen time to four hours (or less) day(barely) completed!

I initially set this goal to be three hours or less, but I changed it to four about halfway through the year. While I set this goal both to bring awareness to how much I’m on my phone, and to break the habit of reaching for my phone whenever I’m bored, mad, sad, etc., I started to become a little too obsessed with how much time I was on my phone rather than what I was using my phone for. After doing a little research into my screentime, I found that on a good week, when I don’t lean on social media or stare mindlessly at my phone rather than go to sleep, my screentime is about 3 ½ hours per day. It was hard for me to get it below that because I’m busy and like to check in with friends, take pictures, scribble out notes, scroll through new music, etc.  So for me, staying below four hours is both an attainable and maintainable goal both for now and the future.

Fun fact: My average screen time for 2021 was about 3.99 hours a day. So I made it by the actual skin of my teeth.

.

7) Finish writing prompt book

I simply did not do this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I remember being in a pretty good routine for the first few months and then I completely fell off. I just didn’t want to. But the point of this goal was to get me writing, which I did plenty of otherwise, so I’m not particularly bummed about this one.

.

8) See one WLRAcompleted!

In case you missed our Epic October Trip, while in North Carolina visiting some family we did in fact check off one of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions: The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. It was gigantic, it was ridiculous, it was fantastic. I loved it.

.

9) Read 5 books on this list

If you didn’t see the initial link for this list (which was in a post that is unfortunately gone now) I typed up the list and you can find it here. It is a list of 75 inspirational books, and I’m going to keep working my way through it in the years to come. This year, I read: The Noticer by Andy Andrews, The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and Story of My Life by Helen Keller, which were all fantastic. My favorite of the bunch was probably The Noticer and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for some fresh inspiration. Obviously, I didn’t reach the goal of five, but what can you do?

.

10) Try 1 new recipe every month

I’m not really sure what happened with this one but come September I just kind of…stopped. I think it’s just because I got busy (and have remained busy, and will remain busy until roughly 2025) so when I was at home to make dinner, I just stuck with some of my reliable favorites rather than risking something new. I’m hoping to do more cooking next year though!

These are the recipes I tried this year:

January: Honey Garlic Pork Chops

February: Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi

March: Naan Pizza

April: Apple Spinach Salad

May: Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

June: Honey Garlic Chicken Skillet

July: One Pan Italian Sausage & Veggies

August: Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza

.

11) See all the movies nominated for best picture

Again, I started out so strong. When the nominees were released I watched half of them in a month. But then, I just…stopped. The ones I missed are still on my long list to watch, but the nominees for next year are right around the corner so I can’t make any promises. Of the nominees, I watched: Nomadland (which won!), Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal (which was by far my favorite), and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

.

12) Finish my Dodger stadium cross stitchcompleted!

There came a point where I thought that I might be stitching grass for the rest of my life, but I did eventually finish, and I am so happy with the way it turned out! I got it framed at Michael’s and it now hangs on my wall as a testament to both 2020—which is when I started the cross stitch as my quarantine project—and to my grandma, who taught me how to cross stitch when I was seven ❤

.

13) Learn to curl my hair

I asked for a straightener for last Christmas because I heard you can use it to curl short hair. I had such high hopes for this hack and for me not having to bug my sister to curl my hair whenever I want to look fancy. But she is so close—she is literally across the hall—and she is so free and all I have to do is sit there, so I remained curl un-educated. I did use the straightener to straighten my hair though, so it’s not like I completely neglected the straightener—just this goal.

.

14) Try acupuncture

I was feeling really good going into this post but now I kind of feel like I did nothing? I opted out of trying acupuncture because I started going to the chiropractor regularly. Again, I’m not bummed, I stand by my choice, but I keep throwing up goose eggs on these goals and I’ll admit, it stings.

.

15) Read 12 books of the Bible

I actually did better on this one than I thought I would. I wanted to read the Bible more and so I thought I’d cheat by making it a goal to read 12 books (or one book per month) because a good chunk of me is logically minded and I love checking off a goal. I did struggle however, finding a time to read. In the mornings I am running on routine alone and in the evenings I’m too tired to really focus, so it took a concerted effort both to open my bible rather than look at my phone (or read a different book) and to do it consistently. So I made it a point to do specific studies or to participate in guided readings of certain books, that way I could stay on task and actually absorb the text rather than just read it. In the end, I read eight books: Genesis, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Ruth, Esther, and 1 John.

.

16) Keep my plant alive(can barely be considered) completed!

This was perhaps the biggest roller coaster of all. My sister gifted me a plant last Christmas that I was SO excited to receive and determined to care for and keep alive. Unfortunately, by April, that plant was dead. In May, I went to Ojai and bought a new plant because it was too beautiful not to buy, and once again set out on a plant mom journey. But by July, that plant was also dead. Clearly I have “the touch” but in my case, the touch is death. Finally, in August, I was gifted another plant—a ZZ plant which, and I quote, “tolerates neglect.” Now, neglect has never been my problem, I am more of a helicopter plant mom, but it was nice to be given guidelines to leave this plant ALONE. So I do. And it is still thriving. I think it’s even grown! So, with a live plant closing out my year, I think I’m going to count this goal as a success. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

.

17) Tuesday’s of 2021 projectcompleted!

This was a fun project and I kept up with it pretty well. The goal was to take a picture every single Tuesday of the year so that I could have a kind of Tuesday scrapbook. You will be able to hear more about this particular goal on Tuesday 12/28 a.k.a the final Tuesday of the year, but overall I say I both completed the goal and liked it!

.

And that wraps up my goals for 2021!

I won some, I lost some. I completed some, I neglected some. But overall, they got me through the year and taught me a lot.

I’ve got 17 new goals for 2022 on the docket. Come back on Thursday to find out what they are!


Did you set any goals this year?

Check out 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