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.
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.