Monday 28 December 2020

Checking in With My 2020 Goals...

Before I get into this post, I just want to say that I'm not trying to boast about any achievements, if anything I feel the complete opposite this year, like many of you. I just wanted to write a realistic post of how I started the year with good intentions, and then Covid-19 blew a gale and I struggled to find the pieces left. Wherever you are, and however you are I really hope you're ok. However you have spent this year, was how you were meant to deal with this storm. It does feel like 2020 needs to be remastered, but it allowed a lot of us to chill, to reflect and really think about what we want from the next year.

I can only laugh at My Plans for 2020 post, and the goals I wrote down in my notes app. I know I have the hindsight now to see these plans would be majorly effected. How was I supposed to know that a worldwide pandemic would cancel races, an overseas hen do and halt my job goals. I think the other way of looking at things this year is that, I'm still here. My family and friends and mostly safe and healthy, that's all I can ask for. Anything else is a bonus. 

In the post from January I mentioned keeping up with my fitness. This has been a bit hit and miss for me. I hit some personal bests this year in terms of running distance, pace and I started doing arm workouts. As I have been really trying to connect with myself this year, I have been listening to my body and my mental health. Sometimes this means not forcing myself to do things I don't want to do. I want to enjoy things, and I want to enjoy exercise. Currently I've been taking a bit of a break, but I had been having issues with my sleep for a few months which affected my energy levels. I'm looking forward to getting Christmas out of the way, and planning for a better year with fitness starting from 1st January. I've actually signed up for a virtual running challenge for January. To run 50 miles in that month for Maggie's Centres who provide support for people living with cancer, and their family and friends.

With my reading ambitions, I didn't quite meet my plans of reading a book a month. Currently, I have read two books (Queenie and Midnight Sun), and I'm halfway through one, which albeit I started three years ago...But I'm hoping for a fresh slate for 2021. I have a stack of books I want to read first, most of which are educational and fictional literature from Black Authors. I found that if I really set a book as a reading challenge, I actually reach my goal. For Midnight Sun I divided the amount of pages by days in that month, it made it seem far more achievable and I think I actually read it all within a week! *pauses for applause* Before the year is up, I think I need to be more tactical with my reading challenges until it becomes more natural to pick up a book. 

Writing has actually been a positive for me this year. Halfway through Lockdown 1.0 I pushed up my sleeves and told myself to actually start applying for writing work, and pitching ideas. It turned out I had just been talking about doing this for over two years. When I realised this I had a new sense of urgency. Through this, I have a little cheat sheet with contacts to pitch to and how to lay out my pitches. Whilst I'm yet to be officially commissioned (watch this space in 2021), I did find MindMapper. A start up tech company aimed at helping young adults with mental health issues find the resources and community they need. I am one of a small team of amazing writers, honestly these guys are all doing amazing things and I feel like such a small fish to them (insert imposter syndrome here). Currently, our contracts are voluntary which has been fine by me. MindMapper has been a constant for me each week with our weekly brainstorms and check in sessions, and has allowed me to flex my writing muscles. 

Money money money eh? Since I started my obsession with spending back in 2013, it feels like that was all I thought about. Spending money vs oh-my-gosh-I-have-no-money-send-help. In April this year, I was officially debt free. I was out of my overdraft in January, and paid off my car in April. I actually cried when I saw I was out of my overdraft, and by a large margin. I didn't know what to make of that feeling. Other than I knew that there had been a big shift within me. I was fighting against the unhealthy habits and thoughts in my brain. Whilst it's still early days, and I've had some small and some not-so-small relapses, it's all been fixable. I actually have a savings account...with money in it. Like the most I've ever saved up by myself. I had to hit pause a few times whilst I got my main account back to zero, and fixing car stuff but I have left that savings balance alone. Which I've said for a few months is a win in itself. I need to check my budget for the rest of December, and what I need for January before my next pay day, but I'm pretty sure I can still reach my projected savings goal. Despite my slip ups this year, I can still do it. This will then put me in a good place to exceed this progress for next year.

I think it's important to note, that even if you don't tick everything off your list or your yearly goals, that sometimes it means that it's in progress. Progress it better than nothing. My whole tidy room, tidy mind is definitely a huge work in progress. I don't know how much I've talked about it on here, but over two and half years ago I moved into my boyfriends house; into my boyfriends already cramped loft room. There was very little space and I've had to squeeze in my bits and bobs. It's so easy to make our room messy, because there's a lack of storage for two grown adults, but we move. Connor and I try to regularly go through our things, have little clear outs and see what we can do to make our space more easy on the eyes. Part of my current project is that I took out a lot of my excess things to my Dad's (where I store a fair few things, as I used to stay there two nights a week before Covid-19 hit), and focus on using up what I have and not over buying products and stationary. 

*Laughs maniacally and hysterically* Boy, I wanted to have such plans for 2020 and it really did slap me in my stupid face. I was so lucky to have been able to do our anniversary trip to New York in January, and I'm so grateful we were able to go. I really wanted Connor and I to have more staycations this year to places in the countryside, or explore other cities in the UK. We had almost planned for a trip to Cornwall, but with work commitments, finance being tight and the back and forth with Covid restrictions pushed that off the table. Which is fine, we swapped that for more quality couple time. Because of lockdown, we made use of our daily walks, when restrictions kept getting lifted we started to explore other places near us for relaxing forest walks. We have spent a lot more time together this year, and that is down to me having a different job, not working as much because I'm out of debt, and actually lockdown forcing us to spend time together. Ok, that sounds super negative. Connor and I are very hard working people, and often get stuck in that "hustle" and "daily grind" bubble. Covid popped and let us actually hang out and watch films/TV shows together. 

I want to say thank you to Meg and Damian from MindMapper, for one seeing something in me and bringing me into their writing team. For two, our monthly one to one's where they ask me about my goals, and help me get there. I had long forgotten about these during the pandemic, and it was really helpful to have someone else go through these and hold me accountable. All of these "goals" were red at the beginning of the year, and now most of them are yellow and I actually have some green in there too. 

Usually I do a post of my goals for the next year, but I'm so apprehensive over what 2021 will look like for all of us. I'll still write a list of goals, big or small but I'm going to keep them to myself for the moment. Instead I'll write a more mindful mental health post, something helpful for me to look back on, but also for you; my readers.

📸 by Connor Cleary in The New Forest


1 comment

  1. What a lovely and honest post to read, I really enjoyed this! Congrats on your writing job and I hope 2021 is good for you xx


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