How Was Your 2018?
As the end of 2018 neared, I often scrolled past my list of 2018 goals on my app that I use to hold all my lists and think about how little or far I have to go on those goals.
Typically, I create a list of goals or aspirations at the start of the year instead of a “resolution”, for reasons I touch on in XYZ post. And while I’m trying now to instead use systems instead of goals (read more on that here). I can’t say that I have crushed my list of 2018 goals - there are mixed results on how I’ve been doing.
As I kept mulling over the list of things I have yet to do, likely won’t do, and have done, I thought about how I want to evaluate this year beyond seeing if I completed my goals set in January.
So instead of feeling guilty for all the things I didn’t do by the end of 2018, I’m posing a few different questions to think about my year:
What am I proud of doing this year?
What new places did I visit?
What adventures did I go on?
What have I learned?
Who came into my life?
Was I my true self?
Did I care for others?
Did I care for myself?
How have I grown in the last year?
I think it would be cool to use a standard set of questions and each year compare myself against them - similar to how Ben Franklin evaluated himself each day against his 13 virtues. The inspiration for this came from two things:
As I scrolled past my list, I thought: “just because I didn’t do X doesn’t mean I had an unproductive or unenjoyable year.”
I attended an event a few weeks before I left DC called “Living By Design”, which was 5 lightning talks by different women on topics ranging from vision boarding to personal branding. At the end of the event, the host asked everyone to share something she is proud of from this year. As I thought of an answer, I recognized how much change has happened this year, and in parallel, growth. And if you’re wondering, my answer to her question was two-fold: I said that I am proud of pushing past the negative self-talk in my head to do things even though I am not perfect - such as signing up to do my yoga teacher training even though I can’t do a handstand (yet). And further, pushing past my limiting beliefs of what I can and cannot do - the example here I shared was doing a 30 mile trek in 2 days on the Appalachian Trail, with no prior backpacking experience but crushing it anyway.
My list has many things I’d like to do, but have not gotten around to. I’m okay with that, knowing that my answers to the question set above are more important to me. Instead, I’m going to take the time to write out the answers to those questions (maybe not all of them, but enough to document how this year went). As someone who loves to document things, I like compiling this type of information. I also want to include all of my travels and things of that sort that might become fuzzy in me memory further down the line, so I can reference my writings to remember.
As a word enthusiast, I love the concept of assigning a word to describe the year. Looking back at 2018, there are a few words in mind I could use to summarize the year. The word I choose to describe 2018 is exploration. As defined by the Oxford dictionary, exploration is the action of exploring an unfamiliar area, thorough examination of a subject. I almost chose adventure as my word, but when I looked at the actual definition of it I thought exploration was more appropriate. I explored myself, whether it be in finding new hobbies (backpacking, fiction writing, re-igniting my love of board games and puzzles) or trying new work opportunities. I explored the USA and the world, traveling to places like Copenhagen, Cabo, Munich, Salzburg, California, Arizona, Massachusetts, and many, many more. I explored relationships, with lots of family time, the growth of new friendships, rekindling of old ones. I explored new love and what a long distance romantic relationship looks like. While I admit my season of exploration will continue as I already see my plans for 2019 unfold, I think the word will be more fitting for 2018. 2019 will bring new things.
Looking ahead to 2019, I’ll share something I’m struggling with, which is what I want my goals/systems to be, what I want to embody, and what my priorities are. I have feelings of wanting to do and be it all, despite knowing that that is unrealistic. As I write this, it’s December 30th. I’d like to say I have my goals mapped into my journal, my word I want to emulate in my mind, and my vision clear, but all I have is a muddled mess. I’m hoping a long walk tomorrow will help me clear my head, and maybe one on New Year’s Day too. I want to pick realistic aspirations and have clarity of focus, without spreading myself too thin. So 2019 may remain a mystery, but looking back at 2018 I have some reflecting to do. I hope this post helps you feel good about all that you’ve accomplished this year. Too often, we shame ourselves for the things we didn’t do, the things we are determined to do once and for all in 2019, and the things we should do but don’t want to do. Instead, I say we celebrate what we’ve done this year and think about our lives through a more meaningful lens. Happy New Year to all!