2016 was a tough year for me. I felt behind and overloaded from the very start. The extra misogyny in the air due to the election was really difficult for me to handle even when we all thought Hillary Clinton would win. And it was in the air all year long, it really was. When she lost, I found I couldn't spare the time to process my unresolved emotions around some of the memories the campaign stirred up because I needed to focus on responding to the threat Trump poses. Baratunde Thurston has described Trump as a denial of service attack on our democracy, and that is the most apt description I've read. Figuring out how to do my part to resist that while also doing the work I need to do to keep our bills paid took some time and effort.
So I spent all of 2016 feeling like I was reacting to circumstances, not following my own priorities. I felt like I didn't accomplish many of my goals. But when I pulled out my list and did a final accounting, I found I'd done better than my gut feeling told me I did. That was actually a bit of a morale boost, and speaks to the power of writing down your goals and holding yourself accountable for them. It helps keep you from blowing them off when things get tough, and perhaps more importantly, it can show you that you made progress even when it feels like you're stalled.
Let's look at how I did:
- Revive my yoga practice. FAIL. I did some yoga this year, and solved the space problem so that I could do it more regularly (basically, we let the kids trash the open area between our sofa and dining table, which helps them remember to keep the area between the sofa and TV clear.) But I didn't do yoga anywhere consistently enough to call it a practice.
- Crochet something useful. SUCCEED! I am calling the teddy bear sleeping bag useful. I'm working on a purse for me now, but I chose difficult yarn and it is slow going.
- Finish the Ancillary series. SUCCEED! And I enjoyed the series to the end.
- Learn how to make another type of New Zealand meat pie. FAIL. I hardly even made the steak and cheese pies I already have down. They take a lot of energy.
- Play my violin and viola at least once each. FAIL. Sigh.
- Develop an exercise routine. SUCCEED! I was trying to get there from the start, but the routine really solidified when I came back from vacation and saw the pictures of me in a swimsuit and swore to live the healthiest life I will enjoy. The Friday afternoon rollerblade is particularly great, but I'm managing a solid three days of exercise per week. I get up early on Mondays and go for a short run. Mondays are the only day of the week I can consistently make myself get up early, but instead of feeling bad that I can't do it other days, I'm just taking advantage of my Monday motivation. I either kickbox or go for a slightly longer run on Wednesday afternoons, and then there is my Friday rollerblade. I also go for a walk after lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but this is a leisurely walk so I consider it a bonus, not part of my "real" exercise routine.
- Organize my closet. SUCCEED! Of course, it is getting messy again. But for awhile it was beautiful.
- Finish setting up the office. SUCCEED! The blinds are up, the bookshelves are in. It is awesome.
- Get new curtains for the living room/dining room. SUCCEED! And they make me very happy.
- Invent a signature cocktail. FAIL. This is disappointing to me. It would have been a fun goal to work on!
- Organize the tea cupboard. FAIL. I don't have any ideas for how to fix that other than to reorganize all the kitchen cupboards and that is too much to contemplate.
- Do one Spanish-learning activity every day. SUCCEED! DuoLingo for the win.
That's a 7/12 success rate, which isn't bad. Also, we went kayaking and I'm wearing dresses more often now, so some of the 2015 goals got done in 2016.
Here are my goals for this year:
- Keep up my exercise routine. I don't usually do "continue doing X" sort of goals, but this one still feels a little shaky and it really matters, so it is not only on the list but the first thing I committed to myself to do.
- Read a book on my Kindle instead of random things on my phone for at least one bedtime/week. I enjoy my social media time, but I also enjoy reading books.
- Get making music back into my life. I keep trying, I keep failing. Maybe this is my year.
- Volunteer - find a place to volunteer at regularly and do it. I've started working on this one. I'm researching potential volunteer options. I'm currently leaning towards volunteering with the local child abuse prevention charity that organizes the Adopt-a-Family event we participate in at Christmas time. I want to make a decision and get myself volunteering by February.
- Frame the postcards for our office. We brought some postcards that are reproductions of artwork showing the region around St. Jean de Luz that we visited during our 2015 trip to France. The interior decorator who helped with our remodel used those postcards to recommend colors for our office. So now we need to get them framed and hung.
- Paint the baseboards in the hall. This is a lingering item from our remodel, which finished in late 2015. I refuse to let them remain unpainted another year.
- Buy a new mattress. We need one, and perhaps putting this on the list will get it done, like the curtains last year.
- Invent a signature cocktail. I'm trying again!
- Establish a yoga/meditation practice. I'm trying this one again, too, because the times in my life during which I've had a regular practice are the times when I have responded to stress the best, and I predict a lot of stress about the political situation in 2017.
I decided to leave it at nine goals this year. I want to focus more on my work goals, and I also expect to spend more time than usual on political things. So a shorter goals list feels right. I'll also be continuing with the crocheting and the efforts to learn some Spanish, so I think I won't be bored.
I'll be writing about my work goals over at my newsletter this Friday. I've given myself a bit of a head start on one of the goals. I want to increase the reach of my Tungsten Hippo project, and late last year I started a monthly giveaway to help with that. This month's giveaway post went up today. I'm giving away two copies of Vanessa Fogg's wonderful novelette, The Lilies of Dawn. Go enter the giveaway! Tell your friends!
And tell me about your goals for the year in the comments if you want, or give me ideas for how to achieve my goals, or write about something random. Whatever.