Stretch Goals for 2021

2021, goals

Hello!

I love goal setting, but it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve given myself the flexibility to adapt my goals when my interests or perspective change.

I’ve watched Hannah Witton make videos about ‘Stretch Goals’ for the last few months of the year and I thought I’d give it a go – a few of my goals are no longer relevant to me (and/or I was too optimistic about how long lockdown would go on for and how confident I’d feel in a post-covid world). So I’ve written a few adaptations to my original 2021 Goals and I’m going to see how far I can get by the end of the year!

Professional Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: Finish my portfolio website and Instagram

My New Stretch Goal: Start New Job Part 2! – my nine-month contract in my current job finishes at the end of the month and it’s time for something new. Not so much of a goal as a necessity but it takes me a little while to process big changes like a new job and this helps. And it’s exciting too!

Personal Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: Finish my first cosplay costume

My New Stretch Goal: Give handmade Christmas gifts – a nice combination of saving money and using all the craft supplies I’ve been collecting for 18 months. And it’s an excuse to work on lots of craft projects!

Home Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: wedding planning and saving!

My New Stretch Goal: Have a trip to Southampton with my fiancé – it’s where we met and we haven’t been back in ages – this year is our last anniversary before our wedding day and I think it’s the year to do something special.

‘Bucket List’ Goals: (I need to find a new name for this)

  1. Read 30 books (upped from my current goal of 25)
  2. Writing challenges – 45,000 words in September / 50,000 words in November
  3. Monthly date nights with my fiancé
  4. Get a tattoo
  5. Finish 1SE video

Even just writing these out, thinking about and evaluating my focus on these goals has been really refreshing and helped me feel more focused. Every time I look over my goals I feel like I’m learning on how to make smarter goals that are more beneficial to me in the long run.

I’m aware of how ‘hustle culture’ this makes me sound – working on goals in my own time outside of work, using words like ‘evaluating’ and always aiming for productivity, but actually my intention is the opposite. I want to be more mindful of how I spend my time – I’ve come to terms with expecting myself to be ‘productive’ for 16 hours a day isn’t healthy or beneficial for me or anyone around me, some I’m trying to maximise my efficiency so I make time to chill out, get enough sleep and do things I want to do as well! I’ve just started dance classes again and it’s an hour round trip to get there and back so I have to be more mindful with my time.

Having these stretch goals is a great way for me to figure out my priorities and plan out my time in the wisest way for me.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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New Year, No Plan

2020, goals, mental health

Hello,

Like many of us at this time of year, December often gets my thinking about setting goals for the next year – call them New Years Resolutions, 2021 goals or anything else, a lot of people really like the turn of a new year to be able to adopt a fresh new mindset and try and make lifestyle changes.

If you’ve read any of my goal blog posts, you’ll know I’m a massive goals person and won’t be surprised that I’ve been thinking about and making notes about what I want to achieve in 2021 for a few months now. When inspiration hits I have to write it down, or I will not remember!

And whilst setting goals and the New Year can be a great new start and a chance to refresh, it can also be really intimidating if you don’t know what the year is going to hold. When I planned this post I’d been applying for jobs with no reply (though I’m now in discussion about potential work starting next year… but I don’t want to speak too soon) and not knowing what could fill each day can be daunting, lonely and hopeless.

And after the year we’ve all lived through, lonely and hopeless have a whole new meaning.

People throw around phrases like ‘it has to be better next year!’ but if we’ve learnt anything is that we don’t know what’s coming and we can’t expect it to be better. 2021 can’t be this beacon of hope where we expect everything to return to ‘normal’ – this week, the British Government have announced a lot more places moving into Tier 3 (very high risk) measures and despite a vaccine being given, there’s a whole lot of talk about things getting worse before they ever get better. So putting too much hope on 2021 is the kind of optimism my realism can’t get behind.

So 2021 is a mystery, like every New Year is, but with the experience of 2020 behind us it feels a bit different this year. Thus, going into the New Year with no plan feels impossible.

Granted, there’s always things to be grateful for – having our health, a roof over our head and food in the fridge has meant so much more this year, being with someone who’s not lost their job and is still working is a privilege and even just living with someone and having company feels like a luxury. But that doesn’t make not knowing what could come in 2021 any less scary.

Not knowing is the worst kind of not having control and for the control freaks among us, that’s where a lot of feelings of intimidation come from. But there are ways to make it easier – I’m a huge advocate for to do lists, setting yearly and monthly goals to help with consistent progress, adapting how daily to do lists are made to suit what makes you feel productive and learning to check in with yourself to learn what makes you feel calmer and happier and working on it.

Looking ahead is always scary, whether it’s a year, a decade or a lifetime, but being able to reign it in, take it a week, a day or even an hour at a time feels more achievable. Working on mindfulness to tune into our psychological and physical needs and intuitively get to know our bodies can be hugely beneficial to our wellbeing. Even things like a skincare routine and a healthier diet are short term things that are worth focusing on.

I’m not saying this from a position of someone who’s ‘perfected’ any of this – my to do list today is about 14 tasks long because I’ve been feeling a bit low this week and not sleeping well, I’ve not opened my meditation app in months and I 100% do not regularly use any of my skincare products, but I know that when I feel ready, spending time on these things will be good for me. And I will be okay.

New Year’s is a strange time of year – it can be incredibly sad to end, excited for a new beginning, grief for those we may have lost, anticipation of plans for the coming year; a whole host of emotions, good and bad. When I was younger, I hated New Years because I was so depressed I couldn’t see my life getting better, then when I was at uni I worried that things would get worse and the evidence of the passing of time scared me. But now? The New Year is going to come and go anyway, so I’m learning to accept that the year will bring whatever it brings and I can only control what is in my power.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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