The new year snuck up on me. I totally forgot it was New Year’s Eve until 10pm on the 31st. And now here I am 30 minutes into 2024 scrambling to throw together my list of goals for the new year. I’ve been compiling a list of them on my phone over the past couple weeks. But am only just now sitting down to formalize my thoughts.
I’ve been largely preoccupied with copyediting for a book project and entertaining my kids with schools closed. My nights have turned into weary-eyed work’fests, often literally slapping my face to stay awake late into the night while the house is quiet.
Just Keep On Going
This time last year, I feel like I was way more excited and enthusiastic about what lie ahead. Although I’m hopeful again about what this new year will bring, I’m tired. Very tired actually. But I just gotta keep on going and lean on my daily dose of 2-3 cups of caffeine and make the most of each day.
I’m really hoping I’ll find better ways to do things this year and feel like I’m making progress more often. A lot of last year felt like I was either slipping down a steep slope or just running in place.
Lately, I feel a bit dense, having good intentions but stuck in place like a dog carrying a giant stick in its mouth who’s so happy about its new treasure but can’t get anywhere with it.
Yet Another Chance To Improve
At least 2024 will give us all another chance to improve and despite my frustrations, I’m not giving up yet.
Those of you who have read my blog for a while, know how much I love inspirational quotes. Here are a few to get us in a better mindset and motivated to set new stretch goals this year.
“Life isn’t finding shelter in the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Sherrilyn Kenyon
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” – William James
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
Without further ado, here is my list of goals I will set out to accomplish this year on my quest for another chance to improve.
Work and Finances
- Learn 3 new podcast editing skills: this should be fun and great to apply to my work
- Keep dedicated office hours: I want to create a very specific work schedule that I can follow each week. This should help prevent housework and other misc things from overtaking my time that should be dedicated to work.
- Get more compliments than complaints: My boss has come close to firing me too many times and that just sucks. This year I need to improve my focus, prioritize better, have more regular meetings for clarity and expectations’ sake, take on new independent projects, and better track and share my progress. I’m a realist, so beating my boss’ expectations is probably too ambitious a goal right now, but I hope to at least meet the bar and potentially get above it once in awhile.
- Complete work on another book: I’m excited about this challenge. There’s a lot to do, but it’s a fun learning experience and I really want to improve my skills.
- Continue to save for 6 months: I’m feeling house rich, cash poor and need to keep spending low for 1H24.
- Manage operational cash flow monthly: I have a lot of accounting tasks that are best done weekly or monthly that I’ve been doing quarterly or later instead. I should have an easier time managing cash flow with more regularity.
- Learn some productivity hacks: I’m rather stuck in a loop of sleep deprivation, resulting mental fog, suboptimal efficiency or lack thereof, and ensuing frustration. I need to lean on my strengths, squeeze in more sleep, and find smarter ways to get more things done.
- Fix some back-end issues: There are some search console errors I want to research and try to resolve, plus fix some broken things on the back-end.
- Write 6 posts for Untemplater: Yes, I realize this sounds pathetically low, but considering how poorly I did last year, how much more I am taking on this year, and many priorities to juggle, I will be happy to get at least 6 new posts out this year, not including this one. Twelve would be phenomenal, but I’ll start low with 6.
- Teach my daughter how to read 50 words: I need to find a way to make learning high frequency and sight words fun for her so she’ll be willing to participate and retain them.
- Teach my son 3 songs on the piano: I want to start teaching my son piano utilizing our weekly 1×1 time when my daughter is at ballet.
- Improve my tone and word choice with my kids: I want to give directives using positive/enabling phrasing vs negative/prohibitive. For example, “Please use a 6-inch voice” vs “Stop being so loud!”
- Help my daughter pass a food challenge: Any parent whose had/has a child with food allergies knows how long and nerve-wracking food challenge appointments are. Hopefully this year she’ll get fully phased out of her allergy.
- See my dad: I haven’t seen my dad in a very long time. It’s been over 5 years and thus he’s never even met my 4 yo daughter. At least it doesn’t feel like that long since we’ve been in touch.
- Have a family photo shoot: I didn’t schedule one last year because they’re really expensive and we were in saving mode. But hopefully by Q3 we’ll be in a position to get one.
- Continue dancing: I hope to continue taking lessons because not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s also good exercise for my brain and body.
- Take vitamins and calcium regularly: My mother has osteoporosis and several fractures as a result. And, my doctor has been telling me to take calcium for years. It’s time I listened.
- Sleep by 11:30 at least once a week: I am so not a morning person as much as I wish I was. But staying up until 1/1:30am every night is not sustainable for my health or productivity. I need to pick one day a week where I force myself to shut down and sleep early. Maybe I’ll go with Sundays.
- Get a mammogram: I put this off during the pandemic and need to work this into my preventative healthcare routine.
- Get a complete physical: My last physical was in 2022. I did the appointment remotely and just went to the lab for the tests. Thus, I plan to see my doctor in person this year and see if everything’s in good standing.
- Hydrate better daily: I’m a bit odd in that I don’t feel thirsty very often. As a result, I often totally forget to stay hydrated until the day is more than half over. Since I love to drink tea and caffeine is dehydrating, I need to keep a bottle of water within reach all day.
- Work on active listening and not interrupting: I’m not a super chatty person, but I have a habit of interjecting too soon. Improving my listening skills should help this.
- Swear 50% less: My past jobs led me to swear like a sailor. Now that my kids are older, I need to enact a swear jar or at least cut back on the expletives.
- Read 5 new nonfiction books: I love, love, love to read nonfiction books. The challenge is finding time to read them especially without guilt for not doing something else. I read 5 last year and hope to do the same in 2024.
- Maintain my weight: If I can maintain my weight or possibly even lose a couple pounds I’ll be happy. My 2023 weight was much improved over 2022. But now I have to make sure it doesn’t creep back up.
- Spend less time arguing: My boss and I spent too much time and energy having negative conversations in 2023. Time and harmony are too precious to squander away and let this continue.
- Keep up with what’s trending: I feel like I’ve really started to get behind the times with tech, apps, slang, important news, and what’s trending. I want to improve my awareness which should hopefully help me communicate and connect with people easier.
- Consume content for enrichment and knowledge: I’m content with my minimal usage of social media, but I want to consume more educational content this year and have some more “me” time.
- Get some new wardrobe pieces: My wardrobe is very boring and I’m okay with that. But I would like to finally get 1 nice pair of jeans later this year, 1 pair of dress pants, a few tops, and a new purse.
- Brush ma shoulders off. I’m tired of feeling defensive. I just don’t take well to bluntness, irritability, and harsh tones. But since I have no way to control how someone dishes out their thoughts, I need to remind myself criticism, at its best, is an act of love. I can’t expect to get better if I’m handed a marshmallow sandwich.
“Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care. Worry when you do something badly and nobody bothers to tell you.”― Randy Pausch
- Build out and organize 4 closets: I’d like to buy some additional Elfa shelves to increase the usability of three closets. Plus I need to better organize everything that’s in four.
- Create a filing system for my work and personal files: Ever since we moved, my filing system has been shot. I need to get this sorted out.
- Decorate the walls in our new home: I kind of dread decorating walls until I know exactly where I want things to go and have the energy and time to dedicate to it. But this needs to get done this year.
- Shape and prune the entire yard: I love to garden and am looking forward to this one, especially when the weather warms up.
- Make a list of house rules: I think this will be helpful for my kids and my sanity.
- Streamline food prep and meals: Ugh, planning meals and food is not something I like to do because it’s so endless. But I want to find ways to improve this process. Hopefully my daughter getting older and becoming less picky will make this easier.
- Get to know 10 new people: I’ll have a brand new network of people to meet when my daughter starts a new school in the fall. I think this will be fun and a great way to continue improving my communication skills. I already met 2 new people today thanks to a NY party.
- Remember all the 1st grade families’ names: I got to know several more parents in my son’s grade last year, but there are still a handful or two I haven’t met, don’t recognize, or struggle to remember. I want to memorize all of their names, faces, and children by year end.
- Get a REAL ID: I put this off when the deadline was extended. I got my passport last year, so I’ll try and finally get my REAL ID this year.
As I’m sluggishly rounding off this post now at 1:08 am on new year’s day, I admit my list is probably too ambitious. And I know there were a few more I meant to add but unfortunately I am too drowsy to remember.
Nevertheless, the stubbornness in me will keep on trying and hoping for a better today and tomorrow. Now I really need to go get some sleep.