Blabbing my 24 for 24 list

I never make New Year’s (or any kind of) resolutions, but I love to plan out the year ahead every year, and I have different methods to do that.

I don’t really like New Year’s as an arbitrary date to start new things, because my principle is that when you really need to change something, why wait even for the next day? Start right now, no matter what day it is. But as a huge planner and goal-setter I like setting goals for different periods of time and the start of a new year is a great opportunity to review and reflect on the status of your goals.

Besides filling out the Year Compass workbook each year for a few years now, I also like to make a numbered list inspired by one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, which is a podcast about how to be happier. I strongly recommend Gretchen’s The Happiness Project book about everyday habits to increase the amount of happy moments in your life based on the science of happiness. Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth have this method each year, they call the “happiness trifecta”. They have a one word theme, they have a year-round challenge and they make a half goals-half bucket list kind of list for the year ahead. 

I have never shared my list before, but for several reasons my one word theme for this year is SHARE, so I thought now is the time. By the way, the one word theme is one word you choose for the year as kind of a motto, which can have different meanings for your personal as well as your professional life and goals. I haven’t been much into the yearly challenges, because mostly they choose stuff that I’m already doing or aiming to do every day, like reading every day, being outside every day (although one year it was rest, and I really should have made a challenge out of it). This year it’s writing every day, which is already a goal and an item on my list below. And then there’s the list. As I said, it’s half goals, half bucket list. There are things to achieve, but also fun things to do. You have to be careful though, that you list things that are in your control. You can’t always control whether you achieve a certain aim,  but you can control how much you work for it, so it’s better to put actions on the list, rather than outcomes. They can also be more concrete than mine, like visit a certain place, or go to a certain event, I don’t have such items this year. Gretchen and Elizabeth shared theirs in the first podcast of this year last week, by the time mine was already ready, but they always have such good ideas, that it almost made me change some of mine. I didn’t in the end, so here’s my original 24 for 24 list.

1. Get my health in order.

First of all I have to make time for the regular check-ups that I postponed last year when I couldn’t walk. But also, I need to prioritize sleep. In the past years I became too familiar with the feeling of chronic sleep-deprivation, when your ears are constantly buzzing, your eyes are blurry, and your brain is fogged. This slowly became my everyday experience, and I want to make it stop.

2. Get my housing situation in order.

The place I live in is actually a perfectly pleasant apartment from spring to autumn, but during the winter it’s practically unlivable. I am talking 15 °C (59 °F) in the bathroom. A move was in the plans last year, but for several reasons, it didn’t go into realization. This year one way or another I have to leave my current place.

3. Get my job situation in order.

It was also in the plans for last year, and a change happened, but not in the direction I wanted it to. Let’s just say this year I need to work on my own career goals that I planned for last year. One of them is some kind of work-life balance and quite simply more rest.

4. Declutter all three places I keep my stuff at.

Yes, there are three different places where I keep things and I should pack most of them up, mainly in order to prepare everything to move to one place (although it might not happen soon), but also to minimize. I’ll try to work on it. (I have Marie Kondo’s first book that amazingly I’ve never read before on my shelf to support this one.)

5. Doing some major digital decluttering.

Many of my digital stuff needs decluttering too. I already started it last year when I replaced my laptop, but there are still lots of things to do.

6. Visit at least one new place every month.

It was on my list for the last few years, and I wasn’t always good at it, even though my rules are quite simple. It doesn’t have to be a new country or a new city (although I’d love to travel more too), but even a new place close to where I live counts. We’ll see how it goes.

7. Going to a retreat.

I was also thinking about this for a long time. Maybe a yoga retreat, but I am also very interested in different writing retreats. I’ll see which one it’ll be, but I really want to try something like this.

8. Get back to regular running.

It was in the books ever since I could walk again, but haven’t done it yet. Even though I’m a seasonal jogger (only go out from spring to autumn), I was even thinking about buying some of those thermo-outfits and going during the winter too. Haven’t acted on it yet, but I can’t wait to get back to running anyhow.

9. Get back to regular hiking.

I used to be a regular hiker, and haven’t done any last year, so even a little walk in the Buda hills would count, but I really want to get back to higher mountain climbing too.

10. Launch my bookstagram.

I could say it’s already done, because it’s up and running, but by “launching” I mean really building it with regular posting. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a huge undertaking, because I’m really bad at taking photos (meaning it’s not something I’m good at and it’s also not something I enjoy, perhaps there’s a connection), and this requires me to take lots of photos. But I still think I want to do it, so I’ll work on it.

11. Get back to driving.

I have had a driving license for a very long time (I actually renewed it last year), but I don’t really drive, except for my mother’s car occasionally. I don’t own a car, and I don’t really want to, because I know it wouldn’t be worth it. The last time I thought about it was during Covid, but in all calculations it turned out it would be a waste of money, I would only use it once a month maybe, but I would have to maintain it and keep it somewhere. Yet, there are many car-share options, so there are some situations it could be easier if I used them. (Note, futurologists say that car share is the future of driving, as the one person-one car scenario is simply unsustainable, but for it to really become an alternative in my opinion, we need more economical solutions for out-of-town driving, I think it’s still too expensive, at least in Hungary.)

12. Do summer things while it’s summer.

This one goes back to last summer, when mostly I didn’t even realize it was summer, because I couldn’t have time off to enjoy it, or when I had, I couldn’t use my feet to go anywhere. This year I really want to go and spend more time out and make the best of the hot weather.

13. Listen to more music.

I love music and I used to listen to music all the time, but the last few years I just had less room for it (except for focus music while I was working). I want to listen to more contemporary music, and also a book I read last year inspired me to revisit an instrument I used to play as a child. (I was already thinking about it, because the brain training studies all suggest playing music as a way of stimulating our brain activity. Did you know Einstein played the violin as a break when solving math problems?)

14. Get back to more regular cooking (eating healthier).

Years ago I used to be a regular cook, I cooked every weekend, sometimes even weekdays. Now I just don’t have the time and energy, even though I know I prefer weekly meal planning with the stuff I cook for myself (that I know what I put into). So even if it’s just simple meals, I want to cook more. Perhaps I should be more specific about it, but I know there are times in my life when even once per week would be unrealistic, so I leave out that kind of pressure and just go with the intention.

15. Write every day.

I can say I write almost every day, due to my job, but that’s different (many times doesn’t even require creativity at all). My goal is to maintain my writing skills to be able to write anything, anywhere in no time (any kind of professional material too). I found that to be a somewhat unique skill, so I want to strengthen it in different languages.

16. At least one friends gathering per month (and hosting more).

As last year my job really took over my life, I barely took time to meet friends, so our usual gatherings became fewer in between. I want to bring back hosting people more and going to places with them. One per month might be an achievable goal, although I hope we can go out more.

17. Get back to volunteering.

I used to volunteer for years and then I didn’t and I don’t know why, because I liked it and I also find this form of giving back important. It’s one of those things that fell by the wayside when I got busy. I hope to find some form of occasional volunteering that is compatible with my busy schedule. (If anyone knows of such an opportunity, let me know!)

18. Do at least one training or course.

OK, this one I can check right now, because by the time this post will be published, I already started one, and I already know I will do two more. Those are all compliance/risk management related courses, but later in the year I want to find an English academic writing course as well.

19. Getting my French to conversational.

My ultimate goal with French learning is getting it to a professional level, but at this point, I would be glad to be able to communicate confidently. I try to work on it every day.

20. Find another form of exercise I enjoy (besides yoga and running).

As I mentioned, I’ve always been a seasonal jogger, so for the wintertime I was always looking for something to substitute running. I’ve never found anything that stuck for a longer time. Now I’ll try to find something to do all year round, not as a substitute, but besides yoga and running.

21. Go to more concerts, plays, movies, museums (go out more).

Again, working all the time and never being sure how late I finish each day made it hard to schedule anything for weekdays. I already started to make progress in this one in January, by scheduling theater for a Monday evening (we bought the ticket in December). I hope I won’t fall asleep during the play. I will not attach a specific number to this one either, I’ll just do my best. 

22. Read a lot of good books and write about them.

In my first draft this was reading more books than last year, but since it’s not a question of quantity, but quality, I changed it. Even my reading challenge on Goodreads this year counts less, only 40 books. So, my real reading goals are to read more from my “Books I haven’t read” shelf, trying to clear it for books I’ll buy this year (there is literally no more space at the moment), and also I’ll try to read more non-fiction books.

23. Celebrate Christmas properly.

This one was on my lists for the last few years, practically ever since I have had my current job. In my current job Christmas, or more properly the end of the year is the busiest time, we work overtime non-stop, no days-off are possible, and it’s just a tiring season. For this mainly but several other reasons too I haven’t even unpacked my Christmas decorations for six years now. I am longing for a holiday season when I can prepare and enjoy the weeks before in relative peace. Again, all I can control is how I go about it, but I’ll try.

24. Travel for New Year’s.

Again, a long time plan. I already have an idea about the destination, I’ll just have to try to talk some people into it (seems like I have almost a year, but we should plan early, so not really). I’ll see how it goes.

One more thing, at the end of the year of course we assess how things went from our lists. Of course we thrive for completion, but things don’t always go in our favour, so there’s nothing wrong with not checking a box. In the spirit of my one word theme, I’ll share my end of the year evaluation here too.

How about you? Are you also a goal-setting junkie?

Did you make a 24 for 24 list? IIt’s not too late to start now! How is yours?

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