2019: A Practice in Discipline

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

~ Maya Angelou
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

~ Maya Angelou

There are a few people I follow that make a practice of annual goal setting and I spent some time last weekend enjoying their year-end recaps. What went well? What didn’t go well? What did they accomplish? How did they fail?

I wondered what it would look like if I did something similar. I mean, it seems completely reasonable and normal to write your goals down and then set about the next 12 months trying to achieve those goals. But like a lot of deceptively simple things in life  , it’s actually kinda hard to get started.

In years past, I’ve been reluctant to write anything down mostly because I’m really good at lying  to myself. I tell myself stuff like “goals are in my head and heart,” “the universe will unfold in a way that manifests my intentions,” or “committing to a specific goal will keep me from being flexible to spontaneous opportunities.” And maybe those things are true – but last year showed me life can be unpredictable and that I’m not immortal – I need a road map to where I’m going. 

Looking back on 2018, I wish I lived it with a little more direction. It feels like I didn’t do anything I wanted to do. Instead, I feel like I just survived.

So here goes, my first foray into annual goal setting. I segmented my goals into 5 different buckets in descending order of importance – health, financial, career, joy and relationships. That doesn’t mean that relationships are a low priority. Rather, it means my health is where my greatest deficiencies are (and the area I would most like to improve this year).

I also decided to have a word theme for this year and it’s a real fun one. 2019, I dub thee The Year of Discipline! I realize that when other people have words like Create! Bliss! Revolution! this word seems a little robotic   – but I’m a pragmatist and it fits. I know my life is infinitely better when I follow a routine and I am a pro at making and developing game plans. The problem is, I have trouble sticking to them. And this is where “discipline” kicks in. 

 

Health

There’s no pretty way to say this except that I need to lose about 50 pounds. It’s been at the top of my “resolutions list” EVERY. FREAKING. YEAR. And I’m sick of talking about it.

While I fully support being body positive at any size, carrying around this extra weight is affecting my health and well-being. And to be honest, 50 pounds is really an arbitrary number – maybe it’s more, maybe it’s less. I just really want to feel physically fit. 

 I’ve identified this as my keystone goal. 

 

My sleep is seriously  F’ed. I think all those years working in restaurants and going to bed at 2:30 am really did a number on my circadian rhythm. Nowadays, I work regular business hours, but I still find myself struggling to go to sleep before midnight. 

I used to brag about how well I functioned with minimal sleep, but I now realize that losing the weight will be infinitely harder unless I address my issues with getting a good night’s sleep. 

My friend Mandy recently held a day-long meditation retreat and it reminded me how much I need it in my life.  

I practice Vipassana mediation, but honestly, just download an app like OakHeadspace or Calm – it’s an easy way to get started.

This is goal is a holdover from 2018, which marks my first full year of seeing a therapy once a week. At this point therapy feels compulsory, so it’s an easy win this year.

Financial

I have a car loan and a few credit cards that I’d just like to pay off. It’s going to take some discipline to make it happen, but I think tackling about 50% of it in 2019 seems like a reasonable goal. 

I really love Ramit Sethi’s take on automating your finances.

Outside of investments and retirements, I read that you should have 50% of your annual salary in savings account. I don’t and would like to get there in the next few years. 

Obviously, paying off debt is my first priority but I can still save a little each month.  by , right?

Career

Doubling my income  is my pie in the sky goal for the year. In the long-term I’d like to build a business where I can combine travel and work.

I occasionally build websites as a side hustle right now, but I really hope that this blog or a tangential revenue stream will replace that. What I’ve learned in the past couple of years is that I just need to try something and see what sticks. Nothing is going to be perfect from the start.

Unlike my old school blog from the 2000’s, the purpose of this one is to make sure I keep up a practice of writing. One post a week doesn’t seem like it’s going to kill me. In fact, it’s the opposite, it makes me feel excited  to write.

Joy

Nothing brings me more joy than traveling . I didn’t go on any real trips last year, save for a trip to Prosser, Washington – so this year I plan on making up for it (at least somewhat). Obviously,  paying off debt is a priority but I can still take a few local trips and plan a great escape in 2020.

Relationships

2018 was a tough year for relationships. I lost some long-term friendships and there’s definitely been some friction in some relationships that I really want to keep. This year, I’d like to bolster the relationships that I have and maybe even make some new friends too.

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