Reflecting on 2021 and setting intentions for 2022

I originally started this post mid-December… and then life threw a few wrenches my way and here we are, mid-January.

Anyway, the turn of the calendar year and the passing of this blog’s 1-year anniversary has put me in total reflection and planning mode (though let’s be honest, this is my default mode).

2021 in Review

My focus phrase for 2021 was to “let go”, and while I’m proud of the progress I made, it’s definitely a life journey. I’m still learning that letting something go does not necessarily mean I fail; sometimes it means that whatever I’m letting go of is not right for me in this moment.

In 2021, I created a goal list based on 5 categories:

  • Self care (my mental and physical wellness)
  • Connection (my relationship with family, friends, and other humans)
  • Growth (my personal learning and development)
  • Resources (managing my time, money, and possessions)
  • Purpose (my contribution to society)

Self Care

This is the biggest one and the main source of content for my blog. I divided the year into quarters and set each quarter to have a focus of different essentials for sustaining human life:

Connection

My focus here was to expand our family and to prepare for that expansion. I’m really proud of myself here, that instead of giving myself the goal of “get pregnant”, which is wildly out of my control, my original goals were to “track my menstrual cycles” and “have sex during times of peak fertility”. When I did have the good fortune to get pregnant, I changed my goals towards actions I could take to prepare my body and mind for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I admit, I became a bit obsessed with this focus, wanting to do all the things so much as rumored to help with a successful VBAC that I struggled a bit to prioritize them and do anything very consistently (though my baby did end up born via VBAC, safe and healthy).

Growth

I had planned to learn and practice using water colors this year by going through projects from a few water coloring subscription boxes I had sitting for many months. I met my first quarter goal of completing one project, and then never did any more.

Resources

With the ultimate goal of reducing the time I spend picking out and washing/putting away clothes, I wanted to “finally” complete Project 333 (TLDR; a recurring 3-month challenge to select up to 33 items for your closet and donate/put away everything else). I partially did this — I created clothing lists, went through a lot of my clothes, put away a lot of clothes, and put some clothes in a “to donate” pile. However, I never fully committed to sticking to only the list and some things not on the list still remained in my closet. I still really want to give this challenge a dedicated try.

Purpose

I made my blog my purpose for the year. I had hoped to published 45 blog posts during the year. In the end, I published 32 blog posts in the year 2021. It’s 13 posts shy of my goal, but I’m chalking this up to too ambitious of a first-year goal and I’m still proud of those 32 posts.

What worked? What didn’t?

What worked?

  • Having goals that aligned with my toddler’s current interests (like sweeping the floors). While they interested him, he gave me a regular reminder and motivation (and help!… sorta) to get it done.
  • Aiming only for things within my control
  • Setting bare minimum goals, I have a hard time talking myself out of showing up
  • Clearly defining the goals
  • Choosing goals that can be made into a daily habit

What didn’t work?

  • Relying on my toddler as a long-term trigger for completing daily chores. When he lost interest in cleaning the floors, I lost my regular reminder.
  • Taking on too much and not prioritizing my goals
  • Increasing my goal too quickly

What’s Next? Planning for 2022

Last year, my focus was “let go”. This year, I’m focusing on “lightening the load”. I’m taking a look at my life and what I can reduce or remove to make things easier on me.

The first thing I’m reducing? Instead of 5 goal categories, I’m focusing on 4, effectively combining “Growth” and “Purpose” to “Purpose: Creation and contribution”.

I may change this in the future, but for now, I still like giving each quarter a sub-focus related to the four major things that sustain life, but I’m reorganizing them to better align with the time of year:

  • Rest | January-March: Reset, recover from holiday pressures and stimuli, embrace the pull of hibernation
  • Breathe | April-June: Move the body, get fresh air, create space in areas of overcrowding
  • Hydrate | July-September: Replenish fluids lost in the heat (ok, I’m still thinking of how to expand this one beyond the obvious
  • Nourish | October-December: Try new recipes, learn food/spice pairings that optimize the nutritional gain, streamline meal planning

3 responses to “Reflecting on 2021 and setting intentions for 2022”

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