I was struggling to write a year end post, as I always have trouble wrapping up my year in a nice reflective bow and setting realistic and helpful goals for my next year. (See last year’s almost completely unaccomplished goal list.) I was, however, inspired yesterday by my lovely friend Nicole’s goal setting template (and general awesomeness), which totally kickstarted my goal-setting and reflecting.
Looking back over this year, I would say that a word to describe it would be unexpected. This year did not go as I planned, again see last year’s goal list. There are, however, some things I would definitely put on my Eff Yeah List: knowing myself enough to know that my relationship wasn’t working and having the courage to leave, working for Teach for America and in the end feeling like I did “widen my impact” as TFA lingo goes, actually committing to and having some success in running, moving in by myself and loving it, not letting moving in by myself turn me into a hermit but actually using it to be MORE social and making some new fabulous friends, and of course, eating ridiculous amounts of brunch.
There were lots of things this year, however, that were not so full of Eff Yeah-ness. They included feeling like I’m not doing a good job at my job for the first time, making some boy decisions that were probably not the healthiest, drinking a BIT too much red wine, and hurting my knee several times whilst running. Which leads me to my word for next year…
This one takes a bit of explaining. I just finished reading a book by Ken Robinson, an educational innovator and writer who is pretty kick-ass – seriously, if you have not listened to his Ted Talk about Education and Creativity, leave this place now and go watch it – called The Element, ironically partially as an assignment for work. (You shall see the irony in a minute) In it, he explains about The Element, or the intersection of your passions and talents, and how important it is for us personally and as a society to find our own elements and live in them. While reading, I finally accepted that I am not living in my element. I am doing something I am pretty good at and that I like, but I am not consistently doing the things that I LOVE and am GREAT at doing. My goals for next year all have to do with finding the time and making the big life decisions that will lead me towards my Element, and if I don’t love something – an activity, a person, a job – I want to have the strength to let it not take up my time and my life.
From that point, I put some goals in place in various buckets. Some are extremely tangible – running: run 3 races (5K, 10K and half marathon are my goals now – I’m not setting an actual distance goal just yet as my knee is still wonky, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure.); cooking: cook a REAL meal (nothing frozen) at least once a month. Invite people over. Blogging: Post at least once a week.
Some buckets are much more about mind-sets. Knowing I have some big work decisions coming up, my biggest goal there is to not let fear dictate my decisions. For relationships, my two biggies are to simply stop making bad decisions and be happy being single. (I think these two are related…)
I’ve also tried to anticipate that I may be leaving LA (albeit only for a year or so…) in this next year, so I did make a bucket of Fun LA things, which include going to a new restaurant/bar each month and doing the Hollywood Sign hike – my favorite LA-y thing – at least two more times.
All of my buckets encompass things or people I love, and in a lot of cases, don’t spend enough time doing – blogging, photography, cooking, etc. I really want to find my Element not just at work but in my hobbies and free time – how can I best use my time to do the things I am passionate about?
Overall, I’m satisfied with 2011 but not entirely happy with it, if that makes any sense. I know that this next year could land me in a totally new place – both literally and figuratively – and I hope my goals will help guide that change process in a positive way. Here’s to 2012!