Happy New Year!
The end of 2021 flew by, and I found myself taking my lengthiest break from writing so far! I wanted to write, but time kept disappearing. In the past, I would’ve beaten myself up about this. This time, however, I decided to be kind to myself and accept that something had to give. I was finding it tricky to keep up with everything, and rather than let my clients down, I found it easier to set my blog to one side, knowing that I could come back to it in January.
At the beginning of last year, I wrote a post called Setting Goals in 2021. In the section, ‘How do I set goals?’ I talk about the importance of setting SMART goals. As the year progressed, I realised I hadn’t taken my own advice! My goals were nowhere near SMART enough.
Whilst I came to the end of another strange year feeling satisfied with the progress I had made, it irked me that I hadn’t made my goals SMART.
Here’s a little look back and a short review of my not very SMART 2021 goals:
I’m over the moon with the progress I made on my business in 2021. Jumping from managing a small team to setting up a freelance writing business (via redundancy) has been epic. I’m pleased to be heading into the new year in a better financial position, with existing clients by my side as well as new clients coming on board. Launching my own business has changed my life in many ways, and I’m excited to see where 2022 takes The Mindful Gingernut.
To buy myself fresh flowers once a month
This goal gave me so much joy throughout the year. Instead of getting upset with my boyfriend for ‘only’ buying me flowers on special occasions (I feel like I didn’t show him nearly enough gratitude towards how lovely it was for him to buy me flowers in the first place!), I decided to splash out and buy myself flowers every month. I found so much happiness in carefully selecting them and arranging them in a nice vase. The only months I didn’t buy myself flowers were when others had bought them for me. I only have a small flat and don’t have lot’s of space or vases, so some months, I didn’t have enough space to buy more of them. Buying flowers is something I will continue in 2022 but hopefully, this will now become the norm rather than a specific goal.
To continue to improve my engagement on WordPress and Instagram
This is one of the goals I didn’t set a SMART enough target for at the beginning of 2021. I developed a tracker to manage and monitor the growth of my client’s social media accounts, yet I didn’t set one up for myself! I had become more focused on my client engagement, which resulted in my own engagement rate lapsing. I became focused on their growth rather than mine. I miss engaging with my followers on WordPress and hope to find the time to read more blog posts this year.
To travel outside of the UK
Travelling outside of the UK seemed like a realistic goal at the beginning of last year. By Spring, this was turning into an unrealistic reality unless I was willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for PCR tests and pay to quarantine in a hotel. Some of the travel restrictions here in the UK are set to be lifted this month, making travel more accessible again. The question this year isn’t whether I’ll travel abroad again, but where will I travel to?
To improve my spiritual growth
Whilst there were good intentions behind this goal, there was nothing SMART about it. As I sit here reflecting, I’m not sure whether I’ve improved my spiritual growth or not, but I do know that I’m entering the new year feeling much more aligned with who I am and who I want to be.
Despite my disappointment in not making my goals SMART enough last year, I had some additional wins which are worthy of mentioning:
- I gave myself a much-needed kick up the backside and started to improve elements of my health. I cut back on oil and salt, and I began exercising more often. I no longer keep cheese in the house (unless using it for cooking) and, I cut back on my sugar intake. In 2020 I averaged a mere 3489 steps per day. Last year, this rose to an average of 7106 steps. Although there’s still a long way to go before I average the recommended 10,000 steps per day, I’ve decided to set this as a target in my goals list for this year.
- I made some new friends. Making local friends had been one of my goals ever since I moved to London in 2015, but it was something I struggled with. However, the loneliness I felt at the beginning of 2021 gave me the push I needed to put myself back out there and meet new people. I met some lovely peeps last year, and I’m pleased to say my social calendar looked a lot healthier by the end of the year.
- I read more books last year than I had done for a long time. During one of our many lockdowns, I joined an online book club which gave me the kickstart I needed to start reading again. I’ve always loved books, but I found it all too easy to pick up my phone and scroll rather than picking up a book. In 2021, I stopped attending the book club as the books weren’t necessarily the type of thing I would choose to read. But it had given me the kick up the ass I needed. I read 11 books last year, averaging 1 book per month (until my busy November/December when reading, in addition to my writing, suffered!). Reading before bed has gradually become part of my bedtime routine, and I now find myself going to bed earlier just so I can spend more time reading.
2022 is all about building on last years goals but in a SMARTER way.
My main goals for the year ahead are:
Whilst some of my goals have a specific target, this doesn’t apply to them all.
For example, as we all become more and more conscious of repairing our broken world, I want to improve how kind I am to the environment.
Towards the end of 2021, I started to use Olio and I discovered a lovely eco-friendly health store in my town which does refills such as grains, spices and even laundry liquid!. In 2022 I want to pay more visits to the refill station, making sure I take along my empty containers and refill them, rather than throwing containers away or recycling them. A friend informed me earlier this week that his local supermarket has also introduced a re-fill station.
This has to be the way forward, and if supermarkets don’t get in on the act soon, I suspect they will start to lose customers who would like to shop in an eco-friendly way. This goal is hard to make SMARTER as I have no current base level figure, but by setting up a monthly tracker, I’ll be able to review how frequently I re-fill, and I’ll then be able to use that as a base figure for next year.
How will I track my goals?
The SMARTER your goals are, the more important it becomes to keep track of them.
This year, I’ve created a Google Sheet for my goals. With a separate tab for each goal, I’ll easily be able to track my monthly progress. I may even produce a swanky chart now and again. That way I can visualise the progress I am making!
As a caveat to all of this, it’s important to remember that we still live in difficult times. If you are setting goals this year, be kind to yourself, make them realistic and be prepared to alter them if circumstances change.
Have you made any goals this year? How will you be tracking them?
Whether you’re setting goals or not, I hope you have a happy and healthy 2022.