Now that we’re all done celebrating what happened in 2014, it’s time to look forward. Although many things I listed were accomplishments, there were many fundamental things about the way I tackled last year that bothered me. For one thing, my lack of agency in how things happened—or shall we say, lack of planning. It all really just fell into my lap in a whirlwind of… a few decisions: to study abroad, to take an Americorps position in Austin. I would say that those two decisions, if asked, would be the ones that sum up all of 2014. Everything else that happened was either in preparation or as a result of those decisions. (Say decisions one more time, Michelle)
There are so many hours in a day that I feel are wasted on leisure. Yes, Elizabeth Gilbert told us all in Eat, Pray, Love to learn how to just be in the lament that we are all obsessed with crafting perfect lives. Many articles followed this year in the same vein, like Omid Safi’s “The Disease of Being Busy.” But there is a difference in being, being “busy,” and stagnating and the difference lies in the balance.
Ultimately, in 2015, I want to be more conscientious of how I approach things; I want to know that everything I do is for the sake of achieving a goal—but with balance. Focused.
So, in the same order as I did my roundup, here are my goals for the new year (other than remembering to date things ’15 rather than ’14)! It does concern me a little bit that my list of resolutions are about the same length as a month’s worth, but hopefully I do things right and break it down by month. Further breakdown/updating to come later, because of course, you should always reevaluate goals as your trajectory changes
Knowing that it’s going to be a difficult year on the travel calendar for me, these are highly fantastical ideas and the closest I’m going to get is planning out every step of the way only to find out I have no funds. So, realistically, my resolution is basically to travel to another country for over 2 weeks. Ideally…
- Backpack across Peru. And South America officially tops my priorities for travel!
- Teach English in Taiwan for the summer. I’ve been REALLY wanting to go back to my roots recently, but am too poor to go there for a whole summer without at least breaking even. Unsure of the qualifications needed to teach English in Taiwan or whether they even have job stints for that amount of time, but I do know that I have a lot more connections through family there than I have here.
- Visit best friend in San Francisco. Also go to San Francisco! I haven’t been there in YEARS. My parents went recently as a “Yay, we’re empty-nesters!” trip and I’ve been jealous ever since.
- Visit grandparents
- Put in systems for passive travel rewards. The more lodged I get in a place, the more bills there are and less savings that I could cultivate… which makes me realize how important travel rewards will come to play in my travels! The more rewards the better (any recommendations out there?) and the happier I would be.
- Racking up enough travel points for a RTW within the next two years. Assuming that I do get myself hooked up and find enough honey in the pot to cash out, I want to have enough points to do another RTW within the next two years. That’s my deadline. I’m setting it now. It’s also the deadline that my current airline rewards program is calling on the points that I do have right now… so either way, I’m going!
- Read 52+ books (friend me on Goodreads so I can creep your bookshelves too). Lately, I’ve regained the reading habit simply by reading a bit every day and getting back into the mindset. Having a goal of a book a week will hopefully force me to continue, which helps my writing a bit as well.
- Break the habit of mindless TV-watching. I’m growing to hate this habit… but it’s such a difficult one to argue with. Coming home from work, the last thing I want to do is to work more, even on things that I enjoy doing! But that’s not productive for my personal or professional growth, so I want to limit the intake to one or two episodes a night before bed.
- Eat 80% natural. I want to become one of those people that eat food as fuel and feel squeaky clean from inside to out. Of course, knowing me, I know there will be a few
weeksdays here and there where I absolutely have to have my fried-covered things covered also with cheese; I’m an American after all! That’s why it’s 80% and not 90%.
- Register & run a half-marathon. It’s time to run again! Let this be the year of running—or the year of deformed feet and more athlete injuries than I can count. Speaking of athletic injuries…
- Cure shoulder bursitis
- Improve photography! Try to get a little more serious with photography… you’ve got the lens after all! I’ve said before that I noticed I’m only in “photographer mode” when I’m traveling. And maybe that ties in with seeing the wonder in the ordinary back at home… but I want to break that habit and start photographing for real.
- Create more (more blog posts, more gluten-free recipes, more crafts). This might be my newly invigorated Pinterest habit allowing me to buy into the quaint “ideal” of all these perfect women, but I want to try to be a quarter of the crazy, maniacal Pinterest fairies that run that site. I want to try new things, create little projects—as long as it’s for a greater good… like being a better cook or having a cuter room.
- Get large shoulder tattoo. Do I need to say more?
- Stop eating out. For those of you that know me, you’ll know what a feat this’ll be if I even cut down my restaurant habits by half. As a person who is already pretty stingy, if I splurge on anything, it’s food. Right now, I eat out about twice a week and if you think about it, that’s a lot of travel money that I could be saving there.
Habits I want to cultivate
- Writing (serious, non-bloggy stuff) & reading daily. I realize that while I’m busy living a normal life, I’ve stopped cultivating my ideal life when I get home. This includes writing; although I write basically every day for this blog, I haven’t done anything serious in a while, least of all submitted anything. How am I supposed to one day become a published author when I don’t even make steps towards that goal?
- Making an effort to reach out to people more. I’ve realized that I’m quite passive about how I approach experiences and friendships, taking them up as they’re being offered. I need to take charge more—if I feel like dancing the night away one weekend, I want to be able to drag some people along with me; if I feel like needing company, ask someone to come over, etc.
- Travel-like curiosity at home
- Patience. The older I get, I feel like the less patient I get. And that’s not quite the direction I want to be heading… I had no plans of turning into a grumpy old woman and I’m not going to start now!
- Not multi-tasking. In the past, it’s proven to be one of the worst ways to be productive
- Exercising & exploring as a stress reliever
- Not limiting myself
- Land a professional full-time job (hopefully in my field) in Austin/Chicago
- Take a programming certification course
- Set up education award to pay off student loans for 3 years
- Write & submit 5 essays/articles
- Look into freelance photography
What are some of your 2015 goals, looking forward? Comment or post a link below!