Goals and Priorities for the New Year

Trail
Oh, look. It’s the path to the future!

I’ve been thinking about where I want my focus to be in 2022. I tend to set one modest, concrete goal each January 1 with the self-knowledge that my ability to think up great ideas far outstrips my ability to follow through on all of them. I can easily overwhelm myself and give up trying anything at all if I set out to do too much. For example, one year my goal was to establish the habit of taking reusable bags to the grocery store. That was the one self-improvement task I assigned myself, and by not letting it get lost in the noise of a thousand other efforts, I was able to make this single positive change a part of my routine to the point that I usually don’t even have to think about it anymore. The next year, I could move on to a new single goal.

This year, I believe I’m going to extend myself a little and set goals in more than one area and maybe not keep it as specific to one action. The first and most important involves climate change. I haven’t generally gotten into “issues” too much on this blog, but I believe every one of us needs to make sustainability our top priority. My sort of nebulous aim is to remain mindful of my actions and to continue to educate myself. A concrete goal is to foster more native pollinator plants in my yard. In addition, I am on the newly formed Sustainability Committee at my workplace and we’re in the first steps of working up a plan there to put in a mix of more environmentally-friendly plants than the swaths of uniformly green grass we have now.

Moving on to the personal, I have been pondering how easy it is to let your life shrink. I grapple with anxiety a lot and I’ve discovered that with all the not going out except to work and the grocery store has inculcated in me a whole new level of dread around things that used to be fun or at least neutral. I’ve been hunkering down in my ruts because they’re familiar and feel safe and predictable, which is okay some of the time as a way to recharge. But it’s also a way to wither. So I’m going to spend 2022 trying to do and learn new things, to experience more firsts.

The great thing about this as a goal is that it’s really pretty easy. For instance, there are a lot of great walking and biking trails in my area. I’m going to explore a bunch of them this year. A new experience can be as simple as cooking and/or eating a food I haven’t tried before. It can be listening to a musician recommended by a friend. It can mean identifying a bug I see in my yard and learning about it. Or trying a simple craft project. There’s a whole universe of firsts always waiting, no matter how old I get.

I’m hoping to hold myself accountable by posting here at least once a month about what new things I’ve tried, even if I’m the only one who reads it later. I hope I have something fun and interesting to report. Talk to you again after I’ve gone and done some stuff.

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