January reflection: goals and action need to be woven together
When a new year approaches, a lot of us go into this resolution-making or planning stage. This post, however, is for all of us who spent or is spending a bit too much time ruminating on “failures” from the previous year. For those of us who got/is experiencing the post-new year blues. Ruminating on the past increases feelings of depression and anxiety, which takes away our motivation.
I remember December 2018. I was planning my bullet journal, wanting to start right on January 1st, 2019, since I waited a whole year to start it (my bullet journal delivered past January 1, 2018 – what an awful excuse). That was mistake number one. We can start at any time with a journal. We don’t HAVE TO start right on the first day of the new year. Although, this goes for everything. We can start again and over at any time. We just have to be willing to change our perspective.
For those of you unfamiliar with what a bullet journal is, it’s essentially an analog system created by Ryder Carroll. In Carroll’s words, the Bullet Journal is meant “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” Unlike traditional journal systems, a bullet journal is one that tends to write in short sentence fragments (bullets) using dots, dashes, and/or circles to mark the beginning of a sentence.
I remember lettering a nice quote while watching television with my mom and sister. I remember creating a sleep tracker, a movie and show tracker, a book tracker, and trying my best to make it all pretty.
The set up was beautiful alright, but I managed to stay on track for three months. You read correctly. Three months only. It wasn’t long after March when I completely neglected and abandoned my bullet journal.
Here are some photos of my 2019 bullet journal if you’re curious:
I have two more photos that won’t seem to add to this post…I’ll try again later (one shows some of my notes when I attempted to learn HTML and the other shows this habit tracker page I created).
Anyway, the point is, I focused so much on the aesthetic of the journal pages as opposed to making sure that the layout I designed would be conducive to my productivity and help me reach my goals. If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it’d be to SCRIBBLE IN YOUR BULLET JOURNAL! DOODLE WHATEVER! Who cares if it’s messy? Keep it 100%. Write down real-time ideas and thoughts! Draw flow charts. Let your thoughts sleep for once!!
I realized why I failed my bullet journal and why I felt disappointed in the fact that I did not utilize my bullet journal enough to do more and accomplish more.
- Goal setting is great, but when it’s abstract, unrealistic, and vague (for example, “get more sleep”, “blog more”, and “be more productive”), it does more damage than good. When a goal isn’t specific, it becomes unattainable. How do I make progress to get to “getting more sleep”, “blogging more”, and “being more productive”? I didn’t break the general goal down enough (into smaller tasks) so that I could actually implement it in my daily life.
- I did not set aside time to actually do the things that would’ve led me closer to my goal. Like I mentioned in my most recent Instagram post, nothing changes without action. How do I sleep more if I don’t climb into bed earlier? Stressing about not having posted a blog post in weeks and months isn’t time spent in actually blogging more. How does one spend time being more productive? What does productivity mean? That term needed to be defined. Busy isn’t the same as being productive. One person’s productive weekend could be spent meal prepping, gymming, reading, doing laundry, and another person’s productive weekend involves watching TV, sleeping in, and running some errands.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, I found an old photo and started digging through more old photos–a year old, a few years old, a decade old, you get the idea. You know that feeling when you look back and you’re like “omg, look at my hair back then!” or “I need to get fit like that again!” and you sink deeper into your seat and feel like the best you have long sailed away? NO.
It isn’t enough to realize where I went wrong. It’s to realize that I can and will do better. The past me was great, okay, but the power of present me is going to make future me so much more kick ass. Here I am with all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout the years, all the experience-add, and the people I’ve met, sulking about the best me being in the past? That’s bull crap.
So what measures am I taking? For blogging more, it is now being turned into at least four blog posts a month, with the goal of having a blog post per week. It’s to allocate at least two hours per week into writing and spending time on the blog, because consistency breeds confidence and confidence yields content.
I can spend all the time in the world wondering why I was so stupid in not prioritizing and entertain thoughts about what I could’ve done differently in the past or I can realize that yes, I haven’t achieved all my goals, but so what? I recognize that even though I have ways to go, I have learned and improved in the process. And like my friend, Anteneh, who encouraged me to do weekly posts (and to keep up with my blogging in general- thank you!) said “whether an inch or a mile, progress is progress.”
If we have time to complain, dwell on the past, and feel like crap after scrolling through social media, then we have time to write in a journal, go for a walk/get some exercise in, create a list of goals, and better ourselves 💁
Again, nothing changes without action.
Dreams/goals and action need to be woven together.
All it takes is one step.
We got this.