As always, and like every other year, I feel that pull, a desire and an optimism that borders on insanity, towards wanting to achieve way too many things over the course of a year. Just one year. And still somehow strike a balance between work and other life stuff. A year seems like a lot of time and so I, and many others, overestimate this time available and our capacity to be a super productivity ninja, believing our long list of actions and goals is possible. This year will be different for me.
If 2017 and my sabbatical taught me anything, it’s that we all need space in our lives to feel, think and be present. If we don’t have that space, we miss out what is most important – life. Being constantly productive or meaninglessly busy is not healthy, nor conducive to the actual experiencing, exploring and appreciating exactly where we are throughout this life. Realising that I am enough, just the way I am and in what I do each day, and using this is a basis, is empowering in a way that I can be content but also strive a little, stretch a little.
Limiting the number of goals
I’ve limited the number of goals this year to three. A lower number brings more focus and less pressure. What I like about the goals I have come up with is that I can identify a series of action steps I can take throughout the year. Previously, I have set goals that were really a list of actions, or a ‘to do’ list, and they were all big because they were ‘goals’. The other problem with my past goal setting is that I failed to recognise they couldn’t all be worked on at once. I scattered myself thin and in doing so, would beat myself up for not achieving everything on the list. At least this year, if I complete some or all of the action steps, then I’ve made progress.
Another reason for limiting the number of goals is to remind myself to attend to the basics of self-care and what I already have on my plate. Things like blogging, for example. In the past, in my library world life, I’d set a goal to submit a certain number of articles while forgetting that I already have an outlet for my ideas, thoughts and expertise – my blog. By reviewing, then looking after the basics, maintaining these, I can better identify the capacity I have to challenge myself further.
What I want to achieve in 2018
In 2018, I want to be happy, healthy and present. I want to put what I learned in 2017 into daily practice. This year, I want to thrive.
Here are my few things I’d like to achieve in 2018:
Explore writing and publishing opportunities.
Writing is no doubt a key focus for 2018. Over the last couple of years I’ve been developing an idea for a book. I have chapter outlines written on index cards and a few draft chapters sitting on my computer. But I’m not sure if the project will turn out as I had originally planned and so I’m open to different ways of telling the story. This may be entering competitions, gaining feedback on pieces, attending a few courses and generally refining what I want to achieve with my writing going forward.
Be mindful and proactive about my well-being.
I started to do this as soon as I arrived back from the traveling sabbatical as there were a few things I need to be sorted out. Also, my newfound awareness of what I need to keep well can be put into action to achieve this goal. I need to prioritise exercise, medical treatment and ensure I meditate and journal regularly. Take care of these and I’ll be much better positioned to achieve other things and give to other people.
Flourish in my job and area of expertise.
In 2017 I started a new job and newly created role in an academic library. I’m now ready to further establish the role within the organisation and share my expertise with the broader, professional community. I’m really excited about this, the fact that I don’t identify as a fresh newbie professional anymore, and working with my supervisor who has been amazing so far in lending her support and knowledge. There are a few things I can do to realise this goal, such as writing for publication, publish regularly to my blog and identifying opportunities where I can strengthen relationships and provide input.
2018 is about slowing down, taking care of the basics but also stretch myself a little (instead of a lot). I’m working real hard to restrain myself from setting more goals. There is much I want to do, but I now know that I can’t do them all at once. Nor can I thrive by spreading the pressure, the capacity and the stress over so many things. I need to focus on these and let the rest go. Allow this beautiful life to unfold.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?