As the year winds down to a close, I wanted to look back at last year’s wrap-up post in which I set some goals for 2018. I realized a few years back that I need to set goals, and not resolutions. Resolutions get dumped after thirty days like a CBS All-Access trial, but goals tend to stick more because I get annoyed with myself when I fail.
How did I do on last year’s goals? Let’s find out.
My goal from last year: Write more.
How I actually did: Just terrible. I managed all of five posts in twelve months, not including this one. I need to do better. I even fell behind on travel posts in 2018. I still haven’t written about most of my trips from this year.
My goal from last year: Traveling more. At the very least, I wanted to see local places I haven’t seen like Bok Tower Gardens, the Citrus Tower, or the Orlando Cat Cafe.
How I actually did: I failed to see any of the places around Central Florida that I listed above, but I did see Boston and Hartford for the first time, and Washington DC for the third-ish time. I had some in-state travel, including a family wedding in Naples and visits to friends in Sarasota, Tampa, and South Florida. I also took a longish trip back to Germany and Austria near the end of the summer, including a quick detour to a city I had never seen before.
I went out of state a total of four times this year, so I’m calling this a definite win. Now I just need to post blog entries about all of the trips!
My goal from last year: Reading more. I set a Goodreads Challenge in 2018 to try to read at least 52 books- one a week.
How I actually did: Success! Sort of. About two thirds of the way through the year, I realized I was going to fall horribly short, so I changed my goal from 52 to 24. Instead of one a week, I shot for two a month. And I hit the middle- a total of 34 books read this year. It’s more than double the number I read in 2017, so I’m counting this as a win despite my dodgy adjustment of the goal.
My goal from last year: Change my concert-going selections to be more about quality than quantity.
How I actually did: Well, this has just been the longest year ever. Looking back at my ticket stubs, I am astonished to realize that some of these were this year when I thought they were actually last year.
In 2018, I saw Book of Love, They Might Be Giants, Vice President Joe Biden, Randy Rainbow, Erasure, Owl City, 4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince, VNV Nation, and Mannheim Steamroller. Five of those I had seen before and enjoyed enough to repeat.
On the musicals front, I saw the 30th anniversary celebration of Rent, a Central Florida local production of Xanadu, and the Washington DC preview of Beetlejuice: The Musical. All of these were really great.
All in all, this was a slower year for concerts but I definitely boosted the quality, mostly. I say mostly, because Mannheim Steamroller was kind of disappointing- Chip Davis doesn’t tour with the group any more, and the whole thing just kind of felt like a Mannheim Steamroller cover band made up of indentured slave musicians. There was no interaction with the audience, and no joy on the stage.
Beetlejuice: The Musical made up for that by being amazing and I’m considering trying to see it again after it opens on Broadway in late March.
My goal from last year: Work out more regularly. More time on the treadmill, especially.
How I actually did: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am terrible at getting to the gym! It’s much easier to get to the gym from my new apartment than it was from the old one, but it’s also much easier to justify just sitting on the couch with the remote control and a bowl of Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream.
My goal from last year: Get better sleep. Turn off the screens a little earlier each night.
How I actually did: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. My sleep is… not good. According to the sleep tracking that I get from my FitBit, I usually get somewhere between six and seven hours of sleep per night, and the quality of that sleep is just so-so. Getting more than eight hours of restful sleep is really uncommon for me. I know many of the reasons for my poor sleep, and I’m trying to fix them.
My goal from last year: Eat fewer cookies and less sweets in general!
How I actually did: My results on this one are mixed. I do keep fewer sweets in the house, and I’ve been eating better overall, but I could still improve this. Right after I eat this chocolate chip cookie dough.
To sum up, I did terribly on meeting my 2018 goals. For 2019, my goals are more or less the same as they were last year, with a few simplifications, and a few significant additions.
The 2019 Goals-
Be healthier: Eat better, sleep more, and get some damn exercise. This isn’t complicated, I just have to pay attention to it and put in the effort.
Travel more: I’ve decided on a try to make at least three out of state trips and at least one International trip for the year. If I can do more, that’s awesome.
Feed my inner introvert: Spend more time with books and less with little screens, whether they be my phone or my television. And, contradicting the little screens rule, write more in this blog. I used to be so prolific, and it’s been nearly dead for a while.
…but also see friends more often. I also mentioned in my year end recap last year that I wasn’t very good at feeding my friendships, and I’ve tried to improve that this year. This is actually a pretty big deal, because I work from home and I can easily go for four or five days at a stretch without leaving the apartment. I did well, though- I definitely spent more time around other people this year. I even made a lot of new friends, and I’ve kept a regular social schedule that gets me out of the house at least a couple of times a week.
Listen to more music, live or otherwise: I figured out a long time ago that if I don’t listen to music, I get cranky. It changes my mood, it lowers my stress, and it’s as vital to me as breathing. I hadn’t been able to listen to music as much as I like to for a variety of unimportant reasons.
To fix this, I went out a few weeks ago and bought myself a new sound system for my apartment. The new speaker integrates with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, and it’s the best purchase I’ve made literally all year. I even figured out how to stream Antenne Bayern to it, which is wonderful because it’s better than any local radio. (Sorry, WOMX, I’ll always cherish my time with you guys but German radio is just better.)
Let go of rage. Here’s something that most people who know me will probably be surprised by- I am full of anger. I am Steven’s livid inner monologue.
I have been carrying more stress and anger this past year than any in recent memory. Carrying this stress, resentment, and bile into the new year would be the least healthy thing I could possibly do. I am trying to follow the sage words of Elsa, to just let the damn thing go. I am trying to forgive and mellow, to chillax and be more zen. It ain’t easy, but I’m trying to let go of rage and negativity in the new year.
I am trying to incorporate three things into the way I react to stress and conflict:
- The Polish phrase, “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.” Translated to English, it means “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I’ve been trying to stop myself from butting into other people’s stuff. My tendency is to try to correct people’s errors. In short, I have become a buttinski. I can’t even begin to quantify how often I start to write a comment on social media, then pull back because I realize there’s nothing to be gained by injecting myself into the conversation. Not my circus…
- You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. During my last relationship, I changed a great deal of who I am in order to better suit my partner. While she never explicitly asked me to do this, I noticed pretty quickly that she was happier when I behaved in certain ways. Subconsciously, I started to act differently in order to feed the relationship. It started small, but it built up to massive changes in me over time. It was subtle, and I didn’t notice myself changing at first. By the end of the relationship, I barely recognized myself. Changing who you are to make another person happy is incredibly unhealthy, and I hate how long it took me to recognize what was happening.
- Not everything needs to be fixed. I scraped up my car a while back in the parking garage of my old apartment- the right rear quarter panel is bent and is starting to rust. I spent months thinking that I either needed to fix it or replace the car. Because of crappy design decisions by Mazda, the estimate for repairing this one tiny blemish is more than half the remaining loan on the car. The damage doesn’t affect how the car runs and it doesn’t make it any less functional. Once I realized that the car is perfectly fine, I let go of the notion that I need to fix or replace it, and that obsession stopped spinning out in my mind.
A lot of the things that have caused me stress and anger this year are things that I have brought on myself. While I need to accept that some of my stressors must be endured, I realize now that I can cut many of them loose.
You’re allowed to take back a little of your own time, and a new year is a great time to take stock of your life and make those changes for the better.
I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. And, because this joke never, ever gets old for me, I’ll see you next year! Do you have any goals for 2019?