2020 in review, goals for 2021

I watched this video on Youtube a while back about how to recapitulate the past year and how to plan goals and habits for the next to simply be more happy. I usually dismissed these kinds of videos back then and never put much stock into the kind of exercise she suggests.

But I got to know Maryjane as a very smart and humble person and this small exercise kind of stuck with me. So I did a sheet similar to hers at the end of 2019 and this year I am going to make another one and even put it out here for you to see. I omitted some very personal things of course (or kept them general) and a lot of what worked out and what not was definitely influenced by the insanity that we imposed as a society on ourselves in the futile attempt to stop COVID19.

2020 in review

Highlights and Successes

  • Emotionally let go of someone because it was necessary (i.e I was hung up on someone)
  • made new friends despite lockdowns
  • deleted my Steam/GOG or other gaming accounts (I’ll write about it soon)
  • experimented a lot with blogging and writing
  • finally decided on running this photo blog
  • discovered new photography inspirations
  • worked through some personal and relationship stuff (sorry can’t be more detailed but it has something to do with the concept of relationship anarchy)
  • let go of all the anger concerning my workplace, there are way more important things (I’ll write about it soon)
  • made my home office into the kids playroom with new furniture and decorations
  • learned a lot about myself

Failures and Things to Improve

  • consumed way too much media, videos, news or social media to distract myself from me or from boredom (partly lockdown related)
  • did too much retail therapy (partly lockdown related)
  • working through some personal stuff was a big strain on my family (it worked out in the end and a lot was due to lockdowns and isolation)
  • not patient enough with my daughter (try to keep a two year old busy all day when there are no play groups, play dates or other activities available)
  • lack of physical activity
  • still too much anger about things I can neither change nor control
  • deleted a satisfying blog (it might have been for the better though but I still regret it)
  • really neglected my philosophy studies especially this semester and was unable to participate in last semesters exam (try writing an exam from home with a small kid running around)
  • had to fight depression due to lockdowns and isolation

Goals for 2020: What worked out and what not?

Successful goals and habits

  • Building some mental distance to my workplace: This worked out really well and remote work for most of the year did certainly help. One of the small upsides of the pandemic. Big lessons; don’t get sucked into personal drama at work and commuting sucks
  • Reading at least 12 Books: I made it exactly to 12 and I will write something about it.
  • Meeting new people: Considering the circumstances I actually managed to go on some dates (one was a bit scary though) and I maybe made some new friends (too early to tell). One person I just met very recently and I really like her and I hope we can become friends. (if you read this…wanna be friends? 😉
  • regular sleep (at least 8 hours with fixed bed times): My sleep quality is still terrible but I got a good sleep rhythm

Partially successful goals and habits

  • a maximum of once per day of checking news or social media: I really tried and it worked for a short time and then I fell back into the habit (social media is really addictive and being stuck at home with nowhere to go and meet people made that goal probably not attainable). I tried at least.
  • having a better daily routine with things like cleaning, grooming, scheduled activities, meals, time set aside for reading, studying or meditation: I got a routine for like half of the things. My kid needs routine and this helped me too.

Failed goals and habits

  • 3x a week taking a bike ride for some cardio: This never worked out. Due to childcare I only ever had actual time when my wife came back from work at around 5 pm when I was tired and hungry from the day. In the evening when the kid was asleep I also wanted to spend time either doing something calm or spending it with my wife. It was in all honesty an unattainable goal. Should have maybe bought a treadmill or cross trainer?
  • a healthy breakfast: Let’s just not count the number of grilled cheese sandwiches shall we? 🙂
  • Being outdoors once a day: I tried really hard and I gave myself permission to skip rainy days. But once the lockdowns hit it was hard to motivate myself to go somewhere when there was nowhere to go. I really miss going on a walk and having coffee somewhere, a small rest and a snack or visiting some place. It also depressed me to see masked people around me. I live so much for social interaction with fellow humans and it is hard for me not to see proper faces.
  • Passing at least on exam: I wrote about it already.
  • Try to be more calm, be more centered on myself and maybe do some meditation: I never really tried. I have no excuse.
  • Visiting an out of town friend: Regrettably I cancelled in February due to me not feeling well and the weather being dull and grey. We rescheduled for May to visit some museums and take a hike but…lock downs. I regret not visiting in winter but I was so sure to be able to see him three months later. I guess we should not take things for granted and needlessly postpone them when they are available right now.

New goals and habits for 2021

New habits

  • more physical activity (I’ll keep this very general because I probably won’t have time until my daughter goes to daycare in autumn or unless I can convince myself to put a huge fitness thingy in my bedroom).
  • more focus on healthy food in general, i.e. less sugar, pasta oh no :-(, rice and more vegetables, nuts, berries, good oils, fish and so on
  • avoiding multitasking
  • start a meditation practice even if it is just a few minutes a day before going to bed. Maybe I’ll combine it with what someone else suggested: to recapitulate the day and mentally note 10 positive things I have done over the day.
  • a maximum of once per day news and social media (I am not giving up on this goal, regarding news I recommend the case against news by Rolf Dobelli)
  • less shopping (I have no income right now anyway)

New goals

  • making new friendships with the people I met recently (this is not really a goal and more of a wish, it means to be attentive and open)
  • passing at least one (ideally two) exams
  • finding a job nearby because commuting sucks or making arrangements with my employer to work at least 50% from home
  • visiting out of town friends, one of whom lived abroad so I haven’t seen him in years (depending on the lock down madness though)
  • taking a small holiday with my family (depending on the lock down madness though)
  • buying a yearly museum pass and visiting Berlin’s great museums at least once a month (depending on the lock down madness though)
  • reading another 12 books

I hope this was interesting to you. I mostly wrote it to hold myself a bit more accountable over the next year. So you all are my commitment device. Maybe it inspires you to do something similar. With that I wish you all a good 2021. Go out and live your lives, don’t be afraid. I should heed my own advice too.

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