2020 Goals: Recap and Lament

All right. Before I can turn my attention to 2021, I always feel compelled to look back on the previous year’s goals, take stock, and see how it all shook out. See where things went well; see where things went unexpectedly (which is pretty much everything in 2020, right?). What worked; what didn’t. All that jazz.

In looking back over my 2020 goals, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Some goals were upended by the pandemic, of course. Others were not impacted at all. Here’s the final result:

  • Get back on the running trails, and rediscover my love for my old sport. Done! The way 2020 shook out, there was very little that I could do to chase adventure and achievement – other than running. But run I did. Between two virtual race series put on by Another Mother Runner, and a number of other virtual races hosted by local running stores in my area, I kept myself busy on the roads and the trails. I definitely feel more inspired and energized about running than I have in a long while, and I am mulling over some more goals (pandemic permitting, of course) for 2021.
  • Buy nothing new for three months.  This doesn’t include food, toiletries, other consumables, gifts or things for the kiddos – but as for myself, I’d like to be a more conscious member of the circular economy. Done! From January through March, I bought nothing for myself that wasn’t strictly necessary – so other than food and toiletries, nothing at all. It was a really interesting and rewarding experience, and one that I would like to repeat sooner than later. I’m not really a big shopper – other than for books, heh – but I think it’s so helpful to take a step back periodically, and be more mindful about consumption.
  • Go up in a hot air balloon. Done! This was one of the few adventure-type plans I made for 2020 that actually came to fruition. It was such a cool experience and I’d definitely like to do it again.
  • Hydrate, eat the rainbow, move, and generally stop putting everyone else’s well-being before my own. Done – I think. This one has been hard. When I wrote the goal I couldn’t possibly have imagined that by the end of the year I’d be juggling my regular full-time job with being tech and emotional support for a five-year-old doing his kindergarten year on the computer. My resolve to care for myself has definitely been tested this year; I think that’s been a common experience as 2020 has placed demands on working parents (and especially mothers) that we never saw coming, and that we still don’t fully have a handle on. But I have been great about hydrating (I’ve always been a big water person, so that’s not exactly a heavy lift) and I am very vegetable-forward in my eating habits, which helps. And I have made a superhuman effort to claim exercise time for myself no matter what else has been going on. I’m a work in progress, as always.
  • Continue to build my bread-baking skills, and experiment with new bread recipes. Done! Who knew that bread-baking would explode in popularity this year? I’ve mostly worked on perfecting my sourdough sandwich bread – but later in the year I did branch out to trying new recipes, like this pane bianco. I have had great luck with the recipes from King Arthur Baking, and thanks to The Great British Bake-Off I now know what a well-kneaded, well-risen dough should actually look like. All of which compounds success and makes me want to keep at it.
  • Do another twelve months’ hiking project on the blog. Can I call this one partially done? I did start off well, but then fell off the wagon when it came to writing and posting recaps. But we hiked consistently all year; it was one of the few weekend activities left to us during the pandemic.
  • Finally finish that purge of all the junk we have been moving from house to house for the last decade.  I’m over it. Calling this done! Over the summer, Steve hired a dumpster and we filled it to the brim and then some. Look at us go! I still have some items in storage and a few things I need to find homes for in the new house, but we have majorly minimized and it feels wonderful.
  • Related: give away, donate, or discard 2,020 items, and pick up 2,020 pieces of trash in my neighborhood. Half done. Thanks in large part to our moving-related purge, I managed to jettison 2,810 individual items. (And actually, the total was probably higher; Steve and I worked together on the purge project and I know he tossed things like boxes of DVDs or knick-knacks before I was able to get an accurate count – so I just estimated and I think I almost always low-balled.) I did not complete the trash pick-up; I was doing great and on track to exceed my goal, but then COVID hit and I decided I wasn’t comfortable picking up people’s discarded cups and cigarette butts – even with gloves on, which I always wear for trash-picking – and that I was going to lay off my trash-picking until after the pandemic.
  • Read what I want to read, and not feel pressured to keep up with buzzy new releases. Definitely done! I wrote here about making the decision to hold off (for now, not forever) on getting a library card in my new town. Instead, I’ve been enjoying cozy nights reading books from my own shelves. It turns out that I really like my own taste in books! 🙂
  • Finish a big family memory-keeping project I’ve been planning for years, in time for Christmas 2020. Well… I did actually finish a major memory-keeping project, just not the one I had in mind. I have been meaning to create a family cookbook using my grandmother’s recipes – but I’m way behind on that project. What I did do was finally finish creating Shutterfly yearbooks going back to Steve’s and my wedding in 2005. That was a huge and very time-consuming project, and it is so satisfying to see them all stacked neatly on my shelf, and to flip through them and reminisce.
  • Travel, have adventures, push boundaries, and get outside my comfort zone regularly.  (How’s that for specific?) Well. I was really hoping for more… obviously. My thinking behind this totally vague goal was: the kids are getting older, no one naps in my house anymore, and we can start to do more adventurous things – both in our local area and further afield. We did get up to some adventures. I went up in a hot air balloon, as you know. We got in some cool hikes in Shenandoah National Park. And we did a lot of kayaking, including (unintentionally) in some Class 1-2 rapids. That was definitely outside my comfort zone, although kayaking generally occupies pretty much the very center of my comfort zone. But the travel and the farther-flung adventures didn’t happen, obviously. I would like to say that I’m hoping for a better year in 2021, but if 2020 has taught me anything it’s to have zero expectations.

So, there we have it – actually not a bad tally considering how badly off the rails this year went. I’m struggling a bit to come up with goals for 2021; more to come on that, soon.

If you set goals for 2020, how’d they go?

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