2021 was way better than 2020. Right?
Ok, so I may sound extra ambitious there but 2021 was another exciting year for me personally.
Yes, there’s still a global pandemic and yes, we’re never getting “back to normal,” but I am once again choosing to focus on the good I have in my life.
When most people continued to stay mad, sad, angry or depressed (sometimes all at the same time), I chose joy.
I chose to count my blessings and look at all the positive we had in our lives.
I was joyful I kept my job (and got promoted!) and I was joyful we stayed healthy. Most importantly, I chose joy even as the process of finding a new home in a new state could sometimes feel overwhelming.
I’ve spent the entirety of the pandemic focused on a healthy family while choosing joy.
I remain intentional with my habits and my choices all while choosing joy.
Many of them have been adopted and adapted over the last 5+ years but are crucial to keeping joy in my heart.
I still firmly believe that goal setting is good. I could have let the ongoing pandemic derail many of my goals, however choosing joy has kept me focused. It is my intention once again to share a how-to plan and provide resources below for you to adapt a similar mindset.
As I have written before, I like to think in terms of “challenges,” not goals or resolutions. Every January most people tend to get beaten over the head with terms like “New Year’s Resolution” or “New Year, New Me,” and I’ve begun to tune them out.
To me, the term resolution is something temporary. People should strive to make permanent changes and not temporary resolutions. Also, why do most people tend to try and adopt new habits only in January each year?
All that said, I still feel it is important to set intentional and realistic challenges. When I say intentional and realistic, I mean we need to move past the thoughts of “I am going to lose 10 pounds this year” or “Saving money will be a priority,” and focus on small changes and daily habits that can lead you to amazing progress.
(Read Atomic Habits to radically change how you attack challenges.)
We need to change how we approach our goal setting and look at them as challenges. Begin to focus on Progress NOT Perfection and you’ll be amazed at how many challenges you can accomplish. Challenge yourself!
Resolve to Evolve
I touched on this mindset in early 2018, in 2019, again in 2020, and once again in 2021. I’m writing in 2022 to keep my streak going and to keep me accountable. I want to show you how I was able to achieve most of my challenges that I’ve made public, even amidst an ongoing pandemic.
I’m just as committed in 2022 to evolving and achieving my short-term goals as I was the past four years. It’s really easy; I promise you! The following resources will provide a foundation for your new challenges, regardless of the time of year.
My wife Megan and I are using the same method to become more mindful and intentional in our goal setting. We like to call it the “Resolve to Evolve” plan. Check out the link and click on the template to help you brainstorm, create and carry out your goals for the upcoming year.
The action plan only requires you to identify three steps leading up to the goal, along with a 6-month review and then a year-end review. Your goals should be SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s that easy!
During the last four years, our challenges have focused on five categories: health, career, relationships, financial and spiritual/learning. We chose these categories because they are five focus areas that tie into our core values and beliefs.
The easiest way to live an intentional life, one that has true purpose, is to align your daily actions with your core values and beliefs.
By focusing on small changes and measurable progress, you are less inclined to get into a rut and think the goal is unattainable. This method can help you break the routine of setting unrealistic resolutions that you bail on by March and transform your life in ways you didn’t think were possible.
Goal setting should be a fun, thoughtful activity that encourages you to reflect on your best qualities and how to improve upon them each year.
As I stated, in an effort to hold myself accountable I published the blog last year with my 2018 goals, 2019 goals, 2020 goals, and 2021 goals. So, to keep myself accountable, here is the update to those 2021 goals along with what I have set for myself in 2022.
2021 Goal: Complete 500 Peloton rides, run at least three 5Ks and maintain my current weight of 185 lbs.
MOSTLY COMPLETE… Thanks to the Pandy, I worked out a ton at home to clear my head. I worked out well over 400 times, but I didn’t clear the 500-workout mark on my Peloton. Due to the move, I also completed only two 5Ks. I also can’t speak to the 185, as in early 2021 I stopped weighing myself. I can write an entire blog post (and probably will) on why I stopped focusing on the number on the scale.
2022 Goal: Complete 500 Peloton workouts, run at least three 5Ks.
Why? Make health and wellness a priority. Workouts need to be the norm and not the exception.
2021 Goal: Maintain professional certifications, continue pro bono class speaking, try to earn at least one paid speaking gig and get promoted at Aflac.
MOSTLY COMPLETE… The Pandy again hampered paid, in person speaking gigs, but I maintained my personal certifications and spoke to nearly 10 college classes. More importantly and proudly, I got promoted to Brand Manager at Aflac.
2022 Goal: Renew professional certifications, continue pro bono class speaking, try to earn a paid appearance and make the most of my participation in the Morning Brew MB/A.
Why? Networking and public speaking better promotes me as an educator, speaker and minimalist.
2021 Goal: Continue “date nights” which may have a new look with Clancy in tow and outside restrictions and try to maintain the “keep in touch” calls or Zoom calls and hand-written notes.
PARTIALLY COMPLETE… I was much more intentional about my phone calls and hand-written notes to try and remain connected during the Pandy. Megan and I didn’t do many date nights, but we did try to spend more time without phones and intentional with each other.
2022 Goal: Re-engage “date nights” in Texas, try to maintain the (1-2 per month) “keep in touch” calls or Zoom calls and hand-written notes.
Why? With our professional lives getting busier, it is important for us to be intentional about our “us” time. We like to spend those moments over good food and drinks.
2021 Goal: We want to keep in very close contact with our financial advisor to maximize our investing. We’ve also added planning a honeymoon to the 2021 plan. We can now afford it and it can serve as our 5-year anniversary.
MOSTLY COMPLETE… We were able to buy and sell a home in 2021, that’s an achievement in and of itself! Because of this major event, there were no other big trips. But we did the entire move and were able to keep a significant amount of money if our savings, while remaining completely debt free.
2022 Goal: Plan a “Tod and Megan” trip somewhere! Make financially smart home upgrades. Remain debt free.
Why? With financial freedom, it is important to us to make time for ourselves and to make memories and holy moments.
2021 Goal: Continue in the classroom of silence (prayer) and also journal each day. I want to try and write eight blogs and read 10 books.
MOSTLY COMPLETE… Work and teaching took up a lot of my bandwidth and I was only able to write two blogs for the second consecutive year. However, thanks to the habits I picked up in 2020, I read nearly 20 books (Michael Jordan: The Life, Atomic Habits, Underground Airplanes, Pappy Land, The Devil in the White City, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), How Lucky, Love People and Use Things, 11 in 11, Eight Men Out, Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man, Greenlights) and continued my daily prayers. I also journaled EVERY DAY after Clancy was born.
2022 Goal: Continue in the classroom of silence (prayer). Write a weekly recap journal. I also want to try and write eight blogs and read 10 books. (Fingers crossed)
Why? I like to write, and it keeps my mind sharp and my blog fresh. It is also another way for me to market myself and showcase my knowledge and abilities.
Whew! On to year five for me tracking my progress. And hopefully for you, year two or year three. Or maybe you’re just starting. If you are, you got this! And if you’re continuing, keep it up!
Always make sure when writing down your challenges to set realistic deadlines, work in a 6-month review or check-in dates to track your progress and have a “why” behind each goal.
If you’re not aligning your “why” to these goals, you’ll lose focus on their importance and more than likely fail to meet them. Without these steps, your goals will lack direction. And without direction, you may end up at an unknown, and unwanted, destination. Work to be intentional and not accidental.
Also celebrate the transformative progress you make in 2022. The psychological encouragement that comes from knowing that we are actually making progress is incredibly powerful.
So, choose joy and celebrate your wins!
What challenges will you celebrate in 2022?