Since it’s been two years since my last reevaluation, let’s have a check up.
What were my previous goals?
Low hanging fruit
- Lose weight (5-10 pounds) (I’ve actually gained weight in the interim – I’m hovering around 220 pounds right now)
- Establish emergency savings fund (Mmmmm…. Not really working out. I’m net negative because of credit card debt and student loans. Need to start tightening up the belt and clawing my way out of credit card debt before I can start putting money down for an emergency fund)
- Keep blogging on a weekly basis (Well, I’m restarting this one. Going well so far.)
Ambitious/Long term goals
- Learn to play an instrument or sing (Eh, it’s been reprioritized onto the back burner)
- Learn to draw (Hasn’t been going anywhere)
- Publish a book (Same)
- Keep blogging on a near-daily basis (Not been working out, but restarting)
- Learn a new language (This one is something I’ve been succeeding at. In fact, I’m actually pretty proud of my accomplishments so far. Still a long way to go, but I’ve markedly improved my language acquisition in this year alone. My Chinese skills have certainly gone up a level. I’ve also started learning other languages, and while the bar on those languages are mixed, I’ve still improved when I consider where I started.)
- Live in a foreign country (Though it could also be relatively short term – I could easily uproot my life any time within the upcoming months to the next year if I quit my job) (This one I can mark off my list as accomplished. I’ve lived in another country for a year, which has given me the perspective to consider whether I’d like to live elsewhere long term. While I’m not totally decided on living abroad in the long term, I’ve definitely come to consider what sorts of asks I would target for an area I’d consider settling in.)
- Lose weight (40-50 pounds) (This is a negative goal – I’ve gone in the opposite direction. Needs some work.)
- Own a home (Not any time soon, unless I buy property on the cheap.)
- Run the Iditarod (Nah)
- Start my own business (Nothing doing)
- Grab a bag of corn nuts and bust a nut (Always)
Long term goal:
- Write a million words
Medium Term goal (Accomplish within a year):
- Write 300,000 words
Short term goal: (Accomplish in next six months)
- Write 100,000 words
SMART goal: (Accomplish in a month)
- Write 20,000 words
20,000 words in a month seems doable to me – that’s 20 1,000 word paragraphs, or 40 500 word articles. That works out to a little over a month, which is definitely within reason. The purpose isn’t to hit this specific target (20,000 words in a month) but a general time frame for hitting this goal. I’ve actually installed a word count plugin to track my progress. Currently I’m at about ~30,000 published words, so as I inch closer to 40k and 50k I’ll know I’m making progress.
After reviewing my goals, I feel like I haven’t really accomplished many of the goals that I set out for myself. However, contrary to what might be expected, I don’t feel as if my accomplishments were a letdown – rather, I’ve reprioritized my goals to focus entirely on the language learning aspect. Many of these goals can be put on the backburner as they’re no longer an immediate priority outside of writing and language learning. I actually feel like the list of goals I have set up don’t really accurately reflect what I want to accomplish in the short term – maybe in the longer term, but they’re more nebulous bucket list items, such as owning a home or running the iditarod. What are things I want to accomplish immediately in the short term? I’d need to re-review my wants and needs and build out a new list. I know one thing I want to add is more add more reading to my backlog. I’ve recently started getting into audible audiobooks, which I feel like help get me back into reading, as I’ve been pretty seamlessly going back and forth between reading and listening to a new book when I’ve had the time to do so.
Anyways, back to the point – it makes sense after two years that my goals would change. It’s especially helpful to reflect on I’ve done – not just what goals I’ve accomplished and which I’ve failed, but what methods I tried – what worked and what didn’t in my pursuit of my goals. I feel like I’ve mostly relied on trying out new things and never iterating upon it – while the sheer volume of work being put in helps for learning, I think I’m losing out on the massive benefit of improving over time because of how rigid my methodology can be. For example, in my 1:1 language classes, I rely solely on the tutor for learning the language. Whatever methods they employ, I follow blindly like a sheep. This means the actual effectiveness of each lesson and each teacher varies wildly. I don’t feel like I’m consistently learning each language I’m studying. A lot of this can also be chalked up to frequency of classes, but I do think a big part of what’s holding me back is the method in which I go about learning. I’ve learned this because I have actually applied this in one of my classes – my Japanese class.
My tutor would only spend time with me to go over new lessons and grammar every class. This included vocabulary and material from every lesson. However, I wasn’t practicing outside of class, and I only had classes once a week – this meant I wasn’t really learning anything, since I didn’t bother to retain any vocabulary or grammar from class, because I didn’t practice it. After months of this, I took a step back and reached out to my tutor to change the methodology of the class. I asked him to reset – we went back to the beginning lessons that we started from, and went through the material at a slower pace. We spent much more time actually practicing discussions in class, since that was the only opportunity I would have to practice speaking in Japanese in my daily routine. At that pace the rate of learning was much more sustainable and I even retained more of what we went over, since I got to practice the concepts and the vocabulary throughout multiple lessons. It was a really valuable lesson to me to reach out and attempt to
a) Improve processes over time
b) Change things up if they aren’t working for me.