Initially, I wasn’t going to write a results post regarding my 2020 goals, because simply surviving last year seemed sufficient enough. I do, however, have various aspirations for 2021 that I intend to acknowledge on the blog; and it feels important to tie up last year’s goals, rather than leave some sort of cliffhanger ending. So, here we are.
Looking back on my goal list for 2020, I feel so different from the person who created those objectives. The only other year where I felt such dramatic change from who I was in the beginning compared to the end was 2001. September 11th in particular, was a defining moment in my life and so many others, where I knew I would never go back to being who I was before that day. I mean, could anyone? For me, 2020 mirrored that experience of never quite being the same. Adapting to the new, tumultuous world took precedence, and quickly became the modern version of normal.
1. Lose Weight
“I hit my highest weight ever in 2019, and being overweight wasn’t simply a vanity issue anymore; but it was also starting to affect my quality of life. By partaking in cardio several times each week, and making healthy food choices, I’m dedicating everyday of 2020 to getting as close to my goal weight (179 pounds) as possible.”
It goes without even saying that this obviously did not pan out. I’m chuckling at how gung-ho I was to make this happen in January, and simultaneously kicking myself that I didn’t take this goal more seriously for the remainder of the year. All of the excuses in the world are probably valid as to why I was not successful with this goal. After all, it was 2020.
However, if I would have wanted it badly enough, excuses wouldn’t have deterred me because I would’ve made it happen. In fact, I actually hit my highest weight ever in 2020. Cue a rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”. At least I can laugh about it. Besides, there’s always 2021.
2. Save Money
“This year’s monetary investment goal is an additional $20,000 into my savings.”
This one has me chuckling for an entirely different reason. Having dreams pre-pandemic feels like such a simple time. $20,000.00 is a lot of money to save in one year – especially for someone who went on unemployment for the first time after being laid off from her job due to COVID-19. Started 2020 with savings goals, and concluded it with world health pandemic survival priorities. It’s safe to say this one gets filed under the category of “life is unpredictable.”
3. Pay Off Debt
“I created a debt-reduction strategy and intend to pay off all of my debt (with the exception of part of my student loans) by utilizing the debt-snowball method. The debt-snowball plan requires me to pay off my accounts by starting with the smallest balance first, while paying the minimum payment on larger debts. Once the smallest balance is paid off, I work on the next-smallest amount owed; eventually paying off all of my debt.”
The Debt Snowball Method was an area that I was able to find some success in throughout the year! Debt reduction, for me, was always going to be a long term, multi-year goal – which is why I set out to achieve it in a way that operated in a reverse-pyramid style technique. I highly suggest this strategy for debt reduction because it makes the insurmountable seem achievable, because it is!
4. Live Purposefully
“I spent much of last year going through the motions on auto-pilot. I worked at a job I didn’t enjoy; I wasn’t thoughtful about the food I ate; and all of my decisions were purely based on operating on survival mode. This year I want to live with a purpose. This includes putting passion into my work; investing time into a hobby; giving my time to service projects; fostering relationships that are meaningful; and eating to benefit my health.”
In an odd, global health crisis kind of way, this actually did happen – sort of. As I mentioned before, 2020 was a year of prioritizing survival over comfort or familiarity, so I definitely wasn’t operating on auto-pilot anymore. My sense of normalcy was so shaken up, there were several moments where I wasn’t even certain as to what I was operating on!
I did, however, have the extra time I so badly desired to invest into a hobby. My Nikon B500 camera is one of my greatest companions these days, and practically lives at my side. I have gotten much better at taking photos, and exploring a variety of angles to shoot from. Photography is an area that I’ve grown to love even more, and I would like to continue improving.
Service projects were not an area that I explored in 2020. I mean, I barely left my house. I gave money to a few causes, but that’s really more of a donation than investing time into a project.
As for fostering relationships that are more meaningful, surprisingly this happened, too. Throughout a year where people weren’t supposed to come face to face, you discovered who others wanted in their circle because interactions became virtual occasions, rather than blending within large groups at a get-together.
Video chatting wasn’t something I did regularly prior to 2020. It’s very one-on-one compared to other forms of communication such as texting or direct messages. Some of the people that are very meaningful to me, I was able to speak with more often because video chatting became normalized, and I was seeing and speaking to them in moments where I otherwise may not have heard from them for weeks or months.
5. Write More
“I am going to write at least two posts per month on this blog. I’m also going to create more freelance pieces for various outlets.”
My desire to write was extremely lackluster throughout 2020. There were so many moments to convey through words, and I didn’t write about any of them. I was more preoccupied with trying to capture the moments via my camera.
On the bright side, I had three photos published in a Korean magazine within my first three months of living in South Korea – which is pretty cool! It was my first time having work published outside of the United States. Needless to say, I was thrilled.
6. Use Less Plastic
“I tend to use a lot of single-use plastic. This year, I’m working hard to utilize resources besides plastic — metal straws instead of plastic; lunch containers rather than Ziploc bags; eating foods that do not come in single-use packaging, etc. However I go about achieving it, the ultimate goal is to use less plastic.”
While my camera lived in one hand, my reusable Yeti tumbler resided in the other. I also purchased a metal straw, silicone straws, straw brushes, biodegradable dish scrubbers, metal lunch boxes, and reusable wooden cutlery. These small, yet beneficial changes didn’t come all at once, but over a period of time throughout the year.
As with so many things in life, I continue to have a lot of room for improvement. If there was ever an era for carry-out meals, it was 2020. With the closure of restaurants across the world, ordering food to be delivered or picked up rapidly became the new norm; and with food on-the-go comes packaging. I wouldn’t say that I ordered food more often than any other person, but all of the packaging that came to me was thrown away.
Unfortunately, recycling was not something I took seriously throughout the year. I kept telling myself to recycle rather than throwing things out, and I didn’t. Honestly, it was out of pure laziness, and I need to do better with it. I mean, it’s not complicated – why not just recycle? I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I recognize that change does not come all at once; but this is an area I am really going to invest more effort into throughout the upcoming year.