Happy New Year! Time to Set Some Goals!
Happy New Year Foodies! Every year a new one goes by, and with the new one coming. It always brings so much hope and promise of change. I think that we can all be in agreement that we are happy a new year is here and we are ready to hit the ground running. 2020 may have been an amazing year for you filled with success, happiness and health (hopefully). But it also could have been the worst year of your life (or close to it). Or perhaps you fall somewhere in the middle, like we do. Here is a review of our past year, and how we set goals for a new one.
Our Year in Review
This past year started out with so much hope. Matt and I were fresh off from being told that I was having a chemical pregnancy (miscarriage before 5 weeks) at the very end of 2019. We went from finally feeling like our dreams were coming true, to having our world come crashing down. So with 2020 on the horizon, we were thinking, “this next year will be so much better than the last.”
Well the joke was on us. That chemical pregnancy we thought I was having, turned into a nightmare come January 2020. It resulted in our doctors believing I was actually having an ectopic pregnancy. I was driving to our fertility clinic 45 minutes away everyday, sometimes twice a day for answers. It was a strain on our life and our marriage, but we got through it. I plan on writing a whole blog post later about our infertility journey up until this point.
Well after we dealt with that all of January and February, the end of February and Matt’s birthday (Feb 22nd), felt like a turning point. I remember being out for dinner with all our close friends and family celebrating Matt turning 30 when we really started hearing about Coronavirus. Matt’s cousins were gearing up for a trip down south and I remember thinking, “they’re crazy to go with this virus out there.” Well, they went and thankfully were safe and healthy when they arrived home.
That day I gave Matt his birthday gift which was Toronto Raptors tickets for a game that fell on our dating anniversary, March 14th. The week of the game, we kept hearing more and more about this virus. We made plans to drive all the way into the city instead of the train, etc. However, we never did make it to that game. As you all know, on March 11th it was declared a global pandemic.
The rest of the year I am sure you know well. We all went into lockdown, started doing work and school from home, never left our houses, our dogs loved it, etc. For us, it meant that after our previous crappy months of recovering from a potential ectopic pregnancy, when we were in the all clear to return to our fertility treatment we couldn’t (we still haven’t to this day). But the whole year wasn’t all bad.
Matt finished out his school year from home. I honestly loved him being home, we have spent more time together this past year than ever before. Also, I mentioned above, our dogs loved that we were home constantly. Our little Marlee, wants our attention constantly, she is a little cuddle bug. Monty on the other hand, is confused why he isn’t going to doggie daycare to see his friends as much. But I think he secretly also loves us being home.
In the Spring, Matt applied to graduate from school and officially has a Diploma in Business Administration – Marketing. This is to add to his Economics Degree. However, he actually ended up going back to school for another semester in September. And starts his first co-op position next week, working in business analytics. This has been a goal of Matt’s for a long time, so it’s nice to see all his hard work paying off.
For myself, I reached some of my goals for the year. I learned to play the piano (also got a really nice new digital keyboard), I read over 100 books. And most importantly of all, was we started posting on the blog. We have had to domain name glutenfreetreatsandeats.com for many years and it has sat here doing nothing. I told myself at the beginning of 2020 that this would be the year we start posting on the blog regularly. So that is what we have started and hopefully will continue into 2021.
Goal setting to me is so important. At the beginning of the year we sit down and plan out our goals for the next year in hopes that we achieve them. I know that some people are very weird about resolutions. Some hate them and think they are a waste of time, others love them and try very hard to stick by theirs. I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t make resolutions but I set goals.
The Goal Jar
Matt and I make a goal jar every year. We write down on pieces of paper what we want to achieve for the next year and then put it into a jar to read at the end of the year. These goals are a combination of short term and long term. We may not achieve any of them, we may achieve all of them, or only some of them.
This Past Year’s Goals
Like I previously mentioned at the beginning of this post. 2020 was suppose to be our year of hope and putting a bad year behind us, but that quickly changed. However, we had made of 2020 goals with so much hope. Matt and I both achieved about half of our goals from the previous year. Some we worked very hard to reach. Others weren’t met because of circumstances outside out control (hello, covid).
These goals weren’t the end of the world, but all things we felt strongly about. I did mention a couple of my goals were, to learn to play piano, read 52 books (I read 100), post consistently on the blog. Another one was to not let infertility control my life. While it definitely did at the beginning of 2020, the rest of the year it was out of our hands so it did not control me. That doesn’t mean we stopped trying but it wasn’t as serious or stressful as when we were knee deep in treatment. I won’t mention Matt’s goals because those are private and personal to him.
How to Set Goals – Realistic and Attainable
Make sure that the goals you are setting are realistic. If you write down “be a millionaire” and you make $50,000 and don’t change any of your habits or your career. You either need to hope you win the lottery or a long lost relative gives you a big inheritance. It’s not realistic. A better goal would be “work for a promotion.” Something you can work towards and is attainable.
Your goals can also be a lot smaller. Such as, “make my bed everyday.” It sounds silly or a small thing, but that small act every morning can have a domino effect. Achieving a goal you have set out to do, can be so rewarding and then transfer to other aspects of your life. So make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, however small or big they are.
Have a Plan
There is no point in having a goal or list of goals, if you have no plan on how you will achieve them. You are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Take our goal of posting on the blog more consistently. At the beginning of the month we plan out our blog posts for the entire month, sometimes more. We like to have set days that we post. Usually this schedule is Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. During December since we had a lot of content, we posted Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We also like to post lifestyle posts on Sundays, and food posts the rest of the week. We plan one treat or dessert post once every week or two. The rest fall under any of our other food menu tabs.
This is just the beginning of our plan. I use an agenda to plan out our posts and what days each post will go up. I look at our schedule for that week and see if its realistic to create and photograph the dish or lifestyle project. We plan the post based on our schedules and also holidays/occasions. I always set aside time in the day to get all aspects of the blog done. For example one single blog post requires, developing a recipe, shopping for the food, making the recipe (adjusting if necessary), photographing, writing the post, editing the pictures, editing the post, posting it, creating Pinterest pins, posting the pins, and scheduling Instagram and Facebook posts. On top of any other aspects of the physical blog that need updating.
I think many people underestimate how much time and effort goes into people’s blogs. I know that I spent at least 30 hours a week on our blog between creating all the posts and scheduling social media that goes along with it. So make sure that you have a set plan in place to achieve your goals.
Your goals may not be to start a blog. But if they are fitness goals or eating healthier, reading more, etc. Make sure you set the time aside. Write the goals down so they now have become a physical thing you have put out into the world. Say them to yourself every morning. Find something that helps you reach those goals. What helps someone else may not be the same for you, so find what works for you. Also, don’t set too many goals. We set about 5-7 goals, some are small and some are larger long term ones. This helps us feel like we are achieving on a regular basis and helps to reach the larger ones. Similar to making a list and crossing off what you have done.
Use an Agenda
Which brings me to my last point. I find having and using an agenda so useful. I write out what I have to do every day for the week. It is the best feeling as I go throughout my day and I get to cross off what I have accomplished. It sounds like such a small thing, but at the end of the day I love going to bed knowing I have crossed off all of my list. Or if I haven’t, I know what I have to tackle first for the next day.
I hope that this helps you start this new year out on the right foot. I know that this post has been long and if you have made it to the end, thank you so much. My intention was never for this post to be so long, but I guess I have a lot to say to start off this year. I truly hope that you are all able to set your goals for this year and achieve them. Let’s hope that 2021 is better than 2020. That you, and your family and friends are healthy, happy and together. We have lived through an extremely strange time and I don’t think anyone has come out unscathed.
Here’s to hoping that this next year brings you everything that you desire. My hope is that by the end of 2021, we will no longer be living in a pandemic and we can all hug our loved ones again. Happy New Year Foodies! Now go set some goals and achieve them!