I have now been doing monthly accountability posts for a year, so I wanted to look back at them and see how it went! I stopped doing some (like "explore new food cultures" and "prevent unecessary stress" ), but overall I kept them up!
It reinforced how important it is to be very specific in your goals, so it's actually possible to track them. "Dance more" didn't work, because there were no guidelines. In January I achieved my goal of "finding a long-term therapist", which was then changed to "have monthly therapy sessions." By being able to modify or take away goals I kept it fluid and working for how my circumstances changed over the year, and narrowed down what's really important for me to maintain!
All in all this was a very positive experience. I find it beneficial to check in on my goals and progress, and sometimes it pushed me to go hiking or find a fun date for us to do just to be able to check off the goal for that month.
While it made me sad sometimes that I wasn't able to exercise as much as I wanted to, it was a good exercise in being kind to myself and adjust my expectations. The truth is that I have a chronic illness, and sometimes I have limitations. Like I mention below, I always work out when I'm able to, so I think it's more important to focus my goals on improving my mind and habits instead.
My biggest takeaway from this year is how important it is for me to have a good morning and evening routine, where I practice self-care, and taking charge and get out and do things. Sometimes I let my anxiety and overwhelm keep me from making or following up on plans, so by buying tickets or just forcing myself out the door (cause of course once I'm on my way I'm having fun) I keep showing myself that it's okay and remind myself of who I actually am!
I have grown a lot in the past year and really gained confidence in myself and who I am. Some part of it was turning 30, some was accomplishing so many things over the year, and some was upgrading my wardrobe (by finding treasures in the thrift store!) and finding what I actually like to wear. Losing over 12 lbs over the year also made me feel better about myself and got me some great daily food habits!
It is rarely one thing that shifts your mindset -- it is a lot of things over a long time. As challenging as the second year of the pandemic was, personally I made it a really good year where I'm ending it proud of myself and very happy with where I am and what I'm working towards.
My goals -- results & feelings
Write more - post at least once a month
10 of 12. I rely a lot on inspiration, so sometimes I did nothing and other times, like March, I posted 7 articles!
I also found that it's really important for me to prep things in advance, like setting up the accountability post so it's ready to be filled in, instead of facing the task of doing the whole thing. I really love writing and working on the blog, but I get mental blocks sometimes about it so I will try to get better at being consistent at it. Which is what this goal was all about, having to do only one post a month for it to count (not counting the accountability post itself), since I can post five things one month and zero the next. While it didn't work out perfectly, it definitely made me post sometimes when I wouldn't have without this goal! It's not about perfection, it's about striving to get better.
Related article: Seasonal hobbies and feelings of guilt
Photo by Nick Morrison
Journal before bed
I journaled half the days pretty consistently throughout the year. It really helps me stay on top of my anxiety and overwhelm, so I'm really glad I committed to this goal! Even though I only did half of the days, that's still 182 days!! I am really proud of myself for building it into my skincare routine and making myself write just one sentence, which usually led to more.
Plan 1 proper date
Checked this one off every month! Time goes fast, so to stop the phenomenon of "man that month went fast, what did we do??" I wanted to make sure we had at least one proper date, apart from just hanging out in the house. Of course the pandemic made it more challenging, but I think we did a pretty good job! Our dates varied from ziplining and going to a nice dinner, to visiting the renaissance fair and spending the week in Nashville.
Sharing experiences and exploring new things together makes you closer, so I'm really glad I did this and will keep this goal for 2022.
Have monthly therapy sessions
12 out of 12! I had the added bonus of having therapy over the phone, which meant I didn't have to stress about going somewhere for my appointments. In December I broke up with my previous therapist, who wasn't working out for me, so I had to build a new relationship in the spring but it has worked out well.
While I miss the motherly vibe of my Virginia therapist, this one (who is around my age) has a lot of good insights and is great at asking me questions that leads me to the answers myself, which I like and need. I've had a lot of growth in standing up for myself and feeling my worth, and I will definitely continue in the coming year.
Exercise 4 times a week
This goal was definitely a bit ambitious for the year I ended up having. I was doing great the first half, but then in July I got hit really hard with the Lyme disease and was in pain for a full month, and spent the next 3-4 months having to be very careful with my physical activity.
In November I finally hit remission again, and I will try to keep it that way. So far I have gotten hit once a year since I got bitten, so it's not a great track record, but I learn new things on how to manage it every time!
I don't think I will have a goal like this in the future, just because my chronic illness is so unpredictable and it makes it worse feeling disappointed in myself. I want to work out, so I don't really need a goal to do it, since I always go swimming or lift weights in the basement whenever I'm able to! I'll still track it in my weekly bullet journal spread, but just to have an overview of what I'm doing.
Do monthly bookkeeping
12 of 12 without a problem! To be fair I was already doing this, but it is nonetheless a very important habit to keep up. By having sink funds I can be prepared for reoccuring things like yearly shots for the dogs and unexpected ones, like house repairs, while keeping a running tally of my expenses lets me know how much money I can put aside for extra savings. If you're not doing this already, check out The (mostly) simple life for awesome tips on sink funds and budgeting! It completely changed the way I approach my finances.
For the new year I will change this to doing weekly bookkeeping, since it can feel overwhelming going through the whole month. By logging just seven days at a time I will stay on top of it and it will take way less time to finish up the month!
Do monthly and weekly spreads in my bullet journal
12 of 12! I was already doing this one as well, and added it mostly so I would have a constant win in my goals. I will definitely keep up my bullet journal, but I won't have it as a goal anymore since I don't need it to be. I actually added a monthly review a few months ago, with highlights, accomplishments, most played songs, and books I read. I think it's fun to have a page to easily look back on what I did!
Stay on top of my inbox
12 of 12! This one was very good to have, cause sometimes I let emails pile up so it really helped to get that push at the end of the month to sort through things just so I could cross this one off!
Go hiking once a month
8 out of 12. And since I went on three day hikes in November, it pretty much evens out!
It's tough to have physical goals when your body doesn't want to work with you all the time, but I'm really proud of all the times I went out. It's really calming for me to be out in the forest, and I love seeing my dog running around sniffing all the things.
Since the main point of this is to do an activity in nature, I will be adding the stipulation that things like kayaking and skiing also counts to check this off.
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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