I don’t celebrate a lot of holidays, but New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are actually the holidays I probably look forward to the most. When it came to family holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter etc. the days themselves could be hard, and I would need to distract myself. Other holidays just didn’t matter or I didn’t celebrate for whatever reason. I raised myself since… well since forever. And I haven’t lived with my parents or had even a superficial “this is my parent” relationship with either of them since I was fifteen. Now I’m thirty… it’s crazy to me that all of that was half a lifetime ago… But I digress. I am always working on myself – trying to be healthy and happy and balanced and the best person that I can be. And New Year’s allows me to reflect and reevaluate (two of my favorite things – I’m weird).
Every year I do a kind of inventory. First I look at my year and how I did with the goals I set for myself, as well as the bigger picture. Like I may have set five small goals that were all about an unofficial larger goal – and I look at both. Then I look at what matters to me the most, the things I need to work on, all of those big abstracts and all of the stepping stone goals that can help me achieve them. But my Type-A, list-loving, Excel using (understatement) self took it to a whole new level two years ago (2013), when I set out to accomplish fifteen things, and tracked it every day for the entire year. One thing I realized that I wasn’t loving was that there didn’t seem to be a balance AND I left a lot of important stuff out.
So in 2014, I figured it out. I divided my life into three umbrellas: Health, Personal and Career. And each umbrella had ten different goals that I would work on and track every day. Health might include how much sleep I get, how much I exercise, how many steps I take each day and how much water I drink. Personal has to do with things that are more… well, personal. In 2014 these included doing a good deed every day, learning something new every day, how much time I spent with our pets (home and family are bundled into this category) and keeping up with friends and reading. And then there was the final umbrella: Career. My “career” goals included things like daily writing, networking, advertising, actual weekly profit, and doing something each day to further my biggest aspiration of becoming a full-time author.
I think for some people my tracking system might seem a little OCD, but it is really helpful to me and that is all that matters. It makes me check in with myself every week (I grade myself, as in old school, like I was in school – and I kind of love that). This means I can’t get too far off track, and I am accountable to myself (and trust me, no one is scarier – just ask my husband). 😛 I also grade how I am in each umbrella, so if I am overextending myself in my Personal umbrella and have a grade of over 100%, but my Career is barely holding steady at 80%, I need to restore the balance. That is one reason each category has ten. (I didn’t force any, really I just left a few out, because I could easily list fifty things I want myself to work on at any given time.)
This new system was a smashing success, and I am instituting the same system, same tracking, same umbrellas, but as needs and priorities in each umbrella have shifted a little, some of the ten goals in each are no longer relevant, while other things need to be added in. And that is what I am working on today. Assessing what has changed, how I’ve changed (and hopefully grown) and what things I still need to work on, and keep track of, and what things don’t matter so much anymore. And that shifting is necessary, because it means that I am growing, changing and I have new stuff that I need to figure out, work on and improve. Can you tell that I’m a self-improvement junkie? But I don’t see this as a bad thing, because it isn’t that I see myself as awful; it’s just that I want to be the best person I can be, for myself and those that I love, and to live the best life that I can. If I can do this, then happiness and everything else will fall into place 🙂