This week I’m revisiting a post from January 2013 to find out whether or not I’ve achieved my goals for last year AND which ones are worth taking forward. It’s a pretty long list, so without further ado, I present to you:
13 Goals for 2013: Revisited
1) take responsibility. I had a conversation with a friend about this yesterday. There is nothing more empowering than taking responsibility for your life. I spent many years convinced that bipolar disorder was running (and ruining) my life. I know how that feels, I really do, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Even when you feel like you don’t have any power, nothing—not even your crazy brain—can take away your freedom of choice. Embrace that.
There are a good number of decisions that I probably would not have made if I weren’t depressed or manic. Some people would say that you don’t have to feel accountable for decisions influenced by anxiety or depression, but I disagree. I think even in those situations you have to look for the lesson in each of those decisions, which is not the same as ruminating or beating yourself up over it. In my case I try to understand what I could have done differently in order to make a better or more responsible choice in the future.
This strategy is definitely worth carrying forward.
2) forgive myself. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I’ve done some things I’m not proud of. However, if my past is anything to go by, beating myself up only leads to even more bad decisions. Enough guilt, enough regret. Accept responsibility for what I’ve done, admit it if I fucked up, then move on.
I think this quote (paraphrased from something Jane Austen-y) says it all
“Let’s think on the past only as it gives us pleasure and on the future only as it gives us hope” — great quote paraphrased from a Jane Austen thing on BBC1.
I don’t need to carry on with this one, I actually feel pretty good about myself now!
3) forgive others. I’m actually a very patient person, and I don’t hold grudges, but I do have reason to strongly dislike certain people. It doesn’t make me feel good, it doesn’t change my relationship with them, it doesn’t improve the situation. It’s so much more fun to laugh at them when they’re not looking. I never said I wanted to be perfect!
I still hate the same people I hated last year. The only difference is I think about them less often, so maybe that’s taken the edge off the hatred. I’m not going to carry this one forward because I don’t want to put any more energy into dealing with people I hate.
4) continue be grateful. I got an app on my phone that reminds me every day to write down what I’m grateful for, and it’s awesome. Sometimes I forget, and sometimes I don’t feel ‘grateful’ for anything, but it forces me out of whatever I’m doing and makes me smile, because even on my worst day, I have a lot to be thankful for.
I love that I started doing this but I need to set an alarm or something because I keep forgetting. Definitely one to take forward.
5) take care of the body. I’m not going to preach to you about exercise, especially this time of year, but I am going to continue to maintain the exercise routine that has improved my mind, body, and soul in the past year.
I started running this year, but I need to do much more to get back on track. For me, exercise isn’t about fitness or keeping slim, it really is therapy for depression and anxiety. I have to start treating this like medicine!
6) take care of the mind. I can’t stress this enough. The only way to cope with mental illness is by managing it. If you don’t have time to be sick, you must make time to be well. Easier said than done? Of course! It took me ten years to even begin to figure it out, but friends, if I can do it, you can, too! seriously.
I dedicated quite a lot of time to my mental health this year and I still managed to have a rather spectacular breakdown (or two), but I’m optimistic. I’m not expecting miracles in 2014 but it would be great if I could become better at managing my symptoms.
7) learn to love to cook as much as I love to eat. As you may know, I catered a film shoot without really knowing how to cook. It was actually a great feeling to cook for others, but I haven’t done much cooking since then. It’s a slightly depressing thought now that I’m on my own, but I think learning a new skill is always a good thing. Anybody have a spare dishwasher?
I still don’t really know how to cook but I made incredible pork chops last month which I think made up for the rest of the year. This year I’d like to try more new recipes and cut down on takeout.
8) face my fears. In 2012 I confronted a lot of my fears and overcame obstacles that I had allowed to hold me back for years. I intend to continue challenging myself personally and professionally, and l resolve to look for opportunities and solutions rather than build barriers to my success.
Hmm. This still proves to be a rather sticky wicket. I’m still working on it but I haven’t had any real breakthroughs yet.
9) insist that others treat me with respect. I am no longer going to make myself vulnerable in a way that encourages others to take advantage of me or disrespect me. This means saying “no” more often, standing up for myself, and refusing to be a victim.
This is really tough. I still find it hard to talk to other people or to express my needs effectively when I’m depressed or stressed.
10) improve communication with friends and family. I am extremely lucky to have great relationships with friends in different parts of the world. I suffered a lot last year because I didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I want to be a more supportive friend to the people I care about and I want to be able to draw on their strength in order to help myself.
I think I’ve done really well with this one, actually. I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy to be away from my American family and friends, but technology has given me lots of ways to communicate with them, and for that I’m grateful! I just need air travel to become more effective and less horrifying…
11) learn to love myself. Despite being far down on the list, this is a top priority. I have struggled with this my entire life. This year I don’t want my self-worth or self-esteem to be determined by what other people think or feel about me. I want to feel from within that beautiful, strong, and loveable, no matter what.
I think the most significant shift in my attitude toward myself came when I decided that who I am right now is good enough, and that I don’t have to do anything or be anything in order to be loved. Of course there’s room for improvement and I want to continue to grow as a person but I no longer feel like my self-worth is tied up in who I want to be rather than who I am. This took almost a year of telling myself over and over again before I finally believed it, but when I did my whole life changed.
12) be honest. With myself and others. I’m going to listen more, write more, and talk more.
I talk way too much.
13) heal. I know that this is the last item on the list but it is actually a top priority. As a result of the breakdown of my relationship, I’m going through a lot and it’s very painful. I will do whatever it takes to heal and carry on with my life.
…and I did! What a difference a year makes, eh?
And here are my Goals for 2014:
- exercise more often and more effectively
- be grateful
- learn at least one new recipe each month
- update the blog at least twice per month
- talk less, listen more
- actively pursue creative and artistic forms of self-expression
- practice compassion, meditation, and mindfulness each day
- get a little teeny tiny bit more organised/organized
Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy 2014.