It’s that time of year. It’s time to look back on 2021 and consider how I did against my goals. And, of course, time to set new goals for the new year.
Life never returned to normal in 2021. In some ways, it was just a continuation of 2020, the year of the pandemic. I spent the year working from home, which has become the new normal. I traveled to New York City twice, but it was for work. It’s not something I’m excited about doing again. The city was full of fearful zombies that wore masks outdoors and took them off in bars and restaurants.
Working from home has many advantages, though. For example, I only had to fuel up my car four times last year, as I no longer use my car for commuting. Thus, I’ve been thinking of selling it. I’ve also been very healthy throughout the year. The vaccine keeps the effects of covid away, and avoiding people, in general, keeps the colds away. So that’s been nice.
The stock market had a great year. Even bitcoin had a good year, rallying to new all-time highs before falling back to $47,000. But that’s still a huge increase over the $29,000 it was at the start of the year. So I really have to wonder if the gains can continue yet another year in 2022.
Last year I set 10 personal goals. Here’s how I did on each of them.
✅ Write 4 longer short stories. I achieved this by mid-year and tried to finish a fifth one. Strangely, I still haven’t finished the fifth one, and now I’m facing the choice of wrapping it up or extending it into a novel.
❌ Complete six short online courses and two longer online courses. Early in the year, this was going well, and I finished five short courses. As I got involved in other priorities at work and home, I spent less time on self-education. This was unfortunate, as I truly wanted to learn more about blockchain and crypto technologies.
❌ Make new friends. I didn’t have a plan for this. Thus, it’s not surprising I didn’t make new friends. Staying home all the time, I’m not meeting anyone outside. And the relationships I’ve made with people online I would not elevate to the level of “friend.”
✅ Catch up on periodicals. I almost didn’t make it. I finally caught up on December 30th. As this won’t be a goal in the future, and I’ll significantly reduce the number of periodicals I subscribe to, I should have time to work on other things.
✅ Read 25 books. This goal is another one I barely achieved, finishing the 25th book at the end of December.
✅ Maintain my exercise habit, a healthy diet, and lose more weight. I succeed at this. I didn’t lose much weight, but I did lose some. Also, I stayed healthy throughout the year. Thanks to the pandemic, I attribute much of me staying healthy to working from home and avoiding people.
✅ Gain 15% on my portfolio. It was another great year for investing. Both the stock market and cryptocurrencies did very well. So well, in fact, that I fear 2022 may be a down year.
❌ Sell, donate, or dispose of three shelves’ worth of old stuff. It was too easy to leave things on the shelves. As a result, I didn’t achieve my goal of reducing clutter.
❌ Take two vacation trips. Thanks to the never-ending pandemic, I never thought seriously about taking trips or cruises. Even with the vaccines and boosters, it just doesn’t seem appealing. I thought I might take a road trip somewhere, but that didn’t happen either. Ultimately, I took vacation days here and there to relax at home.
✅ Achieve gainful employment. I landed an excellent job in February, and I’ve been there ever since. It was the ideal outcome. I work on an interesting, award-winning application. I also enjoy my coworkers; they’re great. And finally, I’m getting the experience of managing a globally distributed remote team.
So those were my 10 personal goals for 2021. I succeeded on 60% of them, typical of the past few years. Maybe one was partially successful, but that would only make it 65%. I want to do better. This exercise is about more than just hitting the goals, though. It’s about having goals, and watching them throughout the year. If you don’t set objectives, you’re not going to get there.
For 2022, I have a new set of goals.
Complete three home improvement projects. I have some specific projects in mind. I’ve been putting them off, so I aim to get them done this year.
Get back to taking vacations. It’s been two years without one, so, one way or another, I need to find a way to resume taking vacations.
Close unused accounts. Over time I’ve accumulated credit cards and things I don’t use anymore. I want to get rid of these things.
Simplify life. There are some things I can do without. For example, I can sell the car I rarely use anymore and get rid of some of the clutter around the house. It also includes automating more bill payments, saving some tedious work.
Improve bookkeeping. With the various crypto transactions I have and other investments, I need to improve my records.
Reduce expenses. I have some specific items in mind here to reduce some of my monthly expenditures.
Gain 15% on my portfolio. This one is very straightforward, although it may be a challenge. After several great years, the stock market may not perform as well this year. In addition, rising interest rates may impact stock valuations. However, inflation may benefit some investments.
Consolidate accounts. I should transfer and consolidate some accounts that have little activity.
Medical goals. This includes various vaccination goals. It also means achieving a weight target through a combination of watching my diet and continuing to exercise.
Continue education. I have a series of courses I intend to take. I also want to practice some technical skills through a set of small projects. Finally, I plan on creating a crypto project and some NFTs.
Make new friends. My plan this year is to leverage half a dozen systems to create an equal number of strategies to make new friends. The goal is to make three new friends by the end of the year.
Improve writing skills and make stories. This goal has several components, the first of which is reading 25 books. I also want to edit several of the short stories I’ve written in the past year and get one published. Another goal is to write a short nonfiction book and outline a novel. Actually, there are several sub-goals under this goal, and it will be challenging to do them all.
All told, that’s 12 major goals for the year, most of them with several sub-goals. However, I’ve already made some progress on them, so the year is starting well. Again, these are my personal goals; I have not included my work-related goals here.