Each year I spend some time over the holidays to think about the upcoming year. I tend not to think about resolutions, which in my mind, have a connotation of success or inevitable failure. Instead, I like to outline my focus for the coming year. Think of it as a vision statement that guides my goals. It’s important to jot these things down because ideas swirling in my head result in little action. Writing down my areas of focus act as a roadmap for the journey throughout the year.
Throughout the ups and downs related to my job, my mind would wander to three main topics:
2) Health and Fitness
3) Financial Freedom
And a fourth topic came to light over the past couple of months:
4) Managing my digital life
It’s no secret that I love to travel and experience new places, cultures, and all of the emotions that come with those adventures. I spent most of November reading the travel blogs of inspirational people who had left their growing careers for a nomadic lifestyle. Oftentimes we tell ourselves that there’s never enough money or time to travel. This is clearly false; if so many others can change their lifestyle to one of travel, then why can’t I? These people aren’t rich; they’ve just shifted priorities. These people don’t spend a fortune; they just adopt strategies for near-free flights and elite status upgrades. These people aren’t unique in thinking about an unconventional life; they’ve just decided to take action. And I’m jumping on that bandwagon: Travel Hacking. Couch Surfing. House Sitting. Remote Living. Discount travel of any kind. It’s all in the realm of possibility. I’m not saying I want to be completely nomadic and go off the grid, but I do want to travel more. That’s what it comes down to. And I’ll figure out how. Of course, I also have a list of places I would love to visit, but more on that in a subsequent blog post.
Health and Fitness
Admittedly, choosing to be as healthy as I can be and adapting my schedule to include fitness is a lifestyle, not a fad. So this focus is nothing new, but I write it down every year. I have been plagued with several injuries. My ankle hurts; I have tendonitis in my right elbow; curses to the chronic neck and back pain; and the entire right side of my body from the waist down feels like it requires some major physiotherapy. All excuses though! I’ll be taking control of these health issues in the New Year. A costly endeavour, but health comes first. Nutrition will also be a priority again this year after a miserable attempt last year. At the very least, I should try some new recipes. And then there’s my workout routine. I plan to complete P90X3, organize fitness challenges, and begin running again. It’s time to conquer some more races and inch my way toward that triathlon. Hiking will be a predominant activity as always.
Financial Freedom (well… sort of.)
No, I don’t want to retire… yet. But I will be exploring ways to add value to my current skills through workshops and certificates while I expand into contract work. This involves learning about small business ownership and how I can offer my statistical and data analysis services remotely. I also plan to look into the process of becoming a Beachbody coach and what all of that entails. Financial freedom is definitely a work in progress, but it’s on my radar this year.
Managing My Digital Life
This will be ongoing, but I’m so bogged down with different emails, software that I don’t use to its potential, gigabytes of photos that are spiralling out of organizational control, and an online presence that requires full-time hours to manage. There has to be a way to make things easier. There just has to be.
And those are the 4 areas of focus. Everything sounds fine and good, but how do I translate these points into actionable goals? I use the SMART acronym, of course. SMART goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Oriented. I’ll be creating my SMART goals within the next few days.
So what will 2014 bring?
A lot of excitement! I know there will be many great experiences and changes as always. It will be busy, but I’ve come to realize I’m at my best when I’m busy. However the year unfolds, I know it will be a good and overall positive 2014.