Goals 2020: Reviewing my successes

I had some bold ambitions for 2020 but, like most of the world, many of my plans, hopes, and dreams were put on hold because of the COVID19 pandemic. And so, in many ways, 2020 feels like the year that wasn’t. But, thankfully, it wasn’t a complete waste. And in some ways, I think that the madness that was 2020 helped me to reach some of my goals (even though I couldn’t reach all of them).

Because I want to end this year on a positive note, I will focus on my successes. Mostly because my unmet goals were out of reach (or altered) as a direct result of the pandemic. After all, you can’t travel more when the world is on lockdown! Although missing out on these goals in 2020 doesn’t mean the goals are dead, it just means that I will have to try to meet them in 2021.

But I did manage to succeed in several of my goals. And some of them were even made easier because of the pandemic!!

Goal: 4,000,000+ steps: This was a relatively “easy” goal that I felt extremely confident about, so I am not too surprised that I made it. In fact, with a couple of hours left in the year, I have racked up more than 4,500,000 steps and have managed at least 10,000 steps a day for 15+ months now. However, I do wonder if the goal was made easier thanks to the lockdowns and the extra walking that I did in the summer months.

Goal: Find 50 geocaches: Ordinarily, this goal would have been a bit harder than it was. It was still a challenge that required me to push myself, but I managed a couple of decent geocache trails that made all the difference in my ability to succeed. Indeed, my last geocache trail included 10 caches which put me over my goal for a total of 57 caches for the year!

Goal: Run 700+ miles: This was a hard one. I was on track early in the year, but then in the summer, I was spending a lot more time walking in the Pentlands and along the coastline which meant I was doing less running. Which was great for my step count goal, but it meant that I found myself needing to run more than 200 miles in December to make it happen. I had my doubts, but I managed – with 2 miles to spare!

Goal: Travel more (including “bagging Munros”): Yeah, that didn’t happen, did it? But whilst my big (and small) travel plans were set aside for the year, I managed a couple of trips to England for work and a mini holiday to Cambridge just before lockdown. And I did manage considerably more adventure day hikes than normal. And I have spent far more time walking in the Pentlands than I normally spend in any given year. This is crazy since the hills are only a 15-minute walk from my cottage! I feel that I can call this a success because what I did in my local area was comparable to what I would have done if I could have travelled further afield. It’s a stretch, but I’m taking it!

Goal: Re-build my website: Success!! Although I haven’t done it in the way that I intended to when the goal was set, I have done it. And I did it on my own, which makes the goal that much better since the original plan was for someone else to do it for me. But COVID19 meant they didn’t have the capacity, so I found a different path. (You can expect upgrades in 2021!)

Goal: Land a long-term academic post: Well, I got a 2-year gig which is a good start. And again, COVID19 means that this is a bigger win than it would normally be. Hopefully, things will settle down soon so that I can find that permanent post before next December’s goal recap!

There were a handful of other “little” goals that were either met or delayed. The delayed goals will be picked up again next year with the hope that my “big” goal for 2021 will help to make them easier to reach.

But what about my “big” goal for 2020? Well, that’s still a work in progress!

To be a stronger, more confident me.

As I said when I set this big goal, I felt that the other goals would help towards this. And I was right. Meeting those goals has made me feel stronger and more confident. But I also feel that the madness that was 2020 helped me along the way, too. Of course, 2020 also brought to light more personal development that I need to work on for 2021.

It is hard to say this goal is “done” because there is always more work to do. But I do feel stronger and more confident now than I did at the start of the year, and that means that I met the goal. In fact, at the start of the year, I reflected on my character strengths and virtues which gave me a little qualitative benchmark to “grade” myself against. And yes, I am pleased to say that I feel stronger across the board. However, I know that I can be even stronger and even more confident. And I know that I will continue to improve in all areas if I continue to be more mindful and prioritise myself and my well-being.  

And so, I hereby proclaim 2020 to be a successful year. But then again, any year that sees me alive and well at the end of it must be counted as a success!

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