Goals 2021: Reviewing and recapping

As always, I had some pretty bold ambitions for 2021. And, as always, I had to let go of some of my goals along the way. Life is like that, you know. And so, as always, I want to end this year on a positive note, and I will focus on my successes.

My overarching goals for the year were about the ABCs of life: Accountability, Balance, and Calm. I feel confident in saying that I met those goals. However, as with most of my overarching goals, it’s not done! 2021 was a non-standard year (they all are these days!) so it’s really difficult to know how best to assess my success here. But I do feel that I am better now than I was 12 months ago. And that is good enough for me.

As I move forward into 2022, I will carry with me the important lessons of “self” that my ABCs of life goal brought me. I will work on the ABCs a little more each day, always improving and always striving to be a little better tomorrow than I am today.

My measurable goals were a mix of success and non-success. I don’t really want to say failure because I feel that my lack of success wasn’t because I didn’t try, but because I changed my focus so that I could find the balance and calm from my overarching goals. Still, they deserve a mention so that I can focus on the progress I made towards them.

Health and fitness goals

Goal: Run 800+ miles, success: This was a hard one. But I managed it well enough – even though the last couple of weeks were done in the snow and ice. I had to cancel my stretch goal earlier in the year, but this year’s goal helped me to realise that I need to focus on my speeds rather than distance for 2022.

Goal: 5,000,000+ steps, success: This was a little harder than I hoped it would be, but I managed to get the steps in before the end of the year (just!). I think that my ideal goal is halfway between this year and last year, so I’ll aim for 4,500,000 in 2022.

Goal: 365+ miles of walking, success: Easy, peasy! I stayed on track with this goal from the start by enjoying long walks into the Pentland Hills and surrounding area – as well as some morning and evening “commute replacement” walks when the weather was decent. It’s a goal that I’ll repeat for 2022.

Goal: Regular yoga practice, non-success: Nope. I tried, but I didn’t get there. I did, however, manage to do general stretching and balancing each day. I will try for this again in 2022 though as I feel it’s a worthy goal to strive for.

Travel and adventure

Goal: Travel home to America, success: I made it!! Indeed, I am writing this blog post from America. It’s been a good visit, although my Mum has been unwell so it’s not been quite what we planned. But between running in the snow, building gingerbread houses, and Christmas with my parents, it’s been a wonderful holiday and I am so pleased to be here – real hugs, and all.

Goal: Climb 5+ new summits in the Pentland Hills, success: I managed 5 and more, beginning with Hare Hill in May and a long day taking in Carnethy Hill, Scald Law, South Black Hill, East Kip, and West Kip in June. I didn’t manage to walk the Water of Leith Walkway because of COVID restrictions, so that will have to get moved to 2022.


Goal: Secure a new job contract, success: I did it! It took a few months to get there, from applying in February to interviewing to visas to starting… but I did it!

Goal: Update various professional profiles, etc, success: I did a blog re-build for my professional website (www.FrancesRyanPhD.com) and updated my various professional social media channels with my new job title. The blog was really the only “goal” in there, whilst the rest was on the “admin” side of life. Still, I’m taking the win.

Goal: Goal/objective planning, success: This is an ever-evolving process, but I have managed to set some decent professional goals for the next couple of years. I will be making adjustments to these goals as I go along, too.

Personal improvement and other goals

Goal: Find 75 geocaches, non-success: Nope. That just didn’t happen. But I managed a decent enough haul, and I am happy with what I got (43 caches). I had based this goal on last year’s 50-cache goal, without considering the fact that I already grabbed most of the ones within walking distance and I wouldn’t be able to travel for long trails. So… I’ll have to rethink this goal for next year.

Goal: Get a UK driver’s licence, non-success: I did make an early attempt, but ran into glitches with getting my provisional licence because I couldn’t send my passport off as it was needed for my visa application – which was by far more important at the time. So, this will be revisited in the new year.

Goal: (finally) make a memory quilt from Paul’s old running shirts, non-success: Between the stress of my old job and the chaos and anxiety from the visa wait for the new job, this didn’t get done. I am now considering if I will do it myself or ask someone to do it for me. I think I might ask someone. And I am OK with that.

I know that I could have done more this year, but I also know that I did a lot. Especially given the enormous stress I was under at my last job, and with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. But, ultimately, I will proclaim 2021 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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