I know some people find lists like these to be arbitrary and useless, but I’ve come to realize that I derive a lot of pleasure (and productivity) from prioritizing my goals and tracking my progress, so I enjoy keeping one.
If you’re interested, here is my list of things to experience/achieve/accomplish in 2020 (list is loosely in the order of importance/priority). I plan to post updates every few months. This post outlines my progress as of Jan 1:
- Take my first novel as far as I can take it and send at least one query letter to an agent. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: second draft is complete and being reviewed by a beta reader.
- Finish the first draft of my second novel (the second in my trilogy). Where I’m at as of Jan 1: 45,000 words written on first draft. Plot remains a disaster.
- Remain active. For me, this is exercising at least 5 days a week. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I already do this and it’s crucial to my sanity.
- Identify my pain points and work to find solutions (if solutions exist). Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I’m not sure exactly how this is going to look, but I’ve identified a couple of pain points already and plan to start exploring these more in the coming months. They include: being in social situations where I feel uncomfortable (especially in one-on-one interactions with patients who have a problem I cannot solve), situations in which I feel like I don’t have control (even though I rationally realize that I have control over very little in the grand scheme of things), getting too many requests/emails and not being sure how to prioritize, not being able to relax and do nothing because I feel ‘guilty’ for doing so.
- Identify my joy triggers and work to lace my life with them. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: So far, I’ve identified being productive, finding meaning in my work, small-group or one-on-one interactions with friends and other people who make me think, eating and drinking (in moderation), exercise, consuming content (especially novels, podcasts), creating content (fiction and short articles).
- Schedule at least one social outing a month with someone who is not my husband. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I have officially scheduled two social outings for January. A girls’ dinner and a spin class.
- Schedule one ‘local field trip’ each month. This could just be to the local coffee shop to enjoy my favourite drink, and can also be combined with the social outing. Just to make it easy.
- Cook one new recipe a month. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: invested in a few cookbooks over the holidays.
- Strive to get 7 hours of sleep a night. Where I’m at as Jan 1: this is always the first thing to go when I get busy. I’m going to do my best to give myself a 7.5 hour sleep window every night. That is, in bed and winding down (no screens!) 7.5 hours before I have to get up.
- Try fasting for 12h/day, and see if I notice any benefits. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: Just started.
- Read at least 10 novels and 10 non-fiction books, and maintain a list of what I read. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I exceeded this goal in 2019 (at least I think I did, I never tracked my progress formally though). I’ve made a list of books I’d like to finish in 2020, so that’s a start.
- Launch Mundane Wednesdays. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: doing lots of writing and hoping to take things live by the end of the month.
- Read 144 journal articles (3 articles a week). Where I’m at as of Jan 1: cleared out the backlog of 2019 articles sitting in my Dropbox.
- Complete, submit, and (ideally) publish six papers as a first or senior author. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: one paper is undergoing review, and the rest are in various states of completion, but I know exactly what I want to get published, and that helps.
- Enroll the first participant in a randomized controlled pilot study I recently received funding for. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: Lots of work to do here. I have a research coordinator in mind, but the protocol still has to be completed and ethics applied for.
- Supervise my first grad student. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: invited to join the committee of a grad student. I almost said no because her research interests don’t completely mesh with mine, but she seems very motivated and I enjoy working with the Co-Supervisors, so I think this will be an excellent learning experience.
- Put research ideas that I’m excited about out into the world, but don’t lose focus on the research I’m already doing. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I’m extremely interested in the health effects of time-restricted feeding and interventions to improve dietary fibre intake. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m likely to say yes to getting involved in research on any of these two topics, even though they’re a bit distanced from my usual work on osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
- Get to work finishing our basement. Have a functional bedroom and bathroom by the end of the year. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: hoping the husband will take care of this goal for me. Fingers crossed!
- Knock out part of the wall between our kitchen and dining room to make the dining room more appealing for hanging out and for having guests over. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: trying to convince husband that this is a high priority.
- Get a nice rustic dining room table that I enjoy writing at (and eating, I suppose). Where I’m at as of Jan 1: I think I have a Pinterest page dedicated to this, somewhere.
And one bonus goal, because I’m not good at following the rules:
- Organize all of my photos on my computer. Where I’m at as of Jan 1: Haven’t started. May never start.
You may notice that some of these goals were already partially completed as of January 1. I used to think that adding ‘easy’ or ‘in progress’ tasks to my to-do and goals lists was cheating, but I’ve come to realized that it’s actually very motivating and encouraging for me to have a few ‘easy wins’ on the list.