Yesterday I received very good news, which could actually have been very bad news, related to my health. I feel extremely lucky and blessed, as the alternative would have deeply impacted my future life and probably also my mental health. I’m immensely grateful for the chance I’ve been given and I intend to honour it by living a healthy life as much as I can.
I can’t deny that I’ve been living in a kind of limbo during January, no daring to plan as much since I didn’t know how my life would have turned out to be. Now I feel like I can finally take the reins and start making a proper plan for myself.
Plus Chinese New Year is 16th February this year, so I’m still on time right?
2018 Goals and Plans
I already shared my personal goals for 2018 in this post. Those are the most mundane things that I want to think about, but of course they don’t represent the core of what I want to achieve in 2018. I have specific goals for my career and my Chinese studies, but also for my reading activity and, of course, my health (see above).
Truth is, I don’t wanna do things differently in 2018. I want to do things more mindfully, be present, stay in the moment, be aware of my time. This is the most important achievement for me this year, and I think that yoga can be an important exercise in this sense. I’m not much one who lingers in the past, rather, I’m always focused on the future: when things will be better, brighter, more satisfying. I still have to convince my brain that nothing will ever be better and brighter if I just think about it, or plan it, without actually doing it.
Plus there’s the never-ending trap of perfectionism (I talked about it here). 2017 has been great for me to learn about all these patterns of behaviour; I’m ready to work on them in 2018, as difficult as it may be.
One essential thing I want to do this year is to close all my open loops. I have projects that I never actually concluded, books that I started reading and then left back in Italy, home organisation plans left half completed and so on. The ideal scenario would be to close all my uncompleted project and avoid starting new ones, just focusing on what I have on my plate at the moment, which is more than enough.
In terms of planning system, for the second year in a row I’ll be using Trello to track my goals and progresses. I have a board called ‘2018 goals’ which holds four lists. In the first one I have a card for each area of my life (personal, career, Chinese, wellness and fitness etc), and within each card I have multiple checklists with all the details of the things I want to accomplish this year in that specific area. In the second list I have four cards: winter, spring, summer and autumn, which is basically my quarterly plan. The third list has a card for each month of the year, meaning, monthly goals. The fourth and last list has various cards with motivational images and quotes for those time in which I feel like I need a boost of energy, or I just feel uninspired.
I’m trying to be as specific as I can this year in breaking down my goals, as one of the things that didn’t help me much in 2017 was a lack of specificity and attainability in the way I wrote things down for myself.
Another thing that I’ve finally managed to incorporate in my planning routine is the elusive weekly review. Every Friday I sit down for an hour or so and review all my main boards on Trello, my lists on Wunderlist, Apple Reminders, paper planner and current notebook. I’ve been doing this consistently for a couple of months now, and I can honestly say that even if I can’t really measure its impact on my overall productivity, it has surely increased my awareness of the actual status of things in my life. In short, I know where I stand.
I finished studying a Memrise deck called Mandarin Chinese 2 today (it was in my goals for January to complete it, so yay!), so I’m now in the process of planning my next move.
I think I’ll go on with my Chinese practice on Duolingo (though I haven’t been really loving it tbh – for a number of reasons that I’ll explain in a later post) + I’ll finish the other deck I started on Memrise back in December (Chinese for HSK3 Part I by Peking University, which pairs the course I was attending on Coursera – perfect match 👍🏻).
February is also listening practice challenge month over on Hacking Chinese, and gosh do I need more listening practice in my life right now (I do).
I’ve found a lot of inspiring people on Instagram lately, fellow Asian-languages learners who supply me with a unexpected wave of motivation through their beautiful shots. I plan to be a lot more present on Instagram in February, to suck up all the good vibes and also share my own journey as much as possible.
The plus one is on night shift this weekend so I have Fri, Sat and Sun nights for myself – Chinese study + sushi and drama 😝 though to have sushi I should get out of the house, which with this weather is kind of out of question 😅 I could make onigiri instead though 🤔
General monthly goals
I’ve been good with books this month: I’ve finished two novels and I’ve read 1/3 of my current book (my goal was to finish 2 this month). I read a historical fiction and a Scandinavian thriller, while right now I’m digging in a young adult novel. I’m enjoying the variety in my reading materials, I would like to keep it up in the upcoming months. I’m starting a reading tandem with one of my girlfriends tomorrow (we’re re-reading Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice) and I honestly can’t wait, it’s going to be so much fun!
Oh, by the way: if someone of you lovely readers wants to do a reading session together just drop me a message, I’d love to do that!
I was also pretty good at finishing up stuff like teas (2 boxes), skincare products (a face toner and a night cream) and candles (I finished the one I had bought before Christmas, ‘winter spices’). I guess in February I’ll have a few makeup products I’ll be able to finally get rid of. I’m also going to make a serious effort in exercising more and eating better this month (again, see above), but I’m already on the right path, eating my 5 a day and drinking my water everyday.
This was a lengthy post but it was long due, since my lack of regular updates in January. I’m now off to bed as I want to allow myself some reading time before sleeping at 10pm sharp (for the despair of the significant other 😝). I’ve gone back to a 10pm/7am sleeping pattern, hoping to bring it down to 10/6:30 (maybe even 10/6) – but I guess for that I’ll have to wait for a little more natural light in the morning as the dark still makes me super drowsy and sleepy!