I saw this tweet that basically says last week was onboarding, and 2022 actually starts this week—and I so relate to that sentiment, especially because I only worked two days last week! But during “onboarding week,” while I wasn’t necessarily the most productive since I was still on PTO for the majority of it, I did spend a lot of time thinking about my goals for the year ahead.
Last year, I didn’t set any goals that I shared here on the blog—but my biggest goal heading into the year that I didn’t share publicly was to get promoted at work. Other than that, I didn’t really have any big goals for the year—especially given there was still a lot of uncertainty about the course of the pandemic at that time. (Hopefully, when I write this post next year, that won’t be the case!) I earned my promotion in July, and spent the back half of the year working on the biggest work project of my entire life. It was really rewarding, but all-consuming, and I know that lifestyle isn’t sustainable for me for the long term. At the end of the year, I was really burnt out and my life was out of balance.
As such, I knew going into 2022, I wanted to be a little more intentional about where my energy and time are going. I was texting with an old friend this week and I told her the vibe I want for this year is more fun, less fucks. I will always care a lot about work and will still do my best, but I don’t want work to be at the expense of other things going on in my life anymore—especially my physical and mental health.
Given all that, I wanted to share a few of my 2022 goals + priorities for the year. Like last year, I have a few I am going to keep private for now—but maybe I’ll share one day when they are a reality. I have a good feeling about the year ahead!
PRIORITIZE MY PHYSICAL + MENTAL HEALTH
When the pandemic hit almost two years ago now, I knew staying active was something that, in addition to being good for my physical health, would also really help my mental health. So after work, in the absence of group fitness classes, I got in the habit of walking 10,000 steps a day, and kept that up for most of 2020. In 2021, I kept up my long walks and added back in group fitness classes—specifically Orangetheory and Soul Cycle. Generally speaking, I think I have a great routine when it comes to exercise. I work out five times a week and aim to close my Apple Watch rings at least that many days. I want to keep up this routine this year, but also be better about giving myself grace when I can’t fit in a full 45-60 minute workout and just do what I can, even if it’s for 15-20 minutes. I have a lot of guilt around exercise and when I am not able to get in my five workouts a week, I tend to beat myself up about it and this is something I’d like to be gentler on myself about this year.
While I think I am generally in a great place with exercise, I would love to clean up my diet a bit this year. I am starting off the year with Dry January, which has been a great reset. I would love to cut back my drinking throughout the rest of the year—especially since I am 31 now and can’t hang like I used to. I am also a person that needs eight to nine hours of sleep a night, and I find when I drink, even if it’s just a glass of wine or two, it really impacts my sleep.
In terms of eating, at this stage in my life, it’s often easier for me to just grab lunch and dinner from fast casual places and salad shops. I don’t get a ton of joy from cooking, and it takes away my time from things I like to do more. I also don’t love eating leftovers for more than a meal or two, and living alone, there tend to be a lot of leftovers. So I don’t think it’s super realistic for me to cook more this year—nor do I even really want to—so instead, I’d love to find ways to cut back on portion sizes and make sure when I am grabbing food on-the-go, I’m choosing healthy options most of the time.
On the mental health front, in March of last year, I got back into therapy and it has been such a value add to my life. I had a therapist in college who was truly the best, and also saw a therapist for a while when I was 25; during my quarter life, I was really starting to struggle with the transitional time of life when you start to get on different paths from your college friends, and therapy helped tremendously. Last year, though, I wanted to start talking to someone again because the isolation from the pandemic was really starting to get to me, and I also noticed a ton of patterns in my life I couldn’t figure out how to break on my own. Seeing a therapist again has been such an awesome way for me to level-up my life and I feel like I really put in the work to better myself and break those patterns last year. I’m excited to continue therapy this year—and continue to find ways to prioritize my mental health outside of going therapy, like ensuring I am taking breaks when I need to and giving myself grace.
(FINALLY) BE BETTER ABOUT SAVING MONEY
This has been a goal of mine for, like, the last five years—and frankly, I am tired of getting to the end of every year and having to carry this goal over to the following year, so I am really going to make an effort to put in the work in this part of my life this year. (As an aside, I am going to start bringing some money posts back to the blog because I know those are always interesting to read, and they’re fun for me to write.)
I am really good about saving for retirement—I max out my 401(k) and work with a financial planner to help me make sure I have the right mix of investments in my retirement portfolio. I am lucky to not have student loan debt. And, I don’t have credit card debt. So while I am not living outside of my means, I would love finally get my emergency savings account to the number I want it to be, so that I can start saving for other things this decade of life will hopefully hold—like home ownership.
I have a number in mind I want to hit by the end of the year that is very aggressive. So to get there, I divided that goal number by 26 (I’m paid every other week, so this is the number of paychecks I earn each year) and am automatically depositing that amount into my savings account each paycheck.
I’ve taken this approach in the past, but then I go into my savings account to cover part of a vacation or a furniture purchase or wedding guest costs or because I spent too much money on stupid shit in a certain month. I want to get out of that habit and really focus on making the money in my savings account untouchable. (I am even going as far to changing my password and deleting it from my password management tool, hah!)
To better set myself up for success to break this habit of “stealing” money from my savings account, I started using the Weekly Budget mobile app, which helped me calculate the amount of disposable income I can spend each week after savings and all my fixed costs—rent, bills, subscriptions, my car payment. I’m also going to start analyzing my credit card statements each month to see what categories I’m spending most in and figure out where I can cut back.
I work hard for my money, so I want to enjoy it—but I also want to make sure I am set up for success in the long run.
DIVERT MY ENERGY TOWARDS WHAT MATTERS MOST
The older I get, the more I realize that my life outside of work is just as important, if not more important to me, than work. Whenever I get to the end of a year and am thinking about the highlights of my year, it’s always the memories I make with family and friends—whether at home or while traveling—that stand out. It’s never the Zoom calls, Slack pings, or even the praise I receive from coworkers after a job well done.
There is no rehearsal or practice run for life—this is it. And while I think I did a good job last year of spending time making memories with my family + friends, this year, I want to keep investing that time while also working to be better about putting more of my energy towards these parts of my life—and diverting my energy away from the stressors in my life.
It sounds kind of ‘woo woo,’ but there were too many times last year where I was spending time and physically present with family and friends, but mentally was elsewhere—worried about something going on at work or drafting the email I was going to write Monday morning in my head. Work will always be a big part of my life—and I always see myself working—but that doesn’t mean I need to be putting energy towards it all the time, especially when I’m off the clock.
Traveling, dining out, going to concerts, watching sports, and even just hanging out and cooking a meal at home with the people I love the most are where I want to double down on putting my energy this year.
And like I said earlier, I want give less fucks and have more fun!