My intentions for 2021

Happy New Year, everyone. It’s sure been a year, and though not much has materially changed since yesterday, I for one am grateful for this fresh start (even if it’s all in my head). I just spent some time writing out my intentions for this year in my new Bullet Journal (speaking of fresh starts, starting a new journal/notebook is such a PRISITINE feeling), and thought I’d like to share them here, too. In previous years I’ve made resolutions or goals; these intentions are much more unstructured. At some point I’d like to reflect on last year’s goals too, but those are written down in an older journal I don’t have access to at the moment. Regardless, here are my intentions for 2021, mostly in no particular order. If any of them resonate with you, or if you’d like to share your own intentions for this year, I’d love to hear about it.

  • Spend more time doing what brings me true joy. Looking back on 2020, that means travel (if/when possible), being outdoors/in nature, and spending time with friends & family.
  • Always have a book I’m excited to read around so when I need to take a break, reading is my go-to.
  • Cherish & nurture my friendships. In the words of SZA, “I want better friendships 2021 so imma be a better friend.”
  • Disengage from social media…in a real & meaningful way. Figure out better boundaries. Does this mean quitting Facebook & Twitter for awhile? (Probably.) Further limiting Instagram?
  • Lean into creative pursuits with less fear, more hope& belief in myself.
  • Find discovery & excitement in my research. I can do it!
  • Cultivate a healthier relationship with shopping/spending, makeup & fashion, and self-image. Somehow I feel like they’re all connected…groundbreaking
  • Establish a better work-life balance, on both sides of the scale-the constant goal!
  • Love myself, love others, find & cherish the words & actions that do that.

Thank you for reading this. I wish you a year of joy and fulfillment, whatever that means to you.

The field station in Costa Rica where I spent the first few days of 2020…I have no photos yet of 2021. I wonder what the first one will be? Honestly, probably food.

October 2020 goals and Bullet Journal fun

Somehow, it’s been a full year since I last shared my monthly goals and their accompanying spread in my bullet journal. Does anyone else feel like the past 6 months of pandemic-life have made time fly by?

I finally cleaned my home office/desk space after letting it become a mess of a storage area all summer. I had justified that with the fact that I was doing fieldwork and needed all my equipment easily accessible, which was technically true, but summer crept into fall and my desk was still piled high with unnecessary papers. Last night, I finally dragged myself out of my election season-induced funk and put my space in order. It feels awesome, and I’ve used the accompanying burst of inspiration to create what might be my most “artistic” bullet journal spread ever.

I’m usually pretty by-the-book with the standard bullet journal method—on a normal day, the most I’ll go beyond to-do lists and notes is slightly fancy lettering for the day of the week—but this time, I took inspiration from some monthly spreads I found online to add some fall cheer to my journal’s pages.

On the left side, I’ve listed the days of the month with dates and events to keep track of, and near the center, I’ve added an activity tracker to cross off the days when I’ve made an effort to move my body.

On the right, in addition to some fun tree stickers and pumpkin doodles, I’ve written out my monthly goals. I’ll likely add to these as October goes on, but I like to start the month with a few specific goals. Let’s take a look!

Read 4 books.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory! It’s a goal I usually set every month, and last month was the first time in awhile that I achieved it.

Complete basic data analysis.

I finally wrapped my my master’s fieldwork last month, and now it’s time to delve into all that data I collected. I need to do some self-guided learning about multivariate statistics, but for now, I want to make sense of the data with the methods I already know—quantifying it with descriptive stats and ANOVAs.

(By the way, I know “data” is technically a plural noun, and I’m usually a total stickler about grammar, but in this case…I have just always referred to it as singular. Maybe it’s a generational thing? Is it really that bad? Language evolves with the people who speak it, so maybe this is a case of evolution in action. I’m probably not going to “correct” myself, but I’d love to hear what you think about this topic in the comments.)

Write 4 blog posts.

Again—this one’s pretty obvious. I’m on track to publish this on the first of the month, so hopefully it bodes well for the rest of them!

Be active 15 times.

This is how I’ll use the “activity tracker” on the left page of my monthly spread. Especially now that I’m not out in the forest 4 days a week (which feels very bittersweet), I need to break up the desk-sitting monotony and move my body. As the weather turns colder, it can be easy for me to get into a routine that doesn’t include exercise, but I always remember how much better it makes me feel when I get back into it.

Pitch a story.

Since my life doesn’t *entirely* revolve around grad school, I’m trying to pursue my interest in journalism (and specifically science writing) in my free time. That means pitching stories! I’m pretty rusty, but that’s no reason not to try.

Gather all landscape variables for LANDIS initialization.

This is a pretty technical one. If any of you readers are familiar with the LANDIS-II forest model, please let me know if you have any tips!

Looking at this list, I am realizing that it’s pretty self development-focused, whether that growth is personal or professional. I should make some goals that reflect outward, too. I do volunteer weekly with a local organization, but I would love to do more…actually, this realization just prompted me to sign up for a volunteer shift tomorrow. Exciting!

Let me know what your goals are for this month in the comments below. Also, if you have any ideas of blog posts you’d like to see, I would love to hear them. Happy fall!

Monthly goals, as told by my Bullet Journal

Ah, October. The proper start of fall, and more specifically, of ~spooky season~. Fittingly, I have a couple of spooky goals for this month, and I’d like to share them with you.

Getting in the spooky spirit.
Image: Giphy.

I set goals at the beginning of each month in my Bullet Journal. If you’re not familiar with the Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short, you can read allllllll about it here. Basically, it’s a freehand, paper system for keeping track of anything and everything in your life. (The creator, Ryder Carroll, describes it as “The Analog Method for the Digital Age.” It’s a succinct description, but I don’t love its “not like other girls” energy. No shade, Ryder—I would be lost without you!)

My bullet journal.
Fun fact: yellow is my favorite color!

The “Monthly Log” is one of the main tenets of the Bullet Journal system, and that’s all I’ll say about that because I could easily go down a wormhole of Bullet Journal content. (If that’s something you want to read more about, please let me know!) Anyway, my monthly log is pretty utilitarian (except for the festive little pumpkin), and it has three major components: my calendar, my goals, and my activity tracker.

My monthly log for October.

My calendar is set up Ryder’s way, in a vertical list of each day of the month. Here, I’ve jotted down any events, appointments, meetings, etc. that I know I have. I’ll add to this throughout the month as I continue to fill out my schedule. This area is more of a complement to Google Calendar, which is my main scheduling tool. Still, I like to have a paper version handy so I don’t always have to whip out my phone to double-check a date or deadline.

My activity tracker is parallel to the calendar, on the rightmost edge of my monthly spread. Here, I log any kind of physical activity I had during the day, whether it’s fieldwork, a fitness class, or a particularly strenuous bike ride. As you can see, there’s nothing here so far…But it’s still very early in the month, so I’m cutting myself a break.

Bonus pic: My journal is Max-the-cat approved!

Finally, my monthly goals take up most of the right-hand page. I thought it would be fun to go through these with you. Let’s take a look!

Goal 1: Read 4 books

This is a goal I set every month, for the average rate of a book a week. I am a pretty fast reader, so as long as I have started a book, I can almost always finish it within a week. However, life sometimes gets in the way, and I don’t often meet this goal. I also have a separate page in my BuJo to keep track of all the books I’ve been reading—get a taste of that in my last post.

Goal 2: Plan a Gilman event

This year, I’m serving as an Alumni Ambassador for the Gilman International Scholarship. Part of my duties as an Alumni Ambassador include planning a couple of events for prospective, current, or former Gilman Scholars, and I want to make that happen this month.

Goal 3: Start writing research proposal

My master’s program is research-based, and since I’m in my first semester, I am not doing much fieldwork yet. However, I do need to dive into some background research for my proposal, and I should start working on it soon.

Goal 4: Write at least four blog posts

Hey, it’s a blog-related goal! This is already my second post by the third day of October, so I’m doing pretty good on this one. 🙂

Goal 5: Publicize my blog on social media

By “publicize,” I just mean to post the link so that people in my life actually know I’m doing this. It’s a way to hold myself accountable for posting as often as I can! And hopefully so that anyone who’s interested can keep up with my life in this format.

Goal 6: Be active 3x/week

This is another recurring monthly goal that I try to stick to. I monitor this via the adjacent activity tracker.

Goal 7: Prep for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo! Image: Florida Writers Association.

I decided a few days ago to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. And it’s in the Bullet Journal now, so…it’s official!! If you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. It is a “competition” to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. This month, of course, is October, so I’m dedicating it to preparing for this writing challenge. My sub-goals include: reading a book about writing; outlining my story/plot; and completing “NaNo 101,” a crash-course prep guide to make sure I’m in a good position to start writing on Nov. 1st. I’ve never written a novel before, much less one in 30 days, so I’m excited but nervous for this task! I’m hoping that continuing to post on this blog will warm up my writing muscles.

I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year after learning that Erin Morgenstern wrote her debut novel “The Night Circus” over the course of a couple NaNoWriMos! Her journey to authorship is seriously inspiring.

Goal 8: Look into tarot

My tarot deck and some sweet old books.

A few months back, my lovely friend Robin gave me a tarot deck after I expressed interest in one of his readings. I’m not really a superstitious person, but I’m intrigued by the history and mythology behind tarot and the level of interpretation it allows. To that end, I’ve vowed this month to get serious about it! I’m going to read a book about tarot (I checked out some cool-looking old ones from the school library) and do my first reading.

Funnily enough, this goal was also inspired by “The Night Circus,” a book in which tarot plays a significant role. Who knew that reading novels could lead to reading the future?

So, those are my goals for October. I’ll check back this time next month to update you all on my progress, and share the new goals for November. Hopefully, I’ll be a few thousand words deep in NaNoWriMo by then!

What are your goals for this month? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo, and if so, do you have any tips for me? Let me know!