Over the last few years one of my opening spreads in my bullet journal was the Level 10 Life spread. Here you have 10 aspects of your life and you truly rate how satisfied you are with each of them on a scale of 1-10. You write goals to help yourself 'level up' through the year and see the progress you made by the end of the year. Well... here's my experience and what I'll be doing differently this year.
When I first started bullet journalling in August 2017, I loved all the different visuals I saw for this spread. I also really love the idea behind it, however, I don't feel like I ever moved forward with it. Sure by the end of the year I would move most of my levels up a few notches (or half a notch in some cases) but I always felt super critical of myself with each category. When you really have to sit down and think about it, I think we are always harsher on ourselves than we should be. I always looked back and thought, "Did I really do enough to justify moving it? Has it actually dropped because I didn't accomplish this?" That is a contributing factor to why I'm changing my approach this year, by not ranking the category but taking inspiration from the smaller goals. This last year I never even got round to full goals for each category, I just gave myself a few dot jots to build from. The way I broke down the levels in this spread were: 1-3 Unsatisfied, 4-7 Somewhat Satisfied and 8+ Satisfied. I initially I had 1-4, 5-7, 8+ because that's how I saw it written when I first discovered it, but reflecting on it last year I made the adjustment. Not sure if I am "allowed" to do it, but I did aha.
The categories are flexible, I know that when looking through spreads on Pinterest, I saw lots that applied to me and some that didn't. You want to focus on things that are going to benefit you, so tailor it to your needs. Some people opt for more than 10, though I think it best to limit to 10, but you do you...
The categories that I use are: family, friends, relationship, health/fitness, personal growth, career, finances, fun/recreation, creative and home. Instinctively, you will know what each of these categories means to you in order to create applicable goals but you can further subdivide if necessary. Personal growth for me is not necessarily career related, nor creative expression. So tinker with them until they fit.
I just looked through the 3 years of spreads to compare and it is interesting to see how similar or drastically different the categories were. Off the top of my head I know exactly why that is, depending on the year I made them. But I found that I struggled to come back to the spread to really encourage myself to push throughout the year. It became an after thought. I only looked back in order to see where things would fall for the next year's spread.
The other day I watched a friend's IG story and she was sharing some motivation as she is getting back on her fitness routine and she said "less talk more action" and it really struck a cord. I love to make lists and dream big but I have a HORRID habit of never following through. Although not formally diagnosed, I recently came to realize that I most likely have ADD (in some form) and discovering this has truly helped me see just how it's impacted my adult life. It was a huge step admitting to myself that this is my reality, and once I did some reading (and watched a few ADD/ADHD TikTokers) I realized that I can make this work but it is going to take a little more consistent effort. Not to say that everyone doesn't have to work to make things happen, of course you do, but I now know that it is going to take me much more work and that if I really want something I have to put a continued focus on it and not let it slip away from me as has happened over the years. So I need to equip myself with new strategies to truly do the most with what I want. I also want to note, that even if I was tested and it was negative, it never hurts to try things that work for others & learn from that experience.
Anyways, back to the less talk, more action. This year I will set goals and resolutions as I do every year, but this time I am truly going to be intentional with what I write down and it won't necessarily look like a normal year's list. I want to give myself small achievable steps that I can use to consistently work towards larger goals. Really breaking them down. Am I going to become an overnight sensation? I highly doubt it. Can I work at being consistent with creating reels and content on IG and potentially gain more followers as a result? For sure. So that will be something on my list. I still wanted to work through the categories of the Level 10 Life because I know there is always room for improvement.
Now onto the focuses I have for this year, which hopefully by putting it out there, I can hold myself accountable and put the positive energy into the world that I want to receive.
This one is a bit tricky as my biggest goal with family was to actually see my mum again and with COVID travel bans, it's next to impossible for either of us to cross the border for a visit. So I don't think that one will work out so well, but perhaps by the summer things will improve? I'm in the mindset that it's been nearly 6 years, so what's a little bit longer? Not to sound pessimistic, just realistic. I more than make up for it with the amount of time Scott and I spent between our families up here. We often have dinners with Scott's mum and sisters and we spend time with his dad up at the cottage. I would like to spend a bit more quality time with my dad, but we also have dinner with him quite frequently as well. We are all getting back into darts having a board up in our house, my dad's and Scott's mum, so by the end of 2021, we will all be rock stars! I do have some extended family that I haven't seen in years that I would like to build a stronger relationship with.
- Spend quality time with each of our parents 1-2x a month (minimum)
- More movie/games nights with siblings
- Reconnect with cousins, even if just virtually
Another one that has been a struggle through this year, on and off, was spending time with friends. I was blessed to be able to see my core group of friends this year as we were all 2 person pods and we could keep our distance. I'm lucky that I actually teach with my best friend so I get to see her everyday at work and we will FaceTime as couples. My biggest "friend" goal last year was to catch up with an old friend each month. I didn't have a schedule of who I was going to catch up with, but I do have a mental list of some old friends that I would love to have a drink with. I could have planned it virtually as the year went on, but it didn't seem as personal that way. I may rethink that for this year.
- Reach out to old friends via socials for a chat, doesn't have to be a video call or in person, but try to have quality conversation and catch up
- Virtual games/chill sessions with more of our couple friends
Scott and I just celebrated 5 years together this week and part of me cannot believe it's already been 5 years, and it just makes me so excited to see what the next 5 and 50 bring. We've had a lot of adult conversations about the future, looking into savings for a house, where we'd like to live and having a family in the near future. Lots of level headed conversations, which is amazing. He also listens to me when I'm having an anxious meltdown and I know that he is truly there for me. But, there are still things we can improve on together to make our space and time together, better.
- Carve out time for just us, whether it's to watch a movie or play cards
- Go on more adventures & try new things together
- Cook more together
You can't see it...but I'm grimacing right now...This is a category that I have struggled with and had a love/hate relationship with probably since I was 13. When I first recorded "lose 13 pounds" because I thought 113lbs was heavy (oh you silly girl). Hindsight is always 20/20 and I honestly kick myself for thinking I was fat or too heavy looking back at photos and then compare to now. One hurdle that I have made a marked improvement on with fitness is knowing that inches are more important than pounds. I'm 90% there on not caring what the scale tells me weight wise, but what my body fat % is and inches. If I stayed the same weight but looked the way I want to feel, then I'm going to be happy. My problem is that I want things and then can't motivate myself to act on them because I don't feel I "need" to, it's more of a vanity thing. So I thought getting Scott back into working out would help motivate me as well & we can work out together... So far he's winning haha.
- Choose a different "challenge" to focus on each month; to keep things interesting (i.e. Chloe Ting/Blogilates/ToneItUp)
- Just remember to move during the day (esp. when working from home!)
- Focus on weights/strength training
- Work on my cardio by going for walks when there is pleasant weather or inside on the treadmill
- Improve my diet by incorporating more veg (also adding veg powder into shakes)
- Take my vitamins/supplements on the regular & actually get the benefit of them
This is the topic that is going to be vastly different for everyone. There's a lot that could fit into this and can easily overlap with other topics. It's kind of a catch all topic & I think will be my longest list of things to work towards for the year. For this one, I have a few new things and a few things that have been haunting my resolution lists for many a year...
- Work on my French through Duolingo daily & my Rosetta Stone program (I have French speaking friends so it would be cool to converse with them)
- Learn to step back from work & set proper boundaries for time spent working at home
- Learn to let myself have days where I am 0% productive & enjoy it
- Discover more about reading Tarot cards
- Read more books & make time to read before bed (I read more last year than any previous year, even though it was only 12ish books)
- Have more tech free evenings/times (I'm getting over the phone addiction again)
- Don't push myself to the point of exhaustion or burn out & try to "force" things
- Try to be more go with the flow (this is SUPER HARD)
- Follow through with things I say I'm going to do
If you are new here you may not know that I'm currently an elementary teacher working in the private system and have been since April 2016. I have wanted to make the jump to the board since I began and in the spring of 2019 I was very close to achieving this, but I chose to hold on to my position at my current school because I felt committed to the group that I was going to be teaching in the fall. Do I regret this? Yes and no. My ultimate goal is to actually teach at the high school level, because that is what I went to school for. But it's hard to get into the board and earn full time income and that scares me. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around leaving full-time income for the possibility of supply jobs. I have bills to pay! But if it's going to be a long trek to full-time work, I should probably get started sooner rather than later, but I love the people I work with and all the students, so it's a weighty decision.
- Look for more tutoring opportunities to supplement income
- Get back into applying for the boards at the secondary level & hope that COVID helps and not hinders!
- Look into AQ courses if I remain in elementary
I have been wanting to speak to a financial advisor for over two years, so that Scott and I are able to make smarter decisions when it comes to spending and saving money. This will be the year I finally do it. We have two fairly large goals that we are working towards and I know that they will take a long time to accumulate, but you have to start somewhere!
- Trying to not eat out as often
- Make smarter choices with groceries (& prevent food waste)
- Save money from each paycheque off the top
- Learn about investment options
- Continue paying down my car
MORE ADVENTURES! Whether that be exploring what is around the GTA, trying out new activities or games, pretty much any activity. I also need to get over this ridiculous fear I have about learning games that others are already good at. It sounds so daft saying it, but to give an example, I have an irrational anxious reaction when asked to play euchre with Scott's family because they've been playing it forever and my brain just.doesn't.get.it. I have been forced to play and I've also cried my way out of games. Fact. I can't help it. I remember in university refusing to play a game with a bunch of friends because they all knew how to play and I didn't, because I'm scared of screwing up and looking stupid. My fear of looking stupid (or more realistically - feeling stupid) to others holds me back in a lot of ways. I'm also trying to get over being "good" at everything. It is ok to be bad at something and still enjoy doing it (it's the last part that my competitive side struggles with). That's something I never got to learn thanks to some experiences growing up and it's a hurdle I'm going to actively work on this year. Baby steps.
- Try & play euchre without wanting to throw up, run away or cry (can't believe that's a thing...)
- Be open to learning other card games
- Play more cribbage & buy a unique board for home
- Play more backgammon with my dad
- Buy some knee pads so I am a bit more confident trying to skate! (go skating on the lake or at local rinks)
- Find more trails to hike with Scott
- Play more darts & try to actually aim (even with glasses I struggle lol)
- Play some of the games Scott bought me for the Switch
So this one pretty much sums up what I want to do with my blog, youtube channel and instagram. I have been doing this for TEN YEARS this spring and I honestly don't have much to show for it because I have never really and truly thrown myself into it. Even when I moved back from the UK and was out of work for a year/year and a half, I thought I would do more and I never did. But I can't seem to walk away. Figure that one out ahah. I have always had it in the back of my mind that I can truly make something out of this no matter how many other people are doing it. Even when I stop filming videos or writing on the blog for months and months I'm always thinking about what would make a good blog post, or video topic. I just really suck at making it happen. I'm never going to have more time to do it so I have to focus on using the time I do have, more effectively. I tend to make this more of a job than a hobby and that can taint my motivation and I've often wondered if I should just focus on one outlet over the others but there are aspects to all of them that I love and that's why I'm on them. So this year I am going to start small and stick with it.
- I am trying to post daily in January on IG and work on my engagement with other accounts
- Clean up old IG content (I've archived/deleted over 1.1k photos from my feed that were acceptable at the time but subpar now)
- Post new blog content 1-2x a week (maybe more if I'm able to)
- Post minimum 1 video a week (aiming for 2, as I'm going to try out more vlogging)
- Really work on sharing what I'm doing across platforms to reach more people
- Learning more editing techniques to add to reels and videos
- Read into how to be more successful in the online universe, looking through tips and tricks
- Only sign up for "tips" that I'm going to actually read & READ THEM.
- Try more photography and play around with presets
- Paint and draw more, work through my hand lettering book & actively practice it (try to not get frustrated after 2 seconds aha)
- Add more personality to our home
- Use my Skillshare account more (you can get 2 free weeks here if you'd like! It's an awesome site)
This one always stresses me out and causes me to think "how on earth can I start a family if I can't keep a clean house!?" It's also one that I know my dad has been harping me about my entire life and I can say that I FINALLY GET IT. I think it takes living with another human to realize your habits and theirs and how they mix (or don't) around certain areas. Things I want to focus on may seem like things the average adult should already be doing, so keep your judgement to yourself, this is a judge-free zone LOL. I am house proud and don't like my house not looking great for when people come round (when that was a thing...)
- Don't go to bed with dishes in the sink
- Do smaller loads of laundry, more frequently
- Fold clothes right out of the dryer and put them away immediately
- Keep surfaces clutter free by putting things away, straight away
- Find the best ways to organize: kitchen, basement & closet. (All three of these have projects in the works already - yippee!)
So I realize that was a lot to go through, but it has honestly helped me clear my head. I think that all of this is really going to help me work on making this year the best it can be. Shifting the focus is going to be a major factor this year. I also hope that it has helped you to hit the ground running & got you thinking about how you want to shape your year.
I'd love to hear your thoughts below or in a comment. What is something you want to achieve this year?