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My Goals for 2021

New year, new goals! Here are the goals I am aiming for in 2021 — a year that is certain to be unusual, but also ready to be special.

It’s taken me three days to figure out what I want out of 2021. That’s unusual. Usually, I know before the last year even ends. But we’re in a different time right now. We’re still navigating a global pandemic. Travel is on hold. I’m working from home and my kids are schooling from home too.

So, it took me a little longer to find the things that I most want out of the year — a year when things will continue to be askew until they aren’t.

End Clutter

In 2020, I spent a lot of time at home. Many of us did. And in that time, I got a better look at how I live and how that impacts my mind. As it turns out, I really don’t like clutter. Not at all. So, I am starting the new year with cleaner counters, reorganized cabinets, a refreshed workspace and an intention to keep it that way. Look, I am not about to cull my book collection or question every pair of shoes I have. But I want to avoid the pileup of junk mail, paid bills and other detritus that tends to happen when you aren’t careful. So I am vowing to end clutter in my house. I think the results will be grand for my mind and soul.

Read Deliberately

One thing I always tell my writing students is that good writers are good readers. And I like to think of myself as a good reader. In a typical day, I read dozens of things — from news articles to tweets to the stories I have to edit for work. I try, also, to read books on the regular. Over the last five years or so, I’ve averaged about 30 books a year. But reading books is something I have relegated to the corners of my life — before I fall asleep, for instance. This year, I want reading to be something I do with intention. Instead of reading at the end of the day, when I may only get a few pages in before nodding off, I want to find time during the day to do it — whether it’s a bit of reading with my morning coffee, a chapter or two at lunchtime or something else. I suspect I may even read more books as a result. I mean, I did finish my first book on the first day of the year, after all, when I read with intention.

Spend and Save Smartly

For the past several years, I’ve had goals relating to money. These goals have been my guiding principles, allowing me to build saving, pay down debt and be prepared for life’s curveballs. This year, I want to continue that good work by both spending smartly and saving smartly. That means avoiding impulse shopping — but spending where it’s warranted. And that means taking the money I don’t spend and making sure it gets saved.

Invest in Me

In 2021, I am vowing to invest more in myself — from taking time for walks to taking classes. Some investments, like eating better, don’t really cost me anything more than I am already spending. But others, like buying clothes that I love, will come with a price tag. And that’s okay. At 40, I deserve to pay a little attention to myself. Living better, reading more, spending better and saving are all part of this. This year I am going to take a chance on me.

My 2021 Word of the Year

Flourish captures the spirit of what I want for 2021: to grow well, to thrive and to enjoy success. I’m all in.

What are your goals for 2021? Do you have a word of the year?