It’s officially 2016 and with that, many folks are looking forward to this new year and planning what they want to do. I’ve written a lot about this topic before. I’ve shared my goals in years past and even written how goals and New Year’s Resolutions aren’t effective. You can read some of the older posts here on goals. This year it isn’t just me here at The Tiny Life, so Amy and I each wrote a bit for this post and shared it below.
I have to be honest, this year I have been struggling a lot with what the future looks like for me. I have concrete things I want to do, but they don’t feel like lofty goals that I must strive for, but just something that I need to put in the work for; work that I find interesting, fun, and achievable, but nothing that is going to push me to my limits. I’m in a very good place with my tiny house, with my career, with the relationships that I have, and with other important parts of my life, but there is something I just can’t quite put my finger on.
Tiny houses force you to ask some tough questions and the answers are often complex, open-ended, or spur larger questions. Tiny living leads you down a road of introspection and spurs existential questions. When I think about two years from now or five years from now, I don’t really know what else I want to do and what I do now, I quite like.
Perhaps I’m circling the root problem with what many call “achievement culture,” which is the idea that we have to always be chasing the next shiny thing, to always do more, do better, and do bigger. Maybe what I need to consider is not what I want to do, but instead focus on how to be content with what is. Writing this makes me think of this story:
The truth is, the happiest I’ve ever been in my life was during the times when I was most grateful. I also learned a valuable lesson: happiness is a hard won thing that comes from within when you’re willing to do the work. Barring having a home, food, and health, you can’t buy happiness.
So with that in mind I have come up with a few things I want to foster in my life for 2016. They’re a little vague at this point because I feel like I’m only touching the soft edges of what is a deeper truth, one that is within me, but I haven’t fully brought to light.
My Goals for 2016:
- Learn something totally new, try a new hobby or dig into something complex
- Take a class, go to a conference, workshop or other learning event
- Seek out situations outside my comfort zone
- Talk more to you, my readers
- Test things to foster gratitude
- Do more trips with friends and family
- Read a book on stoicism
- Book time with no phone or internet, preferably in the woods
My Long-Term Goals:
- Sail from Florida to Mexico, arriving to see the Giant Sea Ray migration
- Do a river boat tour down the Danube or Rhine
- Go see the fall colors in New England
- Go on the Trans Siberian Railroad in luxury class
- Learn to play the harmonica
- Continue being self-employed
- Pay for my next car with cash
I love this time of year, because I get to do two of my favorite things at once: set goals and make lists. My friends can attest to how much I love New Year’s resolutions – last January 1st, I holed up in my apartment and set goals the entire day, and no one saw me leave my room until dinner time.
Last year was also my first time taking a new approach to goal-setting. I followed Chris Guillebeau’s method of conducting your own annual review, which you can learn more about here. It helped me analyze what went well and what didn’t in 2014, and helped me chart the course toward a more productive 2015.
I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, but in my defense, I had one heck of a whirlwind year. From an insane winter in Boston, to the Tiny House Conference in Portland, to moving down to Charlotte and starting a new life, I’ve learned how to recognize opportunities when they arise – and more importantly, how to grab onto them when they do!
This year had a lot of ups and downs, and I had to grow and adapt very quickly. I like to tell people that it’s been a crash course in “adulting,” but it has certainly changed me for the better. After a year and a half of living in transition after graduating college, I feel lucky that I have a new city to call home and put down some roots. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.
Here are some of my resolutions for 2016.
My Goals for 2016:
- Quit eating sugar for one month
- Read twelve books
- Purchase my tiny house trailer
- Bench press my own body weight
- Create five finished art pieces
- Do one input deprivation day per month
- Write five handwritten letters
My Long-Term Goals:
- Build a tiny house (but you guys already knew that)
- Live in Japan for at least 3 months
- Learn to play the violin
- Road trip across the US in a hand-built camper
- Play Hamlet
- Deadlift 400 pounds
- Write, illustrate, and publish a graphic novel
- Did you accomplish your goals for 2015?
- How do you like to set (and keep!) your New Year’s Resolutions?