Hi multipotentialites friends!
Around this time each year, I usually write a post that looks back on the year that’s coming to a close, and forward to what’s next. In fact, I’ve published a piece like this on Puttylike every year since 2011. (You can read through the archives here, if you like.)
My annual new year’s post often includes a meta-analysis of goal-setting itself. One question that always comes up is this: How specific should we be when planning out our year? As multipotentialites, we want to maintain some flexibility and openness. But we also want the best possible chance of doing ALL THE THINGS we’re hoping to do in the next twelve months.
Then 2020 happened…
Of course, my usual goal-setting exercise feels different this year. 2020 laughed in the face of everybody’s plans—taught us a little something about the risk of being too specific, or gripping too tightly to an imagined roadmap. As I reflect on my goals and think about the future, I hesitate to make specific declarations. It feels more important than ever to stay adaptable and responsive to circumstance.
World situation aside, planning also feels difficult to me, personally, in this moment. I have more than one meaningful project that is out of my control right now. These dreams might end up being a big part of my 2021, or they might not. It’s too early to know. Instead of working out a detailed plan for the next twelve months, I’m trying to stay agile and focus on some broader themes.
Many of the intentions I’m setting for the new year are things that 2020, in all its difficulty, brought to the forefront. Most of my goals are a continuation of work I’ve been doing–work that 2020, thankfully, forced me to confront and prioritize.
So, what do I want to do in 2021?
1. Cultivate spaces, roles and relationships that live up to my values
As many of us saw governments and institutions fail us in real time, 2020 gave me a renewed sense of responsibility. As a community leader, I felt called to make sure everyone in the Puttyverse felt supported as we navigated the year together. The community itself, and my role in it, felt more important than ever. When the pandemic began, we quickly added a number of new events to the calendar and we tried to encourage more sharing and peer support in various ways. I’ve been told by many of our members that the Verse felt like a lifeline during an extremely difficult year. I felt the love, too. It was everything.
I want Puttylike—this little corner of the internet where I live and work—to be a positive force in a changing world. In 2021, I will continue working toward making Puttylike and the Puttyverse more empowering, inclusive, comforting and supportive for all multipotentialites. Values like truth, equality, respect, authenticity and sustainability all matter to me. And there are so many ways that Puttylike and the Puttyverse can continue moving closer to these ideals: our design choices, the voices we feature on our team, tweaking article topics and themes, being intentional in my leadership style, etc.
I also absolutely must give a shout out to my right-hand guy in the Verse: the one and only Joel Zaslofsky! Joel has been an incredible friend and partner in all things Puttyverse. He has been patient and helpful as I continue to strive toward making the community a place we can all be proud of. Joel and I have such different skill sets and working styles, and they are perfectly complementary! I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together. Joel, I’ve felt so supported by you during that madness of 2020. Here’s to the next year!
2. Build new layers of trust in myself
Last year, I shared that I was going to be working on trusting myself more. I even wrote a short affirmation to help.
The results are in: I’ve definitely improved! I don’t doubt my ideas and opinions as much, even when people I love (or total strangers) disagree with them. And I’ve gotten better at being assertive and setting boundaries, even when I know they might upset someone.
I still struggle with this, though. I’m a super sensitive person, and I tend to ruminate, especially if someone’s mad at me. But I’m getting better at balancing my own needs and self-care with my responsibilities, and I’ll keep working at it.
This quiet goal, of building more trust in myself, feels doable right now. It’s a fixed point in the distance—a place to put my focus as the ship we’re all on is tossed by waves.
3. Integrate more creative and health rituals into my life
I’m sure we all had some fails in 2020, and one thing I didn’t do so well at was maintaining solid routines and rituals. Those who know me, know that I love a routine! But it’s okay. There were days when it was hard to focus on anything at all, and I’ve forgiven myself for the times I’ve been “unproductive”.
While being gentle with myself has been vital, I know my mental and physical health would really benefit from a bit more structure. In 2021, I’ll try to strike a balance between pushing myself to adhere to some simple rituals and not beating myself up when I (inevitably) can’t do it perfectly all the time.
I’m starting small, with a simple goal of sitting for 15-20 minutes of meditation every morning. I signed up for Jumpstart January in the Puttyverse and I’m logging my goal every day in the community spreadsheet. I’ll try it for January, see how I feel at the end of the month, and then decide where to go from there. Other puttypeep are working on goals like learning languages, building websites, writing one song per day, exercising daily, journaling, and a bunch more fascinating pursuits. I’ll be checking in right alongside them.
The overall goal of reinstating some routines and ritual in my life is this: I would like to be more intentional with my time. Since my world still feels pretty small these days, the lines between different states and tasks are blurry. But If I’m working, I want to work hard and focus on the stuff that matters most. And if I’m relaxing, I want to relax fully. I want to be present with my family. I want to be present with my work. And I also want to accept that neither of these are always easy, and sometimes they won’t even be possible.
Holding things lightly
I recently asked Twitter if y’all are taking a different approach to goal-setting this year, and there were a number of great responses. I wanted to share one from @ChristyTending that I just loved:
“Definitely. For me, it’s more about themes—places I want to focus—than things I want to accomplish. Holding everything really lightly.”
I think Christy just summarized my approach to 2021 in a single tweet. I want to keep looking towards the future I desire, without being obstinate about the road there. I want to keep out of my own way! Thanks, Christy.
And thank you for being here with me. I know we’re all in this together is both overused and oversimplified, but I’m so glad that I did 2020 with this ragtag group of multipotentialites. Sending you so much love for this brand new year.
Your pal and fellow multipotentialite,
What are your goals for 2021? Are you approaching goal-setting differently this year? Let me know in the comments below.