Setting new goals is something that most people do at the beginning of each year. It’s a long standing tradition that at the start of a new year you declare to all around you your new goals. The tradition dates back to 153BC with a story about Roman gods.
The Roman god Janus (after which the month of January was born) had two faces. One for looking forward to the future and another to look back to the past. On the eve of December 31, the Romans believed that Janus would look back on the old year and forward to the new year. And so it became a time to set new year’s resolutions and forgive enemies of the past for their troubles. The Romans also believed that Janus would forgive them of their wrong-doings, and so offered blessings in exchange for forgiveness.
Now I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like new year’s resolutions. In fact I hate them. Mostly because I don’t think you should wait until a certain time of the year to set a goal for yourself or change your life for the better. If anything, I find birthdays a more opportune time to set goals to better oneself. After all, your birthday is your own personal new year. But in addition, I think it puts a lot of pressure on people to achieve something by a specific timeline, when actually working towards a goal takes time. There is research to suggest that making goals can aid in making one happy, however not achieving your goal can also be discouraging leading to unhappiness. Setting attainable goals is the key to achieving this happiness linked with goal setting.
However having said that, this is not to say I don’t follow suit with the Romans that came before me. The new year is a natural point in the year where people do look back and reflect and look forward with hope. And so, in an effort to achieve one of my goals set for this blog, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on looking back and looking forward.
Reflections of 2016
Now I said earlier that I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I have to admit, I don’t think much reflection or goal-setting went on at the start of 2016. In fact it sort of happened as a seamless blur from one year to the next. I’m going to chalk this up to the fact that I was working and didn’t have any time off at new year. I know, not a lot people do get this time off, but it was habitual for me to have it and so with the habit lost, so was the reflection and goal-setting.
But looking back, 2016 was a tough year personally. Hubby and I were in uncharted territory as we tried to ‘make it’ in a new country and we weren’t sure what we wanted. Most of that year was spent on trying to figure that out. But we did enjoy some great travels exploring Thailand (a first for me) and Indonesia and visiting some old favourites too.
I had also started this blog in 2016. Originally meant to contribute to more information out there on life in Qatar, it has now become my own sacred virtual happy place, where I get to house my most rewarding experiences and share it with all of you.
“if you’re going through hell keep going” – Winston Churchill
By the end of 2016, I was worn down. I was worn down by a lack of expectations being met both professionally and personally. Truthfully I was finding it hard to find happiness in what I had and I know some of my friends back home were worried about me.
December brought a welcomed three week break for me. And I desperately needed it, to stop and reflect. And so I did.
Thankfully during that time, I had a chance to regroup and figure out what I wanted and what I needed to do get it.
Welcome 2017! I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a year to get going. I knew what I wanted, what we wanted and now I just needed to get on with it. It felt good. And I can honestly say I am happy now. I don’t feel lost and I genuinely feel excited again. I feel a bit more like me!
So what goals did I set for myself? Because that is what you are all wondering…
I’ve taken matters into my own hands and started an online course. On a topic that is of interest to me. I think most of you out there know I’m a teacher which has afforded me my expat life. So I’ve started a course on special needs. Because the last time I felt daily passion and satisfaction was when I was in that arena.
Health and well-being goals
This is a constant work in progress and something I will continue to work on through the year. But mainly I need to look after my mind. I’m a rubbish sleeper. Like the worst! If someone asked me in a job interview what are you not good and would like to improve on- sleeping would be my answer! I’ve now started to do this sleep hygiene thing (no it’s not about keeping clean before you sleep). Sleep hygiene is about preparing your mind for resting and sleep. Setting a bed time, staying away from electronics, reading etc. I’m not very good at the reading part to help me shut off but I’m trying and I’ve set a bed time so that is helping. Lack of sleep can seriously ruin your day. And I work with 16 gorgeous preschoolers so …. I need to sleep!
As for physical health, I was training before the new year and I will continue to carry on with that using the 5:3:1 boring but big program. But, as I have shared on instagram, I want to get in that pool more. Not necessarily for fitness, but again, swimming was something that cleared my mind. I love it. So while I’ve got that stunning pool in my quarters, I want to make use of it.
Expat life goals
Now this is something I tend to do anyway but I’m more focused on this now. Possibly because of something that came up in a previous post about not know how long we will be here for. I want to make use of my time here in Singapore. To remember that I lived here. I didn’t do enough of that in Qatar. So my expat life goals are to see more of Singapore and not leave it til the last minute. If I can walk away from here (whenever that may be), knowing a few mandarin phrases and have had tried a few local dishes, I’d consider myself successful on this front.
We may also have figured out the answer to the ‘should we stay or should we go now‘ question. But I’m not quite ready to share that just yet. Stay tuned for more.
No, my goal isn’t to travel to as many places as I can. Although that is probably my mantra. It’s to try and slow down a bit more. I’m going to try and take a page out my hubby’s book on this one and give ourselves more time in the places we visit. This is hard for me as I do suffer from FoMo (fear of missing out). When I get somewhere I just want to see everything I can all at once. But that’s not necessarily experiencing somewhere so, I’ll try it his way. Just this once…
So in staying to true to the the Roman tradition I’m going to try to forgive those that hurt me last year. This is a hard one for me because, honestly, when I get hurt, I cut and run. But I’m trying…slowly…
One of my goals for this blog has already happened which I am over the moon about. Again stay tuned for more on that. I can’t wait to share it with you! But as I said earlier, one of my goals to be a bit more personal with you. So if you read this, comment along and help me come out of that Cancerian crab shell I carry with me!
So there you have it! My ‘goals’ for the new year. It may feel a little late posting this as January is over. But for most people around this part of the world, and certainly in Singapore, it is the start of the new year. The year of the Rooster!