As December and 2017 come to a close, it’s time to start rounding a few things up and take stock of the year that has been. I am actually a little excited about this post because I set and shared a couple of goals that I was going to work on, track and see how far I could get by the end of the year.
Here’s the post if you want to catch up on that first.
If you are a ‘tl;dr’ kind of individual, I set some goals that were pegged on mobile applications I had on my phone.
Funny story, most of these applications I have now deleted because my phone memory has just been shrinking in size exponentially. I am convinced this is a tactic used by phone manufacturers to get you to upgrade your phone eventually.
But back to my 2017 goals…
I set out to grow my Facebook page following for this blog. At the start of the year, I had 65 followers. As I write this, they are 306! That is 241 more followers in a span of 12 months. I did not explicitly set a target for how many people I was hoping to have but subconsciously I thought to myself that 1000 seems a nice number. A number I have epic-ly fallen short of but hey, 241 new followers are way more than none so I will take it.
I did not stick to posting short, update-sized stories on Facebook like I had intended to. The idea was to have stuff on there that was independent of the blog itself. I also did not do as many Facebook ads as I initially intended.
In 2018, this is something I will still pursue, with more clearly defined goals and timelines, but more on that in about a week when I do a 2018-themed post.
On to the next one. Remember when I was all psyched about doing people’s hair and even had an Instagram account – hairartbykat – just for that side-hustle? Seems like such a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Well, I am no longer doing that. Eventually, it became a really time-consuming side hustle, and I was faced with having to decide whether the time investment was worth it. It was not. The page grew to having 54 followers and I posted 8 hair ‘profiles’ of flat twists that I did, including one on myself.
Despite making the decision to stop doing people’s hair, I am still very much a hair fanatic. I am keeping the account. It will be dormant in the coming year as I grow out my hair. Once my hair is all leveled out at collarbone length, I will make hairartbykat a fan page for my hair. Then the growth of this fan page shall be a 2019 priority goal, heh heh!
Something else I did at the start of this year was to take down the vision board that had been on my bedroom wall since high school and opt for Pinterest as a virtual and much easier to make changes to vision board alternative. Let me just start out by saying, remember those phone memory troubles I spoke of earlier? Pinterest eventually had to be deleted off of my phone, but it had become quite pivotal in my life. Although I set out to use it as more of a planning tool, a.k.a. my vision board, it ended up more of a learning tool than anything. There’s a whole other world out there of infographics about literally everything in the world and if an infographic is created, you can count on it finding its way onto Pinterest. So yeah, one night, I found myself going down an infographic wormhole and was on Pinterest for about 6 hours before I realised the night was almost over and I would need to get up and head to work shortly. I have infographics on everything on there, from car engines to first aid to different revenue models to wine to surviving in the wild to psychology…and more!
At that point, when I had Pinterest installed on my phone and was obsessed with it, all my spare/dead time was spent poring over interesting facts about all sorts of things and I loved it! Pinterest is definitely on my ‘Apps I Will Install on My Phone When I Have a New Phone’ wish list.
On to my language fanaticism. I have mentioned Duolingo before and how much I love it as a tool to learn new languages. At the start of the year, I set out to get to 100% competency in Spanish, by Duolingo standards, by the time the year came to a close. Well, Duolingo had to go. Phone memory troubles. Ha ha.
I kept at the Spanish self-learning using a couple of YouTube channels and a Spanish grammar workbook I have. I even set out to do a Spanish exam this year, convinced a friend of mine to sign up as well so that we can be study buddies, hi Mulu! 😀
I failed the exam. Le sigh.
The exam has four parts. Writing; where you are given some guidelines and asked to write two really short stories, comprehension; where you read some text and answer related questions, listening; where audios are played and then questions asked and finally conversation where you speak with an examiner. The part that let me down was the listening part. Let me tell you, it all just sounded like sounds in the wild to me with an odd word here and there that I recognised as a Spanish word. But yeah, I failed. I should start listening to Spanish music and watching Spanish movies to help with the listening.
After the literal fail, Spanish took somewhat of a back seat. My trip to Cameroon ignited my desire to improve my French and I have been riding on that wave instead. Going to Cameroon after such a long stretch of concentrating on Spanish, at first it felt like I had forgotten all my French. As though the Spanish had taken the brain space that had previously been occupied by French! Every time I tried to think of how to say something in French, the Spanish equivalent was what came to mind even though I could hear and understand most of the French spoken to and around me. Eventually the French came back. I cannot wait to be able to effortlessly switch between languages, one day!
While on another trip this year, I transited in Paris and bought a little French book called ‘c’était mieux avant’, which loosely translates to ‘it was better before’. I have read this book cover to cover once already but I cannot claim to know in entirety exactly what it is about. My plan is to do several iterations of it, each time gleaning more and more, in addition to other language goals for 2018.
Goodreads, another mobile app, is what I was using to track my years’ worth of reading. I had a reading goal of 50 books for the year. Again, as I begin to sound more and more like a broken record, Goodreads also had to be deleted at some point so my use of it as a reads tracker ended there but not my reading.
My 2017 book count is 33. I set out to read approximately one book a week but instead read about one book every two weeks. I am disappointed at how much I missed the mark especially because by the time we were getting to the middle of 2017, I was two books shy of twenty five, the halfway mark. I was confident that I would hit fifty and possibly surpass it with no trouble at all. Le sigh. Somewhere in the second half of the year, I went into a reading winter of sorts. During this period I was trying to read more serious books, most of which I unfortunately left mid-way. This is actually what slowed me down. At one point I was mid-way through three different books and not too motivated to finish any of them. I stopped actively reading and was also not into the idea of starting yet another book before finishing at least one of the three I already had pending. Eventually, an aunt of mine advised that I just read children’s fantasy books for a while, which are my favourite btw, to get my groove back. I did. That got me through the winter but I also did not go back to the three books I left mid-way. 🙁
This has to be the one area where I exceeded even my own expectations!
First, the running app is one of two applications from the beginning of the year that I have not deleted from my phone, not once!
If you went back to read the post from the start of 2017, you’ll remember that my baptising 2017 ‘The Year of Running’ was pretty much by chance. Yet this is the one thing that really stuck this year! So, in January, when I had just downloaded the app and started tracking my runs, I had a total of 7.47km logged as the distance I had run so far. Right now, at the close of the year, I have run 325.85 kilometers! I started out doing 1km long runs but now I run 5km at least 3 times a week.
The one fail on this ‘getting and staying active end’ is the fact that as my ultimate goal is to become a triathlon athlete, I was hoping to have been actively swimming for 2 or 3 months by now. To have already incorporated that into my regular routine, but the swimming has not stuck yet. I shall be revisiting this in my 2018 goals list. Plus, I feel that I have learnt so much from running that has helped keep me sane and resilient when it came to other things this year, so a post on my ‘Running Chronicles’ is in the works! I hope it will one day see the light of day.
Last but definitely not least. At the start of the year, I got this alarm clock app called ‘Alarmy’. I’m an early bird, and this app which makes you jump through a few hoops to make sure you wake up before it shuts up has really helped me out with that. It is the second app that has survived all the purging my phone had to go through this year. I have however learnt that keeping a strict night-time routine will do much more for early mornings than annoying alarms. A friend even has me thinking about experimenting with not setting an alarm at all and just letting my body naturally wake up when it has had enough rest. Once the festive season and all the erratic plans that accompany it are done with, this is something that I will possibly look further into.
If there’s anything my 2017 roundup teaches you, let it be that even if you plan and fail, at least fail forward. Setting out to have 1000 likes on my Facebook and ending the year with 306 is an example. So is setting out to read 50 books and then getting to only 33. Maybe if I put my mind to going to 20 countries next year I will fail forward and only go to 10. Catch my drift?
Of course, you might also set goals and completely exceed expectations, like with my running! So perhaps I put my mind to going to 20 countries next year and instead go to 30! Heh heh! Whatever it is you decide, keep this excerpt from Alice in Wonderland that I am always quoting in mind, it really is one of my all-time favourites;
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—as long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
I guess I could say the biggest lesson I learnt in 2017 has been to decide where I want to go and be resilient in sticking to the path, moving forward no matter how small or large each step may be.