I’m three years in to my now ritual process of planning for the year ahead by setting myself a series of goals to cover broad areas of my life. This year my goal was themed around commitment and those goals were split in to three main areas.
📚 Commit to reading
In 2020 I set myself the goal of reading one book a month, which I really proudly achieved. It was a great habit to get in to and I wanted to try and double that in 2021.
I’ve kept my Bookshelf up to date through the year and read a much broader selection of books. Ranging from my almost default (sci-fi) to crime and self-improvement. In all I managed to get through 23 books in 2021 which is the most I’ve ever read by a considerable margin.
I want to continue reading at this pace, but I don’t think I need to make that an explicit goal anymore. I feel I’ve really formed a new habit here and am planning on sticking with this one for the long haul. I’ll continue to update my bookshelf as I go, and already have my first half-dozen books lined up for the beginning of this year.
🧑🍳 Commit to the kitchen
Towards the end of 2020 I was spending more time in the kitchen and really starting to find a bit of a hobby in trying out new bread recipes. I blogged about it a little bit at the time, and really felt this was something I could carry in to the New Year.
Spending time in the kitchen was something I soon found my passion didn’t carry over for very long. Part of me puts this down to a lack of control over a few different variables in the process of baking – my oven is old and inconsistent, my kitchen isn’t particularly well ventilated – but ultimately, I just didn’t find as much of an interest in baking as I had hoped.
That’s not a downside though, trying things out and finding out they’re not for you is just as valuable as finding something you enjoy. I do still enjoy spending tie in the kitchen, it’s just not the hobby I was looking for.
🔒 Commit to my data privacy
Coming on to my final goal for 2021, which is something I feel very strongly about. I’ve worked in the hosting industry for a few years now (short break not withstanding) and doing so has given me a really deep understanding of how intrinsically linked our data has become to the success of some of the largest businesses in the world.
I set myself the very specific goal of ending my one-sided relationships with businesses like Facebook and Google who use their customer data for profit and look back at 2021 with pride in the positive changes I made for myself.
I have so far stopped just short of deleting my Google account entirely, but have that in my sights for the early part of this year. I successfully migrated my email away from Gmail opting instead for Apple’s iCloud mail mixed with a custom domain which is now support as part of iCloud+. I don’t think this is the long-term solution, but Apple’s focus on privacy feels like a shining light in the market of email providers.
Longer term I’ll be looking at either running my own mail server, or opting for an alternative provider like ProtonMail whose physical location acts as a secondary line of defence against breaches in privacy. For now though, I’m happy with the progress I made in moving away from Google in 2021.
I’ve given myself a couple of weeks at the beginning of 2022 to continue putting thought in to my goals for the year ahead and am almost ready to make a firm commitment to them. In the meantime I’m cracking on with a couple of new books and am working my way through Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.