Looking Forward to New 2021 Goals

With Reflections on 2020

2021 Goals bring new opportunities like this purple sunrise on the horizon at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
Looking forward to new possibilities on the horizon.

There is much that can be said for 2020. It is undeniably one of the most important years of our lifetime.  There are realities of this year that we felt collectively but our individual experiences this year are each unique. In a world that offers us endless options for distraction, it’s important to take some time to process everything that’s happened, how we’ve grown, what we’ve learned, where we are, and what we hope for from the future.  I’ve been reflecting back on this past year, considering what I’ve learned, and looking forward to planning for the future. In this article I’m going to focus primarily on goals and how having goals to work towards helped me get through this year.  I’ll recap what goals I had at the start of 2020, how the events of the year impacted those goals, and I’ll share my 2021 goals.  

What did 2020 mean to me?

January and February were fairly normal.  In March, we started to hear more consistent news about the virus.  Shortly after, I transitioned to working remotely and am still doing so.  I am thankful for the opportunity to do this and recognize that there are many crucial job roles keeping our country going in which this is not an option.  Each of those people and their families are true heroes.

We have been pretty cautious about outings and limited public interactions.  I typically travel several times a year. This year, I have not traveled at all since COVID began.  I had hoped to travel in early 2021 but am still not comfortable yet and have cancelled these plans.  

A small trail in the woods crosses a stream and disappears up a hill.
I stuck to local trails this year.

Hiking is also a major factor in my life.  It is the hobby that allows me to get outside and exercise while getting fresh air.  I’ve hiked much less in 2020.  The times I’ve gone, I have gone to local trails early in spots that I thought would be much less crowded.  I think I’ve hiked about a half dozen times.  On a few occasions, it was relaxing and refreshing.  On others, it was a source of stress, anxiety, and anger  because I felt like this thing I loved had changed in many ways and my experience had changed along with it.

The biggest difference for me and hardest lesson this year has been to let go of things that I cannot control.  There is so much we cannot control.   Many months of this year, my husband and I were in different countries during the pandemic and flights between locations were halted.  This was an extremely difficult time for me, especially since communication services were unreliable.  I had no choice but to trust that things were going to be OK.  I also had to distract myself during that time and find things to put my energy into instead of just focusing on sources of stress and anxiety. During this time I started learning what I needed to do to establish “Expeditions with Evelyn.”  This included taking classes, learning more about photo editing, talking to experts in the field and more.  

2020 Goals

In the beginning of 2020, I purchased a goals journal.  One of the early exercises in the journal was to write down all my goals no matter how big or small, attainable or not, I thought they may be.  I ended up with 18 on this first list. The journal is then broken into months to help you track progress on specific goals as you go.  I used it sporadically for the monthly tracking and it’s been a little while since I’ve gone back to look at that initial list.  I reviewed it today and want to share with you where I ended up with some of these goals.  

Goals for 2020:

  • Create “Expeditions with Evelyn” to foster a community of outdoor adventure and conservation focused travelers
    • I wrote this one down as a dream and am thrilled that we are actually here!  Thanks for being here with me!  This goal had been simmering for a while. The extra time during lockdown while I didn’t have a commute allowed me the flexibility to dive in.  As I mentioned, I have gone through waves of anxiety over the course of the pandemic and having this to focus on has been a huge source of relief.  I’ve also learned that there are things I’ve never thought I could do that I can figure out with the right training and a little trial and error.
  • Improving my Spanish
    • I’ve been using Duolingo on and off throughout the year.  I need to be better about practicing with my family.  This remains a goal for 2021.
  • Be strong and fit with good endurance
    • The day lockdown started was the day I hit my goal weight that I’d been working towards for over a year and a half. I was feeling fitter and stronger than I had in a long time.  I was thrilled and crushed that day because I knew it would be so hard to maintain my progress given the way things were about to change with gym closures and quarantine.  It’s been a rollercoaster with the at home workouts since then.  I go throught of periods of consistency and inconsistency regarding my workout routine.  My gym is open but given the risks, I have not felt comfortable returning yet.  I do miss it and appreciate the free at home videos they have been offering!  
  • Make food choices that are good for my body.
    • I started out the year tracking my calorie intake and trying to meal-prep lunches and snacks for the work week. I tried to continue this for a little while during lockdown but it didn’t last long.  My commitment to eating well has not been strong and that has been the biggest struggle in my overall health equation.
  • Spend time outside a few times a week.
    • I’ve stuck to this one, whether it is a walk or just some time for fresh air. I know that this is essential for my well-being.
  • Challenge myself with hikes to new summits
    • I did try new local trails but made sure to save any challenging hikes for next year.  I kept things simple and straightforward this year.  My primary goal was avoiding crowds and any chance of injury that could risk requiring assistance from already busy medical staff.
  • Get better at photography and navigation for future adventures.
    • I went out once to practice with my camera in manual mode.  I didn’t venture out to practice with a compass.  These both need to stay on the 2021 goals list.
  • Become more educated about Public Lands and issues impacting them.
    • I became a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Through that training, I learned a great deal about climate change and its impact on our Earth, including Public Lands.  I am also continuing to research specific Public Lands issues.
Improving my photography is still one of my 2021 goals.  In this photo, I was practicing photos of sunflowers in a field.
Sunflower shot from the day of photography practice.

How do things stand now?

Currently, I am still working remotely.  My husband is back home. It is a tremendous relief to be reunited safely.  Just as he returned home, I launched the website for “Expeditions with Evelyn,” which just celebrated its three month anniversary.  I’ve been in semi-hibernation mode.  Staying in a lot and close to home, not being as active as I’d like, but overall listening to what I feel I need and not forcing anything.  

2021 Goals

Going into the new year, I’ve divided my future goals into business goals and personal goals.  I came to these after working through some exercises suggested by Jen Morilla and Christina Galbato as well as through taking the time to journal and reflect on where I am and what I want going forward.  The most important thing for me to consider was balance.  I want to move forward with these business goals while maintaining a good balance in my personal life and my regular job. I have several goals for each category and will highlight a few below.

Business – 2021 Goals: 

  1. Let go of fear
  • I have been holding back in some ways and staying within or close to my comfort zone.  It is time to push past that to make progress and continue learning new things and trusting myself.  
  1. Show up fully
  • This is similar to the above however, I am going to focus on working smarter and setting specific times that allow me to create various types of content and to engage more fully with people.
  1. Establishing meaningful environmental conversations and offer valuable ideas on how we can all learn and help protect our planet
  • Coming in the new year, I will be introducing a weeking IG InfoGraphics series that will alternate between Wildlife Wednesdsays and Wilderness Wednesdays topics to share essential info on both topics in a concise and fun way.
  • Stay tuned shortly for an announcement of wonderful news that will address goal 3 & 4!
  1. Have 3 articles published by/with a major brand or tourism board
  • This is another dream goal and dreams don’t come true unless you put them out into the world.  Over the course of this year, I’ll be working towards this goal of writing articles for tourism boards or submitting articles I’ve written and having them be accepted for publishing.

Personal – 2021 Goals:

  1. Create and stick to a morning and bedtime routine
  • This goal is essential to setting me up to balance everything.  I have been staying up late a lot recently and having trouble sleeping, which then complicates my morning routine and the following day.  
  • Going forward, my goal is to set a bedtime and start winding down a half hour before that by turning my phone to do not disturb, doing normal bedtime prep, taking five minutes for yoga, and reading a bit when I feel like it.  
  • Then in the morning, I’ll start with yoga or a workout followed by journaling for 10 minutes before turning my phone back on.  This will help me start out the day grounded.
  1. Be there for family
  • I haven’t been fully present when I’ve been around my family lately.  I’ve been distracted on my phone or my laptop.  Going forward, I will be fully committed to disconnecting for family time, including weekly date nights with my husband. 
  1. Get healthier
  • From the short bit of time since I have stopped doing my workouts recently, I can already notice the changes.  I will start a routine of working out four times a week with mix of types to prevent boredom.  A main focus of this will be on starting to eat cleaner and preparing healthier food options, so when I need to grab a quick bite when I’m busy, I have a better option. 
  1. Plan a major hike
  • Every couple years, I like to pick a major hiking destination to train for hiking later in the year.  This is always the best motivator for me to get and stay active.  For 2021, I’ve been considering the Teton Crest Trail and the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trail.  My last major hike was Havasu Falls in 2019.
A female hiker crosses a bridge over a deep blue stream in an orange canyon.  Another hike like this is part of my 2021 goals.
At camp for Havasu Falls on my last major trip in October 2019. (Photo – @jayvaline)

2021 Goals Highlights

Conservation Considerations

What are your 2020 reflections and 2021 goals?

I’m sharing these goals because for me, they have been a form of self-care, providing motivation, inspiration, and, at times, distraction.  There have been days where I worked hard at them and days where I did nothing at all related to any of my goals and both options are OK. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing we can do.  Somedays, we will have more to give and can take care of others as well.  The important thing is not whether or not we reached our goals, it’s that we made it through this year. 

What have your experiences been this year?  Do you have any 2021 goals you’d like to share?  Let me know in the comments below. 

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