A Letter to My 2019 Goals
Dear 2019 goals,
Where has the time gone?
No, seriously. Where has it gone? Like I know existence is fleeting and time runs like sand through the hourglass and stops for no one, etc., but it seems to me as if this year didn’t just fly by — it evaporated around me.
So I’m writing to say that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that I haven’t completed even a single one of you, my bright and beautiful goals for 2019. I’m sorry I didn’t even make very much progress. You see, it seems I may have been overly optimistic when I made these goals, as tends to happen with me.
I know that there is still time — a full two months!— and that I may very well make a little more progress before the end of the year. I intend to, anyways. But for most of you, the possibility of being fully realized this year has passed. All I can hope for is to make a small dent in my progress.
And that’s not nothing! Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice to have reached every single one of the goals I set for 2019. But looking back, that probably wasn’t realistic in the first place, given my tendency to expect too much of myself. Not to mention the unforeseeable derailment of my life due to chronic pain.
My Life Has Been Derailed by my Health. I Want to Get it Back.
But everything feels so slow.
In reality, I did accomplish some things that I am proud of in 2019, even if they weren’t the things that I expected to accomplish back in January. The most important of which isn’t tangible, but rather a mental shift: I feel as though I’m finally starting to be more realistic in the expectations that I set for myself, and kinder to myself when I don’t accomplish everything I want.
The most important realization that I had in 2019 is that I don’t have to view myself as a constant failure, that I can and should set realistic expectations for myself, and that there are things more important than my productivity levels.
That’s not to say that I’ve reached some new level of enlightenment in which I will never have negative self-talk, never feel like a failure, and never beat myself up over the things I didn’t accomplish again. I still do that, and I don’t know if that will ever fully go away.
No, all I’m saying is that I’m a touch more self-aware now than I was at the beginning of the year. I still beat myself up. I still set goals that are unrealistic. But at least I am able to see these things for what they are (unrealistic expectations) rather than what they aren’t (evidence of my inherent failure as a human being).
Do You Have a Productivity Problem?
I do. And it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of.
So, 2019 goals, I am sorry that I didn’t accomplish you. But I’m going to try very hard not to let my lack of accomplishment be the defining aspect of my year. I’m going to try and take what I learned into 2020, and maybe this time next year I won’t be looking at a list of too-big goals that I didn’t accomplish.
Or maybe not. Who’s to say?
But for now, I still have two months left this year. I may still accomplish a thing or two.
Grace Carlson is a writer from Washington. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and the occasional poem. She also writes articles on travel, mental health, writing, and books. Sometimes she’s funny, or at least that’s what her mom says. Visit her blog, A Passport And A Pencil.