As we’re just about half way through the year, I thought I’d check in and share an update on my 40 for 40 list. Earlier this year I shared my intention to complete 40 goals before my 40th birthday. The plan was inspired by an episode of the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth (Liz) Craft where they encouraged listeners to commit to their own happiness projects. In a recent episode both hosts of the Happier podcast shared their progress updates, which included some wins, some starts and stalls, and some delays. My progress update is no different. While I’m pleased to have made some headway, I have quite a long way to go. More likely, I will need to give myself until the end of the year, not to my birthday, to conquer the list. Even more, I may give myself permission to forego some goals as the year has unfolded in unexpected and rather busy ways. Not only that, but new opportunities have presented themselves, which ultimately, may bring me greater happiness than anything on the list. In the meantime, though, I forge ahead.
Trying to track 40 goals is no easy task. Some tasks can be done in a discrete period of time and others need to be accomplished little-by-little over a long stretch. To manage this and make sure I don’t run out of time, I’ve found the Strides app to be really helpful. It’s especially good for habit-forming goals such as working out, flossing, and journaling. You record each time you accomplished the task, which is a strong motivator and reinforcer. I also use Trello to manage my goals, and recently I broke them out and organized them by target month. This way, I don’t have to keep track of all of them all at once and instead focus on those for the month at hand. I still have over half my goals to complete but I’ll take the wins where I can get them. Below is a rundown of my progress.
40 for 40 List
- Explore Seattle and Washington State. Complete at least two trips outside Seattle, try 10 new restaurants, and explore 10 new neighborhood shops. The fun stuff is always the first to get done!
- Track food. Log all food intake for 30 consecutive days to form a new habit around mindful consumption. I was hoping this would form a lasting habit, unfortunately, that has not been the case.
- Maintain nightly skin care routine. I’m good about my morning routine but tend to lapse at night. The goal here is to follow my night routine for 30 consecutive days in the hopes of forming a lasting habit. Same as above, managed the 30 days, still trying for the lifetime habit.
- Try fencing. Explore ways of releasing stress while getting exercise through fencing. Complete at least the beginner training series. I completed the beginner classes for epee, foil, and saber. It was fun way to let off some steam!
- Workout. Complete at least 50 workout sessions. Currently, I’m doing circuit training twice a week in the mornings. I’m happy to say I’ve exceeded 50 and still going strong. For me, I need external accountability to accomplish goals like this so I am very fortunate to have a workout buddy to keep me showing up.
- Floss. Floss nightly for 30 consecutive nights. Same as previous, hit the 30 days, but not the sustaining habit I’d hoped for.
- Practice daily gratitude. Take time to reflect on each day, what went well, and who helped make the day brighter. Practice for 30 consecutive days. Done! It with consistency, it helped me improve my outlook to be a little more optimistic, grounded, and balanced.
- Journal. Write in journal daily for 30 consecutive days. Same as above.
- Get a health checkup. Terrible, I know, but I haven’t been to the doctor in nearly 18 months. Done!
Working on it
- Try acupuncture. Explore the benefits of acupuncture by completing at least 12 sessions. I’ve gone to more than nine sessions and have found it really beneficial for a variety of stress-related ailments. I’m no longer sure making it to 12 is a necessary goal but I’m happy to have a new wellness tool in my arsenal for when I need it.
- Post to tinsel + trim monthly. Post at least one new item to the blog every month for 12 consecutive months. I missed a couple months but I more than made up for it this month!
- Practice illustration and graphic pattern design. Sketch pattern ideas every day for a month. As this blog reveals, this one has been rocky. I’m still trying to carve out time but having quite figured it out.
- Practice fabric dying. I’ve already been working with Shibori and this summer and fall I’ll be taking classes on natural fabric dying. In addition to Shibori, I recently tried some natural dye with blueberries. The fabric has a subtle and natural quality to it that I like.
- Freshen outdoor living. I have a long wish list of patio improvements. For this goal, I want to finish at least five of them. I could technically say I met this goal but I feel there’s still room for improvement.
- Freshen indoor living. Same as above; I have a long wish list of home sprucing and want to finish at least five of them this year. I am awaiting a pottery repair using kintsugi from Japan and a reupholstered chair from upstate to check this one as done.
- Organize contacts. My contact records are all over the place. This goal is to consolidate and update them. Started on this at the start of the year but haven’t made much progress since.
- Update passwords. I’m guilty of using the same passwords for years. This year I aim to update them all in order to keep my accounts secure. Same as above.
- Reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues. I’ve never been strong at staying in regular contact with those for whom I care about most. This goal aims to not let so much time pass between touch points. I’ve been doing better than I have historically but still have some room to grow.
- Always send birthday greetings. Related to #18, this goal is about celebrating friends and family. Similar to above.
- Launch women in technology quotes website. A passion project that aggregates the wisdom of women leaders in the technology sector. It’s been on hold for a while but I think I’m finally ready to simplify my expectations and get this done soon.
- Update resume. Another project that often gets neglected but is always good to have current no matter your immediate career plans. Draft one is done.
- Submit two conference proposals. I don’t love public speaking but I always push myself to do at least one presentation a year. I can’t control if I get selected but I can submit proposals. One down, one to go.
- Practice direct communication. I’ve become increasingly direct in recent years but I recognize I have more work to do. This goal doesn’t have concrete criteria beyond a general commitment to make it a daily practice. I’ve been learning lately that what’s direct for me may not be direct enough.
- Stop apologizing. Specifically, this is related to apologizing for delayed email responses. I have a lot on my plate and can’t always reply quickly. I need to avoid the trap of starting every response with an apology. I fear this will be a lifelong pursuit.
- Walk to work once a week. Walk to work at least once a week for 12 consecutive weeks. I’ve had some success all but for the consecutive bit.
- Practice meditation. Explore the health benefits of meditation by practicing for 30 consecutive days. Same as above–progress but not consistency.
- Practice yoga. Explore the health benefits of slow yoga by practicing at least once a week for 12 consecutive weeks. I’ve been doing well on this one. I may need to give myself some leeway when I travel though.
- Create a 2018 memory box. Keep the tradition going by creating an annual keepsake collection. In progress
- Send handmade holiday cards. Recommit to a past tradition by sending handmade cards to friends and family.
- Learn how to use Glowforge. My office recently got a Glowforge and I want to make at least three projects with it.
- Make punch needle piece. Last year, I took a class with Rose Pearlman through Purl Soho. My goal now is to finish a piece to hang on the wall. In progress
- Create a budget. I’m pretty good about saving but I haven’t set a budget in over a year. This goal is about looking for ways to be more financially responsible.
- Write a will. A back burner goal that is long over due.
- Rollover 401Ks Another long over due goal.
- Organize digital files. Similar to my contacts, my files are in great disarray and this goal aims to get them in a more secure state.
- Improve backup plan. Related to #16, this is about having a smart backup plan for all my treasured digital photos and files.
- Write and publish three articles. Work on developing my professional voice and perspective through writing.
- Learn Sketch. An industry standard for design, I have fallen behind while focused on managerial responsibilities. This is goal is a good opportunity to rebuild my design muscle while learning a new tool.
- Update portfolio. Related to #21, it’s always good to have this current regardless of whether you’re actively job hunting. As a manager, I have a new challenge around how best to frame my work these past few years.
- Volunteer. Volunteer with a local non-profit for at least 16 hours.