Journey to 30

Today begins my 30 days countdown to turning 30 years old! So I thought it would be the perfect time to share my Journey to 30 goals that I set just before my 29th birthday.

In true form, I set some lofty (potentially over-ambitious) goals to work on over the last year of my 20s/in the approach to my 30s. I thought it would be cute to set goals in groups of 30 (of course), and gave myself a full 365 days to complete those goals, from the day I turned 29, to the day I turn 30. There were a healthy mixture of “30 to 30” goal types to keep things interesting, and then there were some other longterm/habit forming personal goals.

30 to 30 Goals

  1. Read 30 Books by Black Women
  2. Eat at 30 new restaurants in New Orleans
  3. Go on 30 “Dates”
  4. Lose 30 (pounds and inches combined)
  5. Contribute one thing to the house every 30 days
  6. Only login to Facebook once every 30 days

Longterm/Habit Goals

  1. No Alcohol for the year
  2. Write and publish a blog post once a week
  3. Develop a yoga practice
  4. Pay off old credit card debt
  5. Increase savings to $5K
  6. Develop a flossing habit
  7. Submit an article for publication
  8. Replant a garden
  9. Treat grad school like it’s a 9 – 5 job
  10. Stop procrastinating: Do 1 thing first thing in the morning

Although I still have another 30 days to work on these goals, at this point it’s pretty clear which ones I’m actually going to achieve (if I haven’t already) and which ones just aren’t happening.  So…*drumroll*…How did I do??

Read 30 Book by Black Women      Status: Incomplete      Progress: 17
Reading this many books in 12 months while a full time student was one of those overambitious goals. That’s more than two books a month I’d have to read on top of all of the journal articles, and books, and other academic work I have to do. I started off reading one book at a time, and when I realized how slow I was going, I changed strategies. I started reading two (very different) novels and one book of poetry at a time, and picked up the pace. Holidays were the best because I could read all day. Over Thanksgiving I read most of one book and the day after Christmas I started and finished another book. I’d say finishing 17 of my 30 books is pretty damn awesome. I’m currently reading 3 books, that I hope to finish by my actual birthday, which would bring me to a grand total of 20 out of 30. Even though I didn’t meet this goal, I’m not disappointed at all, and hopefully I can finish all 30 by the end of the year.

Eat at 30 new restaurants       Status: Incomplete        Progress: 18
The list of restaurants changed over and over again, but honestly I don’t think that’s as important as the goal of actually eating at 30 new places. Most of the places on the list that didn’t change from the beginning–the fancy New Orleans’ staples–are the ones I haven’t gone to. But, August in New Orleans means we get the “Coolinary” menus, which are prix-fixe menus for lunch, dinner, and brunch to encourage people to leave their houses (and the safety of the air conditioning), and act like a tourist at home during a month when tourism usually slows down. I could reasonably finish this goal, 12 restaurants in 30 days, and a few of them are low-key quick food. We’ll see.

Go on 30 “Dates”        Status: Incomplete       Progress: 14
Date was very loosely defined here. It was more like go to new places and/or have more full experiences–especially for things I normally don’t go to or put much effort into. Following the list I made has been difficult. Some of my “dates” were specific, either I made it or I didn’t. Some were difficult to make because they’re in Louisiana but not in New Orleans, so it required more planning. The rest, I’ve just procrastinated on. Like my other lists, I added in things as I was doing them, in exchange for things I missed. Unwittingly, I wrote down two things as separate events that in actuality were just one: visiting a cemetery and seeing Marie Laveau’s tomb. I guess I could’ve made it two and done two cemetery tours, but it really was just one. I missed the Christmas parade because I had a last minute meeting, International fest just wasn’t working out with my work/school schedule, and I just kept forgetting about Super Sunday, even though there are 3 different groups of Indians that have it on 3 separate days. This one is probably not getting completed as I wrote it. I will see if I can get a bit further along but the introvert in me (combined with this heat) isn’t pressed to try that hard.

Lose 30 (pounds and inches combined)      Status: Incomplete       Progress: 8.7
This one really didn’t go well, and that’s okay. I wouldn’t say it was overambitious, I certainly have a good amount of excess weight I could lose, but stress and lack of sleep sabotages my workouts and eating habits every time. My last weigh-in/measurement taking was early June, so I’m not sure where I am now. I also realized that I’m not the best at taking my own measurements, and my house is really uneven so my weight on the scale changes if I don’t weigh myself in exactly the same place every time. I tried to check the accuracy of my scale by putting one of my weights on it before I used it, but who knows? Despite my lack of real progress on this (and I will do a final weigh-in/measure-in), I’m at least going in the right direction, and I am starting to see gains in muscle definition. I’m not the type of person to stress about the number on a scale, but I still have some (realistic) aesthetic goals that will just have to be an ongoing journey.

Contribute one thing to home every 30 days.       Status: Complete?
I didn’t really keep track of this because I really don’t have a problem buying things for my household. I think my intention was to make smaller contributions and save towards things I really wanted, like nightstands and a bed frame. While I got some of the smaller items like towels and placemats, I still didn’t get my nightstands. And it wasn’t because of finances–larger ticket items got purchased during this year–just priorities got turned around. Anyway, I’d say I’ completed this.

Only login to Facebook once per 30 days       Status: Nope        Progress: I tried
Yeah…this didn’t really happen. I logged out after my birthday and only logged in on the 20th of September, with the intention of only logging in on the 20th of each month. That quickly went out the window.  The organizations I belong to and most events around the city communicate solely, or primarily, through facebook. Not being on FB meant I was missing information that I actually needed, because no one sends emails or text messages or actual invitations. I shifted this goal to only looking at FB for 30 minutes a day maximum, but I’ve failed at sticking to that limit. The effort to minimize social media time continues.

Other longterm/habit Goals:

No Alcohol                Status: HAPPENING!
Of all the challenges I gave myself, this one would ostensibly be viewed as the most difficult to achieve, especially living in New Orleans. I still have 30 days to go, but I have gone 365-30 days without a single drop of liquor/wine/beer/intoxicating substance. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be despite all the looks of concern and pity I would get from friends and acquaintances. But I’ll write more about that in a separate post.

Write a new blog post once a week           Status: Not Happening
This didn’t happen as consistently as I’d hoped for. I tend to write in bursts: several posts drafted in a day, finished over the next couple of days. Then I won’t write for a week or two. Maybe this goal wasn’t considerate of my actual habits, but I’m still aiming to get myself to write at least 20 minutes a day, even if I don’t finish a post.

Develop a yoga practice        Status: Getting there        Next Steps: Keep at it
When I started my year-long journey I was just beginning a 90 day yoga fix with youtuber, Fightmaster Yoga. She’s become my go-to yoga teacher on youtube. I’ve tried other teacher’s classes, but I always go back to her, which I think is hilarious because when I look at the students who attend her in-person classes or go to her retreats, it’s all around pretty beige. But as far as having a library of full classes added to weekly, with a variety of practice lengths, a range of difficulty, that’s FREE, her channel is hard to beat. I’ve attempted to do this 90 day series before, but the first 4-5 classes are stupid hard, so I would always quit. This time I finished the whole series. I didn’t do it everyday, but I followed it almost exactly in the order presented, and finished by Thanksgiving. Then I got a bit stressed out and didn’t quite practice as consistently. But overall, this year was a success for beginning a yoga habit. I’ll write more about this as well in another post.

Pay off old credit card debt        Status: So close, and then…
The idea was to pay off old debt and not accrue new debt. I got very close, for at least one of my cards. The other I was expecting to pay off by the end of this calendar year. Then, the homeownership woes struck. We decided to get an estimate for some issues we knew existed: our yard floods a lot and we have a rather un-level home (It’s 80 years old this year!). The damage was worse than we expected and so was the cost. And the credit card debt returned. Unfortunately, the woes have only persisted. As we finished that one momentous project, we started noticing several other water related issues that now need to be addressed. Thus, the work on improving our finances continues.

Increase savings to $5K         Status: Incomplete   
See above. I got a part-time job that I thought would pay off old credit card debt and rebuild my savings, but the house said otherwise.

Develop a flossing habit           Status: HAPPENING!
Finally! I think it’s finally stuck with me! I’ve tried to develop this habit for years, and it almost never happens, but I’m feeling confident about this. I’m not going to pretend like I floss every day, but usually I only miss a day here and there, rather than only flossing here and there.

Submit an Article for Publication      Status: Incomplete    Next Steps: DRAFT
*Sigh* this is still in the works. I have a first draft with comments from faculty, and was hoping to have a second, properly formatted, draft by the end of July. It might still happen in the next week, but as usual, other projects have come up that take priority. Namely, the grant that I’m helping write that’s due at the start of August, that’s left me with much less time to work on my own paper. It’s been a struggle, but I do see this happening by the end of the summer at the VERY latest.

Replant a garden       Status: Half Complete      Next Steps: Build raised beds
I didn’t quite get to the part of creating a vegetable and herb garden, but I did plant trees and flowers. And SoCo (my dog) didn’t mess with them this time. The flowers didn’t quite work out. I don’t think planting hydrangea was a good idea for me. The amount of water they need in our climate, where we don’t have a sprinkler system, made it too high maintenance for me. I’m going to have to find some flowers that don’t need as much from me except an occasional weeding. But I planted two bare root trees from the Arbor day foundation: a willow tree and an American redbud. The willow tree is growing like crazy and even the redbud, which I got as part of those 10 free baby trees, is really taking shape. I also got a fig and satsuma tree from a local nursery, as well as two ligustrum (aka Japanese privet) shrubs. All are healthy and growing.

Treat grad school like it’s a 9 – 5     Status: Maybe happening
There are days when this happens and it’s extremely gratifying, especially because that means when I get home from the office, I don’t have and guilty feelings, and I can truly relax. It can be difficult to work during “working hours” when there’s no one forcing you to, and the work you’re doing doesn’t necessarily have a hard deadline. There are days when I simply can’t focus and I pack up and leave after a couple of hours. There are days when I decide I’m going to “work from home,” and I may be successful at that in the morning, but the afternoon working doesn’t really happen. The other week, I had two good “work days” on the weekend when I went into the office and no one was around. I certainly didn’t WANT to work or to be there. But because there was no one around I really got a lot done. And when I went home, I could safely close my computer and not respond to emails and just relax because I knew I’d put in the work during the day. I would like to operate like that everyday, or at least most days. The delight of successfully separating work from home life makes the struggle worth continuing.

Stop procrastinating.     Status: Not happening
This wasn’t specific enough. Doing one thing in the morning could literally be anything, and similarly be nothing. I knew what I meant, but it was vague enough that there was no accountability for it. Also, as you can read in my past post on procrastination, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and if it is, the reason I’m procrastinating needs to be addressed rather than uselessly beating myself up for the action of procrastinating.

There it is. My year-long goals explained, with my progress to date, and my expectations for completion as this “Journey to 30” comes to a close. I’ll do one last progress check-in on my “30 to 30” goals–a weigh-in with a glass of champagne on my birthday. Although I didn’t get anywhere close to finishing them all, the progress I did make, and the lessons I’ve learned throughout this process, have been gratifying and incredibly valuable. Let the countdown begin!!