Reviewing my progress against my 2021 goals

It’s New Year’s Eve. That means it’s time to look back on the goals I set myself for 2021.

This time last year I set myself a series of goals:

  1. eat less meat
  2. quit Instagram
  3. be more mindful
  4. give something back
  5. keep writing blog posts
  6. drink less alcohol
  7. save some money

Each of these goals were bitesized, measurable and published online so that I would stick to them.

My aim is to set stretching goals, and – because they are stretching – achieve 80% of everything. After I exceeded a couple of goals last year though, I also set myself stretch goals this year.

How did I do?

It’s been a difficult year again in 2021. You know, with Covid and everything. Despite the prevailing environment though, this year’s goals have been a qualified success.

1. Eat less meat

I’ve achieved this goal. My goal was to go meat-free twice a week throughout this year. My stretch goal was to do it three times a week. I went consciously meat-free on 97 days this year – just shy of twice a week, on average. No doubt, I forgot to record some others too.

I probably only achieved this goal by accident. I was sticking to it much more rigidly in the first half of the year; largely thanks to fastidious meal planning. That means this goal didn’t have the desired outcome, which was to form new healthier eating habits.

2. Quit Instagram

I’ve achieved this goal. I deleted Instagram at the end of 2019 and I stuck to it!

This was easier to stick to than I expected but, unlike when I quit Facebook in 2019, I do get the occasional FOMO1 with this one. Either way, goal complete.

3. Be more mindful

I didn’t achieve this goal. The aim here was to do some “mindfulness” at least once a day for 5 minutes.

I tried really hard to make this stick, and it just didn’t. I tried Headspace app. I tried the Breathe app on my Apple Watch. Nothing stuck. I eventually gave up after the first month of failing day-in-day-out.

I have found a greater affinity for going on long walks and listening to podcasts to decompress my mind instead – so maybe my definition of ‘mindful’ was a bit too narrow.

4. Give something back

I abandoned this goal – but for a good reason! I kept this goal around from 2020 because I wanted to help a charity out. But that hasn’t worked out.

In more positive news, I’ve become the Chair of the Civil Service LGBT+ Network. I think that commitment to ‘giving something back’ probably warrants having not found a trustee or governor’s position.

5. Keep writing blog posts

I didn’t achieve this goal. I was meant to write a blog post once a month this year, as I have for a number of years now. I set myself a stretch goal to do 18 blog posts in total. I didn’t write anywhere near that number.

Honestly, I just had nothing I felt I wanted to write about. So I didn’t write it. I did, write a few posts for the Civil Service LGBT+ Network though, so I think that counts for something!

6. Drink less alcohol

I’ve achieved this goal. My goal was to do Dry January and, as a stretch goal, Stoptober. I did 30 days of Dry January and I forgot about the October objective!

Regardless, this counts as job done.

7. Save some money

I’ve achieved this goal. I aimed to save at least £7,500 this year. If I managed that, I aimed to go even further and save £12,500. I saved £6,800 in the end; slightly less than last year, but more than I expected given life is closer to normal in 2021 than it was in 2020.

A qualified success

Overall, I achieved 64% of my goals in 2021. You might think that sounds bad. Indeed, it doesn’t meet my own definition of ‘done’2. But the number hides the true story. I only probably failed at one of these goals, and the others have caveats. Given the world is still collapsing around us, that’s not so bad!

Onwards to better goal achievement in 2022!

You can see my progress with this year’s goals by visiting my goals dashboard.

  1. That’s fear of missing out 

  2. ‘Done’ in this context is 80% of goals, 80% completed, with each goal being given equal weighting.