It all began in 2016. You see I’ve always set New Year's resolutions but I’ve always failed. Until 2016. I picked the resolution of entirely eliminating McDonald’s from my diet. Now It’s not that I ate there lots to begin with - Liam was only one year old at the time, and Madison and Ethan were just born in June of that year, so it was nothing like it is today. But I just felt like eliminating McDonald’s would be a good choice. The fries were the hardest part for me. I even had a cousin come visit us and demanded we meet at McDonald’s so that the kids could play. That was the first time Liam was introduced to the franchise. But I didn’t even steal a French Fry, and by the end of the year I had actually accomplished my first resolution.
The feeling of accomplishment was unreal. I realize that eliminating McDonald’s isn’t a huge, life changing resolution - but accomplishing this resolution motivated me to continue setting goals.
And that’s all a resolution is. A resolution is simply a firm decision to do or not to do something. “New Year's Resolutions" have gotten a bad rap in recent years. But goal setting is encouraged. Go figure.
Then I met some guys online who set 100 goals for the year. Then the next year they tried to outdo themselves and they set 200! To be honest I thought this was ridiculous, but I followed one of the dads and watched him tick off goals almost daily throughout the year!
It got me thinking... If I don’t set any goals, nothing will get accomplished. But if I shoot for the moon (like this guy was doing by setting 200 goals), even if you miss, you’ll still end up among the stars - which he did! I don’t know how many goals he accomplished in the end, but it was impressive.
So, last year playing with the number 20, I initiated what I called my #2020Twenty. Twenty goals in the year 2020.
I didn’t get much support. Again, it came across as “New Year's resolutions”, or overreaching by not just setting ONE, but going straight to TWENTY. (At least it wasn’t 200!)
But guess what?!? I accomplished SEVEN of my twenty goals - including the most far fetched one, the one everyone rolled their eyes at!
I am so incredibly proud of myself for accomplishing this. It was on my mind every day of the year. Unfortunately, four of the goals became impossible due to current world events, two would have been accomplished had we sold our house, and the last seven just didn’t happen.
But seven goals WERE accomplished!
Things were going great for the first five months of the year, I was pulling out old recipes, ordering groceries online like a pro and actually having fun pretending I was an executive chef again. And then Chef’s Plate called me in June. They asked if I would consider being an ambassador for them. I eagerly said “yes” right away. It just fit so perfectly. I had never even explored or researched meal subscription boxes before. So I fulfilled the contract with them, got a bunch of free meals, and then decided to become a customer for the rest of the year. Overnight, meal planning became the easiest goal of the year for me to achieve.
Now at first glance at last year's receipts, it appears I over spent… but I can justify it! I know exactly where it went, when it occurred and why. It was due to events out of our control. So, I’m calling it a goal accomplished, even if we didn’t LITERALLY hit the precise dollar amount in our budget. The meal boxes actually helped save us money - AND TIME! So I’m super happy with this goal.
I think a lot of people assumed I was gonna try it out for the month of January like millions of other people do, and then by the beginning of February I’d have given up. But I fell into a groove and started loving it. Now only did it feel good physically, but it became my escape from the house for an hour.
Now, a year later, I’m still going. I haven’t seen the results I wanted to, but I’ve been told I have a body type that takes the longest to see results. So, we’ll keep plugging away.
This was my far fetched, bucket list goal. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It would involve leaving the country for a week, $2,000 in flights, purchasing a $3,000 festival package/ticket, figuring out food, and ideally finding a friend to go with. It was honestly my dream, but my dreams are larger than (my) life. And then the event was cancelled. Oh well… I knew it wasn’t going to happen anyway.
But then they announced a work-around. They were going to host the festival anyway in VR (virtual reality). And just like that, this goal became very attainable. So I went for it. I purchased tickets for the online experience and made it happen. Shockingly, Liam attached himself to the experience more than I did, and actually spent more time on the (virtual) island of Papilionem than I did. But forever in the record books of Tomororwland attendees, my name will be there for the 2020 festival.
This goal was a bit more obscure. But it was clear I achieved it. I had some great conversations with some of you, whom I’ve never met in real life before, I made a lot of new friends - at least online, social media “friends”, and I’ve got tons of great responses and comments from content I’ve published. That’s all I wanted. Now I realize this one is ongoing, but what occurred this past year I feel is the best possible start I could have asked for.
Little did I know we would decide to sell our house in May. It took all year, and finally just this past week, on Christmas Eve no less, I completed this goal. We redid our flooring from end to end, installing carpet in all the bedrooms and living room, and vinyl plank in the dining room, kitchen, hallways, laundry room and bathroom.
Lighting came earlier in the year, as we purchased Phillips Hue lighting which works well in our home, as we have to rely on wall plugs instead of fixtures. Then finally, after three long years of having no lights in my bedroom and using flashlights, I have lights in my bedroom. What an obvious game changer.
The shed didn’t get completed like I’ve wanted for four years now, but all the improvements within the house itself were completed this year in attempts to sell our house. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure how it was going to get done, but in the end, it did.
So, I didn’t run 5KM every day in 2020, but I started running again and slowly built up to where I WAS running 5KM. Then, I started running faster. THEN, I realized I was on pace (pun intended) to fulfilling ANOTHER goal and bucket list item, in running the 5KM race at the Okanagan Marathon in October.
Well, this event was also cancelled, but I disregarded that fact and showed up anyway. I ran the race and accomplished this goal in record setting fashion. This was one of the best moments of my year. Goal not just accomplished… goal completely obliterated.
My friends are the greatest, because several of you pointed out to me that just by telling my story publicly, I was being an advocate for my kids. Goal accomplished. But then this past summer, Autism BC contacted me and asked me to be an ambassador for them. Again, just like Chef’s Plate, it fit perfectly, and I said “yes” immediately.
It felt great partnering with an organization like Autism BC in telling my stories and helping support the initiatives of this organization. This is what I had wanted. This was what the goal had been. When I made this goal last January, I had alluded to the fact that perhaps a Rett organization would be a good fit, because Rett is far more rare than Autism, but in the end it doesn’t matter, does it? I shifted to featuring and spotlighting Ethan and shared for the first time what I hope will become a signature theme in my public speaking and book writing, and that is how standing on your head changes everything.
There you have it. My 2020 Twenty has come to an end. But I had such a great year, I’m doing it again this new year. I’m carrying forward all my incomplete goals from 2020 (as my first goal for the new year), and then adding on 19 new ones for my 2021 TWENTY! Just like last January, I will be posting my goals one at a time over the next 20 days. Some goals might seem absurd or far fetched… but remember, in 2020 I added attending Tomorrowland onto my list, and it actually occurred! So, maybe instead of questioning my goals this year, you should consider making some of your own!