21 for 2021: a new list and an update

Week 53: week of 28 December 2020
I’m not sure if the last week of the year was week 53 of 2020 or week 1 of 2021. Or if was both. Or if it really matters. (My Travelers Notebook 2021 diary tells me it was week 53 of 2020 and that the next week was week 1 of 2021, so in the interests of keeping things consistent for my weekly photojournal, I’m going to stick with that. But it doesn’t matter. A week is a week. Or it isn’t.)

I spent the week trying to find my Word for 2021 and writing about that journey, which you can read about here (it’s long, so get yourself a cuppa). I was thinking about my 21 for 2021 list as well and working through my 2021 Unravel Your Year workbook so I could make sure the activities and projects I put on my list relate to the intentions I wrote in there.

Coffee shop planning

If you’re new to this (hi there!) here’s a reminder of what a 21 for 2021 list is, and why you might want to do one, from Gretchen Rubin. To my mind, the key to making it work is for the list to include concrete activities, rather than vague things that don’t have end points. “Learn to use Photoshop”, for example, is vague and there’s no defined end point you might reach and say you’ve done it. “Complete xyz Photoshop course” is specific and you will know for sure that you’ve done it and can cross it off the list.

Of course, that’s just my take on it and you (if you were to make such list for yourself) might have a completely different approach. There are no rules, except for the ones you set yourself, which you can break whenever you want because they’re your rules, and there’s no right and wrong way to go about it. Hell, you don’t even have to have 21 items on your list. I had 22 things on my 20 for 2020 list.

By Wednesday, I had 44 things (some of which were pretty vague so they weren’t going on the list), a bunch of sub-things falling off some of them (the vague ones, mainly, to make them more concrete), along with 33 nagging annoying jobs that I want to get to in 2021, for a grand total of 100 things. At least if I made that my list, I wouldn’t run out of things to write about. It has shades of the “100 things to do in 2013” list I made in, well, 2013.

There’s also my habits that I want to keep up from last year, which are:

  • Do the morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5 days)
  • Work on my art (Goal = 2 days)
  • Read a book (Goal = 7 days)
  • Do yoga stretches (Goal = 7 days)
  • Have a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days)
  • Go for a walk or do some form of physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7 days)
  • Shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7 days, with the aim to move this to 10.00 as the year progresses, and maybe even 9.45)

And any new habits I decide to pick up in 2021. The focus of these will, as you might imagine if you read my last post, be on lifestyle changes that I can make to reduce the impact I have on the Earth.

I decided to pick out the 21 most concrete things and/or the things that were most important to me for the list, knowing that I’ll still be working on most of the other ones along the way. And it goes without saying that educating myself about issues like the climate emergency and social justice and making changes to my lifestyle and my mindset is something I also have to do. But as I said in the post, these aren’t things I can check off a list, so they don’t appear on it. I have a lot of work to do in that space though.

I’m not sure if thing 5 “Spend an hour a week working through my annoying mundane things list” is a sneaky way for me to get 33 more things on the list but I’m hoping that making a commitment to spend an (yet to be determined) hour will help me to get through that list really quickly.

The final list is here and I’ll keep it updated more or less weekly. 

  1. Go to the exercise physiologist and get an exercise program
  2. Choose a different vegetable every week from In Praise of Veg and make one of the recipes from the book
  3. Complete the 30-day voice training course
  4. Work through the ideas in The Change Journal, one idea per week for 24 weeks
  5. Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list
  6. Grow some vegetables in the garden bed
  7. Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit
  8. Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos (with the aim of completing two of them)
  9. Write my mother’s life story
  10. Make a book of my 2014 UK trip photos
  11. Complete the ImageWork course
  12. Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities
  13. Create a consistent web presence for my work
  14. Photograph some unexplored areas
  15. Use my tripod in public 
  16. Go out and shoot with film
  17. Complete the Brainsparker gym* program
  18. Update my resume and apply for at least one new job
  19. Get a Strengthsfinder assessment
  20. Implement my pre-work workday routine
  21. Read at least three books about Tasmanian history

So after all that, here’s my first update for 2021.

As I thought at the end of last year, I didn’t do any more work on any of my 20 for 2020 things, so that chapter is now closed.

As 2021 started on Friday, it was time to start thinking about 21 for 2021. While I didn’t have the list finalised by then, there were a couple of things I knew were going to be on it. First was the 50 vegetables challenge (thing 2), which you can read more about here.

On Saturday, I made my first recipe from In Praise of Veg, which was the okra peanut stew.

Okra peanut stew ingredients. Just pretend there’s a jar of tomato paste in the photo.

I didn’t even know what okra was before Saturday, much less how to cook it, so it made for an interesting evening and a very tasty dish. I love peanuts and this recipe seemed a lot easier than the southern fried okra, which had me worried I’d burn the house down. I’m not much of a fryer.

Okra. Right?

One vegetable down, 49 to go.

The end result

I also did some of the work in the “Clarity” chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4). I’ll have a post that explains what that journal is very soon.

I pulled out some of the weeds in the garden bed (thing 6) and I added things to the undone things list instead of doing any of them (thing 5).

Untrue. I did one of them. I reorganised my bookshelves on new year’s eve while everyone else was out partying, and I made the window seat/bookshelf in my room into a resource section for the work I’ll be doing this year. I hope the party people who kept me awake half the night had shocking hangovers the next day. #oldpersonrant

The tidy space. Not the shelf on the right. I didn’t tidy that one.

Summary for the week

  • What I was reading this week: This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 4 (2, 4, 5, 6)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 17 (1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
  • Habit tracker:
    • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): I wasn’t at work
    • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
    • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
    • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
    • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): I wasn’t at work
    • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
    • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): I’m not sure. I didn’t keep a very good record of this. Hey, I was on holidays!
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