2021 Goals

2021 Goals: For Me, An Ideal Life, and More!

I’m a nerd in a lot of ways, but perhaps more than when it comes to goals. At any given time, I have short-term, long-term, and lifetime goals in place, just to name a few potential categories. Here on the blog, you may have already seen my 101 in 1,001 list, which spans from now into autumn 2023. I also have a post in the works discussing my five-year plan and how I go about making it. The latter is where I set my goals for the year, including my 2021 goals, for myself, An Ideal Life, and the aspects of my life.

Want a deeper look at some of my self-improvement goals for 2021? Take a look at my 101 in 1,001 list, 2021 bullet journal, and words of the year!

Personal goals

On a personal level, I’ve got quite a few goals for my health, money, personal development, and recreation.

Settle into my goal weight range.

Instead of a particular goal weight, I have a goal range I aim for. As long as I stay within it, I’ll be satisfied!

Check out some of the healthy lifestyle apps I’ll be using along the way!

Pay off 3 credit cards.

I’m working through a debt avalanche plan for my credit cards and student loan debt. Based on my income right now, paying off the first three is a possible, though intensive, goal for 2021.

These personal finance apps are key to my budgeting and debt payoff strategies.

Double my income.

On a related note, I’m working to double my income. I’ve been getting better at managing some of my health symptoms, which has made me more productive at work. Between this newfound sense of accomplishment and adding new income streams, by building the blog and better marketing my books and writing efforts, I’ll hopefully double my (currently rather limited) income.

Rebuild my emergency fund.

I had been doing pretty well at slowly building my emergency fund, until some of 2020’s tumult threw it into chaos. It wasn’t huge, but it was enough to make a difference. I want to get it back to that place and keep building from there.

Finish 3 courses.

I love online courses! I’m currently working through The Science of Well-Being from Yale University’s Laurie Santos via Coursera. It’s been slow going, solely because life’s gotten in the way (ironic, isn’t it, given the subject of the course?) but I’m determined to take in all that this class to offer, alongside at least two other courses.

Finish 10 recreational projects.

While I didn’t end up choosing words like balancerest, or joy as one of my words of the year for 2021, they’re still concepts I’m focusing on this year. Through 2020 (and, if I’m being honest, most of my adult life), I struggled on the edge and falling deep into burnout. This year, I’m doing as much as possible to avoid getting to that point of stress and exhaustion. One of the tools I’m taking advantage of? Making time for fun! I’ll be creating some needlework projects, LEGO sets, and other bits of fun.

Read 100 books.

Speaking of fun, I plan to read plenty of books this year. Of course, I read plenty through reviews at Pencils & Pages, my work at Nightingale & Sparrow, titles I’m asked to blurb, and in other professional settings. But I’m determined to make sure that some of the books I’m reading in 2021 are simply books I’m reading for reading’s sake. So far, so good, as I just finished my first not-for-work book of the year!

Bypass a 365-day streak on Duolingo.

As I write this, I’m at a 209-day streak in my Duolingo Spanish practice. I have to use a streak freeze from time to time (thanks, migraines, etc.) but, all-in-all, I’m making some great progress! I spoke Spanish well when I was little—

Blogging Goals

Of course, I’ve got plenty of goals for here on An Ideal Life!

Be one quarter ahead on scheduled posts.

With An Ideal Life, one of my long-term goals is to maintain the blog as more of a full-fledged business than a side hustle. As such, I’m looking at many aspects of blogging on a quarterly basis. I’d originally hoped to have our Q1 posts scheduled before the launch but that proved to be a slightly too lofty goal through the holidays. But, now, I’m working to transfer and revamp posts from the old site while getting ahead on new posts through March and beyond.

Work with six brands.

Another goal for the blog? Regularly working with brands on sponsored content and social media posts, product reviews, and other collaborative projects. I’m setting out to work with six brands this year. I’m also hoping to try my hand at pitching brands directly!

Are you a brand who’d like to work with An Ideal Life? Learn More and Reach out!

Bypass 500 monthly views

As I rebuild the new site, one of the challenges is getting ample traffic here. With SEO tactics, social media marketing, and otherwise spreading the word about An Ideal Life, I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with people around the globe—and inspiring them to improve their own lives, too.

Bypass 500 followers on Instagram and Twitter.

Building a larger social media following is something I’ve struggled with for a while. I post regularly, engage and build relationships, but haven’t yet built up more followers. This year, I’m aiming to increase our following (organically) on Instagram and Twitter.

Bypass 500k monthly views on Pinterest.

Since launching An Ideal Life, Pinterest has by far been our most impressive platform. We’ve repeatedly doubled our monthly views, and keep growing! I’ll be working to keep that momentum going.

Make $200 from the blog.

It would be foolish to try to build a business without letting it drive income! I’m setting what I hope is a conservative goal, before we dive into bigger dreams as An Ideal Life grows.

Other Professional Goals

Between my freelance work, writing, and Nightingale & Sparrow (my small press and literary magazine), I’ve got a ton of work on my plate at any given moment. Naturally, this means an assortment of goals is necessary here, too!

Publish another 20 Nightingale & Sparrow Titles

My small press, Nightingale & Sparrow, has about 20 slots a year for publishing a new book (I like to keep busy, can you tell?). 2020 sent things into disarray a bit, but we’re getting back on track quickly!

Receive 100 writing rejections.

Setting a goal to get more rejections might seem silly to anyone outside of the writing field. But, in short, you get more rejections when you send more work into the world! I hadn’t submitted for several months because 2020 (enough said). I recently sent my first few poems out in ages and it feels so good to get back on the horse, so to speak.

Publish 40 book reviews.

Another bit of my life that fell to the wayside last year was my book blog, Pencils & Pages. We’ll be relaunching later this month with a slew of wonderful books in the queue, so I have big plans for that blog to grow, too!

Have 3 major bylines.

If you didn’t know already, my “day job” is as a freelance writer. I’m only just starting to look into pitching publications on my own, rather than working as a freelancer with an agency or other organisation. But I’m hopeful that my skills and experience will lead to opportunities. I have a few major publications in mind that I’d love to have share my work—now it’s a matter of putting in the effort to make it happen!

Have another book in the publication queue.

2020 was horrid in a million different ways, but one bright spot was the chance to have three new books come into the world! I have about a dozen manuscripts completed or in progress and am excited to send them off into the world in search of the perfect home. Even if I don’t publish a book in 2021, I want to have one slotted for publication in the near future.

I’m sure I’ll have some other goals come to mind as we move through the year, and I’ll be sure to share updates on social media, and maybe even in a post or two. Stay tuned for success to come!

What are your 2021 goals for the year? Do you have any suggestions to help me reach mine? Let me know in the comments or tag us on social media @anideallifeblog!

How I'm Using My Bullet Journal Differently in 2021

How I’m Using My Bullet Journal Differently in 2021

If you followed my previous blog, then you know that my bullet journal is a much-needed extension of my brain. I’ve gone through countless spreads, layouts, and page ideas since I started bullet journalling four years ago. But, this year, I decided to do my bullet journal differently.

Wondering about what else I’m doing differently in 2021? Spend some time with my 2021 goals, words for the year, and 101 in 1,001 list!

My Bullet Journal Supplies

Before getting into the system I’m using this year, I want to give a shoutout to some of my favourite bullet journal supplies!

The most significant difference in my 2021 bullet journal is my categorisation process. Over the past several months, I’ve been structuring my daily, weekly, monthly, and more extended plans based on a categorised five-year plan. For my bullet journal this year, I’ve decided to copy those same categories. Before I took to creating bullet journal spreads, I took the time to count out an equal number of pages for each section. There are even a few extras at the end and room for my Level 10 Life spread at the front.

For each category, I chose a mildliner (I recently completed my 25-colour set with individual markers!) and marked the index. Then, I colour-coded the edges of each section to coordinate. I’m so pleased with how beautifully it turned out!

Bullet Journal Differently - mildliner edges

I won’t go into an in-depth, page-by-page look at my 2021 bullet journal. But a few examples are definitely in order.

A look inside:

My blogging section includes pages for my passwords, affiliate links, schedule. Plus, I’ve included pages for tracking stats on the site and across social media. With the shades of pink strewn across the site, it should come as no surprise that this section is marked by a pink (technically, coral!) mildliner!

Similarly, my freelancing section tracks invoices and remittance payments, pitches, and my wishlist of dream publications. This section is labelled in red to match my calendar. I’ve long since marked deadlines in red to make sure they stand out!

Of course, my 2021 bullet journal isn’t limited to work-related spreads. I have entire sections for health, recreation, and spirituality, to name a few. This means I’ve got spreads for the books I read, TV shows I watch, workouts I complete, events I’ll celebrate, and more! These sections are brown, orange (vermillion), and gold, respectively.

How do you use your bullet journal differently than the typical set-up? Share your most unique ideas in the comments!

Mini - An Ideal Life