2016 Intention Review: A Letter to Myself


new year's resolutions, future letter to yourself, 2016 resolutionsI recently shared my 2017 future letter to myself, and now I’m sharing the outcomes of my 2016 annual letter. How much “came true”?For the first time in recent history, the last year wasn’t one of major life transitions: transferring posts, moving to a new country, changing jobs. We traveled less in 2016 than 2015, and we were able to host some visitors. We spent more time at home here in Amman, doing normal things like going running (outside — a luxury we haven’t enjoyed as much since moving overseas) and hanging out at our favorite coffee shop.2016 wasn’t a particularly exciting year in terms of major life events, but it was a good year by the measures that matter most to me. So how did I do?About 70 percent of the statements I made came true. I made 37 total statements in my letter. Of these, 26 were true or mostly true, seven were false and four weren’t measurable. My “success rate” is higher than 2015 but not as high as 2014 or 2013.Throughout the last year I definitely felt like I was stretched thin, in terms of time, priorities and efforts. Finish one more task at work, or have extra time for schoolwork in the evening? Wake up early to run, or get another hour of sleep? Spend some quality time with Kail, or get together with friends? Forget about things like reading for pleasure, writing or other creative pursuits.I always feel like I’m giving 60 to 70 percent of my effort to several things at once. Instead of doing a really good job on one or two things, I’m doing an okay job at a lot of things (and probably a bad job at some others).I wrote the following in my 2014 intention review, and I’ll repeat it here, as a reminder to myself that “doing an okay job at a lot of things” is good enough:

[T]he point isn’t to get a “perfect score” or beat myself up about the things I didn’t get done. It’s to set some achievable goals to help me be my best self — as an individual, a wife, a friend, a daughter/in-law, a writer, etc. — and yes, to hold myself somewhat accountable to those goals.

I’ll start with the untrue statements first. Unsurprisingly, things that were not related to work or school were a bit neglected, including my blog. Here are some false statements from my 2016 letter:

Despite time limitations, I carved out a little time to enjoy personal hobbies. My blog turned four and I continued posting regularly — at least three times per week — throughout the year. I continued updating my Project Life: Jordan scrapbook.

For those family and friends we didn’t have a chance to see in person, I made a concerted effort to stay in touch. I regularly texted, emailed called and/or FaceTimed and Skyped with them.

I understood that who I am is not what I do, and carved out a separate identity and life separate from work.

Now onto the good news. For the first time, I not only met but exceeded my health and fitness goals. Both Kail and I lost a significant amount of weight in 2016. I surpassed my target weight loss/maintenance goal. I ran a half marathon — my first race in several years — and am in better overall physical shape than I’ve ever been in as an adult, even when I was running marathons years ago. Here are some examples of what came true:

I completed six more classes in my Purdue graduate school program — or 80 percent toward my Master of Science in Communication.

In 2016, I made health, fitness and weight loss a priority. I reestablished the practice of using MyFitnessPal and my Fitbit.

Kail and I celebrated four years of marriage.

Kail and I were able to enjoy in-country and regional travel. … Additionally, we welcomed several visitors to Amman …

There were other, more personal things in my letter — both true and false — that I won’t share here. Some things are well within my control, and some aren’t. Some things are repeated in my 2017 letter, while others are shelved for the time being. What were the results of your 2016 annual letter/New Year’s resolutions?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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