looking back, looking ahead

January 10, 2019

looking back, looking ahead | chainyan.co
More than a week late, but Happy New Year! :) I thought I'd get some time to myself after all of the holiday celebrations were over, but I ended up spending the first week of 2019 still traveling all over the metro, meeting and having lunches and dinners with family and friends. I caught a cold on the eve of the New Year too, so I was scared I'd be starting the year sick. I managed to fight it off somehow, so thankfully it didn't turn into a full-blown flu or anything! Now that things have settled down, I finally have some time to sit down and write my first post for 2019. Usually this is the part where I talk about the previous year's goals and how I did, and then share my new goals for the year. This time though, I want to share a bit of my thoughts re: yearly goals and resolutions and why I'm planning to do things a little differently.

I wonder if you've heard of the term "gifted kid burnout"? The first time I read these words, it was on this bingo meme thing that's been floating around on the internet. I stumbled upon it sometime last year on Twitter, and I was surprised at how much I was affected by it. It was just a meme, something meant to be funny, for sure. But to me it felt like it was an attack. (I mean, 22/25 boxes? Yikes.) The one that says "losing interest and quitting anything that doesn't come easily to you" hit home the hardest. I didn't even think gifted kid burnout syndrome was an actual thing until I talked to some friends who were also considered ~*~gifted kids~*~ while they were growing up. I was surprised because they all said the same thing—because we're all so used to succeeding at things almost instantly, our minds are wired to think that anything other than instant effortless success is considered as failure. Want to learn this thing but you didn't do well on your first try? Your brain thinks, "Oh, I must just not be cut out for this!" IT'S SUCH A DANGEROUS MINDSET. Because how are you supposed to get better at something if you don't keep working at it? It took me years (and a meme, wtf) to realize that there was something wrong, and that this negative way of thinking was bad for my overall mental health. I knew right away that I needed to change this.

That said, after doing A LOT of thinking (and I've had a lot of time to do this the past year), one of the many realizations I had was that having a list of goals was both good and bad for me, personally. For others, it helps give a clear-cut vision of you want to achieve. I get that. It works. But not all minds work the same, and what's considered to be motivational to some might or might not do the same for others. To me, I treated goals more like their dictionary meaning—end points. And in my mind, I treated goals like quests in an RPG. If I didn't reach those end points, even though a lot of them were already seemingly easy, then I couldn't advance to the next level. That "I'm not ready for it yet". There have been times where I beat myself up for not being able to do the smallest things. It didn't help that I encountered quotes like "No pressure, no diamonds!" on the daily on social media. I get that it's supposed to be motivational, as it is for some. But it just didn't work like that for me.

In 2018, one of the favorite things I read for one of my horoscopes was, "Sometimes all you need is just a little change in key." And they were right. In 2018, I only achieved 4 out of 10 of my goals for the year. (Though I wouldn't count the N4 one, because I didn't pass the exam lol.) So what? I became a kinder, happier person. I became much happier than I ever was 2, 5, or even 10 years ago. If I only used my 2018 goals as the basis of how much I accomplished, then I would've thought, "Ah, I didn't do anything this year at all!" But in reality, I learned so much, grew so much.

And so, I've decided that for 2019, instead of just doing my usual list of goals, I'll have an overall "theme" for myself as well. I'll have a theme or focus that I'll be putting my energy into achieving for the year. It's actually not much different from what I usually do, and I'll still have smaller goals for it, but they won't be as rigid. What's different? This time it won't be just black and white. It won't be just "did I achieve this thing or not", but "how much of this thing was I able to do". To me this sounds a lot better, doesn't it? :)

Let's all do well this year, too 🌿

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