January Goal Recap: Adapting Is Better Than Quitting

It is already the end of January, which simultaneously feels like it moved at warped speed and was trudging through molasses. The other day at the grocery store, I saw a bunch of Valentine's Day decor and I laughed, thinking, "man, that's pretty early." I'm always excited and caught off guard by a new month.

About halfway through January, I updated my letter board which was still up from Christmas, and said: "2021 Starts In February: January Is Just The Trial Period". I saw it on Pinterest and just needed to get something that wasn't holiday-related up, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Because January truly was a trial period for these goals.

I'm not afraid to admit that I failed the vast majority of my goals this month. But, for the most part, I only failed the specific parameters I set around each overarching goal. In 11 of the 12 goals I set, I actually made a marked difference from December to January, but I categorized myself as a failure because I didn't achieve the wins exactly as I had written them. Going forward, I want to make sure I'm celebrating the wins, even if they don't ladder up to the exact "goal" that I set.

So, with that, let's take a look at the goals I set for 2021, and where they stand at the end of the "trial period".


Close Apple Watch Ring Daily

My Apple Watch goal gets a little "womp womp" sound effect from me. I thought the issue would be the stand goal - and don't get me wrong, that one is a struggle for me. But the overarching issue was the exercise goal. As I'm getting into the swing of working out, 30 minutes is a bit too much, but because of the Apple Watch goal, my mindset would be, "well, if I'm just going to exercise for 15 minutes, what's the point if I won't achieve the goal?" As you can see, this led to deciding to stop wearing the watch altogether.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: In February, I'm shifting my goal to be "close my stand goal every week day." That will make this goal separate from my exercise goal, and I think it is a good, sustainable step!

Learn Sign Language

Obviously, I did not intend to leave January being totally fluent in Sign Language, but I expected to, you know, at least crack the book open and begin learning. I made, quite literally, not a single ounce of progress toward this goal in January. But, that's okay! I may not even have this mastered in 2021. The important thing is that I begin working toward it.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: I need more structure on this goal. Knowing that it is a very long-term goal makes me sort of forget that the actions I do in the short-term are how I will eventually structure it. My goal for February is to get through 10 pages of this book. I think having a more solid goal on this will lead to better success!


Do skincare routine 2x/day

In support of this goal, I went to Target and bought this 2-piece Aveeno skincare routine. It isn't a 12-step routine from an Insta-famous skincare brand, but it is the essentials (cleanser and moisturizer) and as good as any place to start. The problem? 2x/day. If I don't have time in the morning, I'll tell myself in the evening, "well, what's the point of doing it tonight, you aren't actually going to get your goal!" This is me falling victim to seeing the written "goal" as the goal, instead if the actual goal, which is to take better care of my skin.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: I'm going to shift this goal to once per day. I still think I may struggle with it, as it is definitely a new part of my routine, but I think lessening the pressure will lead to better results... so, once a day it is!

Get Outside for 10 Minutes Per Day

In my DEFENSE, it is absolutely effing freezing in Columbus, and the weather sucks! But, I know the benefits of getting outdoors regardless, and in reality, the fact that I didn't achieve this goal was more about laziness than the weather.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: None. I think 10 minutes is totally reasonable. I'm going to try another month at this level, and see how it goes!

Drink More Water

The long-term goal here is 1 gallon a day. But, I didn't do a great job of setting a reasonable short-term goal for this one. So, I considered myself a failure if I didn't drink 4 of these per day, even though I knew that was supposed to be the hope by December. As soon as I began to struggle with defining the goal, I slowed down on my water consumption, and I certainly wasn't tracking it. (It goes without saying, my brain is oftentimes a nightmare.)

FEBRUARY CHANGE: In the spirit of structure, I will make my goal to drink half a gallon of water every day - or 2 of this bottle. I think that seems very feasible given my typical water consumption, but I think I need to get back in the habit of it after basically giving up 3 quarters of the way through January. This will likely level up in March.

Exercise for 30 Minutes Per Day

This goal was a mistake on my part. I should have known 30 minutes was a bit much given my current activity level. It was a product of the Apple Watch goal. Even after my realization that setting time limits on exercise often makes it more difficult for me to commit to, I still tried to set a time limit on it! Bad job, Sara. In 2021, I am repairing a somewhat fractured relationship with fitness, and I need to go easier on myself.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: No zero days. (This is one of my favorite Reddit comments). That means, move your body EVERY DAY. Even if it is just 1 pushup, or a 2 minute bike ride. No more zero days, but no expectation of anything more than that. Let's see how that goes in February!

Get Control of My Eating

You might think that this large, greasy pizza is indicative of a total failure of this goal. But actually, it isn't! I never intend my eating to deprive myself of what I love, only find room for it. In the first half of the month, I was feeling really good. I had begun to understand my food "triggers" if you will, and was finding a good way to incorporate the things I love into a healthier lifestyle. I got a little bit sidetracked, but I don't feel like I'm too far off the path to find my way again.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: None... I still don't think I'm in a place to set hard parameters around my eating. I'm going to try another month with more mindful, intuitive eating and see where we are at the end of February. Food is hard, and that's okay. <3

Wake Up Earlier

I almost categorized this one in the "big losses" category, but then realized that I actually had made a marked change from December to January here. I thought waking up at 7:30 was going to work, and when it didn't, I blamed my alarm clock. "It was supposed to make waking up easier!" I said. But, it is an alarm, and not a magic wand :) I started waking up between 8-8:15, which is still almost 45 minutes to 1 hour earlier than I had been getting up. When I set the expectation of 7:30 and wake up at 8:10, I feel like I'm starting off the day with failure. So, if my long-term goal is to rise much earlier, I'm going to be a bit more bite-size getting to it.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: I am changing my alarm to 8 for February. Even if it is the same time, I will feel so much better if that time isn't associated with failing. Let's see how it goes! *THIS IS ONLY A WEEKDAY GOAL.*

Gratitude Journal Daily

Like many of my goals, this one started off really strong. I think I did 2 straight weeks of it. And then, one day off turned into completely dropping the ball until the end of the month. Fortunately, I really like doing it, but oftentimes, my routine makes it difficult. (Going to bed late, sleeping on the couch, etc.)

FEBRUARY CHANGE: None. I think I will try every day again in February. There really is no reason, other than all of the excuses I make up in my head, to not write for 5 minutes every night :) I'll try again as-is in February, and see how it goes!


"Me" Day Every Month

My January "me" day was getting the *cutest* hair cut of all time, and doing a little shopping at one of my favorite stores. I absolutely loved this. Is this to say that I didn't buy myself other stuff during the month of January? Heavens, no! But, it was an awesome opportunity to spend an entire day just doing the things I love, and not feeling bad about it in the least. Sometimes, we think about goals & resolutions as being things that change you - whether it is your weight or your habits or your relationships. But, it is really fun to make it a goal to just make myself happy.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: No change :) I have already planned my February day, and I am extremely excited for it. I think planning these days might be almost as exciting as living them out, because they create excitement throughout the month!

Read 12 Books in 2021

This one was just a few days away from falling into the loss category! I read the first ~10 pages of this book at my hair appointment on the 16th, and then didn't pick it up again until about 3 days ago. Even though the goal is to read 12 in the year, not necessarily 1 per month, I still want to do 1 per month, so I raced to finish it. The verdict? Will make you want to lay in bed with a blank stare and tears welling up in your eyes/10. This book is extremely beautiful and I give it my highest recommendation. An easy 3-day binge read, for sure.

FEBRUARY CHANGE: None! I already have a book picked out that I want to tackle this month, but if you have any book recommendations, let me know so I can add them into the queue for the rest of the year!

Take & Post an Insta Picture Daily

I. Love. This. Goal. I thought I'd feel annoying posting daily, or run out of things to post, but so far, I have simply loved it. I was looking back at my pictures through the pandemic, and the jump from December 2020 to March 2020 was like, 25 pictures. The pandemic has caused me to take so few pictures, so much so that I forget entire months of 2020 with no photos to remember them by! I love that this forces me to get creative and to get dressed most days, but I also really love that it is giving me documentation of my year that I can look back on. I am having a lot of fun with it, and am looking forward to 28 more photos in the month of February!

FEBRUARY CHANGE: No change to the goal specifically, but I do want to have a plan going into the day of what I'm going to take a picture of. A few times, I ended up in an "oh shit, it is 10pm and I haven't taken a picture" yet situation, and I'd love to *mostly* avoid that going forward!


I am quick to call myself a failure. I am working on it. This month, I did feel like a failure, a loser, a person who continually sets goals too high and is unable to reach them at times. Thankfully, I've been able to shift my mindset enough that I understand that failures are often stepping stones to success.

I'm proud of myself for writing this, and for evaluating my goals and making changes to them. In previous attempts at life-betterment, I'd delete any mention of these goals existing and pretend that, because they didn't exist, that I didn't fail. I understand the flaw in that logic, and am working to fix it. I'm also understanding that goals are not immovable objects. If your goal is too hard, change it. You aren't lazy or unmotivated for doing it, you just know what is going to work for you.

My "goals" didn't change. I still want to achieve all of the long-term goals I set. But the means of arriving there, month-to-month, need to adapt to what works and what doesn't. And I'm still learning what that is.

February starts on the 1st, and on a Monday... my absolute dream. Let's have a beautiful month! <3

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