Year of Quality

Last week I posted a Twitter thread about my theme for 2019, inspired by Cortex and their frequent discussion of setting themes rather than resolutions at the beginning of the year. I’m on the record of being very pro-resolutions and yearly resets, in part because my birthday as at the end of the year. It’s a new year in the Gregorian calendar and in my life! My preferred strategy is to decide on a one-word theme and a set of ten goals that relate back to that theme.

In 2017, my focus was on traveling, and I went to eight new countries. In 2018, I wanted to focus on creating new projects, but it instead ended up being a transition year for me. I graduated, moved back home for the summer, and then moved to Chicago. Between school, work, life changes, and unexpected setbacks, there was a lot less creating than I would have preferred.

But as I turn to 2019, I’m setting myself up a lot better for a year of tighter focus and specific projects. I decided the best representation of my goals this year is “Year of Quality.” The quantity of things in my life is going down, but the quality of what remains is (hopefully) going up. The primary example of what I’m leaving behind is my YouTube channel: I will not be making videos in 2019. I made more YouTube videos than ever before in 2018, but ultimately the channel is just a hobby. It doesn’t make any money and it barely reaches an audience, and ultimately is not financially or creatively fulfilling in my life the way that podcasting is. Considering how much time video editing takes in relation to podcast editing, it’s time for me to let the channel go—or at least take a substantial break.

(Small note: I am still working on editing a short film that I filmed earlier in 2018.)

But YouTube is not the only thing I’m leaving behind! I also left my part-time job at a theater. I’ve luckily gotten to the point where I have enough freelance clients that I do not have to keep this position anymore. Working at the theater was actually pretty fun, but the schedule was starting to restrict my ability to take on more clients and schedule meetings for my other job, which is for a remote company.

Finally, I plan on not dating in 2019. I tend not to talk about my relationships online too much (except when I think it’s funny), but suffice it to say I’m what’s commonly known as a “serial monogamist.” I’m unclear on how that’s happened because I love being alone and am not particularly social, but here we are. I’ve spent much of the last seven years in one relationship or another and I’m ready to take a break.

Those are the reductions, so what’s left? Here are my top ten goals for this year, in very rough order of priority:

  1. Complete production on [redacted], a limited run podcast arriving very soon.

  2. Produce [redacted], an open run podcast arriving… at some point. Feel free to periodically yell at me until this is announced because boy have I had this idea for a long time.

  3. Complete season 3 of Corner of the Sky.

  4. Get 50 rejections: this is a more unusual choice, but something that I’ve seen around Twitter. By setting the goal in terms of rejections, not applications, I feel like I’m both putting myself out there for more opportunities and embracing the inevitable amount of failure that follows.

  5. Widen my personal and professional audio circles: this is vaguer than I prefer goals to be, but it’s something important to me and not easily quantifiable. It could easily be paired with my “50 rejections” goal, but ultimately I just want to be meeting more people in person and online in my field.

  6. Finance like an adult: by the end of this year I want to have a firm emergency fund, start investing, have organized my business and personal expenses, and upgraded my credit cards.

  7. Hold a consistent work schedule: I have been completely useless at this for my entire life, but now that I have almost total control over my schedule I’m working on confining work hours to certain times of the day (what a concept!) as well as incorporating exercise and other habits into a regular schedule.

  8. Write something every week: Ultimately I hope to publish more consistently on this blog and elsewhere, but I’m setting it as a general “write something” rather than “publish something” goal so that it doesn’t take too much away from my podcasting focus. I also will count journaling as fulfilling this goal.

  9. Travel somewhere every month: I’m trying to take advantage of aforementioned control over my time and cheap Midwestern Megabus tickets. I’ve already got a few big trips planned (PodCon this month, Memphis in February) and intend to take a lot of day trips to nearby cities this year.

  10. Read 25 books: In 2018 I set the goal to read 12 books and I read 22, half of which after I moved in September. I hope to carry this momentum and my Chicago Public Library card into 2019.

Those are all my 2019 goals! Of course there’s always more that I want to get done, but I put a lot of thought into what I believe will be the most fulfilling to pursue this year. What are your goals?