About a year ago, right after my trip to Bucharest to see the parade on National Day (which was the last flight I’ve ever taken before the pandemic, sad puppy face) I was writing a piece about 10 goals that I’ll be implementing in 2020. There was nothing there about a virus that would shut everything down, complete with anxiety, uncertainty, and madness at some points.
Nevertheless, I remembered that I wrote the piece and, as a good blogger and content creator as I like to think of myself as being, I decided to do a rundown of the goals or habits and see what’s worked and what didn’t. I’m as curious as you are as to what I’ve done with my “bucket list for 2020”, simply because 2020 was so… eventful, let’s say, more than any other year.
Goal 1 for 2020: Save 33,3%Of My Income
My eternal problem? Money. Not so much money, money, but savings. I suck at money management! No really, I heavily suck at savings. I make good money, yet I’m broke when it comes to savings. Why? Because I’m an impulsive buyer with a very expensive hobby: travel. For the past two years, I’ve spent close to 40% of my income solely on trips.
What happened with Goal 1 of 2020: I did it! Simple as that! I’ve managed to secure one third (actually more, around 40%) of my income into savings. Money I’m never touching unless there’s 1) a great investment opportunity (I want to buy an apartment, but I’m not quite there yet) or 2) something super bad happens and we need money right away. But yeah… I did it!!!
Goal 2 for 2020: Meditate Daily
Meditation might sound boring, stupid, even occult to some. But for me, it made a ton of a difference a few years back, when I was left without a job, a relationship and had some personal issues not many would’ve been able to go through alone. Simply sitting still is not easy, which is why most people who go into meditation fail to make a habit out of it, and leave the practice aside after the first month.
What happened to Goal 2 of 2020: Honestly, this one hasn’t been going so well as the first. Why? Simply because despite all odds, I’ve been very busy in 2020. It’s been a heck of a year for all of us freelance workers, but still, somehow, I’ve managed to secure clients and make a buck or two. My free time was limited. I did meditate, a lot, but no, not on a daily basis.
Goal 3 for 2020: Read One Book Every Two Weeks
I’ve struggled with reading for these past two or three years since I’ve become my own boss. And I do feel dumber for some reason. I just feel like I’m missing out on so many great reads, it’s almost embarrassing. What’s more embarrassing is, I also have a Kindle that is stuffed with books. Books that I never read. Books that were extremely expensive. And now they just sit there, on the device, waiting for me to read them.
What happened to Goal 3 for 2020: Let’s just say I’m still a phone addict and have spent more time on Instagram, scrolling through Stories from people I don’t know anything about instead of doing something of value, like reading. I’ve been reading more throughout summer, yes. But still, I’m nowhere near the 100+ books I should’ve read. In 2021, I’ll read much more. I already do.
Goal 4 for 2020: Delete Social Media Apps From My Phone
Starting January 1st, 2020 I will delete all social media apps from my phone. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat (I don’t even have it but I’ll delete it anyway) and so on, all of them will be gone by the time the clock hits 00:00 and everybody screams “Happy New Year!” like they’re all born on the same date, at the same time.
What happened to Goal 4 of 2020: Not much. Still doing Facebook on the phone. Still using Instagram for that dopamine hit. But these last couple of weeks, from November onward, something strange has happened. I sort of realised the wholeness, the emptiness of these tools for the benefit of “fun” or “entertainment”. They’re so useless. They mean so little. They might be good sometimes, but for the most part, I’m literally not interested in them anymore. I don’t have to delete them, as they’re important for business and chatting with friends, but for the posting and scrolling part? I’m just over it. Have I matured?!
Goal 5 for 2020: Quit Social Media Entirely For 30 Days
In 2020, I will live an entire month without social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, nothing. Not even email. Well, this last one is hard to get away from for a full month, but I’ll manage somehow.
What happened to Goal 5 of 2020: If you remember, at least some of you, in the month of January of this year I had basically vanished from social media all in all. I wasn’t on Instagram posting my daily Stories, on Facebook ranting about politics or events for nobody to read, I was just off. It was great, hard at first, but very rewarding. I’ll surely repeat this off social media time in 2021, maybe in much higher doses, now that… well, go back to Goal 4 and see.
Goal 6 for 2020: Cut Bad Foods To 0%
By the 31st of December, 2020 I will cut bad foods to absolute zero and forever out of my life. In my view, bad foods represent three things: processed sugars, deep-fried stuff and heavily flowered goods. Candy, chocolate, cake, KFC, Pepsi (even the diet ones, actually, especially the diet ones) burgers, pretzels, pastries. I will slowly, meticulously turn away from them and find healthy alternatives for them.
What happened to Goal 6 of 2020: This once again didn’t work. Why? Because you can’t just cut something out of your life forever. Not even sugar, which is bad for you. It has its purpose, as it so happens with bread, fats, chips, everything. They’re there for a reason and, if consumed moderately, will help you stay sharp and eat well for the most part. It’s really about balance. “Forever” doesn’t work because nothing lasts forever. Especially a sugar diet…
Goal 7 for 2020: Travel At Least Once Every Month
In 2019, I managed to leave the country about 9 or 10 times. In 2020, I’m planning on going out of the country 12 times, so an average of once every month.
What happened to Goal 7 of 2020: Ok, do we really have to go through this hell again? 2020 has been the WORST year in history in terms of travel. I’m not even gonna… well, look, I’ve still been to some incredible places, like this cabin in the Apuseni Mountains. Or that time I drove up the Transfagarasan Highway? That weekend at the Danube, also. Amazing! But still, international travel simply didn’t happen.
Goal 8 for 2020: Spend More Time In Nature
I want to do at least 5 nature trips this year. Going out on the trails, sleeping in the woods, or up the mountains, even do some great walks you can do for very little money. My goal is to do at least one of the two walks I’ve always wanted to do, the Tour de Mont Blanc or the Camino Primitivo, two of the most famous walks in all of Europe.
What happened to Goal 8 of 2020: We were all set to go for the Tour de Mont Blanc all the way until the lockdowns began. We were even setting for plane tickets and stays, but everything felt through as countries began to close. I’m so looking forward to 2021 and the possibility to finally do these trips, these nature treks that I’ve been dreaming about for ages!
Goal 9 for 2020: Write And Publish My Novel
In 2020, I want to partially rewrite and finally publish my novel. I don’t care how great or how bad it’s going to be. All I want is for that motherf***er to be published and it’s happening in the next 12 months or so. I will keep you posted.
What happened to Goal 9 of 2020: It wasn’t a novel, but a book on freelancing, the thing that’s been my full-time jam over the past 5 incredible years. 2020 has been a blessing in terms of finances, saving money, and work. It’s been the best year so far, so yes, if you turn on the light you do see the good in the bad, and the ugly. My book sold over 100 copies, which is HUGE for me, in a single month after publishing it on Amazon. Check it out!
Goal 10 for 2020: Smile More
Smiling is essential to me. Whatever I do, I need to smile in order to keep going. Sometimes it comes easily, but many times I figured I simply forget to smile and let the situation that I’m in take over. Which turns into a drama way bigger than it actually is and leaves me with no control over it. By smiling, you take back that primal control of your brain’s activities. You create a gap between thoughts and emotions, which can be quite powerful and stressful at times, and your true self.
What happened to Goal 10 of 2020: It was a hard year for a true smile. For a heartwarming laugh. It was tough to even think about happiness, and what it means to be happy for no reason, let alone smile for no reason. There weren’t many reasons to smile, actually. And yet if I weren’t smiling for no reason this year, countless times, I’d probably be in a looney bin by now.
And I’m not there yet, fortunately. I got close to it, several times, but I just laughed at my “struggles” and moved on. It worked, as it does every single time. Smiling is not just therapeutic. It’s the secret to everything that you try to do in life. All it takes is a smile, and you’re 90% there.
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