New year, new goals

Posted on December 31, 2017

I’ve never really liked New Year’s Eve. It’s too glitzy, too close on the heels of Christmas to have any real anticipation built up around it, and too full of pressure to round up friends, make plans and stay out late.

Do you know what I always really want to be doing on New Years Eve at midnight? I want to be at home, in my pajamas, holding a mug of tea as I lean out the window to watch a few distant fireworks (if I lean far enough out the window, almost to the point where toppling down onto the cobblestones below seems like an actual possibility, I can just barely see a few stray fireworks from Castel Sant’Angelo). And then, maybe fifteen minutes later, I want to be in my bed. I know – I’m exactly the kind of lively, energetic person you want to invite to your party.

It’s just that I’ve always felt like it’s more important to start the new year off on the right note rather than to see the old one (which often feels like it’s long since worn out its welcome) out in style. This past year has been challenging  in a lot of different ways, and it’s left me feeling drained and on edge. It’s not that it’s been bad, but it has pushed me and pulled me and made me feel, at times, like there were so many areas where I was falling short of some kind of ideal.

But as 2017 draws to a close, it’s also leaving me with a sense of renewed motivation and direction; I guess you could call it an overall upward feeling. I’ve always shied away from making New Year’s resolutions, knowing how they tend to evaporate as the first few weeks of January slip by and the newness of the year wears off. And I’m still not making resolutions this year – or rather, I am, but I’m calling them goals, which makes them feel more solid and attainable, and I’m writing them down and posting them here, out in the open, to create a sense of – I don’t know, accountability?

This is more or less what I scrawled down in a notebook a couple of weeks ago:

Be more productive with my time, particularly my “free” time, of which there never seems to be enough. If I can be more efficient and more disciplined with time (read this as: stop procrastinating so much), I can probably get around to accomplishing a lot more.

Launch two side projects: I’ve had two side-business ideas on the back burner for ages now. I want to tackle them both and get them out the door in the first half of 2018 so that they can stop being ideas and start actually earning something.

Write on a regular basis, even when it feels incredibly difficult and the words aren’t flowing: I’ve been told that the only way to become a better, more productive writer is to force myself to write frequently, through the writers block and the blank moments and all.

Learn more: I want to make time to expand my horizons and seek out new things, and to learn new strategies, concepts and techniques related to both my job and my hobbies.

Get my Italian drivers’ licence, finally: This is actually the scariest goal on this entire list, because getting the licence involves navigating Italian bureaucracy, studying for an exam that seems designed to trip up even native Italian speakers, and, eventually, parallel parking while an examiner and instructor watch, which practically makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. And the worst part: I already did all this, back in Canada, when I was sixteen years old!

Master the intricacies of complicated Italian grammar: My Italian is objectively very good, but there are whole verb tenses (trapassato remoto, I’m looking at you) that I understand perfectly, but can’t accurately or consistently use in conversation. Most of the time it’s fine, but sometimes it ends up feeling like a bit of a stumbling block, and it’s standing in the way of true fluency. A bit of time with a grammar textbook would make a big difference there.

Get better at knowing when to say yes and when to say no to opportunities and experiences that push me outside of my comfort zone. I know that a lot of the time, the best and most enriching experiences will be the ones that don’t necessarily feel the most comfortable. But I also know that some things are just not worth the time, effort, and the stress, and I need to acknowledge that and be able to shamelessly say no.

This quote from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi seems to sum everything up pretty nicely: “Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.” And I think, more or less, that’s exactly what I’m hoping to get out of 2018.

I’m curious to hear your goals (or resolutions, or objectives, or… whatever you want to call them) for this upcoming year. Feel free to share them in the comments!

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Comments on this post

Jenn 31 December 2017 at 7:37 pm

I loved this post, Sara! Curled up with a glass of wine, cheese and crackers, and my frumpiest pjs. I’ll be posting a blog on a similar topic soon! Looking forward to many coffee dates and dinners in 2018! xo

    Sara White 1 January 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Sounds like you did New Years Eve just right! I sadly did not get to wear my PJs and was out decidedly later than I wanted to be, although there were rooftop fireworks, so it wasn’t all bad. Looking forward to reading your blog post and I can’t wait for all those dinners and coffee dates!

Frank Zollo 31 December 2017 at 9:12 pm

Just want to thank you for your beautiful IG pics all year long. You have a great eye. I was able to spend 5 days in Rome in September this year, and your photos put me right back there.

    Sara White 1 January 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you, Frank! I’m so glad my Instagram photos have been helping you relive a bit of your Rome trip!

Elena 1 January 2018 at 4:16 am

Happy New Year, Sara! I wish all your goals be reached in time. I have almost the same ones (but with only one project to become alive) as I have also moved to Rome more than 4 years ago. To add there are just the goals about having new English-speaking friends and trying new sports as sailing and surfing this summer. Also to meet up with you for coffee would be one of my NY wishes :)

    Sara White 1 January 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Happy New Year to you too! Trying new sports is such a good goal – actually, I’d also love to learn how to sail. We can definitely meet up for coffee sometime soon – I’ll send you an email and we can set something up!

Estrella 3 January 2018 at 9:28 pm

These are definitely great goals to have and I can see you accomplishing them sooner than you think! I am especially interested in hearing more about the side projects you mentioned. Very excited for this year ahead of you and to see what great things are in store.

Julianna 11 March 2018 at 11:55 pm

I happened onto you blog searching for info on Casperia, and I have to tell you how much I enjoy it. You have an eye for taking photos, as well.

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