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  • Writer's pictureTaha Habib

New Year, New Me (ish)

Updated: Jun 20, 2022




It’s that time of the year where we welcome a new year of opportunities, changes, challenges and gear ourselves to take on something new or set ourselves to improve on something from last year. “Resolutions” never quite set well with me, from when I first started making them, 15 or so years ago, to now. Starting my year digging firmly into the ground saying I will achieve, pursue, do, or make seemed like setting myself up for failure, disappointment and ultimately so much frustration. If the last two years have taught us anything is that there is no amount of planning and motivation that is going to stick in the face of chaos and natural disorder.


This year, even with the shaky start of isolation, I took the time to really sit with my ambitions and plans and do an exercise I have never done before. I wrote down all the things I want to accomplish this year, on paper and mentally. I wrote down why they were important to achieve, and whether they were something that would bear fruit right now, long term, for myself or for people around me as well.

These first parts I tend to do for many projects I take on. The logistical and practical mapping is always ongoing. But this time, I took the time to ask myself, for each of the items on my list:


How would I feel if I were to achieve it this year?

How would I feel if I had to delay it by a year?

How can I track success differently so that I don’t get disheartened on the long run?


I also had to factor in the emotional toll the rest of the pandemic was going to take on me, with such limited time spent with my family and friends and support systems that would be crucial for some of the projects I have in mind, and how many aspects of some projects were dependant certainties.

All this led me to narrow down on 4 goals that I felt I could realistically achieve by diversifying my KPIs for each goal and that would not hurt me too much if it took longer than a year to get this down. I objective is also to give it my best while still respecting the boundaries of me-time and down-time.


1. Getting my driver's license!

Why: Because it’s just a very convenient ID to have. Especially when travelling, I don’t want to carry my passport to pubs anymore. It will also be good for me to share the driving responsibilities with my partner and finally be able to plan long couples and family road trips that we always talk about but never do because my partner would have to be the only driver and that sucks!

How:

  • I am searching for driving schools in my neighbourhood or close to me so that I can go in-person if possible.

  • I have completely blocked off my Fridays, making sure that this is one day in the entire week that is alll mine and I have no obligations other than driving related work/study time and relaxing.

  • I will save up specifically for all my driving school fees to make sure there is no interruption for the courses on my end.



2. Practicing fearlessness while building strong foundations for my freelance consulting business.

Why: I want to be more in control of what I am putting out into the world, and I want the appreciation of my work to come from me first. Working for other people over the last decade has shown me that I wasn’t always afforded the luxury of truly believing in what I was doing or saying. This is a scary and very new feeling to completely dive into freelance work that is based on my perspectives, my skills but also my lived experience. Practicing fearlessness is important to me, because like many millennials striking out on their own, my mind is constantly cluttered with thought distortions, I often fall prey to imposter syndrome, and I just don’t want that to stop me from making something great that I will surely love.

How:

  • I started thinking about what I want my freelance worker / consultant life to look like and set off some clear boundaries last year, in December, that I was able to successfully communicate with potential clients. I didn’t want to work more than 25 hours / week. I realised that I didn’t need to put in 40 hours every week to get valuable content. I knew myself enough to figure out a schedule that was true to the work I was going to put out, and that gave me enough flexibility to take on personal projects that were dear to me (painting, home organising).

  • I set goals for each project that will benefit the client and the ones that will benefit me as a professional and my budding business.

  • I picked projects to work on that I knew I could deliver my 100% to every time, with clients and teams I genuinely clicked with.

  • I worked on how my services will feel and the impact they will have before I started to work on the surface of how it will look and be packaged.



3. Reading more, watching less TV.

Why: I have collected an impressive list of non-fiction books over the last few months of my "break" and I intend on reading every one of them. These reads were suggested by a few podcasts I love (namely Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us, and Bethaney Wilkinson’s The Diversity Gap) and they will take me on a deeper journey to understanding, practicing and sewing in meaningful EDI work into my service offerings.

How:

  • Start small: instead of watching TV, scrolling my feed or playing video games in bed at night before sleeping, I will give myself 30 minutes of reading.

  • Buddy system: I enlisted my partner as my reading buddy. He reads a lot on his computer anyway, so now our weekday bedtime routine is going to bed a little earlier and he reads on his kindle while I ready a paper book.



4. Continuing my healthy lifestyle goals I set in 2021.

Why: Last year, after months of feeling terrible (physically and emotionally due to quarantine life) I started Noom, and over 6 months had managed to lose 30lbs and pick up some great new habits. I felt AMAZING. But after moving into a new apartment and having so much to set up, I fell off the trail and never really got back on after August.

How:

  • Stop being afraid of the scale, and stop letting the fear of the scale blur my ways of measuring success

  • Eat more healthy foods. Following Noom’s colour system, I will focus on making dishes at home that play up the green foods (veggies, unprocessed low calorie density foods). I started meal planning and my partner and I have come up with a schedule for who is making what. This is an opportunity to try out so many new recipes.

  • I post about my food to keep me accountable to my sister who is also on Noom and starting her healthy lifestyle journey.

  • I measure my sleep, my breathing, my control of appetite and energy levels throughout the day for a more holistic approach to my health than just watching the weight go down on the scale.

  • I work out twice a week (for sure!) and continue to see my personal trainer.


I know that with the help of my partner, family, trainer and therapist, I will be able to hold myself accountable at every step and work hard to achieve these goals. And if they take longer, they’ll take longer, at least I will be planting some longterm seeds!

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