2014: 5 GOALS

There is always risk in vocalising/publicising things you WANT to do, as there is always the chance you don’t follow through and end up looking like an idiot. However, there is power in sharing, and so perhaps sharing my ‘goals’ for 2014 will help keep me on my toes. I don’t think I’ll accomplish all of these: but I think I will accomplish some, and importantly, it will be good for me to try to.


I mentioned in my last post my desire to be stretched and challenged. It has occurred to me that this is really up to me to orchestrate.

One of the things I have put in place to ensure this happens with the people I spend time with and speak to. I added in a ‘social justice’ mentor to that group at the end of 2013 by asking one of my heroes to ask me tough questions once a month. I have given a few close friends permission to pull me on things they think I should be doing better. And being ‘intentional’ (sorry to use such a cliché) with the people I’m friends with is another goal that will stretch me – see number 5.

My skill-set needs broadened and enriched. Professionally, I’m good at what I do, but I could be better. I’m too young to peak. So I’m taking a training course starting next week, making sure that I find myself in situations where I feel ever-so-slightly intimated, and trying to develop an attitude of teachability to take with me wherever I go so that I make the most of the opportunities available. I get to work with some fantastic people and I want to learn as much as I can. My main work goals won’t be published here: but I’ll maybe blog about them as they develop in the year to come!

But also personally, I need to continue learning. Practical stuff like brushing up on my italian, learning a new game, trying new recipes, even changing up the way I organise my wardrobe…and, dare I say it, driving – MAYBE THIS YEAR?! I know, I know, the shame… Practical challenges are so great for shaping us – and for showing us that maybe we’re a little more capable than we think (I bled a boiler last year and was on top of the world for a couple of hours!) My friend Dave has set himself some corkers: check them out here.

And I need my ideas to be sharpened, enlarged. This happens in conversation and interaction, but also, I hope, by attempting to reach my next goal:


I am a great reader and last year read awfully. I had no structure to my reading schedule and rarely prioritised it. Ugh. So this year, I hope to read 4 books a month. Not one a week as each week is different, but I’d like to make it to the end of the month by having read four books on various topics and from various angles.

I’ll definitely be reporting back on this one here – and maybe you can tell me what you’re reading, too!


I always love looking back and relishing moments of life passed. I always love looking forward and dreaming about moments of life to come. But the present is a bit trickier. I’m going to try to reflect more on the present this year. Based on the Frederick Buechner quote below, my cousin has inspired me to plan for some of this to happen here.

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.


Rather trivial but maybe not. I usually drink 0.5l of Diet Coke a day. This is expensive (though I’m good at hunting down the 3 for 2 deals), not all that healthy (natural ingredients? Pff…) and I find it slightly troubling to be consuming the same product each day: I can live without it, but I am slightly hooked and I know it. I don’t want to need any substance daily. So I’m easing off a bit (note: not completely, because it is still very nice). I’m aiming for 3 DC-free days a week.


I have so many lovely people in my life whom I love dearly, but I don’t love them well enough. I have good moments, but then there are times when I am not ‘there’, when I should put more thought into what I say, when I could do more to make someone’s day a little brighter. To be honest with you, I sometimes get lost in the enormity of big problems like forced labour or sex trafficking, and forget to spend energy on individuals. It’s something I’ve recognised in myself and that I don’t like. If I am concerned about the ‘big issues’ because of my belief that humans are valuable, I need to treat the humans I am in contact with as though they are valuable. I am not going to set myself quotas or time goals here: but I’m going to try to listen more to my friends’ needs, and respond appropriately.

There we go – 5 things I’m going to try to do this year. I may end up reading 2 books one month, and I will inevitably let someone down this year. But I’m looking forward to setting my sights high and living life somewhere between there and here.

OH! An honorary 6th goal: GET MARRIED WITHOUT BEING CONSUMED BY WEDDING FEVER. We have a marriage to prepare for, not just a wedding to plan. 25th October: the best day of our lives so far? Probably. But we want our marriage to have the best foundation possible on October 25th. You can keep me grounded on this one: too much talk of lace and lyrics? Tell me!

9 thoughts on “2014: 5 GOALS

  1. Great stuff Gemma! I love that being slow to learn to drive is more widespread than just our part of the family. Don’t listen to the driving fascists. And I like the small-but-important-to-you goals like drinking less Diet Coke (vile stuff).

    I need to think more about my goals. My main one was to start doing some writing, which I’ve already done. Go me! So I guess that means now my main goal is to keep the burst of blogging enthusiasm going beyond January.

    I’m also struck by what you say about being stretched and challenged. I’ve been realising that I don’t like doing things I’m not confident of being immediately good at. So becoming a learner at something I find difficult would do me good. Ideas?

    1. The driving-fascists are coming on strong these days, JM. I will stand strong (or not).

      Do you dance? It strikes me than something that appeals to various senses like that is therapeutic as well as stretching when we’re new to it? Also, I think you would dance a mean fox-trot.

      1. Ah now you’ve made me very uncomfortable with the dancing question. Because I kind of know it would be exactly the kind of thing that would be good for me. AND it would be much appreciated by my wife. But I really don’t like dancing. So thanks for that! 😉

  2. Love the idea of adding some structure to your reading. I always love having a few books on the go at once and my reading is always a bit ad hoc. You’ve inspired me to be more intentional with it. Looking forward to hearing what you’re reading!

    I too was slow to drive. I like to think I enjoyed lots of conversations getting lifts I wouldn’t have otherwise had! And if you lived in Dublin no one would bat an eyelid…

  3. Great goals Gemma. Guessing the DC will be the toughest. You might find caffeine withdrawl issues with a 4 days off/3 days on programme. I’d suggest a more gradual approach 🙂

  4. hi Gemma, I’m 36 yrs old and a non-driver . Sometimes I am embarrassed/ashamed but the last few years I’ve began to think that it’s not going to be possible for everybody on the planet to drive without wrecking the environment and we should get used to walking/cycling/taking public transport/give lifts etc. It would be even nice to think that one day not driving a car was seen as something good or even normal instead of something a bit weird for a 36yr old man.

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