It’s unbelievable, but we are already 6 months into 2021, and I relish reflecting on half a year of learning and growth around the same time that I celebrate my birthday in June. This year has had its share of challenges as well, and it’s also an opportunity to contemplate grief and growth. I personally have attended two funerals already in 2021, having lost a friend at the end of 2020 and my girlfriend’s grandma in January.
Mining the lessons and gems in it all.
I find it important to look back and celebrate wins in Quarter 1 & 2 and strategize what’s missing, what can go, and what to recommit to creating in terms of habits, action steps, plans and milestones.
Today in episode 57 of the podcast and the blog, I’m sharing an update on my results from the first half of the year and planning for success in the next 6 months.
This is an update to Podcast 032: Theme, Vision, & Project Planning for 2021, the 2021 Theme, Goals, & Vision Blog, and the Stand & Objectives for 2021 YouTube Video. In those I shared my objectives for the year and here you’ll see how it’s actually going!
Year Theme & Big Picture
I wanted to start by revisiting this year’s theme and my big-picture life Purpose, Essence, Mission, and Vision of what I am up to. In this context, I can evaluate whether each of my individual goals for the year still make sense along with looking at my results so far. Actually, it’s helpful for me to review these elements regularly to make sure my actions are in alignment and to help prioritize my time and energy.
Stand for 2021: Abundance & Contentment / Reichtum & Zufriedenheit; overall, my sense of satisfaction is high thanks to the strength of my mindfulness and gratitude practices, and I am so thankful that I have weathered the pandemic with my health and grown in the process. I feel happy and thankful and am at the same time always learning, growing, and improving.
Purpose: Joy; Essence: Buoyant, Creative, Curious, Love, Leader
Mission: to inspire and equip dancers and liberated citizens
Vision: supporting students/clients/colleagues/community to live extraordinary lives through dance and yoga education and coaching
Starting Strong in January
This month was about visioning, starting new goals & consistent habits which included a monthly increase in the daily duration of my meditation to reach 20 minutes this year, daily poetry, etc. Right away these goals were challenged, as I attended two funerals that month, having lost a friend at the end of 2020 and my girlfriend’s grandma in January.
My focus in February was celebrating love in all it’s forms, Valentine’s Day, and especially self-love and care. This consisted of Artist’s Dates, Creativity, practicing childlike wonder, as well as at-home spa fare such as Face masks, Mani-Pedis, & Bath Bombs.
In march I played the Minsgame with paper clutter, etc. and also worked on some other exciting projects that I hope to be able to share with you soon.
Move Your Body Minimal Fitness April (+Poetry +Letter-Writing)
In April I focused on Minimal Fitness, Cross-Training, Physical Therapy; also some Spring Cleaning (windows, fridge…), reading and writing poetry, and correspondence (April is National Poetry Month and National Letter-Writing Month in the US and I like to celebrate both).
Healthy Eating May
May was a great time to revisit my eating habits and maximize fresh fruits and veggies and nutrients for energy and healing, including making Smoothies all the time and Jar Salads.
June: Open back up for my 40th Birthday!
Enjoyed a wonderful celebration of my life so far here in Cologne and in the Ahr Valley, did lots of reflecting, created a playlist, and partied down! Renewed German Work Visa (for 2 years!). I also got vaccinated for COVID-19 to protect myself and others.
Results Q1 & 2 (What Happened with my Projects)
- Renewed my US Passport from abroad (what a process!) in May, prior to its November expiration date, due to needing it to exceed my work visa
- Granted a 2-Year Arbeitsvisum (Work Visa) in June
- YouTube: 36 Videos, 68 subscribers (+37), 4,100 Views, 120 hours of Watch Time
- Blog: published 24 blogs, got started on SEO tracking and metrics to optimize
- Podcast: Hit one year as a podcaster, produced 52 podcasts in the year (57 total), 230 total plays
- Teaching online, now resumed live & hybrid teaching
- Social Media: producing “Monday Messages” consistently, enjoy creating an aesthetically attractive feed with photos and inspiring quotes, 317 Facebook page likes, 71 IG followers THANKS to those of you who have been following me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the Blog and the Podcast: it means a lot!
- German A2.2 Completed with Lingoda in May, now nearly complete with B1.1, finished Duolingo German Tree (working on “Legendary” to keep in practice)
- Financial Plan – not yet meeting all targets, but I’ve been seeing slow growth and tracking income, seeing some increase in teaching this summer as we come out of quarantine, but will keep up social media marketing, pursuing opportunities as they present themselves
- Reading Challenge – ahead, 22 books read out of 30 and I have so so many more that I want to read in the next 6 months! If you use Goodreads, I’d love to be connected there, and I’ve recently become addicted to Readwise (30-day free trial), which I’ve found to be a fantastic tool to review past reading, keep learning fresh and tag topics for future reference
- Writing & Publishing – Blog writing consistently, Haiku Challenge & Blog on-track, still undecided what to publish first and when
- Yoga Practice & Study, Ayurveda, Adaptive Yoga, Chakras, Alchemy & Elements
- Fitness & Cross-Training – I’ve been pretty consistent PT & mini-workout (yay!), but no progress on Pull-Ups or Handstands
- Meditation Challenge & Study – Participated in a Deepak Chopra 21-Day Program, July is 19 minutes per day, August 20 and then I will maintain that going forward
- Poetry – I have written 177 Haiku Poems for my daily challenge this year and will keep going, as well as learning about other poetic forms and reading new selections
- Music – taught myself “Hawaiian Lullabye,” started working on learning “Danny Boy” on Harmonica
- Spirit & Magic – the yoga and meditation practices above, purposeful work, reading the Bible and Quran, prayer practice on track (behind if I want to finish the Quran this year, but I’m ok going consistently slowly), weekly Tarot card pull, started work on Magic Wand, Full Moon crystal charging, monthly altar decoration
- Friendship & Love Letters – I’ve been pretty intentional lately about reaching out to loved ones (though it can always improve), but I’ve been letting my written correspondence slide
- Fun, Festivity, Recipes & Food – strong in this area! Meals together, pick a new dish to try each month (salads, goulash, corn soup…), Artist’s Dates and treats, crafts, Feierabends together with my girlfriend, restaurants & cafes when open in June, epic birthday celebration (still want to celebrate with my family in-person and travel more soon)
What’s Missing/Grows & What’s Next
Therefore I have identified areas of growth as business/financial/savings, getting my German driver’s license, traveling and supporting my family (ok fair, it’s been pandemic and I’ve been trying to get established in a new country, but still an important goal), growing my audience so that more people can benefit from my offerings (it IS growing, but slower than I expected), increasing my know-how on book publishing (writing itself is progressing), writing more letters, and building in practice for Pull-Ups and Handstands.
Now that my work visa has been extended, it’s time to get serious about studying for my German Driver’s License. I’ve got an app to help with the theoretical part, and will schedule First Aid, the Eye Exam, Theoretical, and Practical portions, but not likely this summer. Goal of Fall.
My crochet hobby for Artist’s Dates/Creativity/ was great in the winter, but is definitely more fun in the cooler months, so will officially drop it now, possibly resuming in October.
Letter-Writing is something I love but procrastinate on anyhow. Something is missing in my system here, so I will work to make it a habit. I am also reading the book I Want to Thank You: How a Year of Gratitude Can Bring Joy and Meaning in a Disconnected World by Gina Hamadey as inspiration.
I haven’t been practicing my Pull-Ups, but still really want this skill! Will hang from my pull-up bar as I pass, and try out the variations in the video Your First Pull-Up from Lucy Lismore.
Like Pull-Ups, I have dropped the ball on Handstands, but I want to be able to perform this skill freestanding. Currently I have no problem holding a handstand against a wall, but will work on variations from the video Learn how to Handstand to improve.
Will revisit my targets to keep them SMART and Futurable, build out my project plans and accountability for the next 6 months, celebrate milestones along the way, and keep going creating content, value, and sharing my process!
- Goal-Setting for Dancers Blog
- Powerful Portfolios to Catalyze Action Blog
- Healthy Habit-Building Blog
- Reflective Practice Through Journaling Blog
- Meditation Practice Challenge Blog
- Seeking Sweet Sleep Blog
- Persistence Podcast
- Resilience Podcast
What are you creating in 2021?
- I’m curious to know, how are you doing so far in 2021?
- What goals and projects did you decide upon in January, and where are they now?
- What will you continue, re-commit to, or strategize to succeed in?
- What are you willing to simply let go?
Let me know by email from my website, or on the Facebook Page!
Blythe C. Stephens, MFA
she/her or they/them
A Blythe Coach: Dance Education & Coaching
move through life with balance, grace, & power