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A Fresh Start

Moving forward with my goals for 2021—and how I plan to keep up with them.

By Jaci SchreckengostPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
A Fresh Start
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

A note, before we get started: Let me say, I’m incredibly thankful and understand the privilege I had being an employed person in 2020. That, however, doesn’t mean I can’t work on my balance.


In 2020, I spent a lot of time working—way too much time working. There were days (more than I’d like to admit) in which I spent 16 hours staring at my computer, typing, trying to juggle what felt like a million things at the same time. I realized I was not capable of this lifestyle; I really don’t think anyone is.

Like so many people, my work/life balance became virtually non-existent last year. Between grad school, working multiple jobs, and volunteering, I had forgotten to schedule in something important: time for myself. I was fully running on autopilot, and it finally caught up with me later in the year.

Thankfully, I’ve been seeing a counselor for over a year now, and she was able to help me get on the right track. Last year, we began by tracking the amount of time I was working. When I had the actual data in front of me, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe how much time I was spending sitting at my computer. I finally realized this wasn’t sustainable, and I needed to make some changes.

So, what did this mean? It meant that I had to take an inventory of what I was doing (point A), what I wanted to do (point B), and what I needed to do to get from point A to point B.

Last year, therapy was essentially the only form of self-care I used. I was awful at setting goals, spending time on myself, or doing anything sustainable. I didn’t workout, I didn’t read or write nearly as much as I wanted to, I didn’t do any of the things that made me feel like I was taking care of myself.

I took inventory of everything I was doing. It was, admittedly, a lot. None of it was helping me relax or restart. I finally could tell how drained I was when I had a weekend off, slept for most of it, and still woke up on Monday morning exhausted. I realized my fatigue wasn’t one that could be fixed with a couple good nights of sleep; I knew I had to make changes on a daily basis.

Right now, I’ve got a number of goals that I’m working on to change my lifestyle.

That brings me to my first goal for the year: skin care. There are few things better to me than feeling confident in my own skin and, of course, taking good care of my skin helps me feel that way. It’s also time for myself where I can sing to whatever songs are in my Spotify queue.

I also love reading. In 2020, I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to, because I didn’t set enough time aside. For 2021, I created a reading goal of 100 books and even published a reading list.

Late last year, I even started a Bookstagram. (You can follow along at @JaciReads, if you’re interested.) I created this account as a way to motivate myself, engage with other fellow book lovers, and keep up with everything I’ve read.

I make sure that I set aside time to write—like right now. I joined Vocal in January of 2021 as a way to make sure I always had somewhere to share my writing.

The challenges have also been a really great motivator to help me write for fun—again, like right now. I write a lot but more often than not, it’s for my coursework. That’s great, and I totally should be doing that. I also need to make time to write for fun; it’s one of my favorite things to do, and I can only get better through practice.

I also combined my love for reading and writing, as I’ve posted one book review and am working on others. (Make sure to keep an eye out!)

I’m really worried that I’m going to get a couple months into the year and realize I’m falling into the same pit I found myself in last year. That’s why I’m keeping a close eye on myself. I’m tracking the time I spend on myself—not to limit it, but to make sure I’m spending enough time on myself.

These goals are ones that I’m excited to continue by scheduling out more time. I have to remember these are the things that make me happy, make me refresh, and make me ready to take on the next day ahead.

One way I’ve been making sure I’m getting this time or myself in is by adding the time to my calendar. As weird as it seems to write down “writing time” in my calendar or adding my skincare routine to my Trello to-do list, it helps me stay on top of my self-care.

Even if I don’t get it done, I can move it to the next day. We don’t have to wait until a new year to have a fresh start; even when I don’t make the self-care goals I have for myself on Monday, I can always try again on Tuesday.


Thank you so much for reading!

Feel free to follow along with me at @jacischreckengost on Instagram.


About the Creator

Jaci Schreckengost

Hey there, I'm Jaci Schreckengost.

Here are some pieces of my writing. They're all drafts; some on revision one, some on revision ninety.

You can see more of my work at I'm also on Instagram @JaciSchreckengost.

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