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14. Quick update & Looking back on my 2020 goals

14. Quick update & Looking back on my 2020 goals

By Alena Lien, 

31 December 2020

Transcript:

Hey! How're you going? Alena here and you're listening to Along Came English.


I'm back after a fairly long hiatus in podcasting. "Hiatus" means a pause or break in an activity.


Happy New Year. Happy 2021. Let's hope for a better year, shall we? Even if it's only a little bit better.


Anyway, I hope you had a pleasant Christmas, that is, if you celebrate it. I did look forward to the end of the year, and it's actually quite weird that we're here already.


Anyway, it's been a while since my last podcast episode about charities. I did that in March 2019, almost 2 years ago, while I was backpacking around Japan. I thought that I could do the random episode while I was travelling but yea, I was wrong.


I won't talk about my travels on this episode, but I spent a few months in Japan, and then about 4 months in Europe later in that year. And I was moving fairly consistently from place to place, about every 2-4 days. So it was an unrealistic expectation for me to think that I could continue podcasting. Yea.


So for today's episode I'll do a quick update about Along Came English and what I've been doing in this space, and then look back on my goals for 2020.


Just so you know, I'm not going to recap or review the events of 2020. So don't expect anything like that for this episode.


I also recently opened a Patreon account. So if you like what I'm doing here, please consider supporting Along Came English. We actually have our very first patron, Pierre. Thank you so much for your support, much appreciated.


If you're listening to the podcast on any podcast platform, transcripts are available on the website, in the Podcast section. If you're watching or listening on YouTube, you can read the transcript as you follow the episode.



Updates for Along Came English


Alright, well let's start with updates for Along Came English.


If you haven't noticed or you're new to this space, I've been working on the YouTube channel and the website. So Along Came English has its own website domain now - alongcameenglish.com.


You can also google Along Came English and it'll show up. Unfortunately my old Wordpress website still comes up, but if you find yourself there, I've put a link that should lead you to the right website.


Anyway, I've been uploading videos pretty regularly on YouTube, or trying to anyway - I'm still figuring out an appropriate schedule.


I've got just over 50 videos with English explanations. There are also videos for the podcast. And there're webpages for each video and podcast episode on the website.


I've actually uploaded more content but I've also taken some down because I thought I could do them better. It has been and it is a learning process. Apart from the video and sound quality, I want to make sure that my explanations are clear and understandable.


I actually spend quite a bit of time researching and organising the materials to make them presentable, but I'm aware that I may not always be successful with that. So, some videos may look like re-uploads, but they're really not. Anyway I'm happy to learn from my mistakes and make better content.


And I've actually been looking forward to getting back to podcasting. It took a while because I moved to a different podcasting host, and I wanted to upload all my podcast episodes to YouTube. So now we're up to date and here we are.


So a quick explanation about the content here.


So the stuff on YouTube is a mixed bag with videos and podcast episodes.


The videos are meant to be straightforward explanations about grammar, vocabulary lists, easily confused words or phrases etc. with corresponding webpages on the website. This is really why I'm not that personal on videos - they're a bit more formal, I think.


And then the podcast episodes are meant to be listening or audio resources that are a bit more personal, a bit more casual. I share stories from my life, make references to pop culture, movies, news etc. I know some of the previous episodes are more like vocabulary lists, but they're still kinda casual.


And moving forward, I'd like to do more talking on the podcast rather than vocabulary lists but we'll see how this develops.


And the podcast is currently available on iTunes and on YouTube, and should be available on Spotify soon, I hope. Each episode should have transcripts available on the website, but I've also added the transcript to the podcast videos on YouTube as well.


And I also recently opened a Patreon account. Unfortunately I can't do much there because of time constraints. But if you like what I do or find my content useful, please consider supporting Along Came English. Creating online content takes time and growing this space also requires some financial investment as well.


So please subscribe, follow, like, tap the notification bell, share.


Now I still haven't figured out what to do with the Facebook and Twitter accounts. So if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.


Well, if you have any suggestions or constructive criticism in general, please feel free to leave a comment anyway.


Okay. Let's move on.



Death to 2020 Mockumentary


So I was contemplating whether I should talk about some of the events of 2020. But you know, everybody's been talking about it. I think we've had enough of it. I have 2020 fatigue.


And I guess it's a bit weird to talk about my 2020 goals in the new year, but that's just how the schedule worked out. Yea, I'll have to work harder on my schedule for 2021.


Anyway, Netflix released a mockumentary called "Death to 2020," from the same creators of Black Mirror.


"Mockumentary" is a combination of the words "mock" and "documentary." It's a type of film that depicts fictional events but presented as a documentary.


I watched this a few days ago, and while it's a mockumentary, it reviews the real events of 2020 in a sarcastic way. I actually found it really entertaining. So if you have Netflix, I recommend it.



New Year's resolution


So, looking back on my 2020 goals.


Actually let's start what "New Year's resolution" means first.


So according to Wikipedia, this is a tradition where "a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life."


To be honest, although I've heard about having New Year's resolutions or seen this in movies growing up, I've never really practised it myself. But at the start of 2020, I actually made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish or achieve. I think my intentions were more practical because I wasn't sure I was coming back to stay for the long term, so these were more like short term goals or plans.


Also, I think this is a consequence of the fact that I kind of uprooted myself in 2016 and have been moving every year or so ever since. So circumstantially, this has forced me to think about what to do in the short-term, I guess.


Anyway.


So the words "resolution" and "goal" are very similar and are sometimes used interchangeably when we talk about New Year's resolutions, but they're different.


"Resolutions" are firm decisions to do or refrain from doing something. "Goals" refer to a person's aims or desired results.


So an example of a resolution might be to eat healthier and lose some weight, and a goal might be to lose 10kg by the end of the year. So a resolution is like a promise, and a goal is a target.


And for some people, setting New Year's resolutions are kind of cliched. Some people don't see the point of it because they just end up breaking them anyway. Or they feel bad if they didn't accomplish them. Or they set unrealistic goals. Or they just forgot about them.







My 2020 goals


So looking at my list, the goals I actually achieved were the ones I had about doing more videos for YouTube.


And to be honest, I don't really feel bad about not being able to accomplish all my goals. I think even if I accomplished something small or made a small change, that's still considered an achievement right? - albeit a small one.


So early in the year, I enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in TESOL. Even though I already have a TEFL certificate, I thought this would open more doors for me in Australia and overseas. I was supposed to finish the course in 6 months and get a teaching job straight after.


Because of the pandemic, I couldn't finish it online because it has a placement component where I was supposed to get teaching training at an English college. So all the goals I had about getting a teaching qualification and teaching in Melbourne went out the window.


It's a bummer, but all of it was beyond my control.


"Go out of the window" is a saying that means something is disregarded, discarded or it doesn't exist anymore.


Travelling. That went out the window too. I assumed I would return to Malaysia at least once in the year but that didn't happen.


I did however make the decision not to buy a car when I returned. This was interesting because it made me think more strategically about where I should live in terms of access to public transportation, nearby supermarkets, distance to the city etc. And it was a good decision because it's not like I could have visited friends or... and I didn't have to drive to work anyway.



Minimalism


I also had a goal to become more of a minimalist and sell or give away my stuff. So when I returned to Australia, I realised I had kept a lot of stuff in storage that I actually didn't need or... I guess I no longer needed right? So I gave some stuff away but after that, I kind of forgot about this.


So "minimalist" has a few definitions, but I'm using it here to talk about a lifestyle. It's almost like a philosophy but that's subjective of course.


So simply put, it's about living with only the things you need. Rather than focusing on accumulating stuff, you focus on what is necessary. Free yourself from clutter and the stress from pursuing, purchasing, accumulating and maintaining stuff. And instead focus on what really matters, such as relationships, happiness, fulfilment etc.


There's a documentary called "Minimalism: a Documentary about the important things." (<- not "minimalist") I watched this a number of years ago on Netflix. It wasn't life-changing but I guess it made me think that maybe less could be more.


Thankfully they don't promote the idea of getting rid of everything, in my opinion anyway. In a way, it was kind of similar to Marie Kondo, who is a Japanese organising consultant. It's okay to keep things that make you happy, but discard the things that you don't need or haven't used for a while.


And things that make me happy are art decorations. Even though they're mostly art prints, they were the things that I refused to get rid of even though they can be easily replaced.


I know the wall in my videos is usually bare because I don't want any copyright issues. But I have a small collection of my favourite artworks and prints on my other walls.


Anyway, while I was travelling, I realised I only really needed a week's worth of clothes. If any had worn out, I would just go out and get it replaced. If I felt I wasn't wearing certain clothes regularly, then I would discard them.


Now, living that way was a little surreal. You know, obviously it doesn't real life or living at home. However, while I was travelling, because I could only carry so much, I was forced to think about what I actually needed.


I mean, of course I don't live that way right now - I have wardrobe space now. And you know... and well, my wardrobe still has stuff that I don't use and was meaning to give away but I forgot about it.


Now I don't wholeheartedly subscribe to minimalism, but it has some merits. For one, I now know that I don't need that many dresses. I contemplate if it's worth buying new clothes when I browse online shopping websites. I should finish things before buying their replacement. And because it's only me, I don't need to buy in bulk, so I need less storage space. And I'm more mindful of buying enough food for myself, so I reduce waste.


So I guess I can say that I'm kind of living a minimalist lifestyle in terms of buying and eating.


Anyway. Enough about minimalism. So moving onto the other goals I had.



Personal goals


Finding a church nearby and going there regularly. This was because I hadn't attended a church I think for about a year up until that point when i wrote this. Again, this went out the window because of the pandemic. So it's been two years. I did have zoom meetings fairly regularly with a friend's church group, so I did accomplish this somehow even though they're not local.


Improve posture. I actually forgot about this.


Exercise. I did try numerous times to get into a habit. I even bought a mini stepper machine, but motivation was a problem. I blame 2020. I mean, at least I attempted to try to get into an exercise habit several times the past year, so maybe that's something.

Moving forward, I'd like to keep trying even though I haven't been that successful.


Mindfulness exercises. Now, these aren't physical exercises, this is about practising meditation, breathing methods and other practises to relax the body and mind, reduce stress etc. This didn't really happen either. I downloaded a few apps but that was kind of it.


I was genuinely interested in this when I wrote this down, but this was not a priority at all for me. But yea, I would like to give this a proper try one day.


Stop playing with my phone while watching TV. Do you do this? I don't even know when this started. Like, I don't even spend that much time on social media - I play games. And I think I tried to do this at the start of the year, and that was it.


It's weird. I didn't use to be so attached to my phone. But now I've become quite attached to it. Yea, I should probably try manage this issue before it gets worse.


Read. So I managed to read 2 books this year. It's not a lot, but it's something. And I've been trying to read more books in the last few years so this is an ongoing goal, I guess. I think I managed 2 last year as well while I was travelling.


I told my friends about it, and none of them had read any books in 2020. So yea, it kind of feels like Netflix and YouTube and social media has kind of taken over our lives somehow.


Anyway.


Next year I'd like to read more than two. I bought a book about a month ago and started it but I got distracted and haven't picked it up for a few weeks. Yea, I'll have to get over that.



Personal reflection and moving forward


So looking back on my 2020 goals, I think I didn't do too badly.


Most of the ones I didn't accomplish were because I had forgotten about them or that I had prioritised other goals that I felt were more important. And some of them I couldn't accomplish because of the pandemic, so they were beyond my control. And also, I think I can't really be too hard on myself anyway because last year was pretty much a pause button on a lot of people's lives.


Overall, I don't think I was that unrealistic about what I had listed. I think I was more mindful of goals that mattered to me throughout the year, so I think it's fair to say that the ones that I had forgotten were ones that were not as important to me.


So moving forward to 2021. I don't think I really have any new goals. I feel like 2021 is the year to actually do things you couldn't in 2020.


So yea, I would definitely like to complete my course and continue growing Along Came English. I would still like to be more active and lose a bit weight. That would nice. And read more than 2 books.


Yea, I think that's it.


I think I'll finish here.


Subscribe and like if you found this useful and interesting.


Please check out the website and consider supporting Along Came English on Patreon. The links are in the description below.


But yea, it's nice to be back podcasting again. Again, Happy New Year.


Thank you so much for listening. Stay safe. Have a good day and I'll catch you later. Bye!