A New Year & a Fresh Start

Something that I’d really like to get back into the habit of doing, and actually expanding and committing to, is using goal setting to reach targets and see things change and develop in the way that I’d want. I feel it’ll be helpful for me, not only to help me plan and live practically, but also so I can see how far I have come from when I first set my goals. An example of this would be how 2 and a half years ago, I started to learn Korean and began planning my first trip to Seoul, and this time last year I was making my final preparations for my move to Seoul to live and work here. In between these times, I have of course achieved many other things too (my masters degree, teaching university classes, attending a DMZ peace conference etc) but there are many other things that have kind of fallen to the way side. And I’d like to achieve more on these areas too.

On the other blog page that I manage, Little Victories, a post was recently written about setting goals. Part of this post, written by the ever brilliant Emilie (whom I fondly like to refer to as my girlfriend who lives in Canada) included the 7 categories that goals should fall into. These categories are work & career, financial, spiritual, physical & health, mind & intellect, family and personal & social. When I first read this, before I even posted it online, I realized that there were many areas where I hadn’t been setting goals, nor had I realized that I should be setting goals for them. The Spiritual, Social and Personal areas in particular where areas where I hadn’t set goals before. I just had them as an area of my life where I hadn’t measured or
noticed in the same way as I’d measured my finances,
intellect or career.’

So, in an aim to start the next year right, I’d like to make a fresh start and a fresh new list of goals I’d like to achieve. As I also studied goal setting as part of my Public Relations, I will also be trying to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) and as part of setting these goals I want to share my goals with you, my lovely readers, and as always I’d like to hear your thoughts on my goals, and maybe even some goals you’d like to achieve in 2020. So, lets get this goal setting underway:

Work & Career

– To teach an additional 3 hours each semester
– To volunteer one day a week with the nearby school for mentally disabled children
– To produce an English Language Musical by the end of the year
– To tutor a minimum of 5 students a week
– To discuss the Mental Health Support systems in place at my university and potentially encourage teacher/staff training ready for 2021.

Not only do I want to take on further responsibilities as a teacher, but I also want to develop how I can contribute to my community, not only as a teacher but through my other callings as well. While I have learnt a lot about teaching this year, its surprised me how much I have often ended up back at, what I believe, to be the very basics of Mental Health support (and education) for my students and peers. I’d like to develop this, and see how my University’s goals match my own.


– To live comfortably each month, while saving money towards an apartment ( minimum of 300,000 )
– To repay the money I have borrowed over the last 2 years within the coming year.
– To no longer fear talking about money, and to prepare for my future.

eeeeeeeehhhh this may be the most difficult element for me. Money, spending and saving has been a difficult topic for me for most of my adult life. I tend to not think about money until it was too late, and when I was a young adult I developed a bad habit of spending money whenever I felt sad, anxious, depressed, guilty, afraid or ashamed, which often lead to more of the same feelings because I’d end up with no money. I have become a lot better with my habits regarding spending, but I would very much like to do better. And I’d very much like money to not be something that is fearful for me. I don’t need or want a lot of it, but I’d like for it to not be something that I only think of negatively.


– To attend Church every Sunday for the 11 o’clock service
– To give tithe every month and donate to the charities chosen by the Youth group
– To attend the morning and evening prayers with the Seminary students twice a week.

I know this isn’t the case for everybody, but for me, my faith is a key part of my development and my emotional, mental and spiritual well being. No matter your belief, belonging to a community and trying your best to help, nurture, love and give to your community, as well as other communities can greatly help you in so many ways and of course, more importantly, helps others. I love my Church fam, and I like how I’m challenged and cared for by my Church community. I in turn want to challenge and care for them. For me, the liturgy of Church, the pace, collective focus and worship of the Church is as soothing for me as meditation. It’s restorative. It’s something I want to strengthen and grow.

Physical & Health

– To exercise a minimum three times a week for an hour at least
– To cook more meals from scratch and eat less fast food/convenience store food
– To loose 100 lbs (45kg) or to hit a UK size 14/12
– To be more loving to and about my body, by saying affirmations about myself every morning and night.
– To try and get 8 hours sleep every night and to wake up before 7:30 every day.

I keep on saying I want to loose weight, and every now and then I will loose a little, but then I either get demotivated for some reason, or it just falls out of habit. I don’t want to look like anyone else, I don’t want to look ‘perfect’. However I do want to be healthier and I want to feel stronger and more well. Exercise, weight loss and physical activity helps with mental health, it builds your immune system and therefore means you’re less likely to be sick. Other illnesses related to unhealthy lifestyles are also linked to my family. I’d like to get into healthier habits while I’m still young, so that once I’m older it will be easier to maintain. My sleep pattern has been truly terrible this year, and it’s really effecting my mental health. I love my sleep, I need my sleep, and when I sleep I sleep so deeply it’s very difficult for me to be woken up. So I can’t nap as I will sleep through alarms, thunderstorms, earthquakes… trust me, it’s really happened. I really need to sleep at a set ‘bedtime’ in order to function and be productive.

Mind & Intellect

– To read more books (2 a month)
– To read more academic articles and studies regarding mental health and well-being, as well as teaching and education theory
– To go on walks and take pictures once a week
– To use Yoga and meditation in the evening if and when I feel anxious or cannot sleep
– To keep a ‘Little Victories’ journal that I write in every evening
– To study Korean for 1 hour every day.

As someone who cares a great deal about improving the Mental well-being I should work hard to practice what I preach and work towards strengthening my own mind and my intellect. I obviously want to improve my Korean, being in Korea and all, so I want to study more, but I also want to study more about mental health, mental illness and mental well-being as well as teaching and education. I also want to care for my mind when I start to feel overwhelmed. I often get my most anxious at night, as that’s mostly when I’m by myself, when I start to overthink and worry and is also when I’m most tired. And even though I’m tired, my anxiety will make my heart beat fast, will trigger my fight-or-flight response, will fill me adrenaline and is also the reason why I’ll develop headaches, stomach aches or acid-re-flux. To combat this I want to start journaling again and I want to practice yoga and meditation to relax, stretch and sooth my body and mind. I also LOOOOOOOVE reading, and hate the fact I’m not reading very much these days. So I want to read more and engage my brain in an entertaining but relaxing way. Yes Netflix is also relaxing, but it’s now engaging in the way that I want or need sometimes.


– Video chat with my family at least once a week.
– Write a letter to my grandparents at least once every two months.
– Try to keep in contact with my wider family every month.
– Have a minimum of £1000 saved for tickets to the UK for visits or emergencies

So I’ll try my best not to be too sad or whatever while I write this (ㅠㅠ) BUT I obviously miss my family a tonne, being so far away, and this is gonna be a kinda difficult area of my life to develop… because I’m literally on the other side of the planet from my family. But, what I can do is keep in contact with my family to the best of my ability. So whether that’s sending them letters or gifts, calling them or video chatting with them. Because of money and my work, it isn’t feasible for me to visit my family much more than once a year, so I would like to be able to be sure to make whatever time I can spend with my family as special as possible.

Personal & Social

– To organize social plans with my friends every week
– Make 1 trip somewhere outside of Seoul every month
– To speak more Korean when I’m socializing, even if I get it very, very wrong
– To find some clubs or groups where I can socialize
– To be more open and comfortable with the idea of dating (don’t hold your breath though)

– To try and keep in contact with friends and strengthen my existing friendships as well as starting new ones.
– To start to purchase clothes and items that will last and that I really like; to curate my dream wardrobe
– To regularly commit to doing more writing and creative projects

On top of everything else, you might think that there’s nothing left to set goals for. I didn’t think there was much left to aim towards. But, we’d both be wrong, fortunately. As well as making sure I plan to work hard, in all aspects of my life, I should equally plan to play hard. which is why this is the longest list from this whole post. Recently in one of my classes, my students highlighted how important it was for to learn the value of work-life balance. Prioritizing my personal life, and the things that make me happy, the things I enjoy, are just as important and the thinks that will ‘improve’ my life.

So these are my goals for 2020. I hope I can achieve as many of them as possible, but I also wont beat myself up if I don’t do it all, or if I don’t do things perfectly. After all, I’m only human, and all I can do is my best. And my best is more than enough.

If you want more updates from me, please follow my account @Connieunkiga and to see more about my blog @Connieunkigablog

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