2020 Goals: How did I do


Wow. 2020 was one hell of a year, right?!

I think we can all agree that 2020 wasn't the year we were expecting. Surprisingly, I managed to achieve a lot this year, however many of those acheivements were not the ones I was targeting here. So I'm going to add a section at the end about what I DID acheive, for those who are interested :)

1) Maintain a sustainable weight loss: Failed

I actually started doing really well on this one, even when lockdown started I seemed to have a good pattern of sustainable loss, it wasn't much, maybe 1/2 lb a week but over time that would have made a big difference but, like with a lot of other poeople these year, as the pandemic wore on, my self-control waned and before long I was back to scarfing chocolates, drinking more fizzy drinks than I should (although even then only a few per week) and eating WAY more takeaway food than is sensible to do so.

I ended the year, slightly more overweight than I started (literally less than 1lb though so I don't really consider that as being too bad, all things considered)

2) Adopt a better attitude to food: Semi-Success

This one is a stretch to call it a success, in fact, had I written this article in December I'd probably have called it a full-on fail. However, once the New Years resolutions started, I found that I was easily able to find food options which were both delicious and healthy, which, last January, I really struggled to do. In fact, I've not eaten meat since New Years Eve and although I'm definitely missing it a bit, it's not been challenging at all to find enjoyable pescatarian meals. In fact, the majority of our meals have been full-on vegetarian.

I can't bring myself to call it a success, however as the wiring in my brain still equates food with entertainment and not sustainance. Until that has gone, it's definitely not a success.

3) I need to move more: Fail with a dash of success

I've probably never moved less in my life for the majority of this year. However in October, I started to build a chicken run on my allotment, which caused me to do a lot of heavy lifting and to be on my feet, moving around for 4-6 hours a day (weather permitting), so whilst I didn't acheive this goal in the way I expected, I kind of got there in the last few months.

4) Get my finances in order: Fail

My finances are definitely better, I have eliminated my car loan and even paid off a huge amount of credit card debt, however it's still there and I still spend most of the month in my overdraft. So this is definitely not a success

5) Get at least one of the projects in the house sorted: Success!

Finally, we have a success! The bathroom is now done, the living room and kitchen have been hugely improved and the Garden is making progress.

We realised that we were out of our depth when it came to sorting the house out, so we have hired an architect to help us sort it out in phases, so the bathroom may end up getting redone again in the next year or two, but we now have a bathtub, which is a huge deal for me.

6) Finish the first draft of Emily Bell: Fail

I don't think I wrote a single word.

Bonus round: What DID I actually achieve?

So, lots of fails above. However I consider 2020 to be a big success for me as I managed to cross two things off my life-goals list:

1) Raise chickens

We now have 3 adorably stupid chickens, meet Dorothy (The white one), Rose (The black one) and Blanche (The brown one), yes, they are named after The Golden Girls

We don't plan on eating them, they are egg layers only, so we treat them pretty much like pets, I've learned a lot about chicken husbandry this year and I think that once the new chicken run is complete in a week or two, they will be amongst the happiest chickens in the UK :)

That leads me on nicely to

2) Learn how to be profiecient at DIY (Specifically woodwork)

When we first got the chickens, we didn't know how much room they needed and we took advice from a salesperson who suggested that a TINY house and run would be fine for up to 4 chickens, they were just out of 'chick' stage when we got them and were tiny but even then it didn't take long for us to see that they were distressed being confined to such a small run. So I decided to take the plunge and build them a much bigger one in our garden.

It turned out terribly and is an eyesore, however it gave me the taste for it and I decided to also build them a house, which took me a solid 2 months of weekends to complete but it actually turned out to be pretty nice. That was going to be the end of it but in September, our allotment steward gave us permission to move the Chickens to our plot (which is conveniently, right behind our house). So I decided to build them a new, even bigger run. This evolved into me building them a proper chicken coop, with a house and everything. I was off work at the time so I decided to really exercise my new DIY chops and went all-out.

The run itself is a solid 20% bigger than the one they had before, their old house will be moved into the run with the entire front-panel and egg-box removed so they can use it as a run/rain shelter whilst still being outside.

The house is now a small shed, which has a huge rollaway egg box (keeping the eggs poop-free) and has solar powered heating to keep them warm. It even has two CCTV cameras in there so we can monitor them from inside.

I'll update this article with a photo of the finished product when it's done but I can tell you that the quality of the new run is vastly better than the old one and I'm incredibly proud that I can now call myself a woodworker. I even built myself a new office desk!

Article author: Alex Foxleigh