For Men

My list of threes for 2021: New milestones, skills and other goals (Part 1)

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? - Alfred Vargas - Philstar.com
Alfred Vargas working out
Working out at home in August 2020
@alfredvargasofficial via Instagram

Most of us were so happy that 2020 ended that I did a double-take and asked myself, how can I be sure that 2021 is not going to be worse? I mean, we started 2020 with such optimism but certainly didn’t expect it to overflow with obstacles.

Indeed, 2020 was a year of lessons and one of the most valuable things I learned is the essence of time. Time is such a limited resource that we can’t afford to waste it or take it for granted. That’s why it’s important that we plan and make things happen. And if they don’t go as planned, we seize the moment to do something meaningful nevertheless: carpe diem.

2021 doesn’t carry guarantees that it will be a better year. But what I can make sure of is that I have hope—that no matter how bad it gets, we find every new beginning as an opportunity for greatness, happiness and success. This is how I plan to face my 2021. Hope for me is never overrated. I just know in my heart that each new year will always be filled with God’s grace.

What are your goals for the year? What new habits and hobbies do you want to develop? What items from your bucket list would you like to fulfill? What new skills do you want to learn? And will you finally push through with that long-planned diet program of yours or start those piano lessons you’ve always wanted?

We may be limited by travel bans, quarantines and social distancing, but the things we can do to make this year matter are limitless. We’ve proven that in 2020. Despite all the constraints, we found ways to cope, fulfill our obligations and even went beyond that. All we need is a determined heart, a resilient mind and untarnished hope.

Let’s begin with the basics. Here’s my next list of threes, this time for 2021:

Three goals for this year

1. Make a difference in the social services sector. As the new chairman of the Social Services Committee at the House of Representatives, I see a lot of potential for growth and development for this very important yet neglected sector. Using a different lens to see social work as an honorable career path for many Filipinos who wish to contribute to positive change is a good start.

At the turnover of electric ovens under the "Puhunan para sa Masa" program in January 2020

2. Turn my beloved advocacy movement, PWD PWeDe, into a bona fide foundation.

3. Finally, get that graduate title from UP-National College of Public Administration and Governance. This was a long journey of mine delayed by election years, the death of my mother and father, and the pandemic. I’m itching to get that Master in Public Administration degree in fulfillment of my promise to my mother.

Three skills I want to learn this year

1. Learn how to conduct webinars on leadership and self-improvement. I’ve received many direct messages in my social media accounts and email to conduct training on leadership development, time-management, personal and professional career planning, raising kids, running for public office and many other topics. Some even asked me to be their “life coach” and are willing to undergo learning experiences with me through a professional arrangement. I don’t know if I’m the right person for this but what I do know is that with all the experiences I’ve had from the dog-eat-dog industries I work in, with all the successes and failures, and all the lessons I’ve learned in life, I can definitely share all these with others.

2. Learning the skill of laughing at myself more. My friends told me that I take myself too seriously. And that I should relax and learn to take things easy. Yes, I consider this a skill.

With son Alfredo Cristiano

3. Use LinkedIn. I believe there’s a lot of opportunities on LinkedIn to connect with people of similar interests and with them, to make a difference. It’s about time I establish my profile this year.

Three things I will change about myself this year

1. More patience. Being a perfectionist and having a type A personality makes it hard for me to accept mediocrity and delays. These ticked me off a lot before. But in the past years, I have learned the art of being patient, slowly but surely. With a little more push, I think I will be able to claim this virtue soon enough (I hope).

2. Have less toxic people around. I’m tired of having negative people around. I’m tired of people who say one thing and do another. I’m tired of being with people I cannot trust. From this year on, I commit myself to only being with people I can count on. People I share values with. People I want to grow old with through good times and in bad.

3. I’ll put God first in everything that I do. This used to be very clear to me when I was younger. For some reason, last year, I worried too much. I got myself stressed too much. I put such a big burden on my shoulders and thought that I can do everything to help my constituents. I counted on my leadership and management skills and the usual help that comes along, meanwhile forgetting to put God at the center of it all. Oh, was I dead wrong. Everything became okay the moment I realized that nothing can be achieved without the grace of God. Now, I sleep better. I am more relaxed. And I’m enjoying life once again like I used to as an innocent child with dreams and all the hope in the world.

(Check out Part 2 of this article!)


Write me and share your 2021 list, too, in threes, at:





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