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What I spent: December 2017

2017: a year of CHOOSE

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I hope you have been enjoying a restful holiday! There is so much excitement leading up to Christmas and it's been nice to have some time post-Big Day to hang with family and friends. I'm thinking a lot about the past year and what I'm hoping for in 2018.

In 2017 I set out with CHOOSE as my intention for the year. I still love my lists and goals but felt inspired by Erica and Sarah who always pick a guiding word for a new year. Here are the goals I set with CHOOSE at the beginning of the year and how they went.

+ CHOOSE family and writing. Knowing that I can't do everything I want to choose to spend my time on what is most important to me: family and writing. 

At the beginning of the year I was feeling overwhelmed. I had taken on lots of side projects and between those, working full time, and parenting young boys I had a schedule that was unsustainable. During the year I made decisions to choose family and writing. A big one is that I stepped away from Copper Quail Style, which I had started with a friend in 2016. It was a hard decision but ultimately the right one for me.

In the middle of the year we got the great news that Chris was appointed to a leadership positing within his college. It's been a great career development for him although it did make our lives busier because of Chris having a more demanding schedule. It was stressful at times, especially September and October, but I feel really good that we were able to manage two full time jobs without impacting the boys' schedules. Reflecting on it now I think I had to focus more on choosing family than on dedicating more time to writing in the second half of the year. So I doesn't quite feel like we have the right balance yet but that's something we've been talking a lot about for 2018. For now I'm happy that I shifted some of my time from "other stuff" towards what is most important.

+ CHOOSE gratitude. Be cognizant of thoughts of comparison or frustration and choose gratitude.

Lots of opportunities to practice gratitude this year. When I'm frustrated about politics and the state of the world, or during a hard parenting moment (or afternoon), or when I think of all the house projects I'd love to take on. When I catch myself thinking, "Why can't...?" or "Wouldn't it be nice if...?" I try to list things I'm grateful for. And that's an easy list to make and a habit I want to keep up.

+ CHOOSE action.

Politics and the leadership of our country have never weighed on me so heavily, and I know I'm not alone in those feelings. I noticed that instead of feeling informed, reading the news would leave me feeling anxious and helpless. Instead of wallowing in those feelings I took action by participating in the Women's March, by calling my representatives on multiple occasions, making donations, and subscribing to the email newsletters of organizations I want to support.

At times I still feel anxious and helpless but I know what actions I can take to ease those feelings.

+ CHOOSE savings.

Chris and I had our first annual financial summit at the end of 2016. We reviewed our spreadsheet budget and aligned our budget categories in Mint. Then we committed to tracking all of our spending and sticking to our budgets. Although Chris and I have been diligent savers and budgeters for years, this was the first year I paid such close attention to our spending. Overall we did really well! I found tracking our spending empowering and eagerly anticipated our 2017 financial summit.

We had a goal of saving $20,000 this year and ended up saving $15,000. So we fell a little shy but still feel that we achieved something big.


And that's it! I'm ready to put 2017 behind us and for a fresh and hopeful new year.

How was your 2017? How did your goals or intentions for the year turn out?