Happy 2019! Among my book club we joke about how excited I am on the morning of our annual retreats waiting to leave: up since 5 a.m., grin plastered on my face, cup of coffee in hand. That's pretty much how I feel about heading into the new year with my list of goals to go with it. Goals and fresh starts are my jam. This feels accurate.
With the swirl of goal sharing and #goals that happen on social media I was reflecting on why I set goals every year. It's not just for the sake of having content to share. At this point I don't think I could not set annual goals. It's how my brain sees the year, sees time. What do I want to improve and how can I get there? It's not about being dissatisfied with where I am or improving for the sake of improving. For me goals are about recognizing what's important, what's enjoyable, and putting the focus there: family, writing, friends, health, creating, adventure.
My word for 2019 is FLOURISH. As I reflected on 2018 I gratefully and humbly realized that I'm feeling content with where all the big pieces of my life are. Last year was about putting a really big piece into place with quitting my job. My intention for this year is to lean in to, to FLOURISH in, all the good things we already have going. I tend to want to do more even if they are good and noble things: expand my writing in new ways, run with a new idea, make our house more beautiful or functional, make more friends. But these good things can detract from the already good things I have going and stretch me too thin; it's a lesson I've learned in recent years. This year when I get excited about pursuing something new, something more, I hope to reflect and ask myself if it's something building on what I already have or if it would instead add something else to my plate. (If you'd like to hear more about my word and a conversation about goals for the new year, we have a new ep of The Girl Next Door Podcast for you!)
Over eight years of official goal setting, I've learned that the most important part of setting a goal is determining the how. Without the how it's hard if not impossible to get started and all the excitement and motivation for a goal can quickly fade. This is where investing time in setting specific goals and a paired action plan really pays off. When I have a specific goal, know why I set the goal for myself, and know how to accomplish it I'm much more likely to keep working towards it throughout the year.
I captured some of my big goals and themes using my letterboard but of course I have more than six goals for the year. (Do you know me at all? ;) ) I've broken them out by category which helps me make sure I'm including all areas of my life. Here they are, in all their glory:
12 x monthly health challenges. Kind of excited for this one. I've planned 12 different monthly challenges/habits that I will do daily for one month at a time. The challenges do not accumulate: When one month's challenge is over I can let it go and move on to the next. The 12 challenges in order are: 10 push ups/day; no added sugar; 9 p.m. bedtime; track food every day; 10 minute stretch/day; no caffeine or alcohol; 20 lunges/day; 1 minute plank/day; daily walk outside; 20 sit ups/day; eat veggies at least twice/day. Doing any of these for one day is not hard and some of them I already do or try to do. But I do none of these things every day let alone every day for a 30 day streak. I'm curious to see what's hard, what's enjoyable, and what sticks.
Little to no phone use 5 p.m. to bedtime. Consuming less screen time and social media is a goal Chris and I have together so we can be accountability partners. I'm already trying to limit my time on my phone from about 5 p.m. through bedtime but stating it specifically will give the intention more weight. My plan is to put my phone in my closet or, if we're using it for music in the evenings, to put it out of sight. I've been doing pretty well not starting and ending the day with my phone and since the new year haven't been listening to audiobooks or podcasts to fall asleep – and have been sleeping really well!
Four workouts/week. Currently I work out three times each week: Orange Theory twice and High Fitness once. My neighbor and I have plans to workout at home together once per week on Thursdays and I think that will work well. I've never been one to work out at home but with a workout buddy I've already done it twice! A fallback plan in case something changes is increasing my membership at Orange Theory and going three times/week instead of two.
One family dinner. By the end of the year I would like the whole family to be eating the same dinner (or a version of the same dinner) more often than not. Currently we often make something for the grownups and something for the kids. Our boys are not adventurous eaters, as is natural for their age, but I would like for them to be trying more things and hopefully discovering a few more things they like to eat. My plan for this is to look for new recipes to try, especially ones that could allow different versions to be easily prepared, like burritos that can be customized, and to include the boys in meal planning.
Four dates with Chris each month: two “out” dates and two at-home creative or game night dates. More dates in 2019! We increased our date night budget to accommodate going out more but I'd also like to explore cheap but fun date night options. Maybe even trade planning and see who can plan the funnest date for $20 or less - ? (Are you also thinking that it sounds so fun to be married to me??) For our at-home dates we want to have more game nights and creative evenings where we both work on a sewing project or other making. Chris and I both have sewing projects in progress that have been languishing for months, perhaps even for all of 2018! A challenge here is that we are both so tired at night: We are both usually up for the day in the 5 if not 4 o'clock hour! But if we make specific plans for which night we'll play games or sew and get everything out before bedtime we can usually rally. And still be asleep by 9 p.m.
Establish routines for basic chores and cleaning together as a family. We already have the boys help us around the house in little ways: taking their dishes to the sink, putting laundry in their hamper, wiping up spills, sometimes taking out the compost, etc., but it feels like a good time to re-evaluate what they are capable of and increase our expectations. We also like the idea of having an hour of cleaning and chores together as a family about once per week on a weekend day. We could even work in teams to make it more fun and to teach the boys how to do things.
More family adventures. Now that we can really do activities and excursions together as a family I want to explore and cultivate our family passions. Do we love hiking? Festivals? Volunteering? Going to sports events? Let's find out!
FINISH A BOOK PROPOSAL. This is the big one, friends. If nothing else this year I want to accomplish this. The how of this one is using the writing calendar I created for myself, prioritizing and guarding my writing time, and then putting words on a page. It's as simple and as hard as that.
Weekly blog posts. I'm going to aim to post here once/week. What really helps me is to get ahead and have a pipeline of posts: a couple finished and scheduled, a couple in draft, and a list of ideas for new posts. Working on my blog posts is priority three for me among my creative work after producing The Girl Next Door and writing my book proposal. So to make time for blogging I have to be diligent about making the most of the creative work time that I have each week.
Migrate blogs to Wordpress. This is the goal I am least excited about doing the work to accomplish. All three of my blogs (this one, Matrimoney, Girl Next Door) are on Typepad and I find myself frustrated by limitations in the platform. Of course Typepad is one of the platforms that does not transfer easily over to Wordpress so I need to use a third party plus there's all the business of learning a new platform, setting up hosting (and learning what that even means...), and then apparently my nearly 3,000 blog comments won't come over in the transfer and I might have to move them manually. So I'm crying just a little bit. But I know if I can trudge through all the muck of doing this that my platforms will be more professional and easier to maintain. It will be worth it! (I keep saying to myself.)
Complete two sewing projects. Related to our creative date nights, I have two sewing projects I want to complete this year. I'd actually like to complete more than that but given that in 2018 and in 2017 I completed zero sewing projects two seems like a good place to start. I'd like to complete a tunic that I have in-progress and I want to make Cedric a name banner like the one a friend made for Dash and we have hanging in their room.
FINANCES + HOUSE
Return to savings. We had a (planned) spendy year in 2018. Part of the spending was investing: we purchased three adjacent vacant lots in San Antonio as an investment property and we had solar panels installed on the house. We also started our front yard makeover. Good things! But now I'm eager to watch our savings grow again. To keep on track we plan to have weekly Sunday evening budget meetings. Then throughout the week we both need to be checking in on Mint where we track all our spending and transactions to be sure we aren't spending outside our allotted budgets.
Complete library card catalogue entry table. I found an amazing small library card catalogue in 2018 with the intention of tunring it into an entry table. This is the year it's going to happen. I need to research and purchase table legs, countertop for the top (it's open on top), and wood to reinforce the bottom. Then put it all together, most likely with the help of my engineering genius mother-in-law.
That's what I have for 2019! Happy new year, friends!