Looking back at 2014

Early last year I made another set of goals for 2014…And I didn’t really think much about them after that. Have I mentioned that 2014 got really busy? Looking at the list, I’m a little disheartened, but I have to remind myself that the point of my goals was/is to help me focus on the good stuff in life, and in that regard, it was a successful year. I think at this point in my life, goals like this may not be the best for me and my scatterbrain. Hopefully in future years I’ll get back to it. I have a slightly different idea/plan for next year, but I’m going to put that in a separate post.

So here’s the analysis of 2014:

  • I continued to work my butt off in my business and the year was pretty amazing. Woohoo!
  • Due to the aforementioned busyness, my blogging here often fell by the wayside. I now have almost 40 incomplete blog post drafts! I think at the beginning of 2014 it was closer to two dozen.
  • Not only did I not complete MuTu, I did not a single day or week of it. However, I was pretty good at taking walks regularly, and I even actually lost a couple pounds! (One of the post drafts is all about that kind of thing.)
  • I completed my reading goal and read 63 books. A few of my favorites were: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, At Home by Bill Bryson, Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, and of course Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
  • Due to reading at night before bed, I would therefore stay up too late. I had days/weeks here and there where I got to bed by 1230 (which is early for me), but just as many days/weeks when it was 1am or later. 😦
  • We did take family photos and couch photos of the twins each month this year (though I’m stopping the monthly couch ones, and will do every six months from here on). I continued Project Life as well as the 365 project (a photo a day, on flickr).
  • We did go on a two-night overnight trip to the coast, and to OMSI, though we did not go to the Zoo (other than for Zoo Lights, which was ridiculous) or the Children’s Museum. We did go on all the now-yearly-I-hope local adventures, like Mt Hood, apple picking, a pumpkin patch, that kind of thing, plus did two daytrips to the coast. So overall I’d say the local adventuring goal was a success!
  • We did not Get Our Shit Together, but we did go away for an overnight without the babies!

And once again, from January 2013:

I feel such pressure to have some perfect beginnings for things like plans and photos ready on the first day of the year. Honestly, I’m always so scatterbrained that it just never happens. I’m a mess and I never know what day it is, so often I have to scramble to think of anything. A lifelong procrastinator, that’s me. This year is no exception–as you can tell by getting this up on January 3rd. (I wanted an extra day or two to come up with any more goal ideas.)

I was just reading through the January issue of O Magazine and there’s a section in there about goals and resolutions, and a couple things really stood out to me.

Rule #1 is “You Must Stay True to You.” Don’t make goals that don’t make actual real sense for your actual real life. For example, I could make a goal that I will train for a marathon this year! Except that I hate running, I have zero interest in doing it, and while running a marathon is an impressive feat, I have absolutely no desire to do it. (Also, I am lazy.) So even though it might be good for my health and my bragging rights, I’m never going to do it. And I’m perfectly okay with that!

So in the past, when I’ve thought about making goals, I tend to think about the things I’ve been wanting to do, and things that I’ve gotten close to doing already, and things that are just enough outside my comfort zone that it’s not crazy to imagine doing them. A few years ago, I’d been dabbling in knitting and crocheting, and so I made a goal to knit or crochet a garment (something bigger than a scarf or hat). A logical goal that I already had the skills for, if not necessarily the confidence for. (I think I ended up crocheting a vest, which sort of felt like cheating because it was too simple. A different year I did knit a baby sweater, and that felt like a bigger deal!) I do wish I was better and more creative at coming up with interesting lists of things to try and do, though. I love reading other people’s goals and resolutions, as motivation and inspiration for my own. 🙂

Rule #2 is “There’s nothing magical about January 1.” This article in Smithsonian about how time is just an illusion made me feel a little better about being so unprepared for the new year. 🙂 The start of a new calendar year seems so fresh and clean and full of potential! And what better way to make yourself fresh and clean and ready to fulfill your potential than carefully crafting thoughtful resolutions, along with beautiful images representing them, well ahead of time? The fact that I’m never ready for anything on January 1 makes me feel sloppy and a little pathetic and a little panic-flail-y (thanks Elizabeth for that excellent and apt term!). So I try to console myself that it’s okay not to have some amazing plan already written out or in the works. And that I can’t magically change myself either, no matter how many goals I keep or track. I’ll still be the same old me at the end of the year, regardless of how much I weigh or how much sleep I’ve gotten or how many vegetables I’ve eaten.

Rule #4 says, “Your slip-ups are only detours.” Have you heard that Jerry Seinfeld motivational advice about don’t break the chain? This is where Rule #1 comes back: I know myself and I know that I will always break the chain. Like most days I’ll break it. Just in the last few days (er, weeks, months), I tell myself I’m going to bed early! And then I just don’t. For whatever reason (ok, it’s usually the internet and/or a book), I stay up too late. I’m a night owl, I like reading before bed, and it’s hard to put down a book, even when I know I’m going to be tired later. So if I were to make a specific, actionable, responsible goal for 2015 like go to bed by 1230 every night, I would have failed three or four times already! No chain at all to even break! So much failure in just the first week of the year, and that would be a terrible way to begin that fresh new 2015. So I don’t make goals like that for myself. I make goals like “be better about XYZ” to try to keep it in mind, without that fear of failure, in fact, sort of building some failure into the process. Goals in that vein aren’t SMART goals, but for the way I am, they’re more realistic and achievable. I want to push myself to do and try to do more and be better, while also accepting who I am (and who I am not).

Anyway, more to come very soon on ideas for 2015…

Year Out, Year In

For the past four years, I’ve made a list of goals for the year. Not resolutions, mind you–nothing so insipid as “Get in shape!”. I thought about what I wanted to do or achieve and tried to think of doable goals. Probably not a coincidence that since I was teaching at a charter school at the time, I subconsciously took the idea of SMART goals–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound. Anyway, I like to write the goals in a small notebook and check things off or keep lists to keep myself motivated and accountable throughout the year. In general, it’s been helpful and pretty successful. I’ve never completed 100% of my goals, but I know that the goals have inspired me to do a lot of things I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

This year has been full of upheaval and change–most for the better–but it meant that a lot of my goals got pretty much forgotten or ignored. Considering the circumstances, I’m okay with that.

Some of the goals I did accomplish:

I drank more water (goal was at least 16oz a day). We visited several new places (in the US and abroad). I read (more than) 80 books. I visited my grandma one more time. I’ve worked on organizing and decluttering (though I still have a LOT of work to do). I incorporated my photography business. We visited a new restaurant every month. I took a photo of us together every month. We replaced our mattress. I knit a (tiny) sweater. We moved!

Some of the goals I did not accomplish:

I did not exercise twice a week the whole year, but I had a good excuse. 🙂 I volunteered only one time instead of two like I’d meant to. I didn’t fully fund my Roth IRA, due to job ups and downs. We didn’t make it to 5 new museums (I think we visited 2 or 3). We didn’t attend 6 cultural events, but we did do a couple, I think. We didn’t cook together once a month. We didn’t make it to a Yankees game before we left New York. We haven’t gotten some of our prints framed and hung (though we did make progress in the new house!).

*

I didn’t spend much time in the waning days of 2012 thinking about goals for 2013. But here are a few I came up with after some careful thought about what I want to get out of this shiny new year:

Individual goals:
Do something active at least twice a week.

Keep up this blog–at least one post a week.

Continue taking a photo a day.

Read 40 books (I have no idea how my time will look, so I have no clue if this is even remotely feasible).

Rebuild/restart photography business

Go full-frame (camera)! (dependent on previous)

Family/couple goals:
Take daytrips to Mt Hood, the Oregon coast, and an orchard/farm.

Continue to visit one new restaurant a month (just us or with babies).

Attend some lessons as a family, like baby swimming or music lessons.

Do at least three family events (zoo, festivals, etc).

Take monthly baby on couch photos.

Take monthly couple and/or family photos.

*

I feel such pressure to have some perfect beginnings for things like plans and photos ready on the first day of the year. Honestly, I’m always so scatterbrained that it just never happens. I’m a mess and I never know what day it is, so often I have to scramble to think of anything. A lifelong procrastinator, that’s me. This year is no exception–as you can tell by getting this up on January 3rd. (I wanted an extra day or two to come up with any more goal ideas.) Also, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I haven’t done anything active yet, despite the past three gorgeous, sunny but frigid days. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow?