2017 threw everyone for a loop. In staring down the start of 2017, I may have amped up my resolution setting because I needed a little order in an otherwise chaotic universe. I have always cared deeply about resolutions, setting some sort of goal for myself nearly every year that I can remember. My dedication to being goal-oriented is perhaps my best and most insufferable quality. I have discovered, though, that I like a challenge, and setting goals helps me work towards something. My mother always said I was terrible as doing nothing.
I have posted cataloging items for 2015 and 2016 and the benefit of hindsight is seeing how I’ve approached each year. In 2015, I set a vague goal to be present and developed loose metrics to follow, but it wasn’t enough for me to make some changes in my life like getting back to exercise and writing. By the end of 2015, though, I had started to develop some good habits and I needed to sustain them. So as 2016 started, I gave myself tighter guidelines. Heading into 2017, I knew I wanted to stay focused.
This year most of my “resolutions” were really SMART goals and they were intended to help me pace the year. I often lament the passage of time and I didn’t want the year to go by and not be doing the things I have come to love–reading, exercising, writing. In pushing myself to meet my own goals, I sometimes felt like I was checking boxes for the sake of them. The tension between doing things and giving myself a break was tough on my brain.
The funny thing about goals: there were things I wanted to do that I didn’t act on ( like learning French or how to play 6 songs on the guitar) and things I didn’t realize I’d want to do that happened (like writing a book chapter and climbing a rope). Some things have become part of who I am (as me) and who we are (as a family). Reading is central to family life, but now if we go too long without a trip to the library, the girls notice. And I don’t know if that’s because we’re all readers now or because my youngest also loves reading or if we prioritized reading. But my goal of making regular library trips has certainly changed something in our family. Likewise, my goal to “commit” acts of kindness have spawned a new motivation to be of service in 2018. And writing blog posts, I didn’t make every month’s goal to post twice but I wrote my way out of some tough moments this year. There were draft essays intended for my eyes only and there was the month of November when I stupidly thought I’d write a NaNoWriMo novel.
Having the SMART goals didn’t magically transform my worldview or make me into a bionic human. But I did recalibrate what matters and found ways to prioritize the things I want to do to make me a better person for myself and for my family and friends.
So, to that end, a rundown of the progress for this year:
- Exercise 4x weekly: Completed 206 out of 208 workouts. Not too shabby.
- Allowance for the kids: Paid allowance for 16 out of 52 weeks before we gave up but have new energy to pursue this goal in the new year.
- Weekly acts of kindness: Roughly 11 our of 52 weeks I was able to do something tangible for friends near and far. I was glad to reflect and reframe this for 2018.
- Read one full length article a week: an abysmal failure. I read lots of short form journalism but tallied only a few long pieces.
- Make regular library trips: I have a record of at least 13 trips to the library.
- Practice yoga twice a month: Went to 5 total classes. Happy with my current workouts but want to integrate yoga into the scheme of things.
- Read 2 books a month: I was always reading all year and felt adrift when I wasn’t. Completed 16 books and read several that changed my worldview.
- Write two blog posts a month: Posted 16 total posts not including the monthly review of goals.
- Choose outside 2 times each month: I have a record of 10 outdoor things we did and want to prioritize outdoor time with my girls in 2018.
- Make time for one date night each month: I count 9 total date nights in 2017 but that includes the errant day date. Husband thinks these don’t count. We’ve already discussed how this needs to be a joint effort in 2018.
- Donate blood 4 times: Super proud to have donated 5 times in 2017. 6 times is within reach for 2018.
- Self care once per quarter: Three self care days on record for 2017. The last quarter of the year was toggling between worrying for and thinking about friends and entertaining for the holidays so I’ll have to double up in 2018.
- One external writing project per quarter: I logged two projects total and did not pursue too many external projects in the back half of the year.
Highlights of the year:
- Making 5 blood donations
- Seeing Hamilton with my husband
- Logging one of the biggest professional days of my life, giving my first ever keynote presentation and a big conference presentation on the same day. Close to 400 people in two states on one day
- Invited to submit a contribution to a book project about leaving academia
- My girls’ weekend with the daughters back in August while my husband was away
- Made challah for the first time
- Two B’nai Mitzvot and one wedding–totally thrilled to celebrate with family and friends
- Great Wolf Lodge surprise weekend with the kids
- Climbing the rope in gym class (!!)
And in 2018, I’ve got goals. Oh, do I have goals. But I have a better sense of how to manage them now. So I’ll track and update but I can’t say I’m going to push myself as hard as I did. Goodness knows I have nothing to prove to anyone except myself, and I’m doing just fine in that department.
So in no specific order, a few goals and resolutions for 2018:
- Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): I want to continue with my exercise class and add in some variety. Thinking running, yoga, and spinning (after my most recent SoulCycle class).
- Allowance for the kids: Trying this again.
- Read 30 books this year: Not tracking this as a monthly goal anymore. I read constantly and I feel discouraged if I lock down one book but am reading two at the same time and don’t finish them. So I’m pushing to read many books, 30.
- Write regularly: 1-2 blog posts per month plus external projects
- 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids
- 1 date night: Spoke with husband and we’re going to make this a priority.
- Donate blood 6 times: This is possible if I manage my time and prioritize it.
- Volunteer once a month: I know I can find time to help others. I want to engage with a program at my temple to feed people. I want to serve political candidates running in 2018. And I want to take my daughter to volunteer with dogs.
- Self care (mani, pedi, massage): Once per quarter is important and since I couldn’t lock it down in 2017, I clearly need to prioritize me time in 2018. With a big birthday on the horizon, I have a feeling I’ll have plenty of me time.
- Experiment with podcasting: I want to acquire new equipment to allow for field recording and collecting oral histories. I’ll also be producing 12 minipods for Boy vs. Girl, and I have plans to record with my girls.
- Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: I’m hoping to find at least 2 chances to speak publicly on data, on organ donation, or to pitch new stories.
- Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Inspired by It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders I have to find a way to capture my “Best Thing All Week” for the entire year. I already capture every day so this should be easy.
- Financial planning for the household: This was a goal in 2017 and we did have some emergent household expenses and now we’re working towards saving for this kitchen.
- Get our unfinished rooms completed: We have some spaces in our house that we need to finish off. We need to settle our home office and to set up our (unexpectedly) new basement. We have a box of unhung pictures waiting for a space on the walls. It’s been a few years in this not so new house any more. Time to live here for real. I’d love to start the summer with the house feeling “finished” for now.
- Crochet regularly: I’ve been making baby hats and my blood pressure is super low. This has to be a good thing.
Thanks for coming, 2018. So happy you’re here and can’t wait to see what you bring us.