First off, I am fully aware that there are still three and a half weeks left in the year and thus, a solid 26 days left to me to line up the last of my ducks in a row. However, as past Decembers have proved time and time again, I rarely make any progress on my goals the last month of the year anyway, so they will likely stand on Dec. 31st exactly as they stand now.
Therefore, I figured that today was as good a day as any to proclaim to the world how well (or not well) I did on those resolutions I set for myself all the way back in January of this year.
First, a recap of what those resolutions actually were:
- Finish our emergency fund
- Break myself of my Diet Dr. Pepper and social media addictions
- Between Matt and I, complete the temple work for at least 10 ancestors (and research and find out as much as possible about those ancestors beforehand)
- Complete 3 personal photography projects
- Set monthly goals, in addition to doing a weekly to-do list
For more background on why I chose these particular goals, you can click on the original post here.
If you want to catch up on the progress I’d made at the halfway point of this year, you can click here.
But now!–time for the Big Reveal (aka, when I blatantly admit which goals I basically gave up on and which goals I totally knocked out of the park):
Resolution #1: Finish our emergency fund.
Initially, we had set this goal at $10,000, but then we made tweaks here and there throughout the first part of the year and had actually set the number lower at one point. However, with us now having a mortgage payment that’s roughly double of what our rent payment used to be, I’d like to eventually have AT LEAST $10,000 in our emergency fund, if not quite a bit more.
With that said, there was a point this year that we were right on track to hit our goal number before the end of the year (which was somewhere around $9000 at the time). But then, when we somewhat unexpectedly decided to become homeowners around May, our emergency fund was depleted down to about $4000 and has stayed there ever since.
I am so glad that we made sure we at least kept some money in savings when we signed our souls away and bought a house, but with the mortgage payment being about double of what we paid for rent, we just haven’t had much room in the budget to save much at this point in time.
We anticipate some raises for Matt in 2018 and my photography business has been slowly but surely growing quite a bit this year, so with those two things, I’m hoping that 2018 will be able to show us some numbers in our emergency fund that will give me a bit more peace of mind.
Resolution #2: Break myself of my Diet Dr. Pepper and social media addictions.
At the beginning of the year, I set myself a pretty strict schedule with social media use (how many times a week I could get on, and for how long), and I stuck with it for the first couple months of the year. I also went off DDP cold turkey at the end of last December (I believe) and didn’t touch a drop of it for the first couple months of the year.
Then we got hit with a LOT of tough stuff, and my resolve to keep up this particular goal waned big-time—for awhile there this year, I was back to drinking a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper a day, and there are still days even now when I find myself mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed or getting onto Instagram for the third or fourth time that day.
However, it has currently been several months since I’ve bought any Dr. Pepper at the store, and though I do allow myself to have it when we go out to eat, I haven’t been craving it on a daily basis anymore, so I’m counting this one as a win.
As for the social media, I spend far less time than I used to as a whole on all of it, and I rarely get the anxiety about it that I used to have. Facebook was always the biggest trigger for me (for anxiety and for time-wasting), and I’ve now gotten to the point that I’m not feeling the need to check it every time I hop on a computer, and I also got in the habit of just checking my notifications most of the time and clicking out, rather than scrolling endlessly through my feed and getting my emotions riled up over whatever I found there.
I also used to spend a TON of time scrolling through my Bloglovin feed, and I had this weird thing where I felt guilty marking something as read that I hadn’t actually read, which meant that my feed was HUGE and that I’d sometimes spend hours in a day trying to read all the blog posts I’d subscribed to. One big victory for me this year has been just to read what is the most interesting to me and the stuff from the bloggers I follow the most faithfully, and mark the rest as read. It’s been so liberating!
A part of me would still like to get down my social media use to just once or twice a week total, but as I have two businesses (this blog and my photography business) that are largely run online, I really do need to check my social media fairly regularly to keep up on those.
For now, I think I’ve struck a pretty good balance of using social media for the good stuff and not getting involved enough to get too much of the negative, but I do know I could be better.
For more reading on this topic, you might like:
Resolution #3: Between Matt and I, complete the temple work for at least 10 ancestors (and research and find out as much about them beforehand as possible).
This one was a BIG win for me this year–not only was I able to find MORE than ten names for Matt and I to do (I think we both did around 6 or 7 apiece), but I was also able to find enough names for ALL of his siblings AND their spouses AND his parents to do five names apiece as well! I experienced a lot of little miracles this year when it came to discovering more about Matt’s genealogy, and we had a lot of spiritual experiences as a family doing the work for these people.
And, at the very end of last month, we were able to all get together as a family and do temple sealings together at the same time, which was incredible. We’ve already talked about maybe even repeating it again next year!
Resolution #4: Complete 3 personal photography projects.
Hmph. Nope. Just nope.
I did at least join in Clickin’ Moms 2017 Summer Scavenger Hunt during the summer and posted several submissions for that, but my other project–to take pictures around the lesser-known crooks and crannies of Logan–crashed and burned when we moved outside of the city, and I just never got anything going for a third project.
However, my goal in completing personal photography projects was to continually push myself as a photographer to get better and try new techniques, and that IS something I’ve consciously worked on all year as I’ve taken daily pictures of Raven and as I’ve done more photo shoots than I ever have in a year before. My guideline has been that if in the last 10 or so minutes of a photo shoot (if my subjects aren’t obviously burnt out), I do almost purely experimental shots, just for the fun of it. Sometimes, these shots totally crash and burn, but much more often–probably about 80% of the time–they produce some of my favorite images.
So, while I didn’t follow this one to the letter, I DID experience some major wins as a photographer this year, including making enough money to finally purchase a better camera body AND being able to confidently increase my prices this year because I can visibly see how much better I’ve gotten over the last twelve months.
Resolution #5: Set monthly goals, in addition to doing a weekly to-do list.
At the beginning of the year, I said that 2017 could go in a lot of different directions, so I wanted to keep my resolutions fairly general and not set anything that would stress me out too much. That meant the monthly goal list was the perfect opportunity for me to look at where I was currently at in that very moment and realistically set myself up a plan of success for the month ahead.
As I mentioned in my progress post halfway through the year, I largely set myself up this year in this way because I fully expected to have a baby by the end of 2017 (and I would have, had I not miscarried in March). Even though our life did not go as planned this year, I’m still glad that I set my system up this way, though—I hadn’t counted on a big move halfway through the year (and especially not to a house, no less!), and I also hadn’t planned for some of the other trials and challenges we faced this year. Having monthly goals in place meant that I was consistently setting goals, but it also meant that I was (usually) setting pretty realistic goals, too, since I often knew what the immediate month ahead had in store for us and what I could reasonably accomplish over that period of time.
I have successfully set monthly goals every single month this year (as well as sat down every single week to fill out a weekly to-do list), and though I haven’t been perfect at crossing off all my to-dos from week to week (and month to month), I have been able to pull off some pretty sizeable wins, including:
- Reaching my goal of reading 50 books in a year as an adult, a goal I’ve had since my early twenties (I’ve currently finished 63 books this year and counting!)
- Potty training Raven (though we still need to night-train her)
- Getting everything sold from the storage sheds we bought at auction (making over $550 in profit this year from the sheds we bought last year)
- Figuring out the stocks I inherited from my grandpa years ago, which helped us to be able to afford to make a down payment on our house
- Making visible progress on updating our house, including painting seemingly half of it, installing more sprinklers, and installing can lighting in the basement (all of which we could only do thanks to a LOT of help from family and friends!)
- Starting to write in my novel again (and helping Matt to edit his first finished draft!)
- Totally revamping the blog, including giving it a new name, a slightly different spin, and moving it towards monetization
- Getting with the 21st century and figuring out how to share my work with photography clients via online gallery rather than on picture c.d.’s (my photography website is still in progress–hopefully I’ll be able to officially “launch” it sometime early next year!)
I also set monthly goals that were purely for enjoyment, which meant that we got to do a lot of fun things together with family and friends this year–at least one big thing every month (and often more).
I think I can safely say that this weekly to-do list and monthly goal list is a system that I’ll be sticking with for awhile to come!
Now the question is—what resolutions to set for 2018? Because you’d better believe I’m already thinking about it…