Do Goals and Holidays Play Well Together? {December Goals + November Goals Recap}

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While I’m not one to EVER give up on setting goals (I mean, did you SEE my goals list right after having a baby? My motivation for goal-setting seriously knows no bounds…), I have been wanting for awhile now to ease up on certain areas, and I figured December is a great time to implement that pause button, as we’re already so busy this month as it is. You’ll notice that my December goals are heavily focused in the spiritual/religious arena, with just a few (very small) personal projects thrown in.

All in all, I want the end of 2018 to slow down a bit for me, and many of the goals reflect that.

But onto last month’s recap first:

November Goals

  • Finish Kayla Itsines’s BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program
    • I knew this might be a stretch to finish this anyway (since it meant I couldn’t take any time off even though we’d be out of town for Thanksgiving), but I definitely hadn’t planned on getting sick for a week and a half, which meant I took two weeks off from exercising. Now it’s been harder than ever to get back into the routine of doing the full program 3 times a week. I hate to totally shelve the goal right now (since I’ve completed to Week 10 out of 12 in the program), but man, it’s been a real motivation challenge to get this one going again (not to mention a logistical challenge, as every time I try, something seems to come up to prevent me from getting my workouts in). As of now, I think I’ll squeeze in modified workouts from the program when I can over the holidays and then resume where I left off (or just before, to ease myself back into it) come January. If you want to read my honest thoughts on the program at the halfway point, you can check out this post.
  • Plant spring bulbs
    • I went to our local nursery and picked out five different varieties of tulip bulbs in varying shades of purple, pink, and white, which Matt was so good to plant for me. I cannot WAIT to see what they look like in the spring!
  • Finish Self-Assigned Reading
    • As I mentioned in the post where I gave myself a “grade” for this term of reading, I finished two out of the three books and got about a third of the way through the classic. Considering that I felt like I was in a reading slump for much of the time I’d outlined as “fall term,” I’m actually pretty pleased that I managed to even finish that much.
  • Host Friendsgiving
    • I was worried this might not happen this year considering our whole household got sick the week this was scheduled, but we gave our friends fair warning and we all felt well enough to still pull it off (albeit on paper plates this year and with me buying sparkling cider rather than making our tried-and-true favorite Almond Punch).
  • Buy tripod
    • I ended up getting this one, and you’ll notice that a couple of my December goals are all about playing with my latest toy!
  • Make five new recipes from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
    • I’m doing really well with cooking my way through this whole cookbook, and I was especially proud of myself this month for trying out her recipe for linguine in clam sauce, as anything remotely seafood-ish is generally not my favorite. (However, I’ve always been a fan of clam chowder, so I figured this was a good one to ease in with. And we weren’t disappointed! The recipe was delicious.)
  • Get a haircut
    • Another one I was worried wouldn’t happen, because my original plan of going to a new hairdresser who lives right by me didn’t work out. Luckily, my sister-in-law is a hairstylist and was around for Thanksgiving, so we hired her to cut both mine and Matt’s hair. (I must point out that I think this is the first time we’ve ever had Matt’s hair cut BEFORE it got totally out-of-control crazy!)
  • Winterize the yard
    • We did do a lot of this, including shutting off our sprinkler system (and running the excess water out) and doing a LOT of pruning. We’d intended to cover our A/C unit with a tarp but then discovered we don’t actually own one (we must have borrowed the one we used last year), so we still need to do that.
  • Complete the majority of my Christmas shopping
    • I’m about thisclose to being completely finished–I just need to buy one (maybe two) more gifts, plus get some stocking stuffers. Oh, and I need to decide if we’re doing neighbor gifts…
  • Buy new nursing bra
    • I ended up getting this one in nude (though I’m still waiting for it to arrive, so I don’t know if I’ve picked a winner yet).

  • Finish all photography jobs
    • It felt SO GOOD to cross this one off (though I ended up booking a shoot for the weekend before Christmas, which means that I still will have one more session to edit before I can close the books on my photography business this year).
  • Start typing up personal journals
    • I went as far as to look through almost all my journals to find one to do next, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it—the first page of each one was so cringe-worthy (I was soooooo boy-obsessed growing up!) that I just couldn’t motivate myself to start, especially after having such an amazing experience typing up all my mission journals. I’ll have to shelve this one for a few months, I think. In fact, a part of me even wonders if I WANT to type all these up. We shall see.
  • Try a new cookie recipe
  • Go to the temple
    • I ended up knocking this one out of the park, as Matt and I have actually started trying to go to the temple weekly. It kind of happened by accident, just because we’d scheduled a date to go together (while my mom watched our kids) for the week after we’d each gone separately, and then we both just decided that it feels amazing to go more frequently, so we might as well start planning on trying to fit it in every week. It’s funny how life reminds me over and over again that there is ALWAYS time for what we prioritize.
  • Declutter a 50 WTO area
    • I went through all the toys in our upstairs front room and had a little teaching moment with Raven to help her understand why it’s important to donate/get rid of toys every now and then. She surprised me by actually being really good at just “saving” five of the things I’d set aside as possibilities to let go of, and then she herself put the rest in the “donate” box. Methinks I need to repeat this every 6 months so she’ll always be so good with parting with things.
  • List bookshelves, encyclopedias on KSL
    • Finally, the eternal rollover goal is completed! (And it only took me, um, 8 months I think?) We’ve already sold one of the three bookcases I listed, so that gives me hope that we’ll have the other two out of here quickly and that we’ll be that much closer to being able to start putting together our built-ins.
  • Optimize two old blog posts
  • Register the van
    • Bleghhhhh…talk about a task that became much more difficult than it should have been! Last year when we acquired the car from Matt’s parents, I accidentally registered it before switching it over into our name, and since I didn’t want to turn around and pay the registration fee twice, we decided to just keep it under his parents’ names. Well, this year, I was determined to not make the same mistake, so I was planning on making sure we switched over the registration BEFORE paying the fee this year…except now I seem to have misplaced the title…so we can’t do it yet. The good news is that since I’ve gone through stacks and stacks of papers that have been laying around for months looking for the dang title, I have gotten quite a bit of random decluttering and tidying done, so at least there’s that. We’ll definitely have to rollover this one for the very beginning of this new month.
  • Enroll in health insurance plan for next year
    • Our dental plan was tricky to figure out this year (because our dentist was no longer accepting our old plan), but I finally got this one figured out.
  • Go on a day adventure
    • On somewhat of a whim (because we hadn’t figured out another one), we ended up all going to see the new Wreck it Ralph movie the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Parts of it were a bit intense for Raven, but overall I think she really loved the experience of going to “the big movie,” as she called it.

It is impossible to anticipate every accomplishment we might achieve within a month, which is one reason why I like to list some other, unplanned things we were able to squeeze into the month. A few noteworthy things we accomplished (that were not on the original list):

  • We cleaned out the garage enough so that both cars can fit back in.
    • For the duration of the warmer months, we parked our cars on our driveway so that Matt could use our garage as a workspace to do his woodworking and concrete projects. Now that it’s started snowing, we really didn’t want our vehicles to be out anymore, so we (and by we, I mean mostly Matt) spent several evenings rearranging and getting rid of and donating things so we could start parking our cars in there again.
  • I did a little interview of sorts over email, a (very small) part of which was published in this piece by Laura Vanderkam.
    • So basically, I’m famous now. You’ll probably want my autograph soon. (Also, her piece was on why she thinks that it’s sometimes better to NOT share your goals publicly, and I loved the irony of sharing the piece here in my monthly goals post.)
  • We did some (minor) sleep training with the baby, and he’s now basically sleeping through the night!
    • As he isn’t a thumb-sucker like Raven, he’ll sometimes wake up in the middle of the night if he spits out his pacifier and can’t get back to sleep on his own, but usually all it takes is for one of us to lean over and put the binky back in and then he goes right back down. I used to have to feed him very consistently at 3:30 every morning, but we were able to drop that feeding finally, so I’m feeling pretty good about the progress we’ve seen this month.

December Goals

  • Go offline for two weeks (minimum)
    • After taking 10 days off of social media in October, I’ve been itching to try going almost completely offline (meaning, no blog reading, social media checking, frequent email checks, etc.). To do this, I plan to write up and schedule some blog posts in advance and then just take the rest of the month off. I think that basically just staying off the computer for two weeks will help me focus more on some other things I want to do this month, and I seriously can’t wait to just totally disconnect for awhile.
  • Go on a day adventure (to Hardware Ranch)
    • Matt and I have been talking a lot recently about which holiday traditions we want to continue and which we might want to change or discontinue or start now that our oldest child is getting older and really “gets” Christmas this year. Going on a sleigh ride to go elk-watching at Hardware Ranch is something we’ve been doing together for a few years now, and it’s one we want to try and continue, so it’s officially on the list for this month. Often, we try to have our day adventures be something new that we haven’t done before, but as the month is already so busy, I’m going to go ahead and count this as our adventure for the month.
  • Try a new cookie recipe
    • ‘Tis the season to bake even more than usual (hooray!), so it should be pretty easy to knock this one out fairly early. This will also help fulfill my 101 in 1001 goal of trying a dozen new cookie recipes.
  • Send/give 4 handwritten cards
    • Another 101 in 1001 goal is to send or give out a dozen handwritten notes or cards, as I find that it’s becoming something I’ve unintentionally started doing less and less as the years have gone on. I know how much I appreciate a thoughtful handwritten card, so I wanted to try and work on doing it more for others.
  • Read the rest of the talks from General Conference 2018
    • We got the Conference issue of The Ensign (church magazine) a few weeks ago, and while I’ve started reading some of the talks from last General Conference, I need to come up with a better system for studying them regularly. Maybe it’s time to resurrect my beloved morning routine (especially as the baby is more or less sleeping through the night now)?
  • Find the names of 30 ancestors
    • If I’m able to accomplish this, I will be able to count as complete my 101 in 1001 goal of finding the names of at least 100 ancestors to take to the temple. If you want to know more about why temple work and attending the temple is so important to my faith, you can click here.
  • Go to the temple 4 times
    • As mentioned above, Matt and I started trying to go to the temple weekly, which has been amazing. I’d love to continue this, even with such a busy month.

  • Make 5 new recipes from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
    • Still trying to go strong on my 101 in 1001 goal to cook through a whole cookbook. I’m actually really excited to write up a blog post sometime all about what it’s been like to cook through a whole cookbook, so stay tuned for that!
  • Take one self portrait
    • As mentioned above, I got this new tripod (as well as finally picked myself up a wireless remote for my camera), so I’m hoping to play around a bit with those this month.
  • Index 100 names
    • Indexing is a service where you look through a bunch of official records (such as government census records or birth certificates) and type up the important information from them so that a search engine can find that information. For the record, I have a 101 in 1001 goal to index 1,000 names (can you tell I’m trying to complete as many of my 101 in 1001 goals before the end of the first year of the project?!).
  • Start two Assigned Reading books
    • I’ve officially started my self-designated “winter term” of assigned reading, so it’s time to start some of the new books I’ve chosen for myself to read. If you want to check out which titles I’ll be picking up, you can check out the original post here. (If you want to see how I did on the term that just ended, you can see that here.)
  • Declutter one 50 WTO area
    • I debated whether I wanted to table this goal until January, but I figured if I’m able to go offline like I want, I’ll actually probably be pretty darn motivated to do a bunch of stuff around the house, so here’s hoping that holds true.
  • Register Mazda and the van

    • As usual, I have to put some not-as-exciting nagging tasks on here just so I don’t forget to do them!
  • Optimize one old blog post (recipe)
    • The only reason I included this one in a month when I want to be mostly offline is because I want to get much better at food photography, so this is an easy way to start (and another excuse to familiarize myself with my new tripod!).
  • Revisit 101 in 1001 list and see if I want to change any
    • One thing I discovered a long time ago by setting new year’s resolutions each January was that it’s not always possible to anticipate which of your original goals and resolutions are still going to be important to you as the year rolls on. With my original 101 in 1001 list, I tried my best to choose things that I would still want a couple years down the line, but I’ve already pinpointed a few that I think I’m going to change. Since I’m hoping I’ll have more quiet time to reflect this month by going offline, I’m hoping to use some of that time to sit down with my list and really study it to see what I might want to change on it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be changing at least five or six!

Here’s hoping that I’m able to stay offline for at least half of this month so that I can come back energized and bursting with great ideas and fresh motivation come January!