This post could get pretty lengthy, so bless you if you stick with me. After all, I’m recapping 12 months of 2019 and diving into what the next 12 will hopefully hold. I have had so many people comment about how they “wish they could do this” or they “were starting this in 2020” so I feel a little bit guilty about how long it’s taken to get my thoughts on the monthly goals of 2019 out here. But, alas, one of my own resolutions for 2020 is to stop apologizing for not blogging frequently enough. The truth is, this is just for fun, and although I love, love love to write there are so many other things that call for my time right now that I also love more or equally.
So, enough is enough, let’s look back at the 2019 monthly goals. Each month I picked 1-2 items that fell into the categories of: – Give Up – Read – Work – Clean – Do – Save Each month I posted my upcoming month, with the month prior to see what had been done. (This got tricky on the months I didn’t have my notebook with me on the first of the month!) I chose to highlight certain months with colors so I know if I accomplished one earlier, what month I did it in, and if I didn’t accomplish it, I could come back and highlight it to see which month I completed it (if at all.)
All of the months, with highlights, are below. You can click to see them larger and scroll through. You’ll also see a little extra bonus list, one of which was for our house, and the other was an untouched work list.
Give Up. There were months that I could foresee conflicts with the items I chose, like who’s going to give up sweets in February? And I would never give up Alcohol in April because it’s our anniversary month. I chose purposefully the shortest month for a social media break because I didn’t “know if I could last another 3 days…” insert my own eyeroll here.
But there were other things I couldn’t foresee, like “non-essential shopping for me and Gemma in April”. We took a trip to the Dominican Republic, so I had to buy things like floaties, towels, bathing suits, etc. to prepare for the trip. I consider these things non-essential, so that month was a huge FAIL. (you’ll see it below crossed completely out because some things just couldn’t be completed once busted). I planned to unfollow social media accounts during my hiatus—bad planning. I ended up going to Europe at the end of August, and buddy did I chow down on some baguettes—but before that, I did great with no bread. And with instances of No Alcohol, and No Fried Foods, I completed it with just a one or two “oops”, so I just wrote those down, trying to give myself a smidge of grace through the process.
Then there were other things too “gray” to mark completed, like “no phones between 4-9pm”—I remember making a conscious effort to put my phone away when Gemma got up from nap, and not pick it back up until later that night, but I don’t know if it was *exactly* 4-9pm, ya know?
The ones I completed without question I was super proud of, and had a rude awakening too. No Target, no Amazon… holy crap at the money savings those months! Waking up at 5am on weekdays—a habit that is (mostly) sticking and I love it. I love having time before Gemma wakes up to myself. And I love the quiet morning hours of working, and feeling productive before most of the world is awake.
But, as you can imagine, the one that affected me the most was No Social Media. I didn’t take as many photos because I didn’t “need” to post them. I cut my phone time by hours per week, and I honestly felt FREE. I had people text me to chat instead of just “seeing” what we were doing on social media and not needing to check in. The first 4 days were weird, and isolating, but by the end of my 28 days I legitimately did not want to reinstall the apps on my phone.
Read. I read some GOOD books this year. I was more intentional about reading before bed than just scrolling my phone til my eyes bugged out. But I also read some really BAD books too. I’m not going to go into full-on book review mode here because it would take up too much precious space in this already lengthy post but here’s my list of faves and duds, with a short statement about my thoughts.
Faves – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: It pushed me to get rid of most of these books after I finished them this year, and try e-books, but also I still fold my clothes like she recommends. – Chasing Slow: I remember liking this book, but can’t remember much about it now, so it must not have affected me much! – Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: I liked a lot about this book, but disagreed with a few major thoughts they had too, which is totally fine with me. I loved that they considered meat a luxury and ate rice and beans every Monday to remember that. – Two By Two: My reminder that I need to read less “self-help” and “parenting” books because I finished this one faster than any other book of the year—so freaking good. – Capital Gaines: This one was borderline because I listened to like 3/4 of it with Rudy in the car. I still loved it. Everyone loves Chip Gaines. It’s good.
Duds – Girl, Stop Apologizing: I *wanted * to read, Girl, Wash Your Face, but ended up downloading the wrong one for my first e-book try. Could barely finish this one, painful to read. And I’ve actually heard this a lot more from my grown women friends recently. It’s not the motivating type of writing for me. – The Power of Habit: It sounded so good, but it was so bad. Super, super dry. Something that you would have been forced to read in a college business class or something. The most interesting part was a look into how Target sends out their coupons. – Crazy Love: Okay, please don’t throw stones at me. I should have a middle category of “neutral” and this would have made it in there, but just overall, the writing style did not fire me up for the Lord. (sorry!)
After the two books above in June and July, I fell off the wagon in August and didn’t read a book. Then, I read Crazy Love in September (another meh book) BUT, I’m so stubborn that once I start a book, unless its just rancid, I have to finish it even if it burns me out. I also couldn’t bring myself to buy Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat in October because we had so many expenses with our Disney Trip, but my sweet Aunt actually sent it to me in November, so I started that then! It’s a HUGE book, so I am still working on it a few nights a week in 2020. It’s a LOT for a non-cooking lady like me to take it. I’m peppering it in (see what I did there!) with other books from my list for this year. I didn’t read either my November or December picks, but only one made the list for 2020.
Work. Perhaps the second most neglected of the year. I will never not find it hard to put real work in front of work projects, but I still accomplished a lot. I hired a business coach to help further my goals for Huntsville Design House instead of going to a workshop, and I reached out to a lot of businesses overcoming a “cold-calling” fear. I still need to review my pricing, design a font, and continue my web design education in 2020—something I’m super stoked about adding to my skill set. If you hadn’t noticed already, I closed down Huntsville Paper Co. and re-started the Salt + Paperie shop— The Anthology. I’m excited to work harder to get into brick & mortar stores in 2020.
Clean. This was one of my favorite categories of the year, and most of these just rolled right into 2020. I don’t know if 2x a year is enough for some of these things, but let’s just start with two for now. Most of the items that didn’t get cleaned in the month they were in had to do with the fact that from May-October our house was either 1. open 12 hours a day or 2. we threw said item away and got new (blinds & doors & windows!) However, I thought long and hard about the months these belonged in before writing them down. Birthday and Christmas months meant toy and clothes purge for Gemma. Trimming trees, when there aren’t any leaves because I SWEAR we decide to trim out trees the weeks the trees are all blooming and its freaking miz. I think I will always feel the need to clean the most in the Winter, because we fester inside all the time, and our shed needs to be cleaned ever two months because it’s a giant chatch-all.
Do. The projects that bug you, but seem to still never get done. We all have them, but yet you’ve been saying to do them for YEARS. I finally scratched some off this year! I still can’t speak Spanish, but I’m not giving up hope. We had masssssive house renovations this year, so my “get quote for siding” turned into “pay man for siding real quick”. We did host a kid party last year, but it was also an adult party. A Celebration of our “New Home”. I have fun plans to make up for that this year though! EEEK!
I officially set up a retirement account, and have been paying into it since April! I highly recommend doing this, friends. Our credit union’s financial advisor was so nice and helpful, and above all it was FREE. I was nervous to even start because I don’t have money to pay somebody to manage the little money I have—that seems dumb! But no, its free. And now I feel silly for not doing it sooner. Better late than never, my advisor told me.
I have pretty much given up on organizing my iPhone photos. It’s too far gone, or a project I would have to tackle if I was bedridden for weeks. I still have plans to make Gemma’s second year video, and quickly turnaround and do the third! Even if it’s late, in five years it won’t matter and I will be glad I did it. I adore watching her first year video.
And the last few, blogging once a week. It’s not (EVER) going to happen. I gave myself new goals for that this year too. And make a budget. Woof. Stay tuned for the details of that in the next section.
Save. There’s not much to say about this category except that it’s the least completed of the year. That’s because of all the things I have the least amount of discipline in this area. You’re getting to look at the weakest part of me right now! It includes also: cooking meals at home. Of all the things I accomplished, it became very clear that in 2020 I wanted to focus more on saving money. In a lot of areas.
I did truly love having the monthly goals, but it wasn’t very long into it that I could see the snowball effect taking place. If you get behind a little bit on the list(s) then it just starts to feel overwhelming. But the end months it did start to really build up and felt hard to do some things during the crazy holiday season.
The other thing I touched on, was sometimes the timing of things. Sometimes it just didn’t pan out correctly because of a trip, or a certain holiday because I didn’t think in January when choosing the items for June what might be going on (that’s kind of a lot to process for reals).
This year I decided to take each category from 2019, and make 12(ish) goals for each category. There’s so many that are full year goals, so I don’t plan to highlight those until December. But some months are just easier to read, and easier to clean, and easier to not eat fried foods. Now I have the “freedom” to pick those times when it works a little bit easier/when it can be accomplished. I said “freedom” because I know someone is rolling their eyes (likely my hubs) because I am CHOOSING to do this, so I know I’m not a slave to the list. cI feel motivated with goals, and love to cross things off a list. It feels good to even look back at my 2019 list and see what was accomplished on paper (with keeping a toddler alive, two dogs mostly alive, and two businesses running with a mostly clean house).
So let’s take a look at what’s on the docket this year! The categories are: – Give Up/Add On – Read – Clean – Work – Do – Money (changed from last year’s “save” category) – Blog (a new category)
Some of these I loved from last year, and I want to keep them going, but you’re also getting to see a few new vulnerable things.
I have already started waking up to read a morning devotional, but I have to actually sit in my chair each evening when I’m done working so that I don’t just sit down to work first. Otherwise, I will forget. I’m hoping after a while it just seems like my day can’t start without it.
Finding a church, and going regularly on Sundays is something I haven’t really done since college. After having Gemma it got even harder because I was terrified of nursery germs, and then detachment issues… all excuses I know, but when you’re searching for church home dropping a kiddo off in different nurseries each week does sound freaky. Working on these trust issues is important.
I never have had a nighttime face routine and it shows. I’m 33 or something and it’s about freaking time.
And checking my bank account daily is just me trying to work on the habit of paying attention to our money. I am mortified to admit that before I started meal planning I had no clue what things even cost. $5? $10? Sure… I didn’t know. I couldn’t even tell you half the time what amount I had just swiped my card for at Target. Embarrassing, but true. At the suggestion of some friends, we started using EveryDollar. It’s only been a month, but it’s definitely helping my visual brain see where the money is going (SPOILER ALERT: IT’S GROCERIES!)
Read. Only one that should last the whole year, but I’m pumped about not having to complete one book a month, and have the freedom to read two or three if I find the time! (not likely) I have already finished Blink, but the truth is, it got super repetitive at the end so I gave myself the grace to put it down early. I picked others because they were already my shelf (and have been for years) so it’s time to read them and let them move on to another reader. If you have any of these books you’d care to loan me, I’d gladly accept and give back. One thing Marie Kando taught me was that I wasn’t likely to re-read them, which is so true.
Clean. I don’t know how often other people do these tasks, but twice a year is about all I can muster. However, once I start purging one thing, it happens like a hurricane all over the house, and that’s fine by me. I’d prefer to do them once in January and once in July and be done with it!
Work. As mentioned before this was the second most neglected category in 2019. Most of the items on this year’s list were items that didn’t get done last year, but then some big goals for this year. Two items are already crossed off, and I’m hoping to tackle at least one more before the end of the month, which is impressive considering January begins our busy wedding season. (No complaints here!) There’s a couple of things not on this list that are already in the works, unplanned… and it’s those things that always seem that take priority.
Do. Let’s mostly focus on that top one shall we? That’s a big shared goal that Rudy and I will be completing together this year. I’m both equally excited and terrified. I am a better swimmer than I am biker, but that’s not saying much. I’m a prettttyyyy sketchy biker. It’ll be fun to try something new, and to do it together with Rudy. It will enable us to spend time together and hopefully once we have the gear, fairly cheaply!
Hopefully before May I’ll get Gemma’s second and third year videos done, and the rest are a little overlapping because the over arching theme of this year is paying attention to money, and being at home more which includes cooking at home.
Money. This is where I am needing to develop the most discipline this year. Where last year the goal was to save certain amounts a month, this year there’s much more specific goals. After looking at just a few months of spending last year, I quickly realized that our food bill was outrageous for our 3 person family. That is because I would go to Target/Publix without a plan for meals. Buy some stuff, then get busy during the week (or lazy) and end up eating out and spending more money while our groceries rotted. What’s more, is that once admitting this online, I have had a number of people tell me they struggle with the same thing. So I’m here to tell you… let’s keep each other accountable, and even though life gets busy… we. can. do. it. Below is a sample of my first couple of weeks of meal planning. It took me almost 2 hours the first week to pick meals, see where the deals were and see what we already had. It’s gotten down to about an hour already!
Eating out has always been an escape for us as a family because I work at home ALL day long. And now, all day long with a toddler. It’s just nice to get out of the house, for real. But, new goals sometimes mean sacrifices, so once a week eating out as a family 3 is the goal. That leaves us a little wiggle room for invites from friends and family, but just not for our own laziness to cook.
And I did pay all my estimated taxes this year, which I hadn’t done in my previous 5 years of owning a business (this *ish is hard, y’all!) but, I’d like to continue doing so this year! 🙂
Blog. A new category for something that is truly important to me. I love to write, and the only real goal was to blog 12 times a year. I have already begun to merge my work blog here, and plan to house all the things I do and care about here. I have had these blogs on my mind for year(s), but just can’t find the extra space to do them. I’m hoping Saturday mornings with coffee will be my new time. It’s important enough to me to wake up a little earlier on Saturdays to spend some quiet time writing.
I will tell you one thing I can see about this list verses last year, is that it could be very easy to wait until the last minute to do some of these things if they aren’t getting done (i.e. giving up shopping for Gemma, plus giving up friend food, plus reading three books all in the last month) It has a little less structure, which is nice, but must be monitored closely or they won’t get done.
If nothing else this year, I want to focus on developing a spending discipline, one I have not possessed before. The second main goal is to train for an complete the sprint triathlon.
Lastly, what would a good list be without colors?! I’ll continue to highlight by month to see which month I completed it. I’m hoping everything is colored by the end of 2020!
Did you make new goals for the new year? Do you want to join me on any categories?! You’re not too late. Starting now is better than never starting at all.