Goals for 2015

So ready or not we’ve come to a new year. 2014 is gone and personally I say good riddance, but that’s just me. 2015 has arrived no matter whether you’re happy to see it go or not. So with it comes my time to write down a few goals that I have for the upcoming year. As usual I’ll give an update in the middle of the year and at the end of the year to see how I’ve been doing.

I’ve enjoyed doing this the last couple of years and honestly writing them down and coming back to them over the year has really helped keep them in mind and overall with a few exceptions I’ve been able to keep my goals the last couple years. So anyhow, let’s get on to the goals I have for the upcoming year.

1. Make 1 New Local Friend – I know the last couple years I’ve been talking about how we want to get more connected to our community and to be honest it just always seemed like such a vague goal and it never really formed into much. So my goal is to make one new local friend. Like a real friend, not a we see and chat with them at church or work friend. A friend that you get together with just because you enjoy their company kind of friend. This may be a tall order for the year, but I’m really hoping this goal will come to pass.

2. Continue Paying Down Loans – The last couple of years we’ve had a target loan that we hoped to knock out by the end of the year. The loans we have left now are all too big to realistically knock them out by the end of the year, but we hope to continue our paying more than the minimum approach and reduce our debt by a decent amount.

3. Paint Anastasia’s Room and Our Room – Last year we had a goal to paint one of the rooms of our new house, which we did finally wind up accomplishing. However, this year I want to try to get Anastasia’s room painted and our bedroom painted. Kids will be older this year so I’m hoping that two rooms will be doable.

4. Improve Photography – Last year I had the very noble and very silly idea of trying to take a picture each day, this didn’t last very long before I missed a few days and never really got back into it. This year I’m going to try something a bit different. I’m going to try to do a different theme for each week over the next year. I’m hoping to post at least one of the pictures for each of the themes on my blog and maybe even more if I have a lot of inspiration for the week.

5. Read 15 Books – Last year I made a goal of reading one book a month or 12 books over the year. I wound up reading just twelve books, so I’m hoping that by upping my expectations I’ll be able to read a few more over 2015.

6. Potty Train Anastasia – This one is a hope that may not be realized, but it is a goal I would like to achieve by the end of 2015. To get Anastasia potty trained and out of diapers would be a very nice thing to accomplish. This requires cooperation from a certain little girl so it is uncertain if this will come to pass this year or not. We can always hope though.

7. Assorted Home Goals – When we bought a house last year it kind of came with a hot tub. We still haven’t worked on getting that up and running yet. So we would like to try to do that during 2015. We’re also hoping to buy Ryan a larger bed because he is unfortunately on his way to growing out of his toddler bed.

I think that’s about all the goals I’ve got in mind as of now. We’ll see if I can achieve most of these again this year. I guess we’ll have to wait until further into 2015 to see how that turns out. Do you have any goals for the new year?

Looking Back at 2014’s Goals

Last year I started setting goals for myself at the beginning of the year. I enjoyed the experience and found that having some set goals before me helped keep them on my mind especially reviewing them about halfway through the year and again at the end of the year. Since I enjoyed it last year I did it again this year. Since it’s at the end of the year let’s see how well I did at accomplishing the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

1. Getting Connected in Our Local Community – We’ve maybe had some progress on this one, but at the same time we don’t really have much of any significant relationships around here. We have met a couple more of our neighbors since, so that’s good. We’ve also been around more people with Ryan being in school, but no real relationships have developed more just recognizing people while dropping off and picking up your kids. We’ve also been sick pretty consistently since Ryan has started school so that hasn’t helped develop many relationships either.

2. Paying Off Loans – Paying off our smaller student loans was accomplished by the middle of the year, but we’ve been trying to aggressively tackle our bigger loans the rest of the year. The ones we’re facing now will be a bit longer to take out unfortunately.

3. Painting – We did wind up painting Ryan’s bedroom this year. We didn’t really know what we were doing and it took us a fair amount of time, but we did accomplish it. We at least painted one room, but unfortunately that’s all we did. I have a feeling that I know what a goal for next year will be.

4. Buying Living Room Furniture – Again this was a success by the middle of the year. We are still enjoying having some nicer furniture for our living room though. This was a pretty easy goal to accomplish though.

5. 12 Books for the Year – This was a success. I’ve finished exactly 12 books this year and I’m currently working on two others. Amusingly enough I was evenly split between fiction and non-fiction for the year at six books a piece. I didn’t really attempt that but found it to be a nice divide. For those who like to know what books these are I’ve read you can check them out at Goodread’s year in review. There are only one of the books for the year that I haven’t given my thoughts on here, but it will be on its way.

6. A Picture a Day – This was a failure at the midway and continued to be a failure at the end. I never really got into consistently using my camera. That’s not say that I haven’t been taking photos, just not as consistently as I had hoped at the beginning of the year. I’m thinking of retrying something regarding photography for my goals next year. Hopefully that one will go a bit better.

7. Consistent Blogging – This one wound up going really well. In the later half of the year I wound up finding a nice rhythm of three posts a week. I did have some issues maintaining it around the holidays, but that was also somewhat intentional. I even had times where I had a bit of a buffer in advance. So I consider this one a resounding success.

I guess if I’m honest there was a part of the blogging goal I did fail at. That was at the continuing my weekly review of other blog posts I found interesting. As I said midway through the year trying to keep up with other blogs to do that just burnt me out.

I also found that these posts were my most visited posts and it felt like I was gaining views simply by linking to other people’s work and not actually for my own writing. I wanted people to visit for what I wrote, not simply because I linked to another person’s blog. So I dropped this fairly quick and decided to stick with my own content even though I figured I’d take a hit in terms of visits. I did, but I think it was worth it in the end.

Those are how my goals ended up. It was a mixture of success and failure, but with more success than failure. I’d probably put it as five successes and two failures. Not bad really. I’ll work up some new goals for 2015 and see how I do on those.



Halfway Through 2014

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the halfway point of the year already. As I have been doing the last couple years, I like to take the halfway point to reflect on some of the goals that I’ve set for the year. I tend to post my goals at the beginning of the year and then comment on them at the middle and the end of the year to see how they’ve gone. Honestly, it’s a rather mixed bad, but let’s look at how we’ve done.

1. Get Connected In Our Local Community – This one still hasn’t gone as far as we might have liked. We’ve met some of our neighbors, but nothing too meaningful. I’m a little more involved in our church, but it’s also going through a bit of a transition at the moment so it’s a little choppy. So we’re largely without any close community at the moment. We’re really hoping that with Ryan starting preschool/pre-K in the fall we’ll get connecting with some other people our age or at least who have kids our age. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

2. Paying Off Loans – This one has been a success already. We’ve paid off the smaller student loans that we had, but now we have two large ones (one from each of us) to tackle. This endeavor will probably take a bit longer, but we’re starting to put more money towards them to pay them down quicker.

3. Painting – Yeah this hasn’t happened. We want it to, but quite frankly don’t know how the logistics will work. We’ve had to buy other things for the house (like stuff for yard work) so we haven’t put the money towards painting yet. Plus we just don’t quite know how to paint and how we’d work the logistics with two little ones. We’re still hoping to get at least one room done this year, but who knows if that will happen.

4. Buy Living Room Furniture – This was a success. We finally bought a nice couch and loveseat earlier this year. They’re quite the improvement over our old futon.

5. Reading a Book a Month – I think I’m on track for this. So far I’ve read six and have almost finished a seventh. This book I’m on now has slowed me down quite a bit, but hopefully I’ll keep up a good pace and maybe even read more than one a month.

6. A Picture a Day – This one failed pretty much right out of the gate. I did good for like a week then wound up really sick for a month. That pretty much killed any momentum I had. I thought about trying to start up doing it another month, but just never did. I have still been using my camera and getting pictures here and there, but nothing as consistent as a picture a day.

7. Consistent Blogging – I think this has been a success. I think I at least put one blog post out a week, sometimes even two. I’d like to me even more consistent than I am, but overall I think I’m doing fairly decent. I did fail on this one a bit, because I decided early this year to get rid of my Wandering of the Week because I wound up being burnt out on other blogs trying to read so many in the space of a week. I may revisit the idea later and accept being about 20-30 days behind the freshest blogs out there. We’ll see.

So that’s how I’m doing so far. Some are already successes, others are major failures, some are successful so far. I guess we’ll have to see at the end of the year how everything pans out. If you’ve set any goals for yourself this year how are you doing?

Goals for 2014

Happy New Year! This is the time of year where people look forward to the year ahead and either make resolutions and goals or reflect on why they aren’t much of a resolution/goal person. To be honest, I didn’t really use the beginning of a new year to set any tangible goals until last year. I still kind of balk at calling them resolutions. Resolutions in my mind tend to be vague and lack really any planning in an attempt to achieve the resolution. For example, I could say I want to work out more, but really what does that mean or look like? It’s a nice thought, but lacks any detail or enough specificity to get anywhere.

So I’m going to lay out some goals like I’ve done previously. Maybe give a little explanation if I think I need to. Like last year, I don’t view any of these as a drastic change in direction from the path I’m already on, but rather plotting out a bit more detailed what I would like to accomplish by the end of the year.

1. Get connected in our local community. This is a repeat from last year and maybe a bit of a merger of two goals of last year (making friends and getting involved in ministry). I don’t feel that we have been very connected with anyone, with the exception of family, since we’ve moved back to Pennsylvania. What this looks like I’m not really sure. It may be getting more involved in our church we’re a part of now. It may be connecting with other parents when we try to have Ryan enter preschool in the fall this year. It may involve getting to know our new neighbors at our new house. It may really look like all of these and more. I know this is a bit of a vague goal, but in part it’s because I don’t really know what it will look like and how to plan it out however it should be the only vague goal on the list.

2. We want to pay off our last small student loan and make some headway on our larger student loans. Last year we were able to take out two of our loans and save up enough to buy a house so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to take out our remaining small student loan and start to do some damage on our much larger loans. I doubt we’ll take one of those out before the end of the year, but it would be nice to start to pay more than our minimum on the larger ones after finishing up the small loan.

3. Paint at least one or two rooms in our house. Ideally we’d want to get a number of our rooms repainted, but realistically we’ll probably get to one maybe two. I could be wrong, but I’ll set the bar low and see how we do. If I had to choose priority I’d say either our bedroom, Ryan’s bedroom, or our living room. We’ll see how that goes.

4. Buy living room furniture. This may sound like an odd goal, but as of now we have one piece of furniture to sit on in our living room. It’s a futon sofa we bought shortly after we were married eight years ago. It started to break about six years ago, but you can still sit on it and we weren’t anyplace that we thought we would be staying long term so we put off buying any new furniture. Now that this isn’t an issue anymore maybe we can buy some furniture this year and hey if we get our living room painted too maybe it can actually look all put together or something. I could put more house goals on the list, but I’ll leave it at these two.

5. I want to try to read at least one book each month. I think I only read about seven books last year, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to read more. So I’m setting the bar at the hopefully attainable book a month. Again maybe I’ll do better than that, but right now that’s my goal.

6. I want to try to take one picture a day for the next year. This is probably my most ambitious goal of the year and the one that is most likely to fail because of it’s ambitiousness. However, I want to give it a shot to practice my photography skills. It will probably result in a lot of really boring pictures, but we’ll see. Maybe it will give me eyes to see what I normally ignore. I plan on trying to use the 365 project. My plan is to upload to their site and also do a weekly post here to just keep up how I’m doing.

7. This is the last one I can think of right now, but I want to keep consistent on blogging. At least blogging once a week and do a weekly summary of posts. This is what I’ve been doing, but I want to make sure I can at least keep that up this year too.

So these are the goals I’m going to set for this year. I’m putting up two more than I did last year, so we’ll see how that goes. Do you set goals for the new year or really anytime? If you do what are some of your goals that you’re currently pursuing?