In January, I made the decision to set my goals a little differently for 2019. I decided on the top three values for our family for this year, which have changed a bit since we’ve moved, and made a list of daily behaviors I wanted to work on in order to live those values.
Now that six months of the year have passed, I thought I’d report on how I’ve done.
Our Top Values
In New Hampshire, we became very focused on our financial goals. Part of the reason for that was because we didn’t have our family or long-time friends around, so pursuing financial goals gave us something to focus on.
Now that we live in North Carolina and enjoy something like location independence, although I have a full-time location-dependent job starting next month (but not summers!), our values have, admittedly, changed.
We’ve relaxed our spending and behavior in the interest of other values, which include relationship-building and social events, and fixing up our new house.
At the beginning of the year, I identified the three places we wanted to focus our resources and attention:
Family Home Relationships
We decided we weren’t taking any major trips this year, and would instead focus on making our home a nice place to live and building relationships with our new neighbors.
We’ve spent quite a bit of money on doing things in and around our home, like our grass project and buying new furniture for our new house.
We’ve bought tickets for Mr. ThreeYear’s sisters to come visit. They’ll be arriving on Saturday!
We’ve spent money on the kids, for them to join Swim Team and take tennis lessons.
We’ve spent money on relationships, taking new friends out to dinner, going to neighborhood social events, and going on more coffee or pottery-painting dates.
Top 8 Behaviors
In January, I set 8 behaviors that I wanted to pursue on a daily basis to be in alignment with the values we’d set for the year. Let’s see how I did on each one.
Behavior: Speak Spanish to the kids the majority of the time (because I want to become a person with bilingual children).
Mid-Year Result: D. While I spent about a month or two speaking to the kids in nothing but Spanish, I have now stopped speaking Spanish to them completely. We are studying a Spanish book together but that is about it. When my sisters-in-law arrive, the kids are in for a rude awakening, because it will be all Spanish for two weeks.
Why did I fail? Habits, habits, habits. The problem I’ve always had with speaking Spanish is that I don’t have enough Spanish cues in my life. I don’t speak enough Spanish to remember to speak Spanish all the time, even though I’m fluent. Since I’ll now be teaching Spanish all day every day, I’m hopeful that I’ll have so many Spanish cues that afternoons and evenings will naturally be conducted in Spanish.
I’m not sure what to do about this behavior, except to try and try again.
Behavior: Work at my desk each day (because I want to become a successful business owner).
Mid-year Result: A. I have sat down and worked at my desk each morning that I’m not playing tennis or running. Those daily behaviors were enough to secure a full-time job and now my daily efforts are focused on getting ready for said job.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t sit down and work at the same time every day, or in the same way. I realized, perhaps sometime in March, that my goal of working from home wasn’t realistic, because I don’t particularly like working from home. I was dying to have more social interaction and more structure. That’s why I ultimately decided that a teaching job was what I wanted to do.
Behavior: Save all credit card rewards for Christmas (because I want to be a plan-ahead-for-Christmas person).
Mid-year Result: A+. I have saved every dollar of my credit card rewards in my Christmas fund, save the money towards my credit card’s annual fee that I agreed to take out to “pay ourselves back.” We already have close to $1000 in the fund to use for Christmas presents. I am so proud and excited that I’ve stuck to this behavior! It hasn’t been easy, because I’ve been tempted by that money, but I have stuck to my guns and I know that come December, I will be so glad I did.
Behavior: Go to the gym each week (because I want to be a person who lifts weights regularly).
Mid-year Result: D. Sad, but true. I did do enough training to run a half marathon last month, but I can count the number of times I’ve lifted weights since January on one hand! How terrible is that? This summer, I am getting up once a week and going to a lifting class, so I guess I’m trying to redeem myself, but I’m not sure if the behavior will stick once I have to be out the door at 7:45am each school day morning.
Behavior: Wake up each weekday morning and write (because I want to be a person who starts her day by writing).
Mid-year Result: B-. I was doing so well through May, writing three posts per week and really working hard on the blog. I was rewarded with a record number of views. When I got my new job, though, a lot of my creative energy went toward learning more about teaching Spanish, creating curricula, etc., and I found myself posting once or twice per week in June. I know that’s because I haven’t been getting up early to write, and have instead been sleeping in until past seven sometimes. I am re-instating early morning wake-ups this week and will see if they lead to improved results in writing.
Behavior: Stay in budget each month (because I want to be a person who’s restrained with her spending).
Mid-year Result: C. Gotta say I’ve not stayed in budget and have actually dipped into savings a couple of months because we have overspent so much. While we’ve continued to budget a month ahead, using last month’s earnings to finance this month’s spending, we now “owe” ourselves money from overspending that I will pay back from my job earnings.
Behavior: Set aside $X this year for travel (because I want to be a person who takes regular international vacations).
Mid-year Result: F. Because of said overspending, we have not set aside travel money. That will be rectified now that I am earning a full-time salary. My paycheck will go directly into our savings account, and once we have $X, we will begin to plan that vacation. So, even though the behavior wasn’t followed, I did the things to make the international travel possible.
Behavior: Fast 80% of days between 7pm and 11am (because I want to be a person who stays the same weight and fits into her clothes).
Mid-year Result: A. I feel like this was a reasonable goal to attain, because I set it at 80%. Most days, I wait to eat my first meal at 11am or later. I need to become a little stricter with myself about eating after 7pm, but in general, this fasting behavior seems tenable for the long-haul. I’ve sort of hovered at the same weight all year, which is higher than I’d like, but I also know I need to engage in more regular high-intensity cardio to lose it.
I had the feeling, back in January, that this year would take turns I wouldn’t know about. That’s why I waited to set quarterly goals for the rest of the year.
My first quarter goals related entirely to the blog:
- Grow my email list by 30%
- Increase my traffic by 50%
- Do X related to passion project (not ready to reveal it just yet!)
I did very well on goals #1 and #2, but decided to eliminate goal #3, because I ultimately decided not to pursue my passion project.
I did not set goals in Quarter 2, mainly because I was busy living life and just forgot. As I wrote in this post, this past year felt a bit like a practice retirement or a sabbatical for me, and in truth, I didn’t get very much accomplished. Because I’m someone who likes to achieve goals, it felt weird and vaguely unsatisfying. I learned a lot about myself and how my retirement should be structured, though.
Now that I have a job and feel more settled about the rest of the year, I’m going to set goals for the next two quarters.
This Quarter’s Goals
I learned the lesson in January that less is more. Setting three goals related to the same area made meeting said goals much easier.
For July, August, and September, I’m going to set goals around my job:
- Develop a curriculum for each of my five classes (some of which I’ll only teach twice per week) by the time school starts.
- Have lesson plans set for the first two-four weeks of school for every class.
- Get organized for the week, both at home and at school, by Sunday evening.
As I’ve learned and re-learned in the past, I do better when I have a clearly mapped-out plan for how what I want to accomplish. Otherwise, my mind races off to start new projects and pursue new paths, and I lose focus.
Well, that’s it for my progress. How’s your year looking?