Friday, January 2, 2009

Last Year's Accomplishments and Next Year's Plans

Working in the Human Resources field, I am quite comfortable with the process of goal setting. I like this idea a whole lot better than setting lofty resolutions that often result in failure. But, as we do at work, I first must document my accomplishments. Here are some of the highlights from 2008:

Read more. I read more in 2008 than I have in years and it felt great! I joined a few months ago and found it a great way to balance my passion for eliminating clutter by getting rid of any books I don't love to make room for new books to try. I've participated in a book club for a couple of years now, but it seems the books we read this last year have been better than ever and I've really enjoyed this as a way to spend my alone time. Ask me about my favs!

Cookie baking. I perfected the ultimate chocolate chip cookie and have been able to share them with all of our new neighbors (I know, very Bree Van DeKamp) as well as our family and friends.

Landscaping. I never gave much thought to bushes and trees until we purchased this home with a blank slate for a backyard. Bill and I had lots of fun throughout 2008 visiting nurseries and learning about foliage and shrubbery to fill up our beds. I think we did pretty well, but we will see what emerges this Spring.

Aunt & Uncle Time. We've been fortunate to get to spend time with our two nephews and niece throughout the year and watch them grow. Overnighters with Tanner and Maggie while their Mom and Dad went out on dates have been particularly fun as were the mornings with Carson while his parents had softball practice down the street. It has been great for all of us to spend time together and develop our special relationships.

Paid for Wedding, Honeymoon and Reception. We did it. We pulled off a wedding in another country, followed by an amazing honeymoon and intimate reception planned in less than seven months. We did it all without loans or credit and it all turned out beautifully.

The Dining Room Table. You thought I might forget this little diddy, didn't you? It was love at first sight, but we waited until we had the cash to bring her home. It makes her all the more enjoyable! She's a beaut and it was a pleasure to share Thanksgiving with her.

Bike Riding. I think this was the first time I'd ever ridden any sort of a distance on a bike without hurting (kudos to the gel-filled/split bike seats or "saddles" as Ann would say). Living near a paved trail has proven to be quite a treat and I've found it quite enjoyable to say, "I rode to Tenino!" The pink fingerless gloves make it all the more fun.

Blogging. Couldn't leave the ol' Jahjong out. Blogging personally and sharing in others' blogs whether someone I've never met - The Pioneer Woman or a lifelong friend - The Norris Clan - it is a whole new experience for me and I've enjoyed it as a way to connect with friends and family.

So, after all that patting myself on the back. Here we go, my goals for the upcoming year:

Stick to our budget - unless for emergencies. Bill and I are pretty like-minded financially and have worked hard over the years to have no consumer debt, but there is always room for improvement. After returning from our wedding and honeymoon to a quick economic downturn, we've had a lot of discussions about how we can do a better job at reducing what we spend and saving more. The trouble has been when we've been faced with an unexpected car repair or dental bill, I get really upset that we've fallen off course.

My goal for the upcoming year is to keep on saving - accounting for unexpected expenses and adjusting accordingly to meet our savings goal by the end of 2009. I don't see this goal as limiting us at all - it is actually the best way to reward ourselves!

More exercise for us and our pets. We've learned so much about how the first four months of a pup's life are very important in determining her behavior for the next 10+ years. One of the many reasons this is important to us is we plan to only expand our family in the future. We want Libby to be a well-mannered adult dog around us, our family and friends.

One important way we've learned to ensure Libby does well is by incorporating daily walks into our routine and have found we and the dogs really enjoy it! It gives Bill and me time to talk about our days, work together to correct this new little one and get out and get some fresh air. I am looking forward to this next year for more walks like these, bike rides on the trail, time at the gym and even adventures to Staircase and other places we like to explore. When we can bring our pets on these adventures - even better!

Eat well. I want to make healthy food choices the majority of the time. Rather than eliminating carbs and desserts or restricting myself with a liquid diet or meals from a box, I want to ensure I'm eating balanced and healthy meals. It is similar to my finance goals - have a plan to stick to, but know there are times when I will spend more money (or calories) than I had planned. It doesn't mean I never again will eat apple curry or tiramisu, but that I either find ways to make these foods healthier or just ensure these types of foods are eaten rarely or minimally.

Cook more. Kinda relates to above, but not necessarily. I love to cook, but I don't always do it. For instance, I made dinner tonight and I realized it was the first time I'd cooked since we got our new puppy (I realized this because she wouldn't get the HECK out of the kitchen)! Hello - that is really bad!

Inexpensive Fun. This ties back to the first item (funny how everything always relates to money somehow). Bill and I had talked about a Mexico vacation this spring with friends, but given our budget and the unknown future of the economy, that trip is postponed for now. While I would like us to have some opportunities to get away, I'd like to do so in ways don't take such a hit to our budget. I'd also like to find ways to do things on my own, with Bill or with friends, that aren't expensive: sewing projects, outdoor exercise adventures, day trips, craft projects, housework/yard work, visiting our friends outside of town in Western Washington we never seem to get to.

Support charities we're passionate about. As important as it has been to cut back financially, it doesn't have to mean giving up sharing what we do have. This Christmas it felt great to support the ALS Evergreen Chapter instead of buying a gift for Mom as I always did, support to the Adopt-A-Family and Area Agency on Agencies with gifts children and seniors really needed and to help out a family member toward their goal of purchasing hearing aids, rather than buying gifts for one another. This felt so much better than the traditional exchanging of gifts. I want to experience more of this in the upcoming year!

Scrub those toilets. Scrubbing toilets is right up there with vacuuming the stairs and Bill's fav - cleaning the shower. I end up putting this chore off until it needs it and frankly, that is just nasty. We've got three toilets in our house and as much as I wish we'd only use one so there would only be one to clean - it just isn't happening. My goal is to clean them regularly, so it won't have to be such an ordeal. Have I revealed to much? :-)

What are you planning for 2009? I know Jessica's is the "Year of the Gardener". (You had gone public with that, right, Jess?)


Me said...

You should tell your husband that he needs to go skiing more often and he needs to buy a new truck.

Happy Husband, happy wife!

The Norris Clan said...

Excellent post, my friend. I loved your idea of listing not only your resolutions, but your successes from the last year. What a wonderful way to reflect on your year! I have also loved following you this year on your blog. Look forward to this year and the next!


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