This year, I split my 2014 new years resolutions/goals into small monthly goals. Four each month, each designed to be completed in a 28/30/31 day period. I fell off the wagon at the end of the year, but I really enjoyed these little goals this year. Today I'm sharing a post about how I did and what I learned from my goals this year. You'll notice I started the goal challenge in February but made some retroactive goals for January. After my monthly recap I have a summary of the goals I accomplished through this challenge + lessons learned.
If I would have made a list for January it would have included: sign up for a roller derby bootcamp (check!), make homemade ice cream (check!), plan a trip (check!), and finish all my 101 goals (complete un-check!).
Limit my Facebook visits to once a day: kind of. Limited but not to once a day. Plan my garden: check. Take an overnight trip with Paul: check (went to Madison for Valentine's Day). Decorate for the season: check. I added some cute winter/Valentine's Day decorations to our apartment.
Edit and print five photos: check. Monthlong Apartment Therapy Cure: Nowhere close to finishing this. But I did make a list of things I want to work on in our apartment, so it was worth putting on my goal list just for getting that list made. Purchase and start seeds: Done and done. Read a book: Nope. Instead I painted (and played derby and cooked and walked the dogs and planned my garden). I find I go in waves of either reading a lot or creating a lot. I can't seem to do both at the same time.
Finish the paintings: painted but didn't finish anything. Make time for quiet: yes. Organize the art room: not really. Daily stretching: not really. (I almost didn't post a review of this month because I was embarrassed that I didn't officially check anything off, but I decided that posting this would help me to stay accountable to myself.)
Ride my bike: Yes. I realized I was getting to the end of the month and hadn't ridden anywhere yet so I road my bike to the end of the driveway and back to my garage. Create a food budget: We took some great steps towards getting our food spending and usage in check. Make a photo album: I picked a lot of the photos I wanted for my wedding album, but I just didn't have the energy to make a whole album. Miles challenge: Yes, I finished all 30 skating miles and my 30 walking/running miles!
Travel healthy: I was out of town for 9/30 days this month, and I found having this goal in the back of my mind was helpful for keeping myself healthy. Plan garden recipes: I bought an A to Z vegetable recipe book through my CSA which has been helping me come up with creative ways to cook all the veggies coming from the CSA, the garden, and the farmers market. Upload photos: Big fail! After setting this goal, I promptly changed my mind and began working on something else. Be present: This is one of those areas I'll always be working to improve at. There were a few times this month when I purposely hid my phone away, ignored chores, and postponed other responsibilities so I could just sit and be.
I gave my best at roller derby, and I passed my 101 level WFTDA skills test! This was a huge accomplishment for me because I really had to push myself to skate faster and with greater skill than I had done before. Launch blog update: check! I'm really, really happy with how it looks, and I feel like it reflects my style much better than my last blog design. Send photos to friends: fail. Take time for myself: check. I was also really proud of how I took time for myself in the midst of a very busy and very stressful month. There's a line in one of my favorite Youtube meditation videos that says "the world will not come to an end because you are taking time for yourself." This thought has stayed with me and has shifted the way I think about productivity.
It's harder to say what I would have done this month since it was already five months ago, and I forgot to do a goal list with the craziness of transitioning from one full time job to two part time jobs. But I have a feeling the list would have included something about starting my new job and wearing a pair of sassy high heels that I never feel quite confident enough to wear. The start to my new job went smoothly and I rocked the heels!
Buy new glasses: nope. 5k training: I hit an unexpected road block with this goal. I started having a lot of pain in my left knee whenever I bent my leg (pretty much all the time). I went to see a physical therapist and was given some simple exercises that corrected my alignment and very quickly minimized the pain. Raise money for AFSP: check! Close Wolski's: I had a day all scheduled to close Wolski's. I had picked a Sunday evening, thinking that it would let me close Wolski's and get to sleep at a reasonable time. And then I called them to confirm their Sunday hours. And they said they close at 2 am. 2 am!! Who can stay up that late??? Not this girl. Closing Wolski's may eventually happen, but it's going to be on some night where I'm already feeling a little crazy - and I definitely do not have to work in the morning.
Start the painting: Nope, was too busy. Prepare the talks: I gave about eight talks in five cities about these paintings I completed in college. And I succeeded in putting most of the talks together this month. Find joy in Autumn: I did this through the Instagram challenge I put together (and then never got around to posting the winners. Oops). Journal often: nope.
This is the month I fell off the wagon. Well technically I fell off the wagon sometime in October because I never did a check in post on my October goals. But this was the month that I wasn't able to set goals. If I had, they probably would have included making it to all my intended travel destinations (Chicago, Syracuse, Kansas City, and DC), to be gentle with myself, and to give my best at my presentations. I'm proud to say I did all three of these.
Another month I wasn't on top of things to make a goal list. Since I'm still in the month of December, I don't feel as silly setting a few simple goals for myself. They would be/are send Christmas cards (in progress), start exercising again, get a haircut, and get a pedicure. Three out of the four are complete!
SUMMARY: the goals I completed this year!!
January: sign up for roller derby boot camp, make home made ice cream, plan a trip
February: limit Facebook visits, plan my garden, decorate for the season, take an overnight trip with paul
March: edit and print five photos, purchase and start seeds
April: make time for quiet, (more) daily stretching
May: ride my bike, create a food budget, complete miles challenge (30 in 30 days)
June: travel healthy, be present
July: give my best at roller derby (passed skills test!), launch blog update, take time for myself
August: start new job, wear the fun shoes
September: raise money for AFSP
October: prepare the (painting) talks, find joy in autumn
November: survive travel, give my best at the talks
December: send chrismas cards, start exercising, haircut, pedicure
This year, I created a four simple goals list for 8/12 months and retroactively created lists for the last 4/12 months. Most goals were something I thought of just before the beginning of the month, not things that I had intended to do since January 2014.
A little over half way through the year, I realized that most months I only achieved one to two goals, good months I achieved three, fantastic months (February and probably December) I got all four. So why do I did keep doing this challenge if I wasn't 100% successful at achieving my goals each month?
For one, I love setting goals. It works well for me as a fun way to be productive. Two, I think reaching 25-75% of my goals is better than reaching 0% of goals I don't set for myself. Happily, every month of this year I did something that I wouldn't have if I didn't try making myself accountable by posting about in on the blog. It's pretty neat to see all those simple goals I did this year because of this challenge.
And what about all those goals that I didn't check off my list? Sometimes the uncompleted goals were things that I still really wanted to do and were added to next month's (unpublished) list. Sometimes I realized the uncompleted goals were things that I just didn't actually want to do. Things (like closing Wolski's) that sounded fun while writing my list but in reality I didn't actually feel like doing.
Through this challenge I became more gentle with myself with achieving goals. In the past I would be really hard on myself if I didn't achieve everything on my list. I felt unaccomplished, unfinished. But this challenge helped me start to learn that progress is better than perfection, something I hope to continue next year.
In 2015 I'll be doing two more traditional goals: exercising and painting daily. I'm using this fantastic goal tracker from Elise Blaha to keep myself motivated. I love that the tracker helps you see the overall progress you're making towards your goals -- even if you may fall off track here and there. My plan is to still post monthly updates of my progress since that seemed to help me this year. I'll also be posting pictures on Instagram from my (hopefully) daily walks. You can follow along with the hashtag #walkitout2015.
What are your goals for 2015? How will you achieve them?