In the past month, I find myself reflecting on 2017. Overall, I find that there really wasn’t much that was memorable... there were definitely some highs and lows... but overall I felt like it sped by at sonic speed. And in that whirl of a year, I don’t feel like I made much—if any—forward progress.
Imagine my surprise when I looked back on my goals set in early January and found that I actually did meet some of them! So as I plot out my goals for 2018, I’m taking a look back on the success and failures of this year.
This past year, I tried to keep my goals tangible and trackable. I think that where I am in all aspects of life, that made the most sense. I did that for the first time in 2016 and it was pretty clear how I was doing on my goals. Or not doing, as the case was. When I set more aspirational "improvements" for myself... it's a little harder to honestly reflect back on how I am doing, or did. I need black and white goals that I either hit or don't. None of this "be more patient" or "become one with my environment"... at least not this year. Give me the checklist, please!
1. Start a "book club."
I still need to figure out the specifics on this. I don't think that I am looking to do a "traditional" book club since I feel like these have let me down in the past. I love talking books with people though.... so maybe it's as simple as an online group, or an in-real-life group that meets once a month to talk about what they are reading. I just know that this past year, I read so much and really enjoyed what I was reading. And several of the best reads were recommendations from others. Alternatively, I may just find a few friends who want to complete "Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge" with me. Any takers?!
Reflection: I did not, in any way, do this. I did read a ton, but I didn’t manage to structure it into a reading group or book club of any sort. And, I also didnt meet my goal of 48 books for the year. (Granted, that was a stretch...) But while I didn’t meet this goal, I am happy with amount that I read. Not sure I will have a reading related goal in the new year.
2. Make meals enjoyable. For all of us.
This past year, I have really struggled with putting six or seven meals a week on the table that we all like, and can all eat. Between food intolerances, food dislikes, and just the overwhelming task of menu planning... grocery shopping... and meal prep... it's been hard. We all like lots of diversity in our menu, which hasn't really happened as of late. I think I got off track with our crazy spring, winged it over the summer, and completely failed this fall. I've been so disheartened the past few weeks that meals are just a task to complete and that is not what I want mealtime to be. I'm looking into one of those "box services" where they ship the meal to you, freezer meal workshops (which I have had success with in the past), and some new cookbooks. Meal times will be merry and enjoyable once more.
Reflection: I did this!!! Between the purchase of an instant pot in January (and my obsessive use of it) and signing up for “Home Chef” in the spring... I consider this goal a success! Yes, we had some weeks that required way more take-out and last minute “cobbled together meals” ... but I think that I easily get five to six meals on the table weekly without fail and as we head towards a new year, there is rarely a last-minute-dinner-dash. (The one to two I don’t get on either fall under my husband’s nights or going out.) Thinking about adding a goal to actually create that monthly meal plan I keep talking about...
3. Bust. That. Stash.
No, really. I have some serious fabric hoarding tendencies. And everyone, rightfully so, has been calling me out on it. I mean, even my mom claimed I had "SABLE" [Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectnacy]... so it must be bad! I need to finish up the many, many WIPs I have in that sewing area, and either tackle some stashbusting projects or de-stash the fabric. I'm also going to clean up the sewing room while I go. Cause, it's embarrassing right now.
Reflection: HAHAHAHA!!! Nope. Not even close! While I *did* finish several projects... I started way more than I finished. And I bought WAY.TOO.MUCH. for “someday” use. And lots of fabric with planned projects... but I haven’t started any of those. Sigh. I plan to aggressively and accountably attack this next year.
4. Be creative every day.
OK, some might say I already am. And I have achieved this in years past... especially with the P365. This was not the case this past year. At best, the P365 was a "to do item" and at worst, it was a chore I avoided. It's done, but not pretty. That said, I realized over the past few months of self-reflection that I am much, much happier and patient when I have taken some time for creativity during the day. Personal, fulfilling creativity... not work. Sometimes this is via photography, sometimes through doodling, sometimes through crafting... And sometimes it's just taking 20 minutes to watch a class online while sketching some ideas for a bucket list item. I'd love to find a way this year to incoporate creative time for myself every day. Almost to the point where it becomes a practice. And NOT let it be the first thing to drop when schedules get crazy and life gets overwhelming. I won't be doing another P365 this year, as I hope that by taking the pressure off, the work flows more freely. But I think that I have enough creative interests already that I don't need that structure to complete this goal.
Reflection: YUP! Did this! Some days it’s in the form of sewing, some day it’s simply doodling on the iPad while putting the boys to bed, some days it’s teaching art at the boys’ school, and sometimes it’s just reading a tutorial or watching a creative video or reading a quilting or art related magazine. (And Pinterest. I count pinning projects as creative too...) And EVERY DAY... I recorded one second videos. I’m a few captures away from a short film of our year. This is very exciting. Hoping to carry this goal into the new year.
5. Less Clutter, More Calm.
Yeah... pretty sure this one is on my list every year in one form or another. Maybe this will be the year I accomplish it. There is STUFF everywhere in our house right now. And it's completely disorganized in several places. So many times I have told myself "I'll deal with it when I have half an hour" or "I'll do it when the boys are in school full-time" ... but guess what?! It's not happening. AT ALL. So I'm putting it on the list. Again. The clutter and the stuff and the things are driving me CRAZY. Time to remind this stuff who is boss.
Reflection: Huh. Not really. BUT we did make some huge headway in purging stuff throughout the year, and plan to do more in the early months of 2018 in preparation for a move (hopefully). It’s amazing how brutal you can become with your belongings when it’s time to lug them to a new state...
I also had hopes for practicing self-care, noticing the small moments that make up my day and bring joy to my life, and becoming a patient, engaged human... But these goals are more aspirational and where I tend to fail. So I decided that five goals is a pretty good number. That said, I did do better with self-care and noticing the small moments!
Overall, I cannot say the year was a smashing success in terms of goals (or life, actually) but I think I made some significant progress. I also think there was a lot of clarification on where I need to work harder, and where I can try to coast. Lastly, I very much as if this was a “stage setting year” for me... and I’m poised to hit it out the park next year. Or, at least I hope so!