Well, the end of 2009 is upon us, which brings an opportunity to reflect about how our year went. How did you do on your goals or resolutions for this year?
I’ll be following in the footsteps of Chris Guillebeau in conducting my annual goal review in a two-post series. In this first post, I’ll share my reflections and observations from this year. Next, I’ll outline my goals for next year.
Granted, I reviewed my goals for 2009 in May to track my progress, but I wanted to use the year’s end to get a more in-depth look at how I did.
I am so happy and proud to say that 2009 was one of my best years ever, and I hope it was for you, too. I accomplished many of my goals this year, and I credit starting Tenacious Me for my success. Yes, there were goals I didn’t achieve, but that’s comforting in its own way because that means I was definitely challenging myself.
So let’s get to it:
- Start and maintain my blog Tenacious Me.
- Get another steady freelance writing or editing gig.
- Get at least one freelance article published in a new magazine or web site.
- Meet with an adviser at California State University, Fullerton to map out a plan of action for getting into California State University, Fullerton’s MBA program.
- Complete half of a novel I want to write.
Yes, I met this goal. I never had any numbers or stats involved, which was a smart move for me. This year was all about just jumping in and doing it. I like to keep the stats vague because while obviously I would love to have all the readers in the world, I’ll keep blogging whether I have five readers or 5 million. (And a huge heartfelt thank you to my regular readers!)
I must admit that I was surprised at how difficult it is to spread the word about Tenacious Me. Marketing takes almost as much time as crafting a post. I was also surprised that my wedding posts turned out to be the most popular by far. I’m thrilled to see so many people are finding them helpful.
My biggest weakness with Tenacious Me has been my lack of consistency. I have had trouble finding a posting schedule I can stick to. In the beginning, I was blogging almost every day, and some months I only had three or four posts. (This month might be one of those!) That’s definitely something I know I need to improve.
No, I did not accomplish this goal. This goal is a perfect example of one where I didn’t establish a plan of how to achieve it. I did not apply for too many freelance writing or editing jobs because I wanted to be selective. I’m not doing it for the money – I want to do it because it’s an organization or publication I love where I will provide value.
Since I’ll be starting school next year, perhaps there will be writing opportunities through there.
This goal could go both ways. I did publish a few new articles on MedicineNet, which is part of the WebMD Health Network where I work. So yes, those were new articles published on a web site, so in that sense, I achieved this goal. However, it’s not considered freelance or a new publication because that’s my full-time job. Either way, I was excited to do them and am looking forward to writing more of them next year.
Yes, I was accepted to California State University, Fullerton’s MBA program. This goal definitely required a lot of hard work and patience, but it paid off. I have a lot to share from my experience with that, which I hope will help you. Read my MBA advice and tips.
In fact, I’m still working on lining up stuff up for school. The math requirements are what are really killing me. (As a journalist, I had zero math classes. Actually, I take that back. For a hot second I thought I was going to be a double major in journalism and psychology, so I started an advanced algebra class and ended up dropping it because it was “too hard.” That was the end of my flirtation with a double major.) I have to pass a math test just to get into the business calculus prerequisite that I need for other core classes in the MBA program. Thank goodness I know of a tutor; I’m definitely going to need help.
Ah, yes. I went down in flames on this goal. It was just too much for an end-of-the year goal. I will try again though, but I definitely need to develop my own strategy for meeting it.
- Fully enjoy our once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon, and enjoy the process of making it happen.
- Talk with all friends I don’t get to see on a regular basis at least once a month.
Yes, I succeeded in this goal and truly amazed myself. This was by far the most stressful goal of 2009, but it was completely worth it.
I was amazed at how much we could save if we really buckled down and put our minds to it, and if we can do it, so can you. (Again, one of the essential factors to our success with this goal was that we each took on a second job.) Read my wedding planning tips, advice and lessons.
The only disappointment was that more of our family and friends couldn’t make it thanks to our humbug economy. That small setback aside, our wedding and honeymoon really were everything I could have hoped for and more.
No, I did not meet this goal. I don’t even think I came close. Don’t get me wrong, in theory, this was a great goal, but in practice it’s extremely challenging, especially when you are juggling multiple people’s schedules and different time zones. (I live on the West coast and many of my friends and family live on the East coast.)
However, I’m not sure what a more practical revision of this goal would be. I do want to incorporate a goal that helps me stay in better touch with friends from all around, but I want it to be realistic and attainable.
- Break even after the wedding/pay off any debt incurred from the wedding.
- Help Mr. Man quit working his second job at Radio Shack after the wedding.
- Continue to reduce debt.
Yes, we accomplished this goal. We only accumulated a few thousand dollars of debt from the wedding, and we have paid off one credit card. I have to admit, that I probably wouldn’t have met this goal if I hadn’t received a referral bonus from work. Still, this is another goal that I’m extremely proud of and that took a lot of hard work.
As you may remember, Mr. Man quit working at Radio Shack before the wedding. We more or less just dropped this goal rather than reached it.
As mentioned before, yes, we have continued to reduce debt – we paid off our wedding and honeymoon expenses by eliminating one credit card. We have six more to go (three each).
We’re in the process of researching nonprofit credit counseling agencies to help us consolidate our credit card debt and reduce our ridiculously high interest rates. (Our interest rates didn’t go sky-high until this last month or so, which is what really prompted us to get serious about looking into a credit counseling organization. An almost 30 percent interest rate is criminal – especially for customers like us who don’t have late payments and have an average credit score.
Exercise and Fitness Goals:
- Run a mile in under eight minutes. (At some point in time, I read that when you’re “in shape,” you can run a mile in eight minutes or less.
No, this was another I goal I was unable to achieve, but I like to blame my iliotibial band syndrome (also known as ITBS or IT band syndrome) on it. (Note that the link takes you to the WebMD Health Network, where I work.)For several months, I was unable to run more than two miles without getting severe knee and hip pain. After seeing a doctor, I went through six weeks of physical therapy, twice a week. It worked – I can run long distances again with minimal pain. In fact, I just ran five miles last Saturday. So now that I can run longer distances again, I can get back to working on increasing my speed.
- Run the Turkey Trot.
- Continue to work out regularly (five times a week) and improve my diet (eat more fruits and vegetables and smaller portions).
Yet another goal I did not meet this year because I was out of town for Thanksgiving for the first time in four years. Since I knew I was going to be out of town, I decided to up my challenge for running the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure event by becoming a team captain and fundraising with the Breast Team Ever. Read more about the Breast Team Ever and the 5K we ran.
I didn’t meet this goal 100 percent, but I’d say this is probably the best my diet and exercise habits have ever been.Sometimes I do work out five times a week. Sometimes I work out once a week. On average, I work out two to three times a week. I rarely eat junk food – except the holidays: Bring on the spiked egg nog, cookies and parties! – and have developed the habit of drinking at least 16 ounces of water a day. That is a walloping amount compared to the 0 ounces I drank for years and years because I hated the taste of water. (Yes, tap water has a taste and it tastes like dirt. Filtered water has changed my taste buds’ lives.)
Even when I was doing my best at regular exercise and healthy eating, my weight did not budge past 138 pounds. My body seems to like 140, and with the holidays, it prefers to hover around 145. My ideal is 130 pounds, but I know that to reach that it would mean I would have to give up a lot of the alcohol calories I consume, and I am not at a point where I am ready to do that. So for now, 140 pounds is just fine.(Reference point: I am 5 feet 6 inches tall.)
- Complete 10 minutes of meditation three times a week.
- Read Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth.”
Honestly, I didn’t really keep track of this goal, which means I probably didn’t meet it. However, I know I did do more meditating this year than any previous year.
I’ve discovered I prefer to meditate in the sauna after a work out. So as long as I am exercising regularly at the gym, I should be able to meet this goal with no problem next year.
No, I did not achieve this goal this year, and I may never. I want to like this book, I really do. I think Eckhart Tolle is a brilliant man. From the half of the book that I’ve painfully made my way through, his ideas and theories are beautiful, I just don’t think they’re practical or highly likely for us to implement.
- Cut down on working overtime.
- Identify and remove extraneous elements in my life that prevent me from focusing on hobbies that I enjoy. (For example, I notice that I check my email way more than necessary.)
- Practice letting go of annoyances and accepting everyone exactly as they are.
Yes, I accomplished this goal. I’m lucky to work at a job that encourages us to have lives outside of work. Sure, occasionally I will have to work overtime, but it’s usually not more than once a week and no more than a few hours of overtime. It’s definitely not as much as I was letting myself work over before I made this a goal.
I also found it to be an issue of respect. When I was working a lot of overtime, I wasn’t respecting myself or my commitments outside of work. Similarly, companies that routinely expect you to work multiple hours of overtime aren’t respecting you. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for your right to have a life outside of your job.
Initially, I was a surprised when I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about leaving at the regular time on a regular basis. Now, it’s a way of life, and I feel more confident in my work.
It’s hard to say if I met this goal because it’s difficult to quantify. This was my vague attempt at increasing the amount of time spent on activities I truly enjoy, not things like emails, chores or superfluous errands.
I’d say I definitely improved because just being aware of this goal partly achieved it. Realistically, there are only so many hours in a day and if you have a full-time job, most of them are spent there, so we have to be extremely mindful of how we spend our few precious evening hours.
Again, I’m not sure if I achieved this because how do you quantify this? How many times did I lose my patience with those I love? Way too many to count.
However, did I improve? Yes. This is another example of how awareness is key. Just the simple act of putting this goal out there in the first place helped me improve.
So the final numbers are:
- Goals Achieved: 6
- Goals Not Met: 5
- Goals Met or Not Met Depending on How You Look at It: 1
- Goals Dropped: 1
- Goals Replaced/Modified: 1
- Goals Unquantifiable/Improved: 4
Not bad, not bad at all. This first annual goal review has me excited to work on my goals for 2010! Good luck to you as you create your goals and resolutions for next year!
Did you find this post inspirational? If so, please share it with others. Thanks!