Goals for 2016

When it comes to goals for 2016, I really have just one: to end the year happy and healthy, and to have my family and friends be the same. But that’s not exactly specific or measurable, so I suppose I’ll need something a little more concrete. Since I’ve already been dividing my goals and ambitions into categories, I shall continue to do so. Here are my goals for 2016:

I gained weight in 2015. In addition, I feel like my entire family has been eating less-than-healthy foods. Not just snacks and treats, but too many processed foods and not enough well-balanced meals. It has been a challenge we’ve struggled with due to finances and taste preferences, but I’m confident we can do better:

  • Cut out all pre-seasoned, pre-packaged side dishes and meal preparation aids. Find homemade alternatives that still make meal prep easy, but use simple, whole ingredients instead of artificial flavoring and enhancers and tons of preservatives.
  • Start and maintain a garden so we can grow our own fruits and vegetables for consumption in the late spring and summer, and can/preserve enough to last into the fall.
  • Plant at least 3 fruit trees.
  • Cut back to one high fat/high sugar snack a day (while I would love to say I would cut out these snacks altogether, I know myself and my sweet tooth. I’ll settle for cutting back — for this year, anyway!).
  • Begin an exercise routine, most likely using Wii Fit or Dance Workout, that gets me moving at least 3 times a week (hopefully working up to 5, but at least 3).
  • These steps should help make my last goal more possible: lose weight. Ideally I would like to be down to 150 pounds, but my goal is to get to at least 160 (currently I am at 170+, though I will need to invest in a scale to get an accurate starting point and monitor this goal).

Making a Difference
My coin collection was quite successful last year, especially in the last few months. Since I’ve been using primarily cash, the coins add up quickly. And yet putting them aside doesn’t hurt the budget. I was able to finance a good portion of my holiday donations using change I had collected, and I didn’t have to stress about how I was going to afford all the giving I wanted to do. Thus:

  • Continue using cash and putting all (or at least most) coin change aside for donations. Roll and redeem this change periodically to be spent on food and toiletry donations, or gift donations throughout the year.
  • Get Avery more involved by bringing him with me for donation drop-offs, and asking for his “help” in purchases.
  • Look into family volunteer opportunities and participate in at least one next fall/winter.
  • Create a workshop or seminar to help others save money — most likely on groceries to start. Discuss with local libraries to offer this workshop for free to local residents.

I made very little progress in my career last year. In some ways I even took steps backward. Fatigue and a seeming lack of time caused me to put my career on the back burner. But this year I want — I need — to get back to it. And with this mentality comes the reassertion that I want to get back to my writing and creative endeavors, rather than any other career options I’ve discussed in the past. I’m thinking any coaching or guidance endeavors may have to be purely volunteer. I don’t think I would feel right charging people who are already having financial issues. So, back to writing it is:

  • Publish posts for this blog and A Life You Want at least once a week.
  • Complete at least a first draft of the novel I have started (the first novel in what will hopefully be a series).
  • Create a workshop or seminar that relates to A Life You Want and hold at least one at either a bookstore or library.
  • Create Your Gift Finders website with informational articles already written and links to coordinating eBay store.
  • Stock said eBay store with a more well-rounded assortment of items.
  • Participate in at least 2 craft fairs and/or vendor days.
  • Create Your Money Plan website with informational articles already written.
  • Write at least five additional articles each for Your Gift Finders and Your Money Plan.

Money has been and continues to be our biggest challenge. Our debt is not going down nearly as quickly as I would like, and Kevin’s side jobs are undergoing changes, meaning less predictable income over the next several months. Still, I’m hoping with his efforts and with my efforts we can pull through and get ahead:

  • Pay off in full at least one credit card (not counting our gas card or Firestone card, which should be paid off anyway).
  • Build an emergency savings account of at least $1000.
  • Build a buffer to cover preschool expenses.
  • Create (and add to on a regular basis) savings accounts for: vacations, gifts, and car expenses.

Between working constantly and dealing with the kids, Kevin and I haven’t exactly had a lot of “us” time. Add to that behavioral issues that have popped up on occasion from Avery, and crankiness that pops up on occasion from Emily, and my relationships have fluctuated from content to challenging and back again:

  • Revive date nights: at-home date nights once a week, and out-of-the-house date nights once a month. Try to broaden the scope to include more than just food and TV.
  • Practice patience with Avery and Emily. Utilize and make habit the 1-2-3 Magic method to prevent meltdowns and major issues.
  • Resume Family Fun Days and hold them once a week as often as possible.

For everything else, and all those things that touch on all aspects of my life, I have goals, too:

  • Use up and purge to clean up the clutter and unused items that are filling our house.
  • Deep clean the house.
  • Create a regular routine that makes all the goals I’ve made possible.

Some of these goals are fairly simple. Some are pretty ambitious. But if I’m able to complete even half of them in the coming year, I would be pretty happy. Now I just need to come up with game plans to tackle it all. Wish me luck!