I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions; I think they only set one up for failure and discouragement. However, I’m a huge fan of creating realistic goals and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces. So, at the beginning of every year, my husband and I sit down and come up with a list of goals for each facet of our lives.
Normally, being an optimistic over-achiever, I come up with many more goals than I could ever actual accomplish in a year. This year, though, I decided to make a new policy for all goals on my list: they could only be on my list if there was a time slot for them on my schedule.
Taking the things I learned from Amy Andrews’ ebook, Tell Your Time, I tweaked our daily schedule and created a slightly different schedule for each day of the week for 2011. This allowed me include time slots for everything on my 2011 goal list — from reading to sleeping to once-a-week lunch dates with my husband to time with my children to ministering to others to blogging.
This was incredibly helpful to me in streamlining and just picking goals which are actually doable. Instead of being a bit overwhelmed by an ambitious list, I’m excited this year as I feel like — barring some major catastrophe or unexpected upheaval in our lives — most of these goals will, Lord-willing, become reality.
My Goals for 2011
Read through the Bible in a year (I’m using the chronological plan here.)
Read at least 25 inspiring books (I’ll share the books I’m planning to read in 2011 on Wednesday.)
Continue to eat well, exercise faithfully and drink enough water (I’ve finished P90X and am taking a break at least for a few months to do my own and slightly less intense workout regimen. I’ve been tracking my exercising, eating and drinking through SparkPeople and it’s been very helpful in keeping me accountable and on track with my personal health/fitness goals.)
Continue to make getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night a priority
Tackle 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects
Once-a-month evening dates with my husband
Once-a-week lunch dates with my husband
Twice-a-year Marriage Retreat
Flirt with my husband every day
Read four books together
Go on a cruise! (Something we both decided we’d do if we paid cash for a house before I turned 30!)
Once-a-month dates/outings with both of the girls individually
Play with the children at least three times each week (games, Wii, etc.)
Finish reading through the Little House on the Prairie series together
Memorize Psalms 1 and Psalms 23 together
Finish first grade, begin second grade with Kathrynne
Finish preschool, begin kindergarten with Kaitlynn
Go on at least one field trip every month
Have a weekly Family Night
Have at least one family over for a meal each month
Write one encouraging handwritten card or letter at least every other week
Be involved in ministry opportunities in our local church
Continue with weekly get-togethers with both sides of our extended family
Continue to practice media-free Sundays
Continue working towards keeping strict Office Hours for the business/blogging time each day
Follow a weekly blogging plan (see below)
Plan blog posts out a month in advance
Write blog posts at least a week in advance
Continue to tithe 10% of our income
Give generously to needs in our community and around the world, as God prompts us (We’ve been looking for 1-2 specific needs to give to each month and find so much joy in giving as God leads us!)
Complete all items on our current Financial Goals List
Save at least 40% towards our Commercial Real Estate Investing Goal
One major change I’ll be making is in the area of blogging. Thanks to the help from my team, I’ve gotten much more organized and efficient this past year (and also really good at saying “no” to stuff — one of the most freeing things ever!). Instead of feeling constantly overwhelmed and behind, I’m actually keeping up with things most day.
But, there is much room for improvement — especially when it comes to the actual writing of posts. While I’ve actually been planning my blogging out a week in advance, I’m still writing most of the posts the day they are supposed to be posted.
Amy Andrews has helped me to re-prioritize things enough in my life and blogging work, that I’m finally to a point to be able to blog ahead — something I’ve always wished I could find a way to do! During the last month, I’ve been working behind-the-scenes to come up with a way to have my blog posts, features and series planned out at least a month in advance and written at least a week ahead.
One thing which is going to help me carry out this plan is to actually have set days for posting set things. I know that I’ve been a source of frustration to many of you all many times because you just never know what is going to be posted when. I’m sorry and I hope you will find much more consistency here in 2011.
In fact, for the sake of accountability — and so you’ll know pretty much exactly what to expect! — here’s my blogging plan for the first half of 2011 (I’ll be re-evaluating and changing things up somewhat halfway through the year):
Wednesday: The next post in whatever series I’m working through (During the first half of 2011, I’ll be finishing up the How We Paid Cash for a House series, then the 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series then re-writing and re-posting my Blogging for Profit series.), and an Ask the Readers question
Thursday: A recipe, a DIY idea and possibly a Shopping Trip post with pictures and price breakdowns
Friday: We Paid Cash feature and a weekly rotating feature (Week One: Financial Update, Week Two: My DIY Experiment, Week Three: Book Review, Week Four: Frugal Family Fun post)
Saturday: Super Savings Saturday
Most of these items will start this week, though a few aren’t starting up until next week. Of course, there’ll be the usual fare of hot deals, coupons, freebies and the occasional giveaway, as well. And I’m sure I’ll throw in some unexpected, written-on-the-fly posts here and there, too, when inspiration strikes and I can’t keep silent.
Thank you to each and everyone of you for reading here, for leaving comments, for sending in deal ideas and frugal tips, for your encouraging letters and many suggestions for how I can improve this blog. My hope is that you will find better content and consistency in posting in 2011, which will, in turn, allow you to glean more ideas to save money, spend less than you make and give generously!