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2012 Goals: The Final Tally (and some lessons I learned about goal-setting in 2012!)

I set out with gusto in 2012… and I sort of fizzled out as the year went on. Sure, I did accomplish quite a few goals on my list, but there are a number of goals that were only 50-75% finished.

Here’s what I learned about myself and goal-setting in 2012:

1. I Tend to Be Overly Ambitious

I was so excited about basically accomplishing all my goals for 2011 that I went a little hog wild in planning for 2012. And I bit off more than I could chew, as is evidenced by my list below. In 2013, I’m cutting back on the number of goals I’m setting, as well as scaling back those that I do set.

2. I Need to Think Carefully Before Setting a Goal

I had grand ambitions for some of my goals, but I didn’t carefully consider whether they were things I could stick with for 12 months — or things I could reasonably accomplish in 12 months! In 2013, I’m carefully considering each goal and the time it will take before it’s making the list.

3. I Need to Stop Trying to Do Too Much

It seems I forgot to “keep it simple” in planning some of my goals for 2012. Too much of a good thing is just plain too much. In 2013, I’m going to have a much shorter goal list so that I can really hone in on the most important things… and save my other big ideas for another year! 🙂

4. My Goals Need to Be More Measurable and Specific

Some of my goals — like the monthly habits and business goals — were too vague and broad to really nail down. In 2013, I’m only allowing myself to set clearly specific and measurable goals.

Stay tuned for my goals list for 2013 coming early next week. In the mean time, here’s my wrap-up from 2012:

Read through the Bible in a year.
Read through the 24 books on my 2012 booklist. {I also read quite a few other books!}
Listen to 12 audiobooks. {I only made it through September on this one.}
Run in at least one 5K race.  {You can see a picture and read more about my experience here.}
Complete the Couch to 10K program. {Started this in October.}
Tackle 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects. {I did a lot of DIY projects, but only did three on my actual list. Bad me!}
Focus on one habit per month. {Totally bombed this one for a few of the months.}
Learn to use my new DSLR camera.
Take at least one photo a day and put together a page every week for my Project Life album. {I didn’t quite stick with this one, but I did put together an almost-completed album over the course of this past year.}
Memorize Colossians using the plan and free download here. {I didn’t do very well on this one.}

Go on the Love Like You Mean It Cruise. {Done–read my recap here.}
Go on two Marriage Retreats.{Went to Cincinnati together in April & Pennsylvania in October.}
Have monthly date nights.
Read four books together. {We only made it through 2.5 books.}
Read at least 3 books on marriage

Continue regular dates/outings with each of the children individually.
Continue Grace and Truth memory book.
Ice-skating lessons for all three children.
Swimming lessons for all three children.
Finish second grade, begin third grade with Kathrynne.
Finish kindergarten, begin first grade with Kaitlynn.
Start preschool with Silas.
Go on at least one field trip every month. {Except for one month when we were sick, we accomplished this goal.}
Go on at least one family vacation.
Finish at least 15 read-aloud books. {We’ve finished a total of 27 read-alouds this year!}

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family
Write at least two handwritten notes every month to encourage someone.
Continue being involved in our local church, homeschool group, young couple’s group, and blogging accountability group.
Continue with weekly get-togethers with both sides of our extended family.

Continue to take Sundays off from blogging/business work.
Continue keeping strict Office Hours for the business/blogging time each day. {Still plugging away on this!}
Switch to a paperless planning system. {This is the one goal I think I’ve officially decided to drop this year as it just wasn’t working for me. Back to the paper.}
Follow my weekly blogging plan. {I made some good progress with this in 2012.}
Plan blog posts out at least a month in advance. {I made some real progress in this area in 2012 — yay!}
Write and schedule blog posts at least a week in advance. {I’m doing somewhat better on this.}

Continue to tithe 10% of our income. {Ongoing}
Give generously to needs in our community and around the world, as God prompts us. {Ongoing}
Pay cash for a new-to-us vehicle to replace our family’s van.
Finish saving for and purchase a rental property with cash. {We closed on a house in November, did some work on it over the last few weeks, and are excited that our first renters just signed a one-year lease… we’re excited to continue this rental investment adventure!}

How Did You Do on Your Goals for 2012?

If you’ve posted goals for 2012, I’d love for you to post an update on how things went for you and share your link in the comments. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to just leave your update as a comment. Let’s encourage one another to live lives of intention and purpose!

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  • Victoria says:

    I love that the one section where you did cross off all your goals was your children and homeschooling section, it says a lot about your priorities and it makes me smile! I can’t believe how many books you read, very inspiring, I think I am going to keep better track this year, need to run it out to figure out a system of keeping track that would work for me, but I think I would find it eye opening.

  • Stephanie says:

    Eek, do you think you are a little hard on yourself Crystal? I think you did a great job and completed most of your goals. I would be proud of all you accomplished, you did wonderfully!!!

  • J says:

    Crystal, hugs to you!

    You do the same thing I do, instead of being excited about all the goals you met, you linger over what you didn’t. I lamented that I didn’t reach the total debt reduction goal I had set (very ambitious) but if we wanted to eat and keep utilities on I did great. Anyhoo, that amount of debt is gone and never to be revisited.

    • Crystal says:

      Way to go on making progress!

      I think simplifying and focusing on doing less and being more (“margin” is my word for the year!) is going to be the key to goal-setting success in 2013.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Lyn says:

    you may not have completed every single goal – but it does appear that the most important ones (marriage and kids) were completed! Great job!!! I fizzed out on goals somewhere in Aprilish… I too am looking to simplify in 2013!


  • Susan says:

    Your accomplishments in 2012 were awesome Crystal! Even though you didn’t necessarily cross off every single goal that you set, I hope you feel good about everything you successfully achieved this past year.

    Just a quick comment on the “Project Life” that you mentioned. A few years ago I jumped on the “365” bandwagon that was popular at the time, and it just about killed me. It definately took the joy out of photography and scrapbooking for me. Instead of a fulfilling hobby, it became just one more chore. Never again! I’ve struggled keeping up with annual photo albums until this past year when I completely changed my approach and went back to compiling photo albums instead of scrapbooking. Much easier to keep up with. Better to have a completed photo album than a partially done scrapbook.

    • Crystal says:

      I was seriously considering blogging a Project 365 for 2013, but you just confirmed that I should probably just stick to enjoying photography… as I’m afraid the 365 commitment might make it more of a chore than a delight.

      Thanks for chiming in!

      • Stephanie says:

        Hmm I’ve been considering the 365 Project because I am terrible about remembering to take photos!!! I don’t know though, maybe I can simplify it somehow. Same idea, maybe, but different 🙂

        • Rebecca says:

          I had a friend that took 10 pictures on the 10th day of every month. It allowed her to capture important details of her life and the changes and growth her family went through throughout the year, without feeling tied to her camera constantly.

  • Amy Medeiros says:

    Honestly, it sounds like you did fantastic overall in 2012! The changes you’re making for your goal setting in 2013 sound reasonable too. I have about 10 goals set for 2013. I feel motivated but we’ll see how it goes! 🙂

  • angie says:

    What where the marriage books you read in 2012 and do you recommend them? thanks

    • Crystal says:

      Keep Courting
      The Husband Project* — a favorite
      Rekindling the Romance* — a favorite
      One of Us Must Be Crazy and I’m Pretty Sure It’s You
      31 Days to Build a Better Spouse

  • Tracey says:

    Like you, I was a bit ambitious in 2012. I didn’t meet all my goals, but I was pleased with the progress I made in several areas.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for 2013!

  • Kristia says:

    Did you do anything specific to learn about your DSLR camera? Like a class, particular book or seminar?

    • Crystal says:

      No, just experimenting with different settings and practicing, practicing, practicing!

    • Susan says:

      Kristia, this past year I took the “Oh Shoot” class from Jessica Sprague dot com and learned a lot about my Canon Rebel. I would highly recommnd that class. Once you take your camera off auto and learn how to use manual settings for different situations, your photography will really improve.

  • Johanna says:


    I think you are too hard on yourself. You accomplished a lot. For personal and business you did list your two e-books that you published this December. So, when you count those into your goal list you have far exceeded that! In my humble opinion of course! That is a major accomplishment for any human being 🙂

    Many Blessings!

    • Crystal says:

      You guys are so encouraging! Thank you for being my personal cheerleading squad; I’m truly blessed with the best readers ever! I appreciate you all!

    • Shanna says:

      I would love to learn more about how you accomplished the publication of your eBoos! Iam intrigued about the idea. Iam aspiring to become a published author! Thank-you!

      • Johanna says:

        Thanks for all you do helping us save money and work towards our goals 🙂

        My husband recently published his book and ebook this year. I feel we have worked through a lot of obstacles and blessings to get to this point. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at Nephilim The Remnants@ 🙂 Blessings on your new adventure!

  • Alicia says:

    I did pretty good in 2012. I am focused on doing better in 2013. And I think you did a fabulous job on your goals!

  • trisha says:

    A few times a year, I like to pull out my goals and reevaluate and tweak as I see fit. Circumstances change and sometimes a goal isn’t feasible anymore or something else is more important. If I find myself to be over ambitious, then I can drop or scale back and instead of feeling guilt, I feel better. I even sometimes will add a new goal. Goals are to serve me and help me be productive, to motivate me etc.

  • Tabitha says:

    This year has been a great year. As I finish writing down my goals for 2013, I’m reminded in this post not be over ambitious and be specific with my goals. 🙂 I tend to want to pile a lot on the list too! But I’m excited about the new year.

    The biggest habit I learned this year was goal setting weekly. It helps me keep my priorities in order while making me feel like I accomplished something, even if it was something little.

    I can look back on this year and feel that I spent it the best way I could. It’s funny how a simple little thing: like goal setting can be very fulfilling. 🙂

    • Jenny says:


      I agree- weekly goal setting this fall helped me stay on track and make sure I focused on my priorities each week. Good luck with your 2013 goals.

  • Carla says:

    I made no large goals for 2012. I had some smaller goals for a week or a day. Those went well. But, a whole year seems to be difficult for me to think about, except for Bible reading. I think I may give it a try. I think those of you who did yearly goals are GREAT!

    Blessings for 2013!

  • Sandy says:

    My one and only goal was to find a way for my mother to return home and be able to provide the care she needed myself. Blessedly, after 13 months in a nursing home, my mom returned home! I am so grateful to have been able to give her that gift before she passed away.

  • I did pretty good on my financial and blogging goals for 2012, but really sucked with my personal goals.

    I always seem to totally ignore my personal goals, but work really hard at my financial and blogging ones. I’m not sure why, but I need to stop putting myself last.

    Great job on your goals. 🙂

  • Amber says:

    A very wise ecclesiastical leader once told me that if you are attaining 100% your goals, you are setting them too low and need to challenge yourself further. If you don’t attain any of your goals and working hard at all of them, you are setting them too high. You should aim to achieve about 75% of the goals you set. According to him, you are right on track.

  • Nicole says:

    I didn’t meet all my goals this year, but was pretty close. I found that I modified as the year went on. Some were unrealistic and some goals I just realized didn’t work for me once I got going on them. Live and learn!

  • Jamie says:

    You are so inspiring!!! Have you ever heard about setting goals for 1000 days instead of a year? This takes a bit of the pressure off and allows some bigger goals to be set.

  • Karen says:

    Gosh, if this is a disappointing year for you, with all those amazing things you accomplished, then my year was a total bomb! 🙁 But I’m working on 2013. Definitely need to be more specific/measurable. I’m very vague sometimes.

  • You certainly did WAY better than me since I didn’t have any goals. I made some goals for 2013 and I’m surprised with how motivated it’s made me (which I’ll be sharing with my own readers soon ;))!

    I think it’s human nature to set the bar too high. I do the same thing to myself all the time and I have yet to meat anyone who doesn’t do the same.

    I think you did great!

  • Mary Ellen says:

    It is difficult to define my goals sometimes because they can change, sometimes dramatically, in the middle of the year. I recently learned that my Elementary Education passing score never applied to my teaching certificate here in Missouri. Therefore, I am not certified to teach grades 1-6 as I thought. My goals changed in the middle of 2012 to sign up for a college level course (graduate level “Positive Psychology” at Mizzou), apply my certificate, obtain additional certification in Middle School and refresh myself on 10 years of literature and grammar. Goals change as people change or, as in this case, new information comes into one’s life that requires to set new goals.
    I will continue to be a stay at home mom for another 3.5, but I want to be ready when the time comes. Even if I don’t end up going back to teaching (which I doubt), the information I have learned from reading “How Children Succeed,” “Learned Optimism,” “Mindset,” and “The Optimistic Child” have been invaluable to how I view raising my children and what direction I want their education to go.

    • Sally says:

      Yes! This is so true! I almost perfer to set 6 month goals because things change unexpectedly.

      Oddly, I do much better with the goals I set in July. My husband works for a public school so we can have the benefit of a “new year” mentality twice a year; January 1 as well as July 1.

  • Emmie says:

    I have never been a goal setter and only this past year have I been introduced to the idea of SMART goals. Thank you so much for your posts on this as it has helped me to understand what I was taught in theory. I am looking forward to setting goals for next year and see what God does.

  • Molly says:

    I have been reading your blog for a few months now and you have inspired me in so many ways. I never have been much of a “goal-writer-downer” (I’m sure that must be a real word!), more of a generic yearly resolutions type gal… and we all know the resolutions never last long!

    After some self evaluation I realized there are a lot of wishes and goals I’d like to accomplish, in 2013 and beyond. I’ve already begun doing one of my deep down secret desires… I started a blog.

    So thank you for all that you do! And I think you did wonderfully with your 2012 goals — just because you weren’t able to complete them all isn’t the point, in my opinion. What matters is that you gave it your best. You worked diligently and purposefully all year on things that matter to you instead of drifting along mindlessly. You rock!

    • katie says:

      Love the book lists and homeschooling goals. You’ve inspired me also with the husband topic. One of my goals this year is to take care of myself not in a selfish way but in a life sustaining way. Noticing and appreciating what makes me me. I have always been a driven over achiever and now I’m learning to temper that with God’s grace. I read a great book you might like called the art of extreme self care by Cheryl Richardson. Its not Christian per se but its spiritual in nature. You may like it since we seem to have similar tastes in books! Thanks for being a blessing to my life through your blog and books!

    • Amanda says:

      I didn’t write down any particular goals for 2012, but I did work hard to achieve some important goals I set for the year. I paid off my 2009 Honda Civic in January. We celebrated paying off my car and student loans (I already finished paying off my student loans in August 2011) by taking a week long cruise to the Caribbean in May. We also set our cruise as the beginning of starting our family. No good news to share on that yet. We bought a house we were renting from my mother-in-law in March. After buying the house we started a garage and office/ media room addition. We will be finishing a portion of the addition in the new year on our own to save money. After paying my car off I took over the payments on my husband’s 2007 Dodge Charger (since I am used to focusing a lot of my income on paying off debt). I paid off his car in August while we were on vacation in Myrtle Beach. I hoped to pay it off sooner, but we decided to put a lot towards savings goals as well. I took a class at a community college to continue to build my skills in some computer drawing/modeling programs that will help me get my dream job. I didn’t learn these programs in college and they will make my skills more marketable. I took one class last fall, this fall and in January. I got an A in both and have current work to add to my portfolio. I will take the second half of the class I just took in January. I am continuing to look for my dream job as I have been able to only find jobs that are 75% related to my degree. I think I did well meeting my goals for the year. At 30, I am proud to say that I have paid off over $90,000 in debt and interest. We are debt free, other than our home loan. I am also happy that we chose to pay off these debts before starting our family. This will give me the freedom to stay home full time or part time with our children for a few years. Oh, and I also made my first four Operation Christmas Child boxes this year. I would love to do four boxes every year and have started collecting items for next year already.

  • Debbie says:

    I agree with what another poster said. The first thing I noticed is that most of your completed goals are in Marriage, Children/Homeschooling, and Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family. And your first 2 in financial are tithing and giving back to the community, etc also completed. That’s the important things. Your priority are 100% on goal so everything else will definitely fall into place. What a great job you’re doing!! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • SJ says:

      Wow! Congratulations! You did so well ! Nothing really vital was left undone.

      It seems like you mentally changed some goals (such as the DYI projects) which should not be considered failure — you just changed what you wanted to do.

  • Anna K. says:

    I don’t comment often on this website but I am a faithful reader, in large part because I really appreciate your approach to goals and I love to read your goals-related posts.

    Like you, I am changing my approach to goal-setting for 2013. In the past I have set very big (read: unreasonable) goals and then felt discouraged when I didn’t reach them. Moreover, with my husband finishing grad school in a few months, I am anticipating a lot of life changes this year. Specifically for me this means a cross-country move (with a couple weeks of traveling in between), he’ll start a “real” job, I’ll find a job and/or other projects, we’ll buy our first house, hopefully I’ll get pregnant, and hopefully we’ll make friends and integrate ourselves into church and community where we’re going. I think I would be setting myself up for failure if I made a bunch of elaborate goals this year above and beyond what’s already on my plate, not to mention that I can’t predict exactly what this year is going to include.

    So (and bear with me on the long comment), I decided that my approach for 2013 will be to focus my goals on those daily habits that bless my life and that I can do in ANY circumstance, even on the days that we’re on the road with a U-Haul. I’m still praying about what exactly those goals should be, but I think they will be something along the lines of daily consistency in scripture reading, writing, prayer and meditation, and exercise. I know from past experience that when I am rock solid and consistent in these habits I can tackle anything else that comes my way, and I will really need that blessing this year!

  • Catina Mount says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Love your blog – it’s like a gift that just keeps on giving! 🙂

    Can you please provide a link to the “paper” system you are going back to? I have been using Franklin Covey for years but I’d like to try something new and maybe a little less expensive. I have also tried to go paperless…just doesn’t work for me either.

    Thank you!

  • Jennifer J says:

    I’ve followed your blog for a while now. I’ve mainly started following because of the great deals you post. However, as I’ve read your posts this year, I’ve loved seeing the goals that you’ve set for yourself and how you’ve done on them. Because of you, I’ve decided to set my own goals for 2013! Hopefully I can be half as successful as you’ve been =) Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Lori says:

    Even though you didn’t accomplish everything on your list, what you did accomplish is pretty amazing! Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  • I started 2012 in a similar way – way too many goals and not enough of me to go around. I was excited this year though; even though my goals weren’t all accomplished, I had a very full, fun year in which I learned a lot about priorities and life in general. My goals for 2013 are much more manageable (and prioritized!).

    Here’s the link to my update:

  • Tammy L says:

    Crystal, great job on everything you did in 2012! Looks like a very full and satisfying year to me. 😀

  • Liz says:

    Thank you so much for sharing honestly with us… you’ve helped me so much with setting goals and implementing structure in my life and I have come to accept that I still do my own thing, my way.. but you’ve helped me a lot and it’s warming to know you are (also) not perfect and (also) still learning… like all the rest of us 🙂

    Thank you (and your lovely staff) for all you do… here’s to all the best for us all in 2013!

  • Sara says:

    Crystal – My sincere apologies if this has been asked already. I’ve never set any goals and I would really like to have a focus for 2013. Could you give me some guidance? This will be my first year trying to implement a budget as well. I am a single gal, taking care of my elderly mother and need all the help I can get. Help!

    BTW – You are an inspiration to me. I grew up in an overly religious environment and turned completely away from The Lord. You have inspired me to go back to church again, mainly because of the fact that you don’t sit on your high horse and judge others, and I wanted you to know that. May God bless you and your family for all you do. You have been and inspiration and I hope that you know that there are so many of us who may not comment all the time but do appreciate all you do. Hugs, Sara.

  • Marisa says:

    Hi Crystal! Thank you so much for sharing your goals for 2012 and your evaluation of them as we head into 2013. You have inspired me to work on specific measurable goals for my own life, but you have also encouraged me to hold loosely. We are expecting #4 in the beginning of March, so while I want to be focused on accomplishing some things this year I don’t want to commit myself to too many things and then end up frustrated. I’m excited to start 2013 with some concrete ways to accomplish things that are important to me and my family.

  • Emily says:

    Here’s an update on my goals for 2012:

    This was the first year that i created yearly goals and I definitely learned a lot by doing so! I included some of my final thoughts, too – and I’m posting my 2013 goals on Monday!

  • Marie says:

    I feel like I should of been setting goals for 2013 in Sept.!!! How do you all get your goals down that quick? I’ve read everything Crystal posts on goal setting etc. and still find it difficult to execute. I’d really like to have some but with 2013 one day away I’m already behind the eight ball.

  • Kris Conner says:


    As you can tell from all the comments left, most people feel that you did a great job on your goals for 2012 and really kept your priorities straight by focusing on your family. There will always be things that we feel we should have accomplished but just didn’t get to – such is the life of a Mom, it gives us something to aspire to in the coming year.

    The one thing I wanted to point out is that as you went through updating your goals all year long & crossed things off, you also inspired soooooo many with your posts to search out their own goals & do more themselves. I know it is not one of your actual “goals” but I do believe it is the intention of your blog, so I just wanted to mention it. Thank you for inspiring and blessing so many of us with the little snippets of your life that you share, so that we too become inspired and motivated to accomplish more ourselves!

  • Great job! I’ve been setting goals since I was a tiny girl. My dad used to give us each a notebook/journal on January 1st and we were asked to write down “goals.” Of course, they usually were things like clean my room, or be nicer to my brother. I don’t think I ever really “did” most of them, but it created the life long habit of evaluating things I could and wanted to change at the beginning of the year! I still do it without fail. 🙂

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