2014 Goals Update

Tending your goals is hard work! Photo of Shannon Szabados by AP.

Tending your goals is hard work! Photo of Shannon Szabados by AP.

Last December, I drew up a set of goals for the year, and I even expanded them in January:

December 2013 Goals List

January 2014 Goals List

But I haven’t tracked them much, and didn’t do a half-year check-in. How inexact is that?

September always feels like a new year for me – probably the result of 18 years of schooling, starting each new school year in September, plus my kid’s 13 years of school after that. And after September 30, I still have a quarter of the year to do some goal-cramming 🙂

So here is my progress report on the expanded goals:

1. Reading Down the House – My attempt to read a stack of books I bought and forgot. I would read them “someday.” I challenged myself to read all 17 by Dec 31 of this year. It will happen. I have read 13 and I didn’t love them all, but I have no regrets. I gave up on one, but will substitute another book (I’ve taken home 4 discarded books from the library, oops!) So I have 3 left on my original list.

2. Goodreads – I resolved to start a Goodreads page. (It’s a website where you publicly track the books you’ve read). Long since done – I entered lists of books I’ve read since 2006, as long as I’ve kept lists. I copied over reviews I’ve posted here. I really like the recommendations Goodreads has given me based on what I’ve read before. If you have a Goodreads page, let’s be book buddies! Otherwise, you can always get a sneak peek of what I’m reading over there.

3. Document Our Home Library. Nope. I haven’t done it. Not even started. However, I did pare down my bookcases slightly by giving away 37 books I don’t intend to read again. I’m sure I can keep going. Meanwhile, I’ve decided this isn’t a priority. The quickest solution would be to add them to my Goodreads page as books I own.

4. Organize Digital Photos. FAIL! Despite this being important to me, I haven’t made any progress. All photos I upload to my computer are in folders by date. That’s it. Any photos I use here on the blog, I edit and resize, and save another copy. But I had tagged all my photos with keywords up to 2011, and I want to tag all the rest. I have to confess there’s a good reason this hasn’t happened. I work on a computer for about half of each work day, and do at least 4 hours a week of computer-based volunteer work, and blog about 12 hours a week, not including blog reading. This adds up to at least 40 hours a week (over 7 days). So I cannot physically manage any more computer-based work, and should probably do much less again!

5. Use Own Photos for Blog. Sigh. This works when I am writing about things I’ve done. But I don’t always write about everyday life, and I don’t have photos for all the topics I’m interested in. I try using Creative Commons photos first, but sometimes I just give up. The answer would be to plan my posts further in advance so I can get photos ready, but I have never worked that way before – it would be a stretch! We’ll see.

6. Write Something in Addition to Blog Posts (like a short story or an opinion piece). No progress. I haven’t stopped to think or plan for this. It’s been back-burnered.

7. Walk to Work. Yes – finally something I’ve done! I was really happy to develop my cold tolerance last winter, be out in the open air, and keep my car off the road. Spring wasn’t too rainy, and summer wasn’t too hot. I can walk home in the dark when I get off work at 9 because the neighbourhood is well-populated, well-lit and safe (everyone is out for a jog or walking their dogs). I only take my car when I need it to attend a work meeting at another site. Well, 2 or 3 times this year I got distracted and didn’t leave myself enough time to walk, so I drove rather than show up late 🙂

8. Travel x 3. Oh yes! We’ve made our annual trips to Toronto and the UK, and our long-awaited NYC trip is coming up in October. Murky thoughts are emerging for trips in 2015.

9. Max Out Savings. I’m savings-happy this year. I met with a financial advisor in January to do some RRSP and TFSA planning, and arranged automatic transfers. I love not having to think, plan, or physically transfer funds. It just grows! I also paid my annual bills (such as property tax and insurance) as lump sums last Fall, then saved for each of them on a monthly basis this year, so I can once again pay them as lump sums when they come due this Fall. I saved monthly amounts for gifts, charity, home repair and so on, rather than just paying out randomly as events happened. All in all, it meant living on a tighter budget all year, but not worrying about any bills whatsoever. I noted in a previous post that you need savings to get this system started (I have switched to an “equalization” budget since I posted this).

10. Just Say Yes. This is my pledge to give money to charity whenever I am asked directly. It happens less often than I thought, and is very manageable. It helps me give more, and feel good about it – I like not evading canvassers!

11. Declutter. I did one good decluttering round-up, reported here. I give my stuff to charity yard sales or donations bins, so if I hear of any Fall events coming up, I will make time to declutter more!

12. Change Clothes Buying Strategy. Unfortunately, this has not taken effect. I don’t regret my purchases this year, but I am way over budget. I still need a winter parka and a waterproof messenger bag. I will post later this month about my other recent purchases.

13. Taming the Snack Monster. I have discovered, or rediscovered, a couple of techniques that work. First of all, I bring a day’s worth of snacks to work each day (usually a breakfast top-up like a bagel, fruit and yogurt). I very, very rarely break down and go to the canteen or the vending machines in the building. So that works. Recently I resumed my practices of having no after-dinner snacks, and I can tolerate that pretty well. Finally, I promised that if I wanted sweets, I would go out to a cafe or restaurant and sit down and order a dessert or treat. And I hardly ever feel the need to actually do this. So if it weren’t for the rhubarb custard “boiled sweets” (hard candy) and Cadbury banana chocolate that I brought back from the UK, I would be doing quite well. I am also pleased to say that Rom and I went out for ice cream twice this summer and didn’t keep any in the house!

14. Celebrate! I really make a point of finding fun and/or relaxing things to do all year. This year has been a bit of a crunch because of the library reno project I was involved in, but work is back to normal now, and I have lots of vacation time to use up before year end! I am always on the lookout for concerts, plays, movies, books and restaurants to perk up my little life 🙂 And we have a family celebration of one kind or another about once a month.

Thanks for bearing with me…I am not really looking for any rah-rah encouragement to get the whole list done by the end of the year. In fact, it would be quite acceptable if you agree I can stop now, LOL!

Did you have goals or resolutions this year that you don’t report on regularly? How are they going?






  1. I love this. A self made performance review toward your goals. Great work on achieving what you have done thus far and best wishes on the final quarter.

  2. Nenei

    I have a goal pretty similar to number 4: I need to sort through my digital photos and declutter/delete probably around 75% of them. I tend to snap loads of photos, thinking I’ll only keep the best ones. Somehow, I rarely get around to sorting them, probably due to too much screen time at work. I have needed to sort through my digital photo collection for several years but now I am at a point where I am forced to do something soon, as my Macbook Air is full…
    Number 12: I found a great waterproof messenger bag this year from the German brand Ortlieb. Highly recommended, it has kept my (full) Macbook Air and other expensive electronics dry in all kinds of weather, and the bag is so sturdy that I expect it to last for years.

    • Hello and thanks for visiting. I always plan to weed out my digital photos too, but I rarely get around to it, so all the duds are cluttering up the sets of good ones. I can relate! Thanks for the shopping tip – I will definitely have a look!

  3. Not bad overall! I really like your “say yes to charity”… I did the same thing after you posted that by the way, it inspired me. And I always give *something* when asked! 🙂 I don’t think I made yearly goals… I tend to suck with them. lol!

    • I would say it worked for me to have the goals as opposed to not having them – I did get some stuff done! Maybe I should have made them shorter-term though, like “I will work on my digital photos in March” or something like that. I have seen your daily lists and you get so much done, you don’t need annual goals!

  4. Great! I didn’t know that there was an option on Goodreads to write down all of the books that you have got – I am going to fill that in! Sooner rather than later as I don’t have many books right now – I sold them when I moved here.

  5. I have managed to do one update on my 2014 goals (http://www.bettybeesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/belated-round-up.html?m=1) and not much has changed since then, other than I have done a bit more yoga and have made reasonable progress on my nutrition course!

  6. krisalex333

    The year is not over yet, so you could get stuck into some of those you still wan to do, but congrats on getting so far already! Take care.

  7. Fiona

    The nice thing about written goal lists is that you really don’t have to stick to artificial time limits, like “a year.” Hopefully, so long as it is recorded somewhere, it will be something to chip away at. I think just the process of recording and reviewing makes people achieve much more than they would have otherwise. I don’t do much goal-setting with my students but I’m just thinking now how beneficial this would be.

  8. Gam Kau

    You are just so methodical, I find it impressive. I was just commenting how fast this year has passed and what a blur of stress and worry it has been. Lots of things to deal with which were completely out of my control (=stress/worry) so no goal setting for me. Perhaps I should set some goals to serve as a distraction!
    Do you ever shop online at Sierra Trading Post – the often have nice waterproof messenger bags…

  9. The Final Rinse

    I like the idea of setting yearly goals in September.
    I am especially impressed by the walking to work. One of my big goals has been to live where living carless is possible. But I haven’t made it happen yet.

    • It was always a little dream of mine to be able to walk to work, but I am surprised I was able to pull it off! I actually had to work pretty hard to get a transfer to my own neighbourhood. But ultimately it was my employer’s decision so not entirely up to me. I haven’t sold my car, though.

  10. September seems such a funny month to start a year to me.

    You know you can’t stop now, don’t you? It would go totally against your exacting/listing nature. I have two books left on my Reading Down list, but like you have brought home more, and have more than my original list now to read. My Year of the a Garden has failed miserably, and I’ve never yet stuck a whole year on my weights exercises. And as to organising photos, well, I think that you’ve uploaded them onto your computer is brilliant. Which I think goes to show how little I have done! January NZ trip are still on the camera. I must really get on with that some day. Maybe before England?

    • Oh OK, you know I won’t really just stop. I may fizzle out, however. I have never had a satisfactory garden year. I always play catch up in September as I am doing now (end of growing season), getting the yard in shape before the frost hits. I don’t think I could leave home without knowing that my photos were backed up 🙂

  11. I’m so so for my goals. I’ve only completed a few. A few are in progress. The hardest one for me is weightloss. Gah. I’m pretty good with financial and cultural… But weight? It’s really difficult for me.
    Also, just sent a Goodreads Friends Request to you. 😉

    PS – FYI… Later this week, on my blog, I’m posting a book tag. And I’ve tagged you. 😉

  12. I have failed dismally at reading down the house! I keep re-reading books I have or borrowing more from the library. I’m thinking it might be time to do a cull of books that I’m never going to read!

    I love that one of your goals is to celebrate – we all need to make sure to celebrate more 🙂

    • I don’t re-read books very much because I stumble across so many good ones at the library that grab my attention. I could have done better at celebrating earlier this year. There were no good concerts scheduled, I couldn’t take vacation yet, and I had a couple of dull months! But the rest of the year will be better.

  13. Oh yes, I too have lapsed in reviewing my goals… Though I have been mindful to be ‘social’ more in the sense of having people over, and can name 3 occasions. I also wanted to do more craft, and have stitched on a baby blanket, covered a tray… so that’s also ticks. But otherwise, nothing like past years. I totally dropped my monthly health challenges, and in the past weeks, I’ve stacked it on with all the sweets offered up at work :s One upside of the new job (in one sense I suppose)

  14. Well done! 🙂 I’m impressed by how much you’ve accomplished, even without check ins! My monthly goal post on my blog really keeps me motivated so I’m not sure I’d have as much success without tracking.

  15. Great job on the walking, saving, traveling and snacking)! It seems like those things will have the biggest impact on your life!

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