September just pumps me up. I don't know if it's a leftover feeling from all of my years in school, where it feels like the beginning of a new year, or because the calendar year is winding up, but I like it. I'm going with it. I started this year by making some goals for different areas of my life, and heading into the final stretch of the year I've been checking back in with those goals and thinking ahead to 2017. Here are the goals I set back in January, and how they've been going so far.
I. Be a Good Citizen of My Communities
My specific goal for this category was to make a meaningful contribution to my social communities (friends, family, etc.) or charitable causes twice per week. I...didn't really track that, which is going to be a theme for this check-in. But, I have really kept to the spirit of this goal. Partly because this is something I like and want to do anyway, and the point of making the goal was just to be more mindful and intentional about it. I got involved with the American Refugee Commission, a Minneapolis non-profit that I really love, and have been volunteering with them throughout this year. I'm also mentoring a law student from my old law school, and I've had more time to devote to being a really present friend this year. We're calling this one, "on track."
II. Prioritize Health and Wellness
For my specific goal in this category, I wrote a few things: I found my inner Fergie and said I wanted to be harder, better, faster, stronger (and then wrote build muscle, run faster, stay fit, and eat the way that makes me feel and perform my best). I've made a ton of progress on this goal this year--first of all, at the beginning of the year I was still struggling a lot with owning my dietary choices. I get embarrassed about telling people I don't eat gluten (because I don't have celiac, and because people think I'm following a "fad diet" and that it's a stupid choice) and I was really letting that stand in the way of feeling my best. Gluten makes me sick. Really sick. It just does. I don't need to be embarrassed about saying I don't eat it--THAT is a stupid choice. This blog really helped me build confidence enough to talk about that and be comfortable with it.
I did want to run a half marathon in less than two hours (official chipped time) this year, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen, but I AM running faster. My average mile time is lower than it's ever been, and I decided today that I want to try to run some really fast miles and 5k distances before the end of the year. The longer distances are just hard to balance with all the strength training I'm doing right now, and I really love the strength training and the results I'm getting from that, so I don't want to give it up. And STRONGER. This one I'm actually killing, which was not true for most of this year. I just have a hard time staying consistent with resistance training, and Beachbody has really changed the game for me, which is great. I'm building muscle and getting stronger every day and I love it.
III. Focus on Marriage and Family
My specific goal in this category focused on the fact that I wanted to create intentional time for Dan and me, and for Dan and me and Kelly, to spend time together doing fun things, instead of just letting our routine run the show. Actually, shortly after I wrote these goals Dan was doing some goal-setting of his own and suggested that we establish a bi-weekly date night. I was shocked (in a good way) and agreed immediately. We haven't kept every single date night, but we've done a lot of them and having it on our calendar has been a good prompt to get out for dinner or a movie. Without reminders like that, time just flies by and we can realize it's been months since we did something fun just the two of us. No more.
Dan and I have also started exercising together a lot more, mostly running or biking, and those are good times to talk without other distractions, too. We also really wanted to fit in a family vacation with Kell, and our road trip fit that bill perfectly. At home, family dinners, walks with the dog, and family movie nights have been good ways to spend quality time together.
IV. Kill It at Work
When I wrote these goals, I had only been at my current job for five months and was really still figuring it out. My specific goal here was to track weekly goals and accomplish them, grow my network within my new company, and keep in touch with friends in my professional network outside of my company. I don't do weekly goals anymore--tracking this stuff on a weekly basis just doesn't work for me, it turns out. But I do feel really great about how things are going at work, and really committing to learning as much as I can has been critical. I have met more people and made more friends at my company, and I've also prioritized keeping in touch with friends from previous jobs and from law school. This one is going well, also thanks to lots of coffee.
V. Establish Financial Stability and Abundance
Abundance is such a Law of Attraction word--it's funny that I chose it here, but it's appropriate for this intention. My specific goals here were to start Kelly's College Savings (DONE--we may be a little late on this one, but we're makin' it happen) to accomplish some specific projects around our house, and to spend wisely and intentionally. That last one is hard for us--we are not good budgeters, and neither of us have major shopping habits or spending issues, but we also just don't keep great tabs on our spending, either. A financial planner asked us how much money we spend on non-bills each month and Dan looked at me and I just said, "Uuuhhhh..."
So, I downloaded Mint and am using it to get a better sense of our spending. Part of the reason I find this so hard is it feels like our life has been in flux for the last two years--since Dan stopped playing basketball and became a realtor, we've bought two new cars (extremely necessary--Dan had no vehicle and I had a rusty 2001 sedan with reliability issues), got married, bought a washer and dryer at our old house, bought a puppy and paid for all the puppy shots/check-ups/neuter surgery, built a fence at our old house, bought a new house, built a fence at the new house, remodeled the new house...it's hard to pick a "normal" month of spending. Maybe that just is normal, I'm not sure. But we've laid a lot of groundwork this year for saving and long-term financial planning, so I'm happy with that.
Do you guys set specific goals for the year? Goals are huge for me--if I take the time to think about what I want to accomplish and really focus on getting there, it's going to happen. I'm actually thinking about running a small group in January related to goal-setting and intentions for the year--anyone interested in that?? I'm thinking it would just be something over Facebook (in a private group) where we could share some templates and resources to help you narrow down your goals and tips for achieving them as the year moves forward.
Do you feel extra energized in the fall? Is it just me?? Don't tell me. I like to think my experience of life is universal. It isn't.