I was supposed to publish monthly goals and then monthly accomplishments in order to keep myself motivated, but that didn't last long. Big surprise, I'm great at making plans but not so great in actually executing them.
Here is how I did, overall.
Family - Keep in Touch
- Call my mom once a month. I really don't like talking on the phone anymore, but there is something to be said about hearing your mom's voice and being able to chat about everything and anything and laughing and crying about events. I'm paying for an international plan on my phone so I can get cheaper rates when I call France, and yet I almost never call. So I'm going to try and call her once a month. She has a challenging schedule, especially with the time difference (6 hours) but I will try. I tried calling several times but it was very challenging to get a hold of her. I didn't keep track of how often we spoke on the phone (maybe 3 times?) but we did email several times. But I should have tried contacting her more often. I might try texting her in 2018, if she's not opposed to it due to the cost.
- Start a blog in French so I can share stories and pictures with my family. I think it'll be easier than emailing and I can still avoid going on Facebook, which I do not want to use. I did that and kept it updated for a couple of months but my family didn't show much interest in it and it was very time consuming, so I quit.
- Write to my great aunt once a month. It doesn't have to be a long letter, a postcard that I buy or make would be enough, and she would enjoy it. I dropped the ball on this one I think. I did write to her several times and sent her cards during the first part of the year, and then again for her birthday and Christmas in December, but there was a big chunk of time when I didn't do anything. I had said to my mom that I might start giving my great aunt a phone call instead of writing to her, but I didn't do that either.
- Continue to correspond with Oldest Son's GF. Send her a short email once in a while asking her how she's doing. Absolutely didn't do this and she didn't reach out either, ever.
- Schedule regular lunches with Middle Son. We did see each other regularly, especially since he keeps on coming over quite regularly to use some of our equipment or for me to buy him lunch :)
- Go on day trips/field trips with Daughter (before she goes to college) - We did and we also went on a 10-day trip together this summer.
- Invite Youngest Son to join me in an activity once a month and don't take "no thank you" for an answer. Hmm, we played D&D on several occasions and with other people at the beginning of the year and we went to visit a couple of comic book stores together. Over Spring Break we drove to St Augustine for a day trip. I've been teaching him how to drive every week day since some time in September. So we've spent time together but no, I haven't made him join me in an activity every month. I really should, he's getting more and more of an introvert.
- Most of our dinners at home should be at the dinner table. No more of this constant: let's all eat in front of our computers nonsense! I didn't do as well as I should have so we had more dinners when we all ate on our own than I had wanted, but overall I think we ate most dinners at the table together.
Friends - Support Them and Allow Them to Support Me
- Continue monthly lunches with my friend Juliet (unless I start working for her and we get enough chatting going on with that!). Yes, for the most part. On the months when we didn't do it it was because we both agreed that we had other things to do :) I didn't end up working for her though. But it might have been an easy goal to keep because, on top of her being a delightful person, this included EATING.
- Make sure to meet with BFF once a month, even if it means that I have to go down to her neck of the woods. Yes, most months. Again, when we didn't do it it was because we both agreed we had other things to do. But usually when one of us asked the other for a date, we accepted. And again, this included EATING, most times. Although we mostly had coffee. And some breakfast food. Yes, so EATING. I'm really good at EATING.
- Check on my French BFF and her family regularly via email. She emailed me and I took a super long time to reply because I didn't have much to say, and then I did email her a couple of times but she didn't reply.
- Reopen blog comments and start engaging with other bloggers again. Done! But then I stopped blogging regularly in April-May, and then again in October-December. But as of right now, I'm engaging again :)
Health - Start my 5th Decade on the Right Foot and Not Because The Left One Hurts!
- Lose 50 lbs by the time I'm 50. NOPE. In fact, I PUT ON WEIGHT. HORRIBLE FAILURE :(
- Input all my food intake into MyFitnessPal or sign up for WeightWatchers again. NOPE. I only did it when I was actively following my diet in January and then again in May-June.
- Exercise portion control! What's that?!
- Exercise at home every week day, no excuse, for at least 30 minutes. Hmmm, that would be a nope, most weeks.
- Take at least 2 walks a month with Greg. OK, on this one, I think we did pretty well aside from the summer months. We visited state parks 16 times together and we walked on the Van Fleet Trail and the South Lake Trail a bunch of times. So we're close and I'm counting this as a success, damn it.
- If/when we go out to eat, drink only water and order salads and other low-calorie meals. Hahahahahaha. Ha. What was I thinking?!
- Drink at least 32 oz of water a day (plus 2 cups of coffee). What is this water you are talking about? Oh, it's what's in my coffee and tea? OK, so I drank water but definitely not near 32 oz a day.
- Deal with my plantar fasciitis by: As of 2/4/17, my son is no longer hurting! But as of 12/31/17, it's hurting again for a couple of days after a hike.
- buying a boot from CVS and wearing it at night while needed didn't do.
- practicing stretching exercises every day. I did that for a while until it stopped hurting and I should start again. Setting up the alarms on my phone right now.
- icing my foot when it hurts (keep ice pack where I can reach it in freezer) didn't do.
- losing weight! NO. I have already confessed to failing miserably.
- Get trifocals YES!!!! finally, some unequivocal success! And I love them!
- Go to the GYN and get mammogram. Hmm, nope. I went to the dentist instead. THE DENTIST. SEVERAL TIMES. AND I HAD DENTAL SURGERY AND WILL HAVE MORE OF THAT IN 2018. SO GET OFF MY CASE ABOUT THE OBGYN, NATHALIE.
Education (general) - Stop Wallowing in Ignorance! Well I wallowed.
- Read the manual for my dSRL camera - I ended up buying a different camera and I did read the manual. I also hired Middle Son to give me photography lessons and gifted him the dSLR camera back since he didn't have one and I didn't need that one.
- Read the dSLR e-book that I purchased NOPE
- Read one non-fiction book per month. Hmm nope. I didn't keep very good track of the books I did read, but I know that I read far fewer books than in the past, fiction or non-fiction. I know for sure that I read at least 4.5 non-fiction books.
- Learn at least one new skill such as sewing something, crochet, knitting... HAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHA.
Entertainment - But Have **Some** Fun Too!
- Read at least two fiction books per month (refer to my 2016 reading goals since I didn't read most of those books!) I read at least 11 books that I actively kept track of in my spreadsheet but I know I also read more that I didn't keep track of. Unfortunately, I also started several more that I didn't finish because they were so horrible. So I probably read 1 little over one book per month. Hey, that's more than I thought I had read!
- Limit my mindless TV watching. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. But at least I mostly was doing something else while the TV was on. Like blogging :)
- Limit my mindless internet surfing or at least do it while I'm exercising. NOPE. I discovered Reddit and let's just say that I spend too much time tearing up at pictures of puppies (I don't even like dogs!) and cats. And laughing at idiots who do idiotic things in gifs. And sending emails to Greg and my kids with Reddit links to pictures or videos I think they'll think are funny. They're probably sighing every time they see an email from me now. This is why I'm NOT on Facebook, people!
- Go on field trips on my own: P.E.A.R. park, Leu Botanical Gardens, local museums and attractions, county and state parks... I did go to P.E.A.R. Park on my own... twice, I think. But that's it. So I guess it wasn't a total failure since I didn't specify a minimum amount of outings :)
Volunteering - Be More Generous of My Time - OH BOY. NOPE. THIS WAS THE YEAR OF NATHALIE DEFINITELY NOT WANTING TO BE AROUND PEOPLE.
- Join the Friends of the Library. I did talk to them on July 4th and explain that I didn't want to be calling people on the phone or begging for donations. So they told me that's pretty much all they do so I was of no use to them. Well, then.
- Volunteer as a driver with the American Cancer Society. I was "blue" a lot this year so not a good person for a cancer patient to be around... and vice versa.
Homefront - Don't Be So Lazy! I wasn't so much lazy as distracted by my comfy futon, the internet, Netflix, etc...
- Set a 15 minute timer everyday and try to do as many housework chores as possible during that time. OK, I did try that on several occasions and that was pretty cool, so I need to do that way more often, especially when I don't feel like doing anything.
- Unload the dishwasher every morning and reload it during the day. Most of the year, I did NOT do that. However, go figure that the 2 months when I didn't blog between October and early December? I pretty much did that every week day. So... blogging is keeping me from having clean dishes. What do you want, readers? Me to have clean dishes or to be able to laugh at my blog over your morning coffee? Because apparently, you can't have both. You know what? That's what paper plates are for :) But in 2018, I intend to try to do BOTH at once. Woah. I bet your mind is blown.
- Declutter the house, it's starting to look like a hoarder lives in here. I did get rid of several things that I donated, for the most part, and we took a couple of trips to the dump to get rid of larger, broken items. I also got rid of most of the glass and plastic containers that I was hoarding "just in case". But my house is still cluttered so this will be an ongoing project in 2018.
- Mop the kitchen once a week. It's good exercise! Yeah, that didn't happen. Which is probably why I got fatter.
- Vacuum or sweep the rest of the house once a week. Ditto.
- Buy fewer snacks. It's better for everyone. Look into making healthier snacks for everyone each week. *wipes a tear of disbelief* How did I come up with that stuff?! I kill myself! Well, kind of literally, even, because I did buy quite a bit of snacks under the pretext that I was buying them for Youngest Son, who is the healthiest person in this house! Uh, will do better in 2018?
- Continue to track all expenses in my spreadsheets. Yes, yes, yes. I'm super on top of that, all the time.
- Report all expenses on the blog, daily (for accountability and a kick in the pants to perhaps spend less!). Hmm. I think I did OK but I didn't always report everything and also I didn't blog for long periods of time. But overall, I think I did well so I'll count that as a success.
- Keep to a $50 a week grocery budget (avoid stocking up on items until I have actually ran out of them). So I didn't do that but I did stay within my grocery budget for the year.
- Overall FOOD expenses budget to be $5,300 including ordering in. SO NOT EVEN CLOSE. We spent almost just as much on eating out/ordering in as we did on groceries.
- Continue reporting on Food Waste every Friday. No excuses. NOPE, I kind of gave up on that and maybe I shouldn't have. It's not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination but when I was doing it it really helped me waste less food. However, in trying to be healthier in 2018, I'm not sure that eating all the leftovers is going to be a good thing. I probably should try to limit the amount of leftovers.
- Avoid ordering in during the week by making a menu after looking at what I have in the fridge. No. I regularly took "Cook's Night Off", especially on the weekend. And then Greg likes going out to breakfast. So we ate out/ordered in probably at least twice a week and sometimes more. Which is why we spent so much.
- Continue to try to purchase as many items from the thrift store as possible. I don't know if I purchased "as much as possible" as we did purchase an awful lot of brand new stuff on Amazon, but I did buy quite a few things from the thrift stores and I keep an ongoing "wish list" on my phone so I consult it every time I enter a thrift store.
- Calculate our bare bone budget and see if we do have 12 months' worth. DONE
- Then separate it from our other savings, maybe put it in a CD that is FDIC insured. DONE, opened a savings account with Discover Bank with a much better APY than our regular bank's.
- Increase our emergency savings by $2,000. Failed, we spent too much in the first part of the year and I ended up having to transfer $3K back into checking from our Emergency funds to cover our cash flow. We also decided to focus on paying off the house early instead of increasing our EF.
- Calculate our Net Worth DONE
- Create spreadsheet to calculate our Personal Savings Rate in 2017 DONE
- Set up an automatic transfer of Greg's raise equivalent to Savings each time he gets paid DONE
- Keep the same extra mortgage payment to principal DONE. WE PAID OFF THE HOUSE THIS YEAR, 3 years before our self-imposed deadline!!!
- At the end of the first week of the following month, transfer leftover money from budget (if any) into savings. NOPE. But we cashflowed quite a few things this year that we hadn't budgeted for.
- Make a budget for trip to France and stick to it - We didn't go to France. I didn't budget for our Southern States Road Trip but it was less than a trip to France would have cost us :)
- Apply any bonus to our mortgage Sent the tax refund to it as well as most of Greg's yearly bonus.
- Schedule maintenance checks for all 3 vehicles DONE
- Get the shower leak fixed Under the wire and with much anxiety, but DONE!!! But it was Greg's accomplishment, not mine.
- Rebuild the front porch or tear it down Greg tore it down in March and replaced a pole as well as fixed the wall that was threatening to collapse in June.
- Identify faulty electrical outlets and call Duke Energy HomeWire to schedule someone to replace them NOPE
- Reduce Christmas expenses: NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. Well I didn't send gifts to Oldest Son or his GF but Greg sent more gifts to his grandkids and niece so we didn't save anything.
- gifts (give the kids advance notice)
- food for buffet
- Repaint master bathroom's ceiling with mildew resistant paint NOPE but I did clean the ceiling a few times
- Repaint kitchen cabinets NOPE
- Repaint master bedroom NOPE
- Remove Greg's line from our AT&T plan DONE
- Gardening: budget of $50 for the year and mostly to make new bins (reuse what we already have). I didn't garden at all this year! I spent $4.04 in "gardening" supplies (for me that means vegetable gardening supplies), but we did spend $522 on "landscaping". So, a success in keeping the gardening supplies down, I guess? Landscaping kind of falls into a maintenance category, doesn't it? You kind of have to do it, I guess.
- Car insurance: see if should drop collision on SUV and truck and the consequences of this (i.e. can we keep road assistance coverage?) Dropped collision on SUV in January
- Put money aside corresponding to our son's chore earnings since the last time I calculated his total (in his savings account) DONE, opened 529 Saving account for him in February
- Continue to earn "snowflakes" and track them all year DONE
- Budget a donation amount and research the charities Didn't budget a donation category, but I did research charities and we made some (small) donations to charities that wouldn't squander the money on overhead and executive salaries. I really think we should be more generous but Greg and I have different viewpoints in that regard and he's the one who's earning the money so...
- Open the latest statements (put reminder on calendar to do this every quarter). So I didn't do that but I did track our Net Worth every month which included my checking on all our investments directly on the companies' websites. So... I think this was a success.
- Update the big picture matrix and share it with Greg. YES. We discussed it every month, albeit superficially because he's just not interested beyond hearing "we're worth a little more this month".
- Note which funds are underperforming and make changes if necessary, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I so suck at this.
- Rebalance investments so we don't have 100% stocks. Didn't do shit. Ugh, I hate this stuff.
- Make sure to discuss with Greg the assignment of the money in our investment account that "is just sitting there" and follow up with him DONE
- Read Kiplinger Magazine Well, I read some issues in June when I caught up. And then I stopped reading it again because I read it digitally now but if the printed copy isn't right in front of me, I'll forget about it.
- Read The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing NOPE. But I read "The Simple Path to Wealth". And then didn't follow up on my plans to do what that guy advises to do :(
- Refer to my 2016 goals for my ideas if I run out of things to do!
- Continue to contribute the maximum to Greg's Roth 401(k) DONE
- Make sure we contributed to IRAs for 2016 (see if we qualify first!) DONE in January
- Contribute to IRAs for 2017 (same thing) DONE in January
- Roll over Greg's old 401(k) NO, but it's doing OK now that Vanguard is managing it so we'll leave it where it is.
- Investigate my IRA's performance and see if I need and can change fund allocation. It did fine and I didn't change anything.
- Examine current 401(k) fund allocation and readjust if necessary. Didn't examine anything, maybe we should.
- Make note of when stock options are vesting in 2017 and put detailed alerts in the calendar DONE
- Start gathering the 2016 tax paperwork in one folder (print them as they come in) DONE
- Continue tracking Greg's paychecks in my 2017 spreadsheet every 2 weeks DONE
- Continue tracking all FSA expenses separately to assess whether we should increase the fund the following year (this will be the 2nd year that we rolled over money so we might lose it if we roll over into 2018 again? Need to check) DONE. We spent it all, thanks to my dental work and maxed it out for 2018 since I'll be having a lot more work done.
Well, you know what? It actually was fun to have detailed goals to recap at the end of the year. Shoot, I just decided to just have nebulous goals for 2018!
It was a mixed bag. I think that the fact that I put on weight instead of losing 50 lbs and my recent disappointment in how badly one main mutual funds had performed compared to how incredibly well the stock market performed in 2017 made me feel like I had failed at everything.
But I didn't. Certainly, with having so many goals, I was bound to fail at some of them. But a lot of them were attained too (we paid off the house, which wasn't even a goal for 2017!) or at least partly attained. So maybe 2017 wasn't so bad after all. I do need to buckle down on that weightloss issue, though. So many things derive from that...