Just a few days before we rang in the New Year, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror while my husband brushed his teeth next to me and said, “You know, 2017 is going to be a good year.”
Well, fast forward to today, a week and a half into this good new year, and things have already gone off course. A few circumstances that I’ll write about later have brought all my dreams for this new year to a screeching halt and I’ve had to reexamine everything I thought I knew about the next twelve months. Which is nothing, always nothing. But we sure do like to pretend we have control over the future, right?
I’ve decided to put the last ten days behind me and call for a New Year’s redo. Who cares if I’m a week and a half late? I’m going to pick up the pieces of where we left off and get right back on that New Year’s horse, starting with my ten big goals for 2017.
1. Submit 1 article or story for publication each month.
Obviously I’m not shooting for the moon here, but easing my way back into professional writing seems like the best way to go. Aiming for one submission per month feels attainable, and perhaps just the right amount of consistency to get me into the swing of making writing a habit again. Results of submission are irrelevant here, and any published articles will be icing on the cake. The effort is the goal.
2. Publish 52 Blog Posts in 52 Weeks
Okay, so I’m already behind. But only by 2. I can catch up on that pretty easy. This is going to require a good amount of self-discipline, diligence and cabernet sauvignon, of course.
3. Grow a vegetable garden.
I’ve done this the last three years with mixed results. Lots of potatoes one year, mostly radishes the next. So far surprisingly little luck with tomatoes. But 2017 is going to be the Year of the Tomato. I can already taste them.
4. Pick a homeschool curriculum and EXECUTE.
My husband and I have decided this is going to be the year dive into homeschooling. Our daughter is starting Kindergarten and our son is going to be two in a few months (meaning not a tiny baby anymore!), and it seems like a good place to start. I’ve got mixed emotions about starting this journey, but I also have a significant network of homeschooling families to look to for advice and reassurance. If all else fails, we’ll just have a lot of recess.
5. Purge 250 items.
This should be pretty easy since we’ve been filling up four large plastic tubs with items to donate for months now. I might knock this goal out in the first month.
6. Complete 12 home projects.
That number seems pretty attainable but things tend to go unfinished around here. Perhaps I can find some momentum by finishing up the existing projects first.
7. Pay off our IRS back taxes.
Due to a filing error with our home mortgage two years ago, we owe some back taxes. We’ve made a few payments already and currently owe just under $1,700. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this year’s tax return will take a big chunk out of that number. Somehow owning money to the IRS feels a bit like owing money to the mob.
8. Pay off two credit card balances.
My husband and I did not make good financial decisions early in our marriage. With two good incomes and very few living expenses, it was easy to get away with not budgeting. After our daughter was born and I left my job to stay home with her, our income changed dramatically though our lifestyle stayed pretty much the same. Throw in a few major life changes over the next few years, including a career change, a home purchase, a car purchase and a second child, we are still making up for the financial mistakes we made in our twenties. This year we have set a goal to pay off the two lowest of our credit card balances: the Capital One card has a balance of $1079, and the Wells Fargo Visa Rewards card has a balance of $8199.
9. Put our past life in order.
A few months ago I completely reorganized our office space. New paint job, new furniture, new shelves. What I ended up with was a bright, clean workspace and several boxes filled with memories from previous years. A brown paper bag full of wedding mementos, printed photos from digital cameras I used in high school, footprint paintings from my daughter’s time in daycare, drawings from my nephews, back issues of all the newspapers and magazines I’ve written for since college. Ever since I cleaned out the office, I’ve been telling myself (and my husband) that I would go through all the memories and find a more permanent home of it all. Whether that means some sort of storage box, scrapbook or the recycling bin is yet to be determined. But sort and organize I shall.
10. Look for ways to serve other people.
As much as I’d like to come across as a selfless and naturally serving person, that is just not built into my personality. I’m an introvert by nature, and with two small kids and a husband who works long hours I’m often at my limit just serving my family. I haven’t had a lot of energy left over for caring for people outside of my own for walls over the last year, but this year I want to make that more a of a priority. This is going to require some creativity (to serve others on a tight budget), some patience (to involve my children), and certainly some sacrifice ( in terms of how I use my free time and my energy). But my husband and I both agree that serving is a key way to share the gospel, and a virtue we both want to foster in our family.