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I’ve never been a big New Year’s Resolution maker/keeper. It felt cliché. Besides, I knew I wouldn’t keep them. However, in the fall of 2013, I started reading Crystal Paine’s blog. She is big on goal setting and I as the end of the year drew near I felt challenged to do so myself. After all, if you never set goals you reach them every time! So as 2014 began, I felt compelled to make several life goals or resolutions.  Here is a look at how well I did or did not accomplish these goals.

Reading Books

One of the biggest ways I was inspired was to read more. In 2013 she had challenged herself to read 50 books!! I was in awe. I used to read … before I had kids. Then life got crazy and I was either too busy or too tired. I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a book from cover to cover. I had started several, but that’s it. I could count on one hand how many non-picture books I had read in the last decade.

But my kids are getting older; the youngest is almost 5. I’m entering a new season in life. Besides, if I want to be a writer I need to be a reader. So I talked to my husband and we challenged ourselves, not to read 50, but to read 24 books in the course of a year — two a month. It seemed do-able. An even mix of fiction, nonfiction, and biographies to keep us balanced. (I tend to gravitate toward nonfiction and my husband gravitates toward fiction, though we  want to read both).

Well … I didn’t read 24. I read five. But I still feel successful! I read five more books than I had in many years — I’ve stretched myself, I’ve opened my horizons, I’ve learned new things.

Here’s what I read:

  1. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  2. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  3. George Mueller by Faith Coxe Bailey (I tried reading GM’s autobiography first,  but it was difficult to get through because of the language so I opted for an easier read rather than drop it altogether.)
  4. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Payne
  5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

Health

Yes … the ever-present weight loss resolution.  I really wanted/needed to.  I had dieted off and on the last few years to no avail and I figured that what I was missing was exercise.  I was eating right, but lacking the cardio needed to burn calories.  So … I bought an exercise bike right after the new year.  I lowered my carb intake; cutting out grains (mostly) and limiting sugar.  I ate a moderate amount of potatoes and rice.  It was the most successful diet I had ever done.  I felt good, and I wasn’t depriving myself of anything but bread — and when I ate bread I felt bloated so I really didn’t want it.  By summer I had lost 2 sizes.  I was down to a size I hadn’t been since before my second child.  It was great.

However, this fall I have not been so good.  I stopped exercising.  I added a grain here and there.  Since Thanksgiving, I’ve had a severe lack of discipline, eating everything in sight!  I feel pathetic and the jeans I bought in my new size are tight!!  Ugg!  So, come January 2 (because who wants to start on the first when all the good food from last night is still there) I’ll be starting all over again.

Finances

I wanted to take a hold of my spending by starting to use a sort of cash budgeting system.  Yes, I had a budget, had one for many years.  But I don’t keep it very well; it’s more like a suggestion.  It’s too easy to swipe that card when we need milk and I know there’s money in the bank, even though I know I’ve gone over my grocery budget.

I did do that a couple times, but not very successfully, and I didn’t keep at it.  I’m looking at some new ways to budget for the coming year.   On the other hand, I did do one new thing this year that helped us tremendously.  We receive a few small payments in cash on a monthly basis.  In the past, I would just use them to cover whatever was needed at the time.  This year, however, I decided to be proactive.  I took the cash and set it back, calling it my “christmas account.”  I had never had a christmas account, and I always barely scraped by each year.  This year it was so comforting to know that I already had the money for all the gifts I wanted to buy and none of it had to come out of my regular budget.  I never want to go back to the old way of doing it.

 

So there are my triumphs and failures for 2014 in a nutshell.  I am currently working on a list of goals for 2015 which I will publish soon.  I really like being able to look back at how I well I did or didn’t do and how I can challenge myself in the future.  Did you have any triumphs this year?

 

 

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