It’s the beginning of the new year and we’re all (or most of us) setting goals and establishing resolutions to usher in the new year. I’m not one to set cliche weight loss or exercise goals. I can’t recall every setting a financial goal in my life (at least not deliberately and measurable). And I struggle with our annual goal setting assignments at work each year. In some respects, tangible goal setting just isn’t my style.
Until recently, I never really set any intentional goals. Consequently, I’ve never had much against which to measure my personal “progress” other than traditional status quos (like graduating high school and college, getting a job, etc..).
In the summer of 2015, I wrote my first list of real goals. I compiled a List of 100 Dreams, and you can read more about how I shared the experience with M and my parents as well. (In that post, I mention a list of goals M and I had set together a few year earlier. But the list was short and light and the process heavily driven by M. I don’t know that we ever went back to look at it, so I guess it didn’t prove all that meaningful in the long run.)
Of course, the change of the calendar and the new year always seem to be a good time to revisit and reflect on past accomplishments as well look forward to new goals and opportunities. More importantly, we are just finally settling into a new life in our new house in Philly as the holidays pass and we embark on new routines for a new chapter in our lives. This specifically made me feel like it was a perfect time to dig out my List of 100 Dreams, reassess the goals, mark off our accomplishments, and refresh the list to suit our new life.
So here I am, doing just that. I started with my previous list and categorized the goals to help organize them and make them feel more manageable. I found a few that overlapped quite a bit, several that we completed, and a handful that don’t really feel relevant anymore even though we never achieved them. I moved those to the bottom because it’s interesting, to me at least, to see how we evolve and outgrow our ideas and goals over time.
Categorizing the list also helped me to see trends. I think this really tells each of us something about our priorities. While I value my career and strive to do the best I can at my work, I don’t have a lot of tangible goals related to it. I consciously don’t have ambitions to reach the high echelons of management in my company (and maybe I shouldn’t show my boss this list… ha). The lack of work goals probably indicates other categories are more important to me.
I do, however, have a LOT of goals related to my family, traveling, and our health and wellness. Putting pen to paper to highlight what really makes me happy is evidence that spending quality time with my family is really important to me. My boss would understand, with this list, why I recently requested a reduced work schedule so I could spend more time with my boys, making healthy dinners, and generally managing our family life with less chaos (so maybe I should show her…).
Some of my dreams are painfully vague, impossible to measure or ever check off my list. This initially bothered me during my reassessment because I couldn’t ever check it off my list. It would never be “accomplished.” But I decided instead to track tangible ways I’ve worked toward those goals, and comment on those instead. This gave me a little more comfort in leaving open-ended goals on my list.
I’ve shared where I currently stand with my List of 100 Dreams now. I thought sharing a bit more how I came up with them and thought about them might help others (who are interested) do the same.
Bolded items are those I’ve considered to be “accomplished” even if they’re updated and recurring each year.
- Attend all four tennis grand slams: Wimbledon, US Open (August 2007 / 2008, August 2013), French Open (May 2010), Australian Open
- Take beautiful pictures (working on this one all the time) ~ I’m not certain how I feel about this goal as I’ll never really achieve it (there’s always room for improvement, right?) But I’ve left it because I truly enjoying challenging my photography skills to always one up themselves.
Read (or listen to) a certain number of books~ This dream has evolved over time. In 2014, I got back into reading and hoped to read 12 books in a year (January 2015). I didn’t set any goals for 2015 and in 2016, I aimed to read or listen to 2 books per month (and ended up reading 34 books). For 2017, I’d like to read 35 books. As our life settles down, I anticipate having a bit more time to read and 35 feels manageable. That’s all I’m really looking for as it relates to reading right now; not trying to move mountains in the library.
- Quarterly photography walk by myself ~ I haven’t made this a quarterly affair, but I have made time for it a few times (Chicago Botanic Gardens, my front yard in winter)
Have a nice home office~ In our new house, I have a really great home office. It’s messy and still a work in progress, but it’s full of natural light and connected to the rest of my house so I don’t feel isolated from my family, even when I’m working. It’s basically my perfection (or at least it’s on it’s way). Full disclosure: it’s also always messy.
- Have a productive hour before boys wake up each morning ~ I tried this for a while and it works really well for M. Here are our best efforts, but it hasn’t stuck for me. I might eventually move this to the list of goals I’ve outgrown, but it’s not there quite yet.
Refashion my blue and brown dress(Sept 2014) Take one of my sisters out for a day and do whatever she wants, paid for by me~ (Summer 2015) Listen to 3 podcasts per week (do regularly)~ I definitely have achieved this goal and continue to. Sometimes, I think I listen to three podcasts in one day. I occasionally share about some of my favorite podcasts and episodes, include this post about 10 Fascinating Podcast Episodes Inquisitive Minds Will Love.
- Pay for someone else’s food behind me at a fast food restaurant (January 2015)
- Complete the 365 project (365 project.org) ~ Take a photo a day for a year
- Make sangria
- Attend a Ted Talk in person
Attend Chicago Ideas Week(Fall 2015) Go to a cooking class annually(2014, 2015, June 2016)
- Sew personalized tea towels for my mom (December 2016)
- Go to Indian Wells tennis tournament with my parents
- Go on a trip with my mom
- Go on a trip with my dad
- Travel to Paris with senior year college roommates
- Vacation with my sisters
- Attend a yoga / surf camp in another country
- Take boys to Little League World Series ~ Now that we live in Pennsylvania, we’ve got a much better shot of making this a reality.
- Go on a 2 week trip by myself
Travel to Paris with M(May 2010) Travel to Prague with M(May 2010)
- Do a quarterly weekend trip with M / Annual trip with me and M ~ Originally two separate dreams, it’s clear these are effectively the same.
- 2 weeks in Spain with M
- Take the boys to the San Diego Air and Water Show
- Go to the Grand Canyon
- Go to Zion National Park
- Go to Yellowstone
- Go to Glacier National Park
Health & Wellness
- Exercise three times a week for two months with M
Cook healthy meals for my family~ I think we generally do a pretty good job of this. We’ll never be perfect and certainly meals could always be healthier, but I feel pretty good about this one overall. Buy 90% of my clothes consciously(June 2015)
- Get back into tennis
Do a triathlon or half marathon with my mom and one with M(June 2016) ~ I completed this with my mom, M, and two sisters (June 2016). I trained a little bit, enjoyed the first few miles, hated miles 10 and 11 (during which I decided I’m never doing it again), and was glad to cross the finish line with my mom. She finished way before me, but waited near the end to jump in the race and cross the line with me. 🙂
- Eat vegetables and drink 8 glasses of water every day for a month
- Complete the Whole 30 ~ I combined ‘Eat Paleo for one month’ and ‘No chocolate for a month’ into this goal. Completing the Whole 30, which I’m currently doing now, will accomplish all three of these things at once.
Start a compost bin(November 2016)
- Have a vegetable garden
Try Dream Dinners(Summer 2015)
- Try 2 new recipes per month for a year
- Complete a 100 Day Challenge ~ Do something every day for 100 days, exercising at least 20 minutes per day
Family (My Husband)
- Have a monthly date with M ~ We tried Twelve Dates of Christmas and didn’t complete it in 2015. We tried 16 in 2016 and failed yet again. I’m giving 2017 another shot for monthly date nights, so we’ll see how this goes. At least I can look back on the ideas from prior year plans that never actually happened…
Always hire out house cleaning(hired) ~ I put this under the relationship between M and I, because that’s the really the biggest beneficiary. 🙂
- Go for a run once a week with M for one month – This could go under Health & Wellness, but it’s really more about spending time with him.
- Play beach volleyball with M
- Participate in Dinner En Blanc
Family (My Boys, including M)
- Read 30 minutes to my boys each day ~ We currently read about 15 – 20 minutes per day, so we’re close. J isn’t quite old enough to sit and listen for 30 minutes, so that makes the goal a little challenging for now.
Teach my boys to love the library~ Done and done. Now I just have to continue to nurture their appreciation for books and reading.
- Encourage my boys to be curious and inquisitive
Teach my boys to cook~ They LOVE to bake and we’re working on cooking. I write a series on Kids in the Kitchen about recipes and ways we’ve used to help the boys develop skills in the kitchen, even at an early age.
- Family breakfast once per week ~ M doesn’t usually join us because he’s off to work. But the boys and I sit at the table together at least once a week and often more frequently. I think I’m going to wait to count this until M is included.
- Travel with M and the boys ~ This is another vague one about which I have hesitations. I want this to be something always on our list. We travel with the boys quite a bit to see family. Among other trips, I’ve shared about our adventures to Turks & Caicos, Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Michigan, and air travel in general.
- Volunteer with the boys once per month
Take T and J apple picking(October 2016) Have a Christmas tree(December 2014, 2015, 2016) ~ Some things seems so simple and routine once they’re done. And really, T had so much fun decorating the tree (almost entirely by himself).
- Complete a 5k as a family
Take T and J to a butterfly release at the Nature Museum in Lincoln Park(July 2016)
- Do something fun / something to look forward to every weekend (doing this now)
- Make soft pretzels from scratch
Make real s’mores around a campfire with T and J(July 2016) ~ Now that we have a fire pit in our yard, I’m pretty sure we’ll get to do this way more often. We also accomplished it during Summer 2016 in Madeline Island. Take T to a play(saw Flying Bach together)
- Take Mommy and Me yoga class with one of the boys
- Be productive and effective at work ~ I am trying to get better at this each day (but aren’t we all??)
- Become an expert in my field at my company ~ Getting there…
Write 2 blog posts per week, SEO optimized~ I originally set a goal of 3 per week, but that became too ambitious. Two works for my schedule and my plans, so that’s where we stick.
- Update 5 prior posts per week for SEO and general updating, fixing links, etc… ~ Oh the archives of my blog… I don’t update them often enough. Ideally, I’d like to clean them up, but this hasn’t risen to the top of my list yet. Maybe someday.
- Complete the 100 Rejection Letters project for my blog (in progress)
Attend a blog conference(July 2015) Have blog business cards(got ’em)
Incomplete But Off the List / I’ve Outgrown Them
- Host monthly girls night in ~ This is way too ambitious.
- Attend a Joffrey Ballet performance ~ We no longer live in Chicago and I don’t care so much.
- Wear all thrifted clothes for a month ~ I’m happy with my sustainable and socially responsible closet… It’s not all thrifted but I have far fewer clothes and like what I wear.
- Have all art / photo decor in our house taken by me ~ Meh.
- Make 2 photo books per year for my boys (I use Shutterfly) ~ I did this for 2015, but I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. I spend more energy on Instagram and have signed up for Chatbooks.
- Live somewhere with warm weather ~ The weather is Pennsylvania is just fine for now.
- Trip to French countryside with M ~ The French countryside isn’t that high on my priority list anymore.
So that’s the list. Add up the numbers and it’s not 100. I need to work my way back up to 100 after combining some and moving others to the list I’ve outgrown. I think part of the intent is to dig beyond the big obvious goals and start focusing on the smaller, more immediate and achievable dreams and desires, so getting to 100 matters.
I also have a few dreams that I wasn’t willing to share with the whole world wide Internet, so consider those another half dozen or so.
It’s also a little weird to post something like this on the blog. This is only a snapshot of a list that’s ever-changing, a living organism really. I’m sure I’ll be updating this in the future, but for now, here’s a view of the list as of today even though it’s always in motion.
What’s on your List of 100 Dreams? Or your list of plans, intentions or goals for the future?