2017 Goal Check In – CMO’s April Report Card

All right, now that it’s mid-May it’s time to check in on my progress against my annual goals. New to the site? You can find out more about my annual goal-setting process here in my annual report. Since it’s a new month, this is the point where many PF bloggers will either calculate or share their net worth. My net worth calculation is a quarterly process, so I don’t get to find out what it is until July.

As an aside- I used to calculate net worth monthly, but have found going to quarterly to help me with both obsession (I used to constantly think about what kind of change I’m going to see) and with market changes. I’ve been an investor through both the Great Recession and the tech crash of 2001, so market dips don’t scare me. I’ve been there-done that-got the t-shirt. In fact, I’ve had the dubious pleasure of being able to see my net worth go down by 20-30% in a few months back in 2009. I prefer to ignore the noise and “stay the course” as Mr. Larimore of Bogleheads fame would say. If you find yourself getting too caught up in market movements, I’d highly recommend giving this a try.

So without further ado, lets check in on my successes (and failures) of the month. And yes, there’s both!

2017 April Check In

My 2017 goal list

Family Goals

Oldest – On Track – My oldest son continued to attend Scout meetings, went on a campout to teach younger scouts how to cook, and continued his Merit Badge workshop to earn two Eagle required badges.  To become a Star scout, he needs to earn four Eagle required badges and serve for four months in a position of responsibility in his troop. He already meets all the other requirements.

He currently attends an arts middle school, and will be starting high school in the fall. After talking with him more about the lottery, he decided he didn’t want to do the half day school option. Instead, he wanted to go to the arts high school full time. So we took him out of the lottery for the half day program, and he’ll be going full time to the arts school starting in August. This makes me feel old.

IMG_0479 (1)
This is from a few years ago, but he’s still just as passionate about art as he was back then.

Middle – On Track – Shrek the Musical is done! He had two performances onstage in full costume/with a microphone/in front of a large audience, and one for his school. Even though it got crazy at the end – the last week before they show they had practice for 2-3 hours literally every day – he decided that he wants to do it again next year.  He also continues to practice the drums, with his final concert coming up in a few weeks. He doesn’t want to do an instrument next year, though.

To be honest, usually I find kids plays to be boring & pretty bad. Yes, they’re all cute, but it’s not like it’s a “real” performance. This was different – the kids were really amazing for 9 and 10 year olds.

Youngest – On Track – Can count to 10 pretty consistently now, and occasionally beyond. He’s starting to love books, carrying around his favorites and begging everyone to “read!”. Sentences and physical coordination continue to improve, and he can communicate very well. He started trying to say the alphabet, but like counting, misses giant chunks of the letters.  It was his birthday this past month, and I made him an awesome Elmo/Cookie Monster cake! It was inspired by one of the toys he has at Grandmas house.


Work Goals

Leadership Development Program – On Track – This will run through the end of the year. I interviewed the intern candidate and I have to say I have my doubts. When I called for the interview, she was all confused, thinking it had been cancelled. Her phone apparently was also dying and she asked to reschedule. Who asks to reschedule an interview? Since she’s a college student, and she’s going to be an intern at my company whether or not I take her, I decided to give her another shot. The next interview went pretty well, although I found out her long-term career goal is to become a teacher. That’s great, but we’re not teachers at my company…

I’ve been trying to work on my side project of  management of agile development, because my company is working to transition to a primarily agile development methodology, but there are some big issues in the way.  I’m still trying to narrow the scope, but I think I have some better ideas on where to focus.

Current Project – On Track –  I’m managing about $10 million worth of IT development work right now, which is about twice the size of my prior programs. I’ve been told by some of my peers that it’s running “like a well oiled machine”, and I continue to aspire to issue avoidance rather than constantly fighting fires. I already had to rescue this program once, when I first took it over – I don’t want to do it again.

Agile Transformation – On Track – We continue to have challenges with change management (it wasn’t done very well in my opinion), resistance, people wanting to do their own thing, and technology/environments that aren’t conducive to Agile. But we’re continuing to make incremental progress. I’m assuming some sort of radical reorganization is in the works, just given the talk around the company.

Blogging – On Track – OK, I said this last month, but holy wow, was this an amazing month. Last month I had my best month yet!

To date, I’ve over 6,000 visitors (over 15,000 views now!), with 1,653 Twitter followers, 179 Pinterest, 69 Instagram , 18 Facebook, and 98 direct blog followers on WordPress/e-mail – thanks to each and every one of you who’ve connected with me on social media and have followed the blog! I can’t express just how great it’s been to connect with all of you. In April the increase in my followers was 252- astounding, especially considering that I was on vacation for over a week and was pretty disconnected!

One note about the traffic – my blog is a total secret from everyone in my life except my husband. So none of this traffic comes from my personal Facebook page, or my LinkedIn profile, or any of my personal social media.

New blog series! I started a new Wednesday series on my blog featuring interviews with breadwinning, six figure, and/or millionaire moms. A big part of why I started my blog was that it was hard to find other moms like me – so I want to be part of helping other moms find people like themselves. This month featured the kickoff with Mama Fish Saves, an interview with Hannah Rounds, and of course Hatton1 (frequent visitor to both the White Coat Investor and Physician on FIRE). I have more amazing interviews lined up, so if you know anyone who would be a good interview candidate (or if that might be you!) drop me a line at liz@chiefmomofficer.org.

I’ve also met my goal of posting four times per week, still getting in the habit and getting practice writing. I was featured in quite a bit this month-thanks to everyone who is sharing my content and enjoying my articles!

Creative Goals

One New Recipe Per Month – Done for April! – I baked quite a bit, with the new recipes this month being Au Gratin Potatoes and homemade cannolis. The potatoes were for Easter this year. My grandmother always made them from a box, but I made them from scratch instead, and everyone loved them. Except for me – I don’t like cheese (except for the Italian cheeses).

I’ve eaten a lot of cannolis, but never made them, so this was an interesting project. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be! I made them for my 13 year old sons “culture share day” at school, since he loves cannoli and is 1/4 Italian. The only other really “cultural” option I could think of was pierogi (he’s also about 1/4 Polish), but he doesn’t actually like those – although I love them!

One new art project – Done for April!– Two different art projects were completed – one was making a photo book of our road trip, and the other was a few drawings in a new scetchbook I’ve started keeping in my purse. It lets me draw things anywhere I happen to be, if I need something to do and don’t want to whip out the phone.

Read Four New Books Per Month – Done for April! I kept up with the reading, featuring Smart Couples Finish Rich, Designing Your Life, The Art of Non-Conformity, and Better Off – Flipping The Switch on Technology.

Create a New Section of Garden/Re-Do One Room in the House – Starting on the garden!  April in Connecticut was still pretty cold and just started warming up. This month I cleaned out the garden from all the winter debris and planned out my new section. Now to buy plants! I’m waiting to see what I get for Mothers Day to see if I’ll need any more.


Determine FI Goal & Plan to Get There – Nothing this month. According to my current plan (assuming no emergencies hit that require adjustment) I will be mortgage free just before I turn 40.  While the mortgage payoff and college (details below) are my short-term and mid-term goals, my longer-term goal is FI. Maybe next month I’ll be able to get more concrete? Again…

Save 60% Toward Mortgage Payoff – DONE – on to stretch goal – My stretch goal here is 70%, and I’m still directing about 13% of my after-tax income to this goal. I want to have this mortgage gone before I’m 40, well before my oldest heads off to college in order to free up cash flow for school and give me more financial freedom and options. Want to learn more about why it’s important to me to pay off a 2.75% mortgage early? Check out my story here. Right now I’m sitting at slightly over 65% of payoff amount saved, woot woot! It was bonus/RSU season, and everything went to this goal. I won’t get this again until next year, so from here on out it’s only monthly savings, extra money, and three paycheck months to reach the stretch goal.

Save for College – 70% for oldest; 50% for middle, 20% for youngest – On Track Continued automatic college savings draft for all three boys this month, and continued setting aside some extra for the oldest since he’s off to high school in August (feeling old now).  As of last month, I was sitting at 58% funding for oldest; 42% for middle; and 11% for youngest. This was an aggressive goal, but if I hit my mortgage stretch goal I’ll redirect more funds here.


Spring Road Trip – Complete! – Check out more about our trip here.


Day Trip – Done for April! – In addition to the road trip, which was the big one for this month, we went Easter egg hunting at a local park


Camping – On Hold – Still on track for summer.


Continued Health Improvement/No Surgeries – Still On Track Knock on wood!

One Long Family Hike Per Month – Success! – Road trip, Easter, and bad weekends conspired to keep us indoors a lot, but we did manage to go on a (short) hike this month. The two year old even got into the fun, running his short little legs off, although he tired around halfway through. Then I got to carry him the rest of the way!

Walk At Lunch Three Times Per Week – A bit better  I managed to walk a few times at work this month, but I’m still looking to do better. I walked a lot on the road trip, of course, plus our one nice weekend. Improving even more for May!

How Are You Doing?

Interestingly, over 40% of you may have already given up on your resolutions or goals for the new year. If that’s you, don’t worry about it – recommit. People who make resolutions or goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them than people who don’t. If you want this to be you, you can’t give up just because you may have had a day, week, or even several weeks (or months!) where you went off track. Instead of giving up, use this time to reflect. Are you on progress to achieve what you set out to? Did you have some major fails? The past is in the past-the only thing you can change is your future. So go ahead and make it a great one!

What are your 2017 goals? Have you done a check-in to make sure you’re on the right track, and to either recommit or re-plan if you’re not?  Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to follow my blog (on the sidebar) for more great posts via e-mail, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram,  what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.


IT professional, MBA, working mother of three, avid reader, geek and personal finance nerd

18 thoughts on “2017 Goal Check In – CMO’s April Report Card

  • May 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Wow I love the graphic and how organized you are! Thanks for sharing your goals and progress. It’s very inspiring to see how you can fit all those tasks and success in the busy schedule of a mom of three. 🙂

    • May 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      I try! 😀 I’m not successful at everything every month, but doing this check in regularly keeps reminding me of the goals I set for this year. Otherwise I think I’d forget them!

  • May 15, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Great job on tracking/keeping up with your goals, CMO! I still don’t know how you are able to write 4 posts each week – that is incredible!! My main goal for my blog is to continue writing solid content that provides value. I’ve looked into some monetization efforts, but they are a time sync and time isn’t a luxury on my end right now with a baby and a basement that recently flooded!!

    • May 15, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      I’m with you on monetizing- right now I just want to keep writing and growing an audience. Maybe in the future I’ll think about monetizing but that’s a ways off. I read two interesting things this weekend in Tools of Titans-(1) blogging is what leads to other opportunities, it’s not the opportunity in and of itself (from Scott Adams) and (2) don’t build a product until the market demands it. I need to figure out what the market is demanding from me! 😀

  • May 15, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I know it’s disappointing to take someone on, train them and lose them, but I think that you could add massive value to this intern as a future teacher. Teachers over here tend to get so embedded in the education system, they have no idea what it’s like outside (I can say this, I was one). It’s really important that this young woman is exposed to mentors like you in fields other than teaching. Of course, she may well just be a ditz. I hope she works out!

    • May 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Unfortunately she ended up not being placed in my group after all-which could be a good or bad thing, I suppose. Oh well, someone else in my company will be able to train her!

  • May 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Our beginning of the year goals shifted dramatically in January so we’re playing the year almost entirely by ear as far as our money except for the usual: save as much as possible, invest, earn more, and spend only when necessary. I find that keeping true to those core requirements works well for us even when we can’t set concrete goals, like this year.

    I’m still making minor progress on the side income even though I’m not spending a great deal of focus on that, just tending to it as opportunities come up so that feels good! 🙂

    And we’re still managing to make a bit of time to do fun things together like doggy playdates on the weekend despite all the work we’re doing on the house hunt.

    • May 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun! I’m with you on the years without concrete goals-I’ve had quite a few of those myself. Life has a funny way of trashing your plans and going in unexpected directions. You can never go wrong with saving and investing, even if you don’t know what it’s for yet. Then it will be there when you figure out what you need it for later on!

  • May 16, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I think CMO must have more hours in a day than the rest of us! Pretty amazing to see all of your accomplishments so far. Between Mrs. Need2Save and me we can only seem to get out one post a week, much less four.

    We are doing well on our financial goals for the year. Quickly paying down our mortgage, maxing out our 401k accounts, and contributing a good bit of $$$ to our brokerage accounts. Not to mention my raise this year was higher than I was expecting.

    Some of my personal goals could be going better. My running/fitness goals are in good shape. Actually had my best half marathon last week! My goal of reading (books specifically, blogs don’t count) at least 30 minutes every night has been spotty. Another goal of meditating at least 10 minutes every morning has also been spotty. Room for improvement…

    • May 16, 2017 at 10:54 am

      We all have places we can improve-sounds like overall you’re doing very well this year. I only wish I had more hours in the day than everyone else! Honestly I just wake up very early (around 4 am) and I don’t watch TV except occasionally on one weekend day. Those two things free up lots of time for me to work on other goals.

  • May 16, 2017 at 10:48 am

    You are a super woman!! With kids and work it is hard enough to get through the day but your goals on top of it is crazy!! Good for you for keeping it all together. My goals are minimal and they have fallen by the wayside this month. Reading this has reneergized me!! Thanks, Liz 🙂

    • May 16, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Glad I could help reenergize you to reach those goals! As the old Japanese saying goes, “Nanakorobi yaoki.” Fall seven times, rise eight. Just keep on trying! 😀

  • May 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    sounds like you and your family are having a great year CMO! Congrats! Having goals is such a powerful thing.

    • May 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks! I like keeping track of them because otherwise I forget about them, especially the personal goals.

  • May 16, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    So many things to comment on here! You’re doing great on the blogging front and I’m enjoying the new Wednesday series. We heard you on Stacking Benjamins last week and you sounded like an old pro (in a good sense). You were also the most sane one (they do get a bit silly, also in a good sense). And those creative goals – I don’t know how you find the time for all of it!

    • May 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks! I was nervous on the podcast, hope that didn’t come through. They do get silly, which is part of the reason I like the show! It’s on my “favorites” page here on the site. It’s important to me to have some creative goals, because they’re the easiest for me to neglect/forget.

  • May 16, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Wow you are crushing all your goals!!!

    I have to admit that I would have booted the intern. I don’t have a long leash when it comes to first impressions. I figure you either get it or you don’t and I can’t imagine what my boss would say if they acted like that.

    I may also be jaded since I allowed something like this to go on and it didn’t end well. So I don’t want to get burned again.

    • May 16, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Yeah I did not take that as a good sign. They had already been selected to be an intern, and this was just determining if they’d be placed in my area. My first thought was that if you can’t make a good impression when you’re interviewing, what will you be like working day to day? Sounds like my concern is likely justified based on your experience


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