It’s a few weeks into the new year now, and I realized that I never did a full recap and report card for my 2017 goals. So today here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of what we achieved (and didn’t!) for 2017. Next week I’ll take an in-depth look into 2018 goals using a similar format.
So How Did We Do?
Oldest – Complete – He started the arts high school in early September and still loves it. In fact, he often tells me how he feels lucky that he won the magnet school lottery to go here. It’s a very hard, long day for him – you have to be very dedicated to the arts to do this. He gets on a bus at 6:20 AM to drive about 40 minutes away to go to school, and usually doesn’t get home until 5:30 at night. Eleven hour days for a high school freshman can be difficult. They spent from 7 AM – 1 PM every day on academics, and 1 PM to 4 PM on the arts. He majors in the visual arts, and he spends his time learning drawing, sculpting, painting, and ceramics.
To become a Star scout, he needed to earn six merit badges (including four Eagle required) and serve for four months in a position of responsibility in his troop in addition to other requirements. If you’re interested in learning more about the requirements you can find them here. He completed all requirements by the last week of December 2017, achieving this goal. He had his formal scoutmaster conference the first meeting of January and passed, formally achieving the rank. There will be a Court of Honor shortly to celebrate this in front of the troop. This means he has only to achieve Life scout rank before starting work on the big one – Eagle Scout.
Middle – Complete – He finished all the goals for the year – performed in Shrek the Musical, finished out the year with the band playing drums (and decided to continue in the next school year), stayed in Cub Scouts, and determined a middle school strategy. His number one middle school entry into the magnet lottery is the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, and his second choice is the same Arts school his brother went to. He loves math, science, and the arts, so he has a number of diverse interests. He will almost certainly get into the arts school because of preferential treatment of siblings, but we’re hoping he gets into the Aerospace academy.
Youngest – Complete – The little guy loves to sing the alphabet while walking up the stairs, and count everything that doesn’t move. He also knows all his colors and some of his shapes (although rectangles are confusing!). He’s going to turn three in April and is growing so fast – he talks up a storm now!
Recap – Overall the boys finished all the goals we had set for them for the year, which is great. I was really hoping my oldest would finish that Star rank this year as a high school freshman, so he can focus this upcoming year on Life scout. This will leave years until he turns 18 (the deadline for Eagle) so he doesn’t feel the need to rush through the process. Having been part of this troop for several years now we’ve seen more than one person rush through the process as they approach the 18 deadline. Over the course of this year I’ve seen him get much more serious about becoming an Eagle scout-he better understands its importance and he’s much more determined about pursuing this goal than he was.
Leadership Development Program – Complete – Finished this earlier in the year.
Current Project – Complete – Overall this went very well considering the scale and complexity of the project. Not perfect – there was a production issue in October that was the result of another group but impacted us – but very well. I’m on to a new initiative this year that promises to be really exciting.
Agile Transformation – Ongoing – This isn’t something I can say is complete, because it will continue to next year. However this past year went very well. I went to an Agile conference in August, talked with my team about the concepts I learned, and helped lead discussions in my broader department about issues/roadblocks/best practices. So all in all I would say I hit my goal for the year.
Blogging – Mixed– I had a rough summer when it comes to writing. I got off to a great start in June and July. August was OK but I got a bit sporadic, and September was terrible. Although I kept up with emails and social media, I didn’t put out much new content at all. But you know what? Instead of giving up, I just got back on track as soon as I could. And this site still saw increased traffic thanks to it now showing up on Page one of Google for multiple search terms. So although I didn’t hit my goal of posting four times per week, I did have some major successes – way above and beyond anything I thought possible.
I received a scholarship to FinCon. I passed the one year blogging milestone. I was even a finalist for the Family Finance category of the PLUTUS awards! I got to hear the Stacking Benjamins podcast talking all about how the folks on there love my site (thanks again guys! – start at the 34 minute mark to see what I mean). To be frank this level of success was totally unexpected, although greatly appreciated. It’s really very touching to hear just how much people like the content I’m putting out here, and it’s what keeps me going.
I reached way more than 10,000 people – finishing the year around 30k people reached (not page views, people). Currently I have 3160 Twitter followers, 275 Pinterest, 839 Instagram , 95 Facebook, and 322 direct blog followers on WordPress/e-mail.
For perspective, where was I at the start of 2017? At the end of January 2017 I had 1,000 Twitter followers, 84 Pinterest, 30 Instagram , and 5 Facebook. It’s amazing to look back and see just how much growth that has been – 2,160 Twitter, 191 Pinterest, 809 Instagram, 90 Facebook and several hundred direct followers. Around 3,500 increase in a year! Amazing to me, and thank you to each and every one of you. It’s the comments and emails I get that keep me going when things get rough.
One New Recipe Per Month – Complete? – I’ll be honest that I lost track of this in Q4 and didn’t really count the number of new recipes I did. I’m pretty sure I knocked this out of the park, though, as I’ve been trying new recipes left and right.
One new art project per month – Mixed– Some months I did this and some I didn’t. This is one of those goals that’s really easy for me to forget about in the bustle of the usual work-blog-family dynamic.
Read Four New Books Per Month – Mixed – Some months I knocked this out of the park, and other months not so much. I would like to get back to this in 2018 but so far this month haven’t had a chance to read any books.
Create a New Section of Garden/Re-Do One Room in the House – Garden is finished, re-doing a room is not. Instead of the fun of re-doing a room, we’ve had to invest our home improvement funds elsewhere. We got a new washing machine when our old one broke. We had an old hot tub (which was broken long ago) removed from our deck. So we didn’t redo a room in the house last year. Need to get on this in 2018!
Determine FI Goal & Plan to Get There – Mixed – 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 Financial Independence. Once my mortgage is paid off all that money is going straight to college savings. I plan to have my oldest sons college fully funded by the time he goes off as a freshman. My middle son I would like to have completed by the time he hits high school in 2021. And for the little guy, he’s so small that if I can get a good foundation in place by the time he enters elementary school compound growth will take care of the rest.
Why don’t I have a specific dollar amount that I’m targeting? Because I feel that it’s so far out that I can’t calculate the specifics. Health insurance/health care is a huge unknown at this point. Inflation is also a big unknown. I prefer to make a more concrete plan with an FI “number” once I get beyond my short term goals for the mortgage and college. So I’ll give myself a mixed here, since I think I’ll be able to define this better once I’ve made more progress toward the mortgage/college goals.
Save 60% Toward Mortgage Payoff – Complete – To pay off my mortgage by 2020 I will need about $160k. I’m about 65% of the way there now.
Save for College – 70% for oldest; 50% for middle, 20% for youngest – Complete for oldest & middle, not for youngest – I continued automatic college savings draft for all three boys throughout the year and made large deposits in December. I’m sitting right at 70% for my oldest (includes a scholarship he won from our state 529 plan), over 50% for my middle and 14% for the little guy.
Spring Road Trip – Complete in April! – Check out more about our trip here.
Day Trip – Mixed. We did good on this most of the year but missed a few months. In October we went on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts, but in November/December we just went to a few library events. Since going back to school in September, especially now with a high school student, things have gotten busy – but we still overall did well on this one!
Camping – Complete – See this post for more.
Continued Health Improvement/No Surgeries – Complete – We finished the year with no surgeries, and no major health crisis. We did incur a large bill in December for a CAT scan for my husband but fortunately the result was positive. It’s great to have a year without significant health issues!
One Long Family Hike Per Month – Fail! We went on a few hikes but not every month. Hiking is still on my sons merit badge list, so we’re going to need to start this one soon!
Walk At Lunch Three Times Per Week – Mixed – Throughout the year I did great on this at times and miserable others. My last project was very demanding in terms of near-constant meetings from 9-5 (and beyond), including through lunch. This year I’m hoping the meeting demand is less so I can continue working on this.
Overall Report Card
Overall I’d give us a solid B or B plus. I have a lot of “complete”, a few “mixed” and only a couple total fails. Given that most people give up on their new year goals by February I’d say this was solid performance. Setting goals this way and tracking progress throughout the year helped me to keep them top-of-mind when life would otherwise normally get in the way. And even though I didn’t achieve everything, I certainly feel that it was a good year and I’m looking forward to 2018.
What were your 2017 goals – and did you achieve them? Let me know in the comments!
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