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Personal Yearly Updates

Goals for 2020

Happy February friends! True to form, I’m here writing about my 2020 goals a month into the year. But that’s okay! Don’t let small setbacks or mismanaged expectations derail you.

Twenty twenty. It’s been set up as a pivotal year for me, for the country, maybe (probably) for the world. I’m choosing not to let the anxiety of the moment change my perspective on what I want the next ten years to be about: taking chances in exchange for something new and something better.

I want to be something more than the little boy that grew up and lived his whole life in Florida. I owe this swamp a lot and I love many parts of it, but it feels impossible to reconcile how much of the world is out there to explore with how little time I have left, comparatively. How can I spend my whole life in one state? I want to experience seasons. I want close access to deep woods and cold mountains. I want to walk several miles a day most of the year, not just in the Florida winter.

My first steps on this journey started in 2017 with my weight loss goal. It fueled an interest to see more of Florida, to make sure I got out of it what I needed to before leaving. 2018 involved some surprise job opportunities for Rob and me, so we pumped the brakes on leaving to try to enjoy the ride. 2019 finally kicked us into action: we helped a friend buy a house, moved him in, moved in with him, and sold our house. We’ve spent most of the past four months working on improving said house (future post!) and now we’re ready to focus on what’s next.

Categories
Monthly Updates Personal

Life Update, March 2019

Hello everyone! It’s March and I’m still alive, and that’s good. I had such a productive January that last month looked like it might be barren and unproductive by comparison. Not so! I managed to make some good progress despite the lighter outlook.

Goals Completed

  • Exercise at the gym: I went to the student gym several times in February and even sometimes at work! Also got to play some ping-pong with Rob and Erik too.
  • Front door plants: Erik made us a really nice bench for the front door and we wanted to spruce it up, so we bought a couple of nice pots and plants for the front door area.
  • Trailer hitch: Got a hitch for my CR-V and tested it out by taking the bikes up to UCF. Works as expected, if not a little noisy; had to fish a bolt out of the sub-frame the installers “forgot” about.
  • Eye exam and new glasses: After taking a little tumble at work that scuffed up my glasses (and forehead), I popped over to LensCrafters for an eye exam and updated lenses and frames I’ve been putting off for far too long (since I lost my last pair in a lake in New Hampshire). Not a huge change in prescription and no eye problems, woo!
  • Aeron chair: After putting it off for a decade of working at a sit-down job (and coming home to sit the majority of nights), I finally took the time to try out some Steelcase and Herman Miller chairs. Thanks to a super helpful staff member, I specced out an Aeron chair and put some savings toward it. Thanks to Erik for buying an IKEA chair off of me to help fund it. No idea when I’ll get it but I’m excited!

Some other cool stuff:

  • I bought some rollerblades with my refund monies and rode them around the neighborhood!
  • Stuck a super-secret comment tag in my portfolio website
  • I got my first heavy full combo on a real DDR machine! AM-3P, but still!
  • Talked with some close friends about some mental health topics
  • Joined a Florida Springs website and shut down my old and languishing site
  • Finished listening to both Serial: Season 3 and The Dropout with Rob
  • Bought tickets to Medieval Times (and planning to go soon!)
  • Started tracking my overall mood per day in my notebook, for fun mostly
Categories
Monthly Updates

Life Update, Feb 2019

I like writing small updates around the turn of the month, but this time I want to deep dive into what goals I tracked for January to give a sense of how varied and granular it can be and still be super helpful (to me).

I track my goals in Trello with a very simple board layout: columns for To Do, Upcoming, Doing, and Done (cleared out once a month at our goals dinner). I keep the mobile app on my home screen, keep visible bookmarks to the board on every browser, and remind myself to check the board in my habit tracker daily.

I completed over 30 goal cards on the board this past month (which is crazy) and I’d like to share all of them to show how even the smallest goals can add up to a real feeling of self confidence and success.

Categories
Yearly Updates

2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals

Welcome to 2018! It’s hard to believe half of January is gone already. Today I’m enjoying the day alone (MLK Jr. Day off) and taking advantage of the focus and freedom before the barren wasteland of no-holiday-Spring kicks into gear. After some cleaning, gaming, organizing, and bike riding, I figured today would be a swell day to write about the status of my 2017 goals and some thoughts on what I’d like to accomplish in 2018.


2017 Goals in Review

Budget Update: Budgeting and general money-stuffs went pretty well in 2017. I started direct-depositing most of my non-essential earnings into savings (check) and ended up saving quite a bit more than I did the year prior (double-check). In general, auto-hiding that money even though it was only a quick transfer away helped me focus on the amount I was budgeting for spending. Saving is awesome, and I’d highly recommend prioritizing it more if you can manage it.

Vacations: Planning vacations for the year ahead was killer and it completely worked for us. Those plans gave us something to look forward to no matter the time of year, and they all turned out much, much better having been planned in advance. We were able to chart out more mid-trip destinations, score better deals on lodging, and budget time off much more effectively. Traveling constantly, even if the destinations were just a couple hours away, also really made the year feel jam-packed with adventure and fulfilling exploration. I thought the constant travel might feel overwhelming (we even tried to plan to only go out every other weekend) but it ended up being so motivating that I wanted to go out most weekends. It helped tremendously to have a checklist of destinations (more on that below). Some years will be less predictable than others, but planning in advance paid off more than I was expecting.

Categories
Monthly Updates Personal Travel

Life Update: April 2017

An exceedingly spooky end to a hike in the Blue Ridge. “Welcome to the family, son,” as Rob has said literally every time he’s seen it.

Blogging is hard, guys. Focus is on the decline these days, and boy is it frustrating. I started writing an article about various updates in early February and got pulled away to other things, so instead, here’s one for April!

I laid out a number of goals for myself in a blog post earlier this year. Here are some updates! Exciting! Exclamation!

Budget Update: Budgets have been updated! Rob and I worked on establishing an updated set of goals for our money for 2017, and as we’ve rolled into the year, I’ve put that into action. Roughly 30% of my take-home pay is going to bills and shared spending, while another 40% is going into savings (both shared and individual). That leaves me with about 30% to budget towards food, gas, health, travel, and general spending, and I’m pretty happy placing that tension on my day-to-day budget while direct-depositing the rest. The money’s still available if I need it; now I have to justify needing it, rather than blindly spending it. It’s worked pretty well so far this year, even with the frequent travel.

Vacations: Vacations have been planned (and many taken by this point)! Trips this year: all Florida state parks (many trips in the bag already!), Jekyll Island (was awesome), a Appalachian-flavored road trip (fantastic and fattening), a tour of the Florida Panhandle (just got back), an extended weekend through SW Florida (May), a classic High Springs swimming trip (Sept), the annual week in the Blue Ridge (Oct), a few days in the Keys (Nov), and (probably) Chicago to round the year out. There are a couple potential slots left to explore (early June and July 4th weekend), but I’m pretty happy with being able to have so much of the year plotted. I’ve found that having something to look forward to helps get me through my down periods, and it also helps me be content with not always doing so much in my free time in-between.

Work: Some mild success to report! I had lunch with my department’s director (over Jimmy Hula’s, of all things) to discuss my situation. He agreed that a hybrid role between project management and development would be a great fit for me for the next year or so. As of the end of March, both the leaders of our PMO and Development teams have been informed of my wishes and should be reaching out to me soon. I just scheduled a lunch with the Development head, so after this week I should have a better idea of where things are going. Here’s hoping!

Blogging: I tried the article-a-week approach (50 sessions of light writing a year didn’t sound like too much), but it ended up being really difficult to fit into my life. It’s been pretty disappointing; I underestimated how much focus is needed to really sit down, block out all the distractions, and write, especially when that time is usually after a full day’s work. Instead, I’ll be writing when inspiration, time, focus, or opportunity presents itself, while working on ways to improve my focus when needed. If anyone wants to read anything specific from me, please let me know!