After complaining to my friend Natalie about how I was no where near on track to hit my 20 book reading goal, she sent me this snippet of wisdom from Bruce Lee:
A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.
2017 was a challenging year, and although I missed the mark on a lot of my goals, I made a ton more progress toward them than if I hadn’t set them or started working toward them at all. Impatience may be my greatest weakness, but I’m learning to accept that the slow, steady progress of putting one foot in front of the other day after day is actually the way shit gets done.
Michael and I went on an impromptu “tourist in our own city” tour of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park earlier this year and I was surprised to learn that when the park was first created in the 1870s, the land was nothing but rolling sand dunes. Starting with grasses and small plants, the park planners were able to stabilize the sand and create a layer of soil rich enough to grow larger plants, and still larger plants, and trees, and larger trees, until, over the course of nearly 150 years, they created what has become Golden Gate Park today, the home to towering Redwood trees, botanical gardens, lush fields, ponds, and groves.
As the Greek proverb goes, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they shall never sit in.” So while I like the idea of instant gratification… I’m trying to plant trees over here.
Goals I Crushed
Continue to devour and sift through parenting advice.
Easy. I’m obsessed with learning about this parenting journey. So obsessed, in fact, that I’m creating a brand devoted to it!
Travel somewhere ambitious. Europe, perhaps.
Weddings brought us to Hong Kong and the Netherlands this year, and we even snuck in a quick trip to Denmark. Considering we were toting our small human along with us, I’d say those journeys qualify as ambitious.
Rid my closet of old styles that no longer suit me and replace them with both timeless and of-the-moment pieces I love.
I finally did this, and I am so glad I did. Earlier this year I donated and sold 50 pounds of clothing from an already pretty lean closet, keeping only those things I am genuinely excited to wear. It’s taken and continues to take some time to flesh out my wardrobe with all the pieces I need for each season, but it feels good to have a system in place and a set of principles I feel good about when it comes to purchasing new items.
Continue to eat fresh, organic, healthy foods. Work hard to find farms and butchers that produce meat ethically. Buy from them as exclusively as possible. (Side note: Get a chest freezer!)
This one was pretty easy, since it’s already a habit we have. I discovered Good Eggs this year, which sources really amazing pasture-raised, organic, and grass fed meats. We recently got a chest freezer, so I’m excited to source meat in larger quantities from local butchers and farmers in 2018.
Climb at least one 5.12a by yearend! Climb 5.11c’s and V5’s consistently.
I didn’t climb it clean, but I did climb one 5.12a. Most 5.11c’s and 5.11d’s I try, I can do… and I can usually climb them clean within a few tries. I haven’t been bouldering much lately, so I’m not climbing V5’s with any consistency, but I can do about a third of the ones I try, so that’s something.
Remaster the seated straddle press to handstand.
I am so proud that I was able to get this skill back, which is something I was last able to do at the peak of my vaulting training in late 2012. Thanks to some health stuff and an ouchie shoulder this past fall, I have since lost this skill again, but at least now I know it’s possible to reclaim the damn thing with a little effort.
Works in Progress
Learn more about the basic principles of interior design and use them to create spaces we love in our new home.
I am finally getting better at understanding what I like, and I’m proud of that. Thanks to Pinterest and Instagram, I’ve been able to hone my style and pinpoint what it is I like about certain aesthetics. We didn’t invest in our interior decor in 2017, but while I haven’t yet put my aesthetics into action yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so in 2018.
Learn to do something moderately interesting with my hair.
I think what I meant by this is learn to do an updo of some sort. Instead, I chopped my hair into a lob, dyed in a shade darker, and learned how to dry and curl it in 10 minutes flat. I love this easy do, so… points.
Prioritize self-care. Spend at least 30 minutes on myself each day, doing yoga, getting acupuncture or a massage, going for a run, climbing, whatever… as long as it’s for me.
Did I always do this? No. Was I better about doing this. Definitely. While I definitely had a least a spot of “me time” every day, sometimes “me time” consisted of scrolling Instagram for 20 minutes after putting Ali to bed or reading an article I’d been saving in an open tab, or doing some sort of organization project I’d been wanting to do for a while. It counts, but kind of barely. I’d like to work toward more focused and dedicated self-care in 2018.
Read 20 books, roughly alternating between fiction and non-fiction. Chronicle those books on GoodReads.
Well, I read 8 books in 2017, but two of of them were really freaking long and all of them were really freaking good. I loved A Little Life and How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids (not at all as man-hatey as it sounds) most of all.
Learn how to use my fancy DSLR camera. Use it to take pictures of family and other things that inspire me.
I finally learned how to use my fancy DSLR camera! I took this course from A Beautiful Mess and it taught me everything I had hoped to learn. I can now use my camera in manual mode and actually take a decent photo! While I did take a few decent Ali photos, I didn’t break out the camera nearly as often as I wanted to, and will work toward cultivating a better photographic eye in 2018.
Create and manufacture an MVP by March. Set up website. Sell product. Gain a following. Sell more product.
Ha. Ha. Ha. First of all, what I thought was going to be my business is very much not what I’m creating now. Also, March of 2017 was a hilarious deadline. I’m now looking at March of 2018 for a preliminary, very very basic launch-ish thing. I’m proud of what I’m creating though, and I’m excited to share it with everyone soon!
Moderate Attempt Made
Use the Habit List app to track daily habits.
I started 2017 using Habit List religiously, but as those habits became… well… habits, the app started to feel less and less relevant. Then I stopped using it entirely. Unfortunately, some habits fell by the wayside partially because I was no longer reminded of them. I’d like to bring back Habit List in 2018.
Bring art back into my life, either by creating art myself or supporting artists I love. At least once a week, visit a museum, go to a concert or performance, take a dance class, make or create something.
I started 2017 strong, but then I got mired in the mundane details of life and kind of forgot about art for a while. Bringing more art into my life is a hugely important goal for me in 2018.
Cook at least one new recipe every week.
I tried a few new recipes this year and found a few new favorites like this carnitas recipe and this chili recipe and this pork chops recipe, but mostly I didn’t try very many new things and stuck to old standbys because it was simpler and this year called for simpler.
Throw weekly dinner parties.
We threw a decent amount of dinner parties in early 2017, but then life hit us pretty hard and we kind of just stopped. After reading a few articles about throwing easy/lazy/crappy dinner parties, I’ve since taken to heart that what’s important is that we see our friends, not that we have a spotlessly clean house and the perfect meal and the paired wine and a just-so table setting and all that shit that stresses me out.
Write at least one blog per week for Many Things Megan. Alternating between parenting-focused and something else-focused.
This did not happen, but I did keep the Ali month-by-month posts going until month 14, and I blogged about a few other things along the way. That said, they were pretty much all parenting-focused, and I’d like to change that for next year.
Even out and strengthen my left side.
I spent a decent amount of time stretching in 2017, but I still stretched both sides pretty much equally. My left side needs about 3x the attention if it’s going to catch up to my right.
Learn basic Photoshop. Or at the very least, Lightroom!
This goal has been on my list for three or four years, and I still haven’t made it happen. Photoshop feels ever so daunting, but I’m still ever so determined to make it happen in 2018.
Create weekly “sprint” goals and check in with those goals every Sunday. Reflect on the last day of every month on my progress toward these 2017 goals. Rewrite or add goals as necessary. Plan the work. Work the plan.
Weekly and monthly goal reporting is too much. Quarterly reporting seems to be more appropriate.
Take at least two cooking classes.
This is another goal that’s been on my list for a few years and just hasn’t happened. 30th birthday gift, anyone?
Share articles on other websites, like Scary Mommy, Pregnant Chicken, and other sites with a sense of humor. Get at least three articles published externally in 2017.
I did not do that this year, but I like this goal!
Climb outside at least once.
Nope. I have nothing but excuses for why this one didn’t happen, and none of those excuses are very good.
Learn crow to handstand.
I didn’t even really try this one or make many attempts.
Find a San Francisco organization worth joining and join it. Help make it better.
Still an important goal for me, and something I’d like to do in 2018.
And in case you’re interested, here are my goals for 2018.
Photo: Samantha Brancato