Each year I complete a personal annual review, but this year I’m adapting it into a format to accompany my monthly reviews and sharing it with you.
I’d like 2018 to be a year of visible accomplishments. To me, that means finishing things: completing my novel revision, writing the remainder of this year’s NaNoWriMo project, and catching up on home improvement projects. In other aspects of my life, I’d like to have visible progress to point to, something I can show (or count) that I’ve accomplished some things I’d like to. The three words I’ve chosen to guide me this year are enough, practice, and finish.
My creative focus for this year was revising my work-in-progress novel, The Second Rebellion. I felt a little burnout and decided to inject a little play into my work by participating in Inktober and writing a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast during NaNoWriMo.
See my comprehensive creative annual review, covering both my writing and illustration.
We took one longer vacation, several weekend getaways, and multiple camping trips. Reading’s my main relaxing pasttime, and I also tried to incorporate play into my creative practice.
Play Highlights from 2017
- Vacations in Victoria, Vancouver, and Alberta (it was a Canada kind of year)
- Tried night photography and did some art on vacation in Jasper
- Spent 13 nights camping or backpacking, meeting my goal of 3 camping trips
- Read 111 books / 32,000+ pages (fewer books but more pages than 2016)
Ways to Play in 2018
I’ve realized recently that I might not enjoy traveling as much as the idea of traveling or having traveled, or that I might appreciate adventurous vacations more if I also take some relaxing vacations to balance them out. We’ve made our vacations more enjoyable by only partaking in tourist activities from morning until early afternoon, and heading back to the hotel to relax from afternoon until dinnertime. We also realized that ten days is just too long of a trip for us. We’re talking about holding off on vacationing in 2018, both to save some money and give ourselves a break — although I’m still tempted by the idea of a “sun vacation” in winter.
- Monthly “dates” with DH to try a new restaurant, visit somewhere new, or do a fun activity together (we started doing these in fall 2017)
- Plan 3+ camping trips
- Local mini-trips and activities with friends
Comfortable Sustainable Living
My focus on improving our house was enhancing the garden. Each year I chip away at it a little more. I’ve also been changing my habits and purchasing one area at a time.
Home and Lifestyle Highlights from 2017
- Added shrubs and trees to my garden, plus tons of bulbs in the fall
- Received my backyard wildlife sanctuary certification
- Installed crawl space insulation
- Successfully grew beets, lettuce and kale from seed (I’d never started vegetables from seed before!)
- Kept a garden journal to keep track of yard work, animal sightings, and bloom times
Ways to Live More Comfortably and Sustainably in 2018
- Hire a house cleaning service for bi-weekly cleanings
- Try out square-foot-planting method for growing vegetables from seed
- Plant flowers from seed in backyard and add more native plants to existing plantings
- Convert downstairs bedroom back into a den and add a mud room
- Finish ongoing home improvement projects
- Frame artwork that I already own
- Finish painting projects I already bought paint for
- Install home upgrades I already bought materials for
Taking Care of Myself
Taking care of myself in 2017 turned out to be a lot of “body maintenance,” trying to fix ongoing issues like my knee pain.
Self-Care Highlights from 2017
- DH and I rode the Emerald Bike Ride in May, a 20ish mile loop that let cyclists take over the freeways in the Seattle area for a couple hours
- I completed two and a half months of intensive physical therapy for my knee (which I’m not sure has fixed the problem, unfortunately)
- In winter 2017, I completed 6 weeks of an intensive exercise program (it was supposed to be 12 weeks though :P)
- Through winter 2017, I had weekly calls with a health coach to keep me accountable
Ways to Take Care of Myself in 2018
I combined a couple categories into “Taking Care of Myself” over the summer, but I think more than one category is warranted. I’m going to divide this back up into three categories: “Active Lifestyle,” “Wellness and Self-Care,” and “Healthy Eating.”
I realized this year that I’m motivated by “challenges” and accountability to others (I’m an obliger, according to Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies), so I’m going to use that knowledge to motivate myself to exercise more.
- Some organized exercise challenges to participate in:
- A 12-week team step challenge with my coworkers, starting in January, with the goal of 10k steps a day
- 30 Days of Biking in April
- Bike Month in May (I’m usually a team leader at my work)
- Some other personal challenges to try:
- A car-free week (my neighborhood has a walk score of 24, so this would be a biking week) in the summer
- A new bikeable bridge just opened across the lake to Seattle, so now it’s only ten miles from my house to the university district. I want to bike there at least once.
- I’d like to bike to my weekly writing group meetup once — I found a route but chickened out this year.
- Making regular movement part of my routine, especially if I can find others to go with so I can’t get out of it:
- Weekly “team walks” with my coworkers
- Regular walks with my neighbor
- Walk home from work one day a week with a coworker
- Bike commuting (if it doesn’t bother my knee), once the weather improves (April-ish)
- Bike to weekly meet-up
Wellness and Self-Care
Although I completed more than two months of physical therapy, I stopped doing my stretches in October when I got a lingering cold, and never went back.
- Knee stretches (calf, hamstring, and quad stretches) daily on workdays
- Attend weekly lunchtime yoga class at work
- Start doing one weekly weight lifting workout
- Meditate before bed on weekdays using Calm app
- Weekly meal planning sessions on Friday afternoons, followed by Friday evening shopping (or Saturday morning farmers market in summer)
- I plan to do weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoons (download the meal planning template (.pdf) I made for myself, if you like it)
Health and Wellness Outcome Goals for 2018
- Lower my resting heart rate
- Fit into my favorite dress again
- Reduce knee pain – be able to climb stairs without pain, and bike 10 miles without my knee aching afterwards
- Feel anxious less often, or for shorter durations
Strategic Spending and Saving
Strategic Spending and Saving Highlights from 2017
- Achieved Zero Net Worth in September
- Saved 33% of our take-home income (extra principal payments and investments)
Ways to Spend and Save Strategically in 2018
We took a few weekend getaways this year, and I realized that they’re pretty expensive (even without flying). I think we get more bang for our buck with fewer longer vacations. We can also save by camping rather than traveling to cities, which is healthier anyway.
- Save 40% of our take-home income
- Make maximum IRA contributions
- Increase extra principal payments
- Increase investment contributions
- Donate 1% of take-home income
- Reduce spending on food by eating out less often
- Weekly meal planning
- DH has expressed interest in making his own lunches
- Accommodate larger home improvement spending by reducing vacation spending