One of the great things about blogging in January is there are so many year end / year beginning posts on the docket—while I have a backlog of posts I want to write, having these posts I write every year makes it really easy to plan content. One such post I’ve written for the past few years is about my goals for the year—you can read 2019 here, 2018 here, and 2017 here.
Of course, what’s unique about this year is that it’s the start of a new decade, too. At NYE dinner, my friends and I had a great time recapping the last ten years—and the start of the decade I didn’t even have a major, now I have two degrees!—and setting goals for the next ten. I’m really proud of all I accomplished in the last decade, and don’t think I could have dreamed up the life I have now in 2010 if I tried. I have so many great experiences, memories, travels, friendships, and learning opportunities over the last decade, and I am so excited to see what the next 10 years hold. I really have no idea where I’ll be at the end of the next decade!
While I write these posts at the top of the calendar year, I actually do most of my goal-setting for the year around my birthday, which is in November. There’s just something about turning a new age that makes me step back and reflect, more-so than the change of the calendar year. I have one journal that I always write my goals for the year down in, and then I cross them off as I achieve them. If I don’t achieve them, I roll them over to the next year, and the goals I decide are no longer worth working towards, I leave behind. Since my birthday and the new year are relatively close, my goals from November to January are pretty consistent, so today, I wanted to recap how I did on my 2019 goals and share my 2020 goals.
Let’s start with a recap of how I did on my 2019 goals:
+ Save $5,000 in my emergency savings fund: I’m happy to report I was able to save $5K and then some in my emergency savings fund, and I also increased the amount of money I am contributing to my 401(K). As I get closer to 30, saving for retirement has become even more of a priority. It’s really hard to forgo instant gratification for long-term stability, but the more my accounts grow, the more addicting it becomes to add to them. One thing I did throughout the year that really helped me save more was I would often transfer small amounts of money into my savings account to make my checking account a round number. So, for instance, if I have $112.63 in my checking account, I would transfer $12.63 to my savings to make my checking a round $100. It was a good way to hide money from myself and the small amounts add up.
+ Make grocery shopping work for me, and cook at home once or twice a week: Lol—I think I cooked less this year than in years past, but this isn’t something about me I necessarily want to change right now. I would love to cook more with my sister and cousin on weekends, but the cafeteria at my office is so cheap that buying groceries wouldn’t save me money, and after work, it’s just so much easier to pick up a salad. Here’s to hoping I win the lottery in 2020 so I can hire a personal chef.
+ Read 62 books this year: If you read my post on Wednesday, you know I hit my reading goal for the year and ended up reading 72 books! In 2020, I hope to match that number. You can follow along with what I am reading and my reading progress in real time over on Goodreads—feel free to friend me there. (As an aside—I’m not mentioning my reading goal below; moving forward, I am going to keep those separate in my on my nightstand posts!)
+ Only keep items I buy if I truly love them: this year, I think there were two items of clothing I bought and later regretted buying since I didn’t love them. I was so much more discerning and honest with myself about my purchases this year, and if an item of clothing didn’t make me feel good, didn’t fit right, or looked better on the model, I returned it. Since my apartment is fully decorated (you can see it here!), clothing is really the only physical purchase I make—I spend most of my money on experiences.
+ Travel to a new state: I am now at 32/50 states and crossed three news ones off my list this year—Minnesota, Mississippi, and Alabama. It’s been a goal of mine to hit all 50 states by the time I am 50, and considering I am 29 and at 32, I think it’s achievable.
Overall, achieving 4/5 of my goals isn’t bad—and I think because unlike in years past, I made my goals more specific than “save more” or “be healthier.” When I was thinking about my 2020, I tried to be as specific as possible when thinking through my goals. Of course, I have a few more personal goals I decided to leave off this list, but here’s what I want to work for in the new year:
01. Be more intentional about travel.
Last year, I went on so many amazing trips, but between work and personal travel it was a lot. I was gone 10 out of 14 weekends of the summer and felt like I planned so many weekend trips back-to-back-to-back, I didn’t enjoy each to the fullest and was just so burnt out on travel. My last trip of the year was a work trip to New York City, and while it was really fun once I was there, I remember having to will myself out of bed and to the train station to go.
Travel has always been a really energizing thing in my life, and I want it to continue to be—which is why in the new year, for personal travel, I really want to focus on going on a few longer trips, instead of traveling as often as I can. It’s really hard to disconnect from work and re-energize when I only take a day off here and there, and having these last two weeks off has been amazing because I’ve had the time to fully step away from work and really, truly relax. Travel is still a huge priority for me, I just want to approach it in a different way than I have before.
02. Find a better way to manage day-to-day stress.
Last year was the most stressful year I’ve had in a few years—and I think part of that was because I was new at my job and learning so, so much every day, which was great! But also stressful at times! And though I think I’m pretty good at disconnecting at the end of the work day and didn’t let stress impact my sleep (though I often let a good book, hah!), I’d love to get to a more balanced place this year. I’ve never been the best at surfing the waves as they come, and instead just hope for calm waters—but I don’t know if calm waters will ever be a reality. I love what I do and the people I work with, so I would love to develop coping skills that allow me to better surf the waves as they inevitably will come.
One thing that helps me with my stress levels so much is a regular workout routine—this year, I really prioritized Soul Cycle and taking long walks around my neighborhood. I would love to add Orangetheory or some other HIIT workout back into my routine 1x a week, and ever since I took a class the day after Christmas, have been thinking about signing up for a 4x month membership again. I’d love to get back to working out more days than I don’t—so hitting 4x days a week.
Another thing that really helps my stress levels is having more time at home—which is why in addition to being more intentional about travel, I want to be better at saying no to social plans or balancing them throughout the week. So many weeks last year, I had social plans three or four times a week after work, which is GREAT because I am blessed with so many people in my life, but it makes it harder to have down time, exercise, and eat right. So this year, I really, really am going to try to limit my social plans to two times a week—and that also leaves more room for spontaneity, which I’ve loved more and more every year!
03. Save at least $5,000 more in my emergency savings fund.
I will never be the type of person that tracks where every dollar I spend goes—it makes every purchase too stressful and isn’t the best strategy for me. However, saving and not living above my means is important to me, which is why I want to keep up the savings momentum I started this year. I’d love to keep adding to my emergency savings fund and increase the amount I’m saving in my 401(k).
It’s also on my list to meet with a financial planner in person—I used to do LearnVest and loved it, but once I learned the habits, I stopped paying for it. Now that I am a little bit older, I’d love to sit down with a professional and take stock of where I am on my financial goals.
04. Visit at least one new state and return to Maine.
I would love to visit a new-to-me state again this year—and my sisters and I are currently planning a trip to Las Vegas, which would mean I can cross Nevada off the list!
I would also love to get back to Maine this year. My family explored New England during summer 2005, and one of the places we went that we all fell in love with was Maine. (On that same 2005 trip, we fell in love with Newport, Rhode Island!) I haven’t been back since, and ever since Monica went to Portland earlier this year, I’ve been itching to return. I already have a few trips on the horizon for the beginning of summer, but think that Maine could be an amazing August escape. If you have any must-dos in Maine, please let me know—drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
These are my big goals for 2020—I can’t wait to see what the year holds. On NYE, my friend Chandler shared a poem that I wanted to end this post with:
“this year will not end like last year at all.
you have learned to be free.
you have learned to be strong.
you have held onto light when the night was too long.
you have braved many fears.
you have learned a new song.
through the deepest valley you have learned to carry on.
no, this year will not end like last year at all.”
Here’s to what’s unwritten! x