Can you believe it’s July? That 2017 is more than half over? Us neither. In some ways it feels like it’s flying by, and in others it is just creeping along at an interminable pace.
We each set some goals to start the year. And, no, they didn’t involve spray painting pineapples, why do you ask?
When we set these goals we shared them on the blog for some accountability, so we figure that we owe you guys a check-in on how we’re doing with only about 5 months to go. After all, we asked you to write us a “stern blog comment” if we weren’t making adequate progress, and so far no one has called us out on it.
Naomi’s Goal Progress
I set four goals for myself for the year:
- Better work-life balance (especially by making time to work on personal goals on weekdays).
- Make some house progress (the dining room, a bathroom makeover, and getting started on the next big renovation planning).
- Find a cause.
- Finish the novel.
I’d give myself a solid “B-” for where I am on these right now. Not totally on top of everything, but I’ve made important changes and good progress.
Take work-life balance, for example. I set out to do something productive for myself every weekday so that I wouldn’t get lost in work, and that definitely hasn’t happened. There are still plenty of days when I work really late and just flop on the couch. But, especially lately, I’ve found time on a lot of evenings to write (more on that below). I am better at leaving work when I start to drag in the evening, and I’m not constantly checking my phone for work email when I’m off. I’ve also done a better job of not working on weekends, although I still do about half the time. I overall feel like I’m getting more of my own stuff done and that I’m better at unplugging. However, I need to push this farther because I still feel really starved for time, and the thing that has lost out in that is finding a cause that I really want to get involved in beyond work. What works for you on this?
On the house, did I think I’d still be working on the dining room in July? No, I did not. But I am really proud of what I’ve gotten done and how it is looking now:
Having this as a goal pushed me to pull the trigger on some purchases, and I just have a couple more things to do to wrap this room up. What I’m not sure on is whether I want to do the bathroom next like I planned, or whether I want to do something in the living room or kitchen.
The novel has been a big time investment this year, and is my main excuse for the lack of speedy house progress. However, it is coming along! I obsessively track my word count in excel, and while it was spotty during the busy winter and spring, this last month and a half has been great:
What changed is that I had a “moment of truth” in May when I realized how little I had done so far this year. True, there was a lot of unseen work in there that took a lot of hours (like developing the outline, building/researching the world, understanding the characters, etc.) but the words just weren’t getting done. Since Sage and I maintain real deadlines for this blog (i.e., our post schedule) the novel was first on the chopping block when things got busy at work.
So I set myself a big goal to get 50,000 new words written over the summer months of June-August, which I knew would force me to change my habits. For example, I now am writing 500 words after work at least 2 times per week. So far since setting this goal I am about 2000 words ahead of schedule, and you can clearly see the “inflection point” in the graph!
I’ve also developed a great writing group that meets monthly for feedback and encouragement. It’s a big time investment to read and comment on all of their pieces, but it pays off tenfold in guidance and motivation.
Sage’s Goal Progress
As you may recall, I had a complicated relationship with goals in 2016. So in 2017, I decided to set my goals in a google doc where I could edit them. Here’s what I set out to do:
So how’s it going? I’d say I’m on track, though not knocking it out of the park.
My Values: This is a hard one, this is one where the need is endless and it never feels like I’m doing enough. I do feel like I took some valuable steps this spring including taking a 5-week anti-racism class and attending/organizing a number of events on topics I care about (like criminal justice reform in Massachusetts — check out this travesty if you want to remind yourself that Good White Liberals have a lot of flaws too). Still, it’s not enough. My skin color and economic privilege mean I get to pick and choose when I engage and when I don’t, and I’m trying to fight against that every day but often I let it get the better of me.
My family and friends: I feel relatively good about this. We’re embarking on The Summer of Weddings, with assorted baby showers/engagement parties/overnight relay races thrown in for good measure. The DIYer in me is panicking that there are only a few free weekends to work on the house, but I’m reminding myself that time with friends and family is so much more precious than how my house looks. Probably not the sentiment you want to hear from a DIY blogger, but that’s how I see it right now. My relationship with work is more complicated because I love my job and believe in the work I do…and I have always had workaholic tendencies. But I’m trying, I’m really trying.
My house: The basement is still scary, but the outside is coming along! I have a plan, and I’m working toward it, slowly but surely.
My mind: So far I’m at four books and very close to finishing a fifth (but am writing this blog post instead…), so I guess that’s solid progress for halfway through the year with an overall goal of ten! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of books and I do love to read, but this blog thing is a time consuming hobby so I don’t end up with a lot of free time to read. In case you’re curious what I’ve read, it’s been: The Handmaid’s Tale (aka Mike Pence’s dream for America), Under New Management (a business-y book), The Girl on the Train (entertaining vacation pulp), and The Likeness (a fantastic thriller/mystery). I’m almost done with In the Woods (by the same author as The Likeness, Tana French — she’s great), and then next on my list is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (about how government policy led to our deeply segregated cities and neighborhoods).
My health: I suck at drinking enough water, but I’m making strides — especially because running in the summer is 10x harder if I’m not decently hydrated. I didn’t manage to exercise every day in January but I’m running 4x per week and back into double digit long runs, so that feels good. I mean not actually physically good because I’m still injured (an MRI finally concluded that it’s a hamstring tear that refuses to heal, but the doctor says running is okay for it), but mentally good at least. What I really need to do now is get better about strength training, which I hate but is necessary to meet that goal of not getting injured again. And I did stop biting my nails (again).
Other exciting things in the first half of 2017 include finishing the kitchen reno finally, and I got a promotion at work. All in all, not half bad for halfway through the year.
Overall, we’re both pretty proud of what we’ve gotten done so far this year, but we definitely can’t just sit back and relax for the next 6 months!
How are you doing on the goals you set for yourself, either for 2017 or otherwise? Do you think we’re making enough progress or do we need a stern blog comment to get us motivated?