Looking Back at this years goals it was easy to see that I was decidely less accomplished in achieving the things I had set fourth for myself than last year. In spite of decreasing my list of goals by 50 percent or so.
Some of the things I hoped to achieve were well-intended but did not come to fruition because of obstacles that made them more difficult, while others were simply a case of lack of effort, which is something I must own.
1. Lose 50 Pounds
My first goal to lose 50 pounds was a carry-over from the previous year and I got off to a good start having lost about 10 pounds by the end of January of 2013. I ate a lot better this year than I have in the past few years. I ate healthier and I ate less, but I failed to exercise more which really put a crimp in my ultimate goal. I ended up about 15 pounds lighter for the year, so I did lose weight, but not nearly so much as I had hoped to. I think this goal is still attainable in 2014, but I know that it will require more of a concerted effort on both fronts: by continuing to improve portion size and healthy eating, while incorporating an exercise routine, something I have failed to do. I have always been athletic and played lots of sports, but in the past 3 years as many of my friends moved far away to other states I became a lot less active. I also used to walk and run on my own a lot more. That is something I do not need a partner for, and I could make significant progress if I simply did that. I like to mix up work outs though, so I will have to go outside of my comfort zone a bit and try to find someone to play sports with. I don't think I could play football any longer, but tennis or joining a soft ball league would help to mix up the routine a bit.
2. Explore the Job Market/Apply for Jobs
I have been somewhat disillusioned with my job for a while and this was a goal I had really wanted to achieve in 2013. I did send out a few resumes early in the year and again in late summer/early fall, but I did not give the really conceted effort needed to find a new job. Ultimately I sent out a handful of resumes and getting a new job requires beating the pavement on a regular basis, following up with resumes sent and making yourself noticed/setting yourself apart. I failed to do that. A big reason is the comfort I have of KNOWING my job well. We have changes and new things to learn each and every year, but I have a strong knowledge base in my current job having done it for 11 years now. I do fear having to learn something new and often doubt my ability to do so or to rise to the occasion and accept the challenge of learning something new. That's my biggest obstacle. I often use plans outside of work as an excuse for not searching for a new job --- worring that I will make a commitment to see family or friends and then not be able to keep it for having to acrue the off time at a new job. Having been in the same place for 11 years has allowed me additional off time and benefits that might not be there for me in a new job. But I won't really know until I put myself out there a bit more.
3. Bake a Green Bean Casserole
I had the real intention of baking a Green Bean Casserole this year but I did not. I offered to bake the Green Bean Casserole at my family's Thanksgiving this year, but I had to work on Thanksgiving Day and then travel an hour and a half to my family's home after an 8 hour workday, which didn't make baking a casserole at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day very practical, so my mum said she would bake one and I should not worry about it. With my closest friends having moved to Texas in early Summer this year, I didn't really have anyone I'd invite over and cook for and didn't see the point in making the casserole for myself. I truthfully could just cut down the portions on the recipe and bake one for myself, so that excuse wasn't a very good one, and ultimately I have to chalk not achieving this goal up to laziness/lack of effort.
4. Buy a New Suit
Every year I tell myself I'm going to put some money aside and buy myself a new suit and don't. This year was the same. I have two issues when it comes to buying a new suit. While I want one, I have a suit, so there is no real urgency. The other issue is that I want to lose weight and always convince myself that I should hold off on buying the new suit until I lose weight, so as not to have to get the suit tailored just a few months after I buy it. While in theory, that's a good idea, in practice it has not turned out that well because I have failed to lose enough weight in the past 5-6 years to require any tailoring to a suit I might have purchased. There's always an excuse if you want to look for one and I'm one of those people who are good at looking for them. The fact is here, I should just buy a darn suit and worry about the potential tailoring issue afterwards. A reliable and reputable store will tailor a suit you buy from them.
5. Become more Involved with Charities
This is a goal that I think is important and while I would not say that I was any more involved in charitable work this year than I was last year, I did still partake in charitable walks and fund raising to the degree where it was commensurate with last years charitable activities. I have a good deal of free time with no family to take care of and I do not live close to family or friends as far as seeing them on an every day or even every week basis. Therefore I often think I should do more with charitable work. I did try to organize a charitable joint effort to partake in a Habitat for Humanity house construction, but was not able to rally enough support or interest. On my own I did still walk in three charity walks and donate money to several charities, including a weekly deduction from my paycheck to the United Way. Could I have done more this year? Yes. So in that respect I failed to meet this goal as well.
6. Join a Group
Joining a Group was a very broadly-stated goal. I did in fact join some online groups that I had not been part of in the past, especially when it came to fantasy sports, but that didn't really meet the spirit of the goal as I had stated it when the year began. My true intent when I made this goals last January was to join something like a reading club or a softball team or a choir. I did attend a new churc periodically, but once again I don't feel that truely fits the spirit of the original goal.
7. Travel to New Places
Okay, so I met at least ONE of my goals for 2013. I had a lot of fun on both of my trips to Rhode Island and to West Virginia, two U.S. States I had never been to before this year. While traveling to new places requires me to either drive long distances or buy a plane ticket I was able to work up enough inspiration and look past the excuses to achieve this goal. It was definitely worth it too as I enjoyed the scenary and the experiences of visiting the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticutt near Rhode Island and Ogelbay Park in West Virginia. I have a habit of making small concerns into big concerns and I should really use the joy and success of this accomplishment as cause for stepping outside of my "comfort zone" and achieving some of the other goals I set rather than letting fears or doubts result in non-action.
8. Join Facebook
This was one goal that was a bit outside of my control that I did not accomplish this year. Late in Spring my computer kind of broke as I lost the operating system on my computer and while I would have been able to sign up for facebook I would not have been able to upload any files or pictures to facebook, thus making it kind of pointless. Money is tight, as always seems to be the case, so I hope to buy myself either a new computer or an ipad when I save up enough money to do so this year and then hopefully I will be able to create a facebook page. I don't honestly see myself using it a ton, but it would definitely be a great way to help me stay in touch better with my friends in Texas, the Washington D.C. Area, California, Arizona and all across the United States, as well as my family in Virginia and Pennyslvania.
9. Go Skiing or Skating
I definitely didn't even think about this goal all year until I went to make this post and rechecked my 2013 goals. If I had even done it it would have been by accident. I still think Skiing or Ice Skating would be really cool and fun. The Skiing requires a lot more money than Skating would, so Skating would have been and continues to be the much more likely sport I'd get involved with. There is one day left in 2013 and tommorow is supposed to be about 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12.2 Centigrade. Of course my work place parking lot is currently so iced up that it's like a skaing rink, and wearing skates might get me from the parking lot to the door a bit more safely and quickly than my sneakers.
In reflecting back on 2013 I realize that goals do in fact take work and they take making a small risk or giving a small effort to accomplish. It's easy to set a goal and then get lost in excuse making. I hope that when I set my goals in 2014 I can bring more focus. I believe one of the keys to success is starting early. In 2012 when I did achieve a lot more of the things I set forth for myself it was because I took the reins early and did not put things off until later in the year. This year with fewer goals I think I felt that I could kind of put them off and still accomplish them. While that may have been the case, by putting them off in the beginning of the year, as the year progressed, things came up and distracted me or took my focus, making achieving my goals all that much more difficult. Slow and steady may win the race, but only when you cross the starting line and move forward. I admittedly sat on my hands far too much this year and let the year and my goals pass me by.