Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Goals

I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but I am big on goals. That is the name of my blog, after all :) I don't wait till the new year to make goals, though some do have time frames that involve the calendar year.

My current goals revolve around running, my health, projects, and finances. You can see last year's similar goals here.

My main goal is continuing with my 40 by 40 goal, which I'm a quarter of the way through. Secondary to that goal is running at least one race a month. This is really only a problem in January, when there's only one local race. I posted last year's running report here and plan to run even more races this year. I also want to be more consistent with my workouts so I can be better trained for my races.

My Health
This covers resolving food issues and losing weight. I need to figure out what foods truly agree with me right now (I think chocolate and potatoes are the current problem) and commit to eliminating them from my diet so I can feel better. The corresponding hope is that doing so will also enable me to finally start losing weight. This isn't a new year/new goal thing, it's more a "the baby's 6 months old now and I need to get my act together" thing.

I would like to stop eating chocolate cold turkey, but I don't see that actually working for me. I've used chocolate as a coping mechanism when I'm stressed or low in energy for way too long: going cold turkey would not be good for me or my family. In reality, my goal is to eliminate store-bought chocolate. I plan on making the occasional baked good with cocoa powder (like brownies), which should help me avoid the issues that would come with completely giving up chocolate. At the same time, I'm trying to come up with healthier ways of coping with stress and low energy levels.

Last year I completed a lot of projects (find my project report here). This year I don't plan to do as many, and definitely not as big as the patio and treehouse, but having projects to work on makes me happy. Having a creative outlet is an important part of my life. I have several projects I started last winter/spring that were put on the back burner so I could take advantage of the milder temperatures of spring to build the patio and treehouse. I plan on finishing those as well as finally using the project materials I've had sitting around for awhile (years in some cases) and actually completing the projects they were intended for.

We're finally getting back on track after Mr M's unemployment stint, but despite our best efforts to pare back our expenses while he was unemployed our debt load increased more than we wanted. Which means our focus this year is to keep our expenses low, bring in more money where we can, and pay down as much debt as possible.

One way we're decreasing expenses is finally transferring to a more local unit. No more out-of-state drills that cost us at least twice as much to attend as he actually gets paid. Though in our defense, we've been trying to make this happen ever since we moved here 6 years ago. Mr M's broken toe was the impetus for his unit to finally get moving on the necessary paperwork. Though that happened last spring, so it's not like they've been rushing it. We're just happy it's finally happening.

A challenge I'm struggling with is balancing my 40 by 40 goal with the need to keep our spending low. On my list of races to do are an out-of-state race and an international race. I'd love to do the Dublin Half Marathon in August, but there's no way we can afford that. I figure the cheapest international option is this half marathon near Halifax in September. I can hit a 5k on the way there or back, so that would knock out the out-of-state and international races, but gas, hotels, and food add up quickly. So we'll see what the budget is looking like in a few months and maybe an out-of-state and international race just won't be part of my 40 by 40 goal.

Limiting my spending on projects will also help the budget, which is why I'm focusing on finishing projects and using materials we have on hand as much as possible. The patio and treehouse were not cheap projects, but even smaller projects usually end up being more expensive than anticipated. Hopefully I can keep that to a minimum this year.

Word of the Year
I've had "balance" as a goal the last couple years, and I'm keeping it for this year. Last year I realized that I'm not good at multitasking the important things. I can multitask the little things, but watching a show while typing a blog post is just not the same as balancing the amount of time I spend on my projects with the amount of time I spend taking care of my family. I can be bit obsessive and have a hard time stopping when I need to. I keep thinking "just a little more" or "I'm almost done with this part," which usually results in me not getting dinner started on time or me staying up a lot later than I should.

So I'm really trying to balance everything as we figure out our new normal with Ocean as a part of our family. Having a third kiddo has really changed how we do things and it's taking some getting used to. Balancing family, homeschooling, church, Cub Scouts, running, projects, and starting a business is not an easy road to travel.

New Ventures
Yep, I'm starting a business this year. Shortly after Sunshine was born I had a business selling items on eBay. I never made much money, but it was a valuable learning experience. This time around I've come up with a product I'll make and sell on various sites. Right now I'm in the process of researching equipment, materials, suppliers, and so on while also working on a business and marketing plan.

Why would I start a business now when I'm already struggling to balance everything? Partly because I want to bring in money to help pay down our debts and this is something I'm excited about doing and can see myself enjoying for years to come. There's also a lot of creative potential that should help fill the need I have to always be making things, which should cut down the number of other projects I embark on. I looked into a couple other options for bringing in money, but I just couldn't see myself doing them long term, and I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about the marketing and the time I'd have to spend on social media. Interestingly, while I know I have to market my own product, that doesn't give me an anxiety attack. I think that's because I'm truly excited about and invested in my venture.

In the past I've wanted to have a business, but haven't known what to sell or do. About a year ago I had an idea that, after some research, I realized was doable. The only problem was that the main piece of equipment I need costs $5k used. We didn't have the money then (Mr M was still unemployed at that point), so I put the idea on the back burner. Recently I started thinking about it again as I looked into several money making ideas and really pondered what I could handle mentally (my introvertedness is not always an asset), what I was excited about, and what I can see myself doing long term. I prayed about it as well and had the thought that I should re-visit my idea. As I did so I found a much less expensive (under $1k) option for the equipment I need. It's not as high-tech, but it should do the job until I can invest in the more expensive piece of equipment. And just like that, my idea is moved to the front burner. It will still involve a chunk of change for all the materials and equipment and associated business costs, but I hope to have things up and running in time for the fall craft fairs and online sales for Christmas. Don't worry, I'll keep you updated :)

So with all that, balance will be key this year.

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