Thinking about trying to do a year in review is giving me a headache so let’s just start by putting that out there. Since I was wondering how many goals I checked off my list I dug out my yearly planner that I haven’t looked at since around April or May.
How many goals did I check off of my list of 31? Just 12. While many of you probably aren’t surprised by this it actually did surprise me a little because I had thought I’d done way better on my checklist than I actually had. Why do I feel like my year was more successful than my checklist said it was?
First off I was concerned when I started a blog I would struggle to write regularly. I have never been able to keep a journal in my life! I was just winging this website because it seemed like something I’d love to do and I was praying that I would enjoy it enough to stick with it.
To my amazement I absolutely love writing for my blog and I have a harder time skipping days than I do struggling to find inspiration. This was a wonderful surprise and was comforting that I had found at least one thing on my career path I knew I’d want to stick with. So what comes next? Well I still have a good many of last year’s goals to complete!
This book by Michael Hyatt is next on my list because I do want to learn as much as I can about accomplishing a lot of goals. I’d love to get as many things crossed off my to-do list as I can!
Let me be clear, I am happy with the things I did accomplish last year and I’m not beating myself up about unfinished tasks. I’m rolling most of those goals onto this years list, the goals that still apply anyway. Then I’m giving myself a free pass for not checking off all the things in 2020 because that year was just madness and we were all just trying to adjust!
For one thing I was not going to take a vacation with corona going on. For two I lost hours at work this year with everything going on and I didn’t save much or pay off a lot of debt. For three there wasn’t a lot of financial planning needed since I was living at home again, helping my mom, and making less money than I had in a long time. I had planned to pay my credit card bill down and I did, after that there wasn’t much money left to do anything.
If I had looked at this list a few months ago I would have tossed it out the window anyway (figuratively as I still want to do many of the things on the list). This is probably why I wasn’t even looking at the planner!
When the stuff starting hitting the fan I simplified my priorities and brought what I really wanted into major focus. I wanted to grow my blog and write as many regular blog posts as I could. I wanted to start getting more regular traffic to my website, and that took me on a small detour as I learned some new skills to make that happen.
I also wanted to become an Amazon Affiliate, which I did so I am checking it off the list, but I am still in the trial period and praying they approve me. I didn’t realize when I applied to the Amazon Affiliate program that my mom was going to get so sick at that same moment.
While I did not get to give this opportunity the time I had planned, I didn’t give up and still did as much as I could. While I am pretty happy with myself for not giving up this means something so much bigger to me.
My plan worked! I had wanted a job that I could do in sickness and in health. Something that could carry me through injuries, sick family members, mental health disasters and my blog did just that. I was able to continue writing, in my own home while caring for family, and grow my blog despite the disasters of 2020.
I was still able to write in spite of all the crazy stuff thrown at me. It felt like my chest was being crushed when I was losing my mom but I was still able to write. I wrote around my regular work schedule, when there was work to be had. I told stories on my blog in the hours where we weren’t moving my brother’s stuff back into the house or into a storage unit.
I wrote before and after searching through a billion papers and organizing them in order to settle old accounts or move other things forward. I wrote around (and about) taking my kids out to play so their mental and physical health didn’t suffer from the trauma of transitioning to a new way of life, and then on top of that, losing a loved one.
I held this blog down through all of that *insert bad word*! I had support from Billy to keep working on the blog. My oldest daughter thinks it’s the coolest job in the world so I get a lot of enthusiasm from her too, but the words and the thoughts are mine. I did that part myself and I accomplished that with my world crashing down around me.
I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, I’m saying that when this blog produces enough to pay my bills, I will officially have my dream job. I’m not sad it’s in the start-up phase. Everyone has to start somewhere and I enjoy the journey. In fact when no one was reading my blog in the beginning, it was a relief and gave me time to feel out what I felt comfortable writing about.
Anyhow finding my voice this year has been hugely rewarding. I know that pain forces growth and I did a lot of soul searching and trimming the fat to get stuff done this year. I am so thankful that I had this space to explore, have fun, and dream big dreams.
Goal Setting for 2021
They say if you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them. I really enjoyed having a list of goals that I could refer to. Even though I didn’t use the calendar all the months this year I still think it was worth the money I spent to have a paper planner.
Months where my digital calendar wasn’t enough I was able to map things out in my paper planner. I prefer the 8.5 x 11 inch ones because I like to be able to slide loose papers into my planner without folding them. I will be purchasing a 2021 Blue Sky Planner because it has a spot for yearly goals in the very front.
Becoming an Amazon Affiliate was number 2 on my goal list from last year and I held it as a work priority through all of 2020. My family and mental health are always a high priority and I rarely need a reminder of the importance of family and everyone’s mental health.
When you have your own business, on top of a day job, there are a lot of competing things on your to do list that you could focus on. I know that writing down becoming an Amazon Affiliate near the top of my list helped me keep this goal in focus and helped me to create a website that would more quickly support this goal.
I won’t bore you with the details of all of my 2021 goals but I will share some of them. I want to grow my website and business obviously. I can re-apply if they choose not to support me this year but I’m still praying Amazon Affiliate approves me! It will make my goal of monetizing my blog so much faster and a ton more fun!
Who else did a terrible job hitting personal health goals this year? I made more easy meals than healthy ones. I didn’t exercise very regularly aside from carrying my toddler and laundry up and down stairs. I also drank too many caffeinated sugary beverages and ate too much chocolate.
The one thing I feel I did right though was to negotiate working from home this year. It lessened the family’s risk of catching corona, it saved me a bunch of gas money, I get to be with my family more than ever, and aside from the past 2 crazy months, my sleep has been better than it has in years! I’m giving the better sleep a lot of the credit for me not gaining 15 lbs this year.
That and taking my children outside to play regularly. I sat for 10 hours a day, 4 days a week at my day job before I started working from home. I am so happy to be able to work my own hours and to break up my day in a way that works best for me and my family.
There is still a ton of space for me to improve in the health sphere and I will continue to try and get into some better habits.
Starting with taking vitamins more regularly, yes I like kids vitamins because they are easier on my stomach. Plus then my whole family can take the same vitamins which makes storing them and handing them out easier. Plus I like these because they have natural vitamin E which is good for people with skin issues, they are gluten-free which means Billy can take them, and they have a probiotic so I don’t have to buy that separately.
I also want to drink more smoothies and eat more greens.
Drinking enough water is also something on my list of things to get better at. Yes I realize that that is a blender bottle and not a water bottle but these clean easier, go in the dishwasher, and can also be used as a blender bottle.
I love products that will double as something else and I don’t particularly mind when my water gets warm because it’s easier to drink fast. My plan for drinking more water is to get a few more of these bottles to make it easier to carry water with me. Plus then I might still have one of these bottles left after my kids steal my blender bottles to take water for themselves while we run errands.
Important Papers & Clutter
Also in 2021 I want to get all of our important documents drawn up. We need wills, power of attorneys, and good life insurance. I need to settle my mom’s estate and am already talking with lawyers. It seems silly and irresponsible that I haven’t drawn up these important documents sooner and my aim is to take care of that as soon as possible.
Also on my to-do list is to pay down more debt, get important papers more organized, and to de-clutter a million things. De-cluttering a million things sounds like an exaggeration but I’m not sure it is. Hoarding, and being ridiculously frugal and unable to throw things away, seems to be a family trait. Billy and I (and some grandparents) seem to have passed these same behaviors down to at least our oldest 2 children.
Billy and I have worked so hard the last 2 years tackling the excess of things we have accumulated and inherited over the years. It still seems like things come in to our home faster than they leave and there is a ton more to sort. I ought to start keeping a list as I get rid of things to see if it actually ends up being a million!
Get My Brother’s Affairs & Long-Term Living Situation Finalized
I am now my adult autistic brother’s guardian through my mother’s will but that doesn’t mean all of the various government agencies involved in his care recognize my guardianship. I need to process more paperwork and get that finalized to be able to continue to care for him as my mom did.
Also one of his goals was to live as independently as possible. He has been on a waiting list for an assisted living space for over 10 years. Seven years in and his name popped up as next on a waiting list. When we applied for that house they said he was too independent and passed on him without consulting his psychiatrist or general practitioner. It was devastating to us all but when someone has a goal they hold dear you just keep chugging along.
We found another assisted living opportunity in the next town over because there weren’t any good options in our county. He has been on that waiting list for over 2 years and one week after mom passed his name came up on that waiting list to apply for housing.
I had already given his 30 days notice to quit his lease at his apartment, 2 houses down the street, so he could move back in with us. I liked the idea of simplifying but the way it looks is we move him back in and he might be moving out just as quickly! We like these storage tubs for storing non-essentials during a quick transition.
Back to the housing application process, I didn’t have ANY access to his paperwork at that point let alone know where any of his assets were located. I wanted to just take one baby step at a time, heal, and worry about everything later but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity for him knowing how long we had all waited for this.
I felt like I was drowning in stress as I scrambled to get all his paperwork in order to submit it for housing. I felt like if I made any mistakes I was somehow throwing away all the hard work both my parents had put into my brother. It’s insane to put that kind of pressure on yourself for an application, it’s not like he was without a place to live.
Grief is weird though and I am of the mind that when opportunity knocks you grab that sucker with both hands and give it all you’ve got! I did, and I was so freaked out at the beginning. I had always had my mom to rely on (and joke with about all the red tape) and now it felt like I was doing it alone and carrying all the responsibility myself.
This is also insane! I am not alone at all and I have tons of support, thank goodness! As I accomplished one task after another I got more and more comfortable with the transition to being his guardian. I still have no idea what the future holds but we will do it together. I got that application in and I am praying this is an opportunity that will help him to achieve some of his goals too!
Do you know what it is that carries me through all of the emergencies, anxiety, the unknown and helps me to focus my energy? It’s having a vision. I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted from life for a very long time and it showed in how I chose to live my life. Somewhere in the last 2 years Billy and I came together on our dreams for the future. We really got clear about what was important to us and what kind of future we wanted to make.
We had loved traveling early in our relationship and had moved around the US a few times for the experience of living in a new place. We lived in California first, didn’t love it, and then moved to Montana and it became our home away from home. We loved driving across the country and seeing all the new places in different states.
We missed family though and when my dad’s health took a turn for the worst we moved home to be with our families. Like I said, family has always been a top priority.
After dad passed it was clear that my mom wanted us close but she wanted to be near her brother’s and sisters too. She wasn’t moving anywhere else and so neither were we. We are so lucky to have such great and loving relationships with so many family members out here but they don’t need our help regularly like mom did.
Getting old is hell and mom’s health was never what I’d call great. Anything and everything mom could give to us she freely did because she was a kind and generous person. We loved helping her and planned to do so for a lot more years but this past year was sadly her last.
I am not in any hurry to move on as she was my very best friend and so much more, but we recognize we are moving into a new phase in our life. We are now making plans and trying to create the life that we have dreamed about. Our life here is a blessing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything but we miss a lot of things from other places too!
We wracked our brains for a long time trying to figure out how we could afford to travel often to the people and places we missed. Plane tickets become outrageously expensive when buying for a family of 5 and sometimes 6 when my brother wants to come along.
Billy and my youngest daughter have food allergies and it’s not easy to eat in restaurants. My kids are also very attached to their possessions and creature comforts and probably wouldn’t travel well without at least 2 – 3 duffle bags of stuff each!
We considered moving but we have to travel back often because we miss family like crazy. We considered buying a cabin but visiting the same place all the time didn’t feel like our dream either. We love Airbnb but hate the stress of packing, unpacking, packing, checking to make sure we didn’t leave anything 8000 times, and riding in a cramped car.
There is the added fact that we have to pack a travel kitchen because of food allergies. Even when kitchen items are available at B & B’s they usually still contain trace amounts of food allergens. Getting sick stinks so we do everything we can to avoid using other peoples dishes.
When we listed all of our issues we wondered whether traveling just wasn’t in the cards for us anymore, but this felt wrong too. We love traveling and we have a need to get back to Montana and we just never seem to accomplish it more than once every 10 years or so.
So we decided we need an RV! You knew that was coming didn’t you? It solved the problems of the kids needing more stuff than travels well in a suitcase, we could “carry” our food safe kitchen, and an RV is essentially a moving cabin so we could travel where we wanted and visit friends and family all over the country.
The best part is that we could still rent an Airbnb if we want more space (for family and friends to visit!). The other best part is we wouldn’t have to unload and load back up the car at every location.
School can be done online now and I am working on making my website my main income and/or finding a job working remotely. This is probably at least a 3 year plan as there is a lot to be done (see de-cluttering, paperwork, and growing a business) but our family really wants this and will do the hard things to make it happen.
I’m sure we will get de-railed by unexpected events several times along the way as that’s how life happens but that is the point of having a vision. It’s a lot easier to get back on track if you know what you are working towards.
This is a fun goal too as we love traveling and exploring new places as a family. I feel like the excitement to travel again will help motivate the whole family to learn how to be better at things we are naturally so bad at, like getting rid of an abundance of possessions!
I have one year into the goal of RV living already as creating my website was a puzzle piece I needed to start working toward this dream. Now I just keep solving one problem at a time until we take off in our traveling home away from home.
Not sure how I am going to handle being in a small space with my 3 kids all the time but like I said I’m only solving one problem at a time, and worrying about that seems like jumping the gun a little lol. Especially if this takes years because teens supposedly talk a lot less than grade schoolers! Anyway if you see a cool RV for sale let me know!
So for now we are just trying to build our businesses and get our life more organized. Yes I said businesses as Billy is working on building some exciting things too, look out for that blog post!
So while we will continue to stay in during covid we will keep working towards our goals and hoping and praying we can figure it out. As I said they are some big goals but I’ve written them down so now I am just waiting for the magic to happen, cause that’s how it works, right?!
No..we will be putting in some major work because we have a hot mess of things to fix, organize, finish, get rid of, and take care of! I like the idea of getting a reward after the work though, and I’ll try to remind myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel when I am wailing on the floor because everything is so overwhelming!
Along with all of that I plan to write more, film more videos, do more arts and crafts, get outside a ton, and enjoy as many moments with family as I possibly can. These days I am spending as much time as I can with my family that lives close by. We got a new niece and nephew this year and I’m getting as many baby snuggles as possible!
The kids just don’t stay young long and soon enough they are all trying to be grown and do everything without mom. I am definitely enjoying the journey with all the kiddos though. Being a mom helped me to be a better person and I will forever be grateful to them for that. I try to remind myself of the blessings that they are, when they are driving me and each other crazy!
This year we have been together more than ever and while some of it has been hard it has been such a gift too. We have learned to rely on each other and while we still have our hard times deep down we know that we will always take care of each other.
I hope that you all have had some wonderful moments this year. I know that so much of 2020 was really hard but I hope that you have gotten little blessings along the way too. I hope your 2021 year is wonderful, that you get a lot on your list done, and gain some clarity on where you want to head next.
Feel free to write your big dreams in the comments because if you write it down it’s more likely to happen! If you don’t want to share publicly that’s ok too, just write it down and maybe the world will work some magic for you too (or more likely writing it down will cause you to work some magic of your own).
Thanks so much for reading with me today. I really do hope your 2021 year is amazing!
Best wishes, healing, and good health to you and yours!