Monday, January 4, 2016

How Did I Do?: 2015's Goals


Around this time last year I started to think about resolutions for the New Year. But I didn’t want just one – I wanted various things I could focus on throughout the entire year. I came up with 6 different goals:

1.       Mind. I wanted to read more and I wanted to finally learn some sign language
2.       Body. I was going to run 4 5ks and get abs.
3.       Soul. I wanted to become a member of McLean Bible Church and become a regular volunteer.
4.       Relationship. I needed to learn to admit – timely – when I became upset or was bothered by something.
5.       Finances. Finish building my emergency fund.
6.       Work. Get that promotion!

I didn’t consider any of these goals a “one and done” – they would take time and they would take a new rhythm.

                Reading more was tough. Because reading, for pleasure, was a pastime I had not really enjoyed since my college years. Did I want to read fiction or non-fiction? Did it matter? At some point, around mid-2015 I went to the library and checked out 2 books about finance, one was Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”. I loved the book so much, I went online and ordered a few copies (I intended to share the wealth of knowledge I had gained). And the simple act of being in the library and being surrounded by so many options, I eventually wandered over to one of my favorite sections: mystery. And then I stumbled over into romance. Since then, I’ve enjoyed a few quiet Saturdays inside, with just me and a book. No music. No TV. No boyfriend. No distractions.
                The American Sign Language class…. While at Miss United States 2014 I met an ASL interpreter who was working an event in the host hotel and he owns his own interpretation company. I took this as no coincidence: the trouble has been that his classroom sessions are all in DC. And if you know me, you know that going into the city is not a thrilling event for me – particularly on a week day. So I’ve been putting it off and putting it off. Until I found an Adult Continuing Education program offered by Fairfax County Public Schools. I was able to sign up for a 10-week class starting in April, and this coming January, I will be taking the second level of the course. (Go me! I need to be practicing what I learned 6 months ago! Goodness.)

                Tanya and I ran the Polar Plunge 5k in February – once we were moving, it wasn’t as cold as I thought it was be. We also did a 5k Mud Run in May…then 3 days later, I did a Superhero-themed 5k at my job, with Angela. In June, she and I ran a Wipe Out-themed 5k – Stephen and Joanna were part of the fun, as well. Then Angela and I walked another Freddie Mac 5k in September, and a little over a week later I walked the St Jude 5k in Richmond. If you were counting that was 6 5ks. I think the best part wasn’t that I was active – it was sharing those moments with great people, supporting different causes, and doing a 5k in ways I wouldn’t have thought about.
                I didn’t get abs. Lol.

                On March 25th I became a member of McLean Bible Church. This was actually Steve’s idea….the funny part? He didn’t become a member until December 9th – but we won’t get into that. Church membership was not something that was ever seriously talked about or discussed in my earlier years. I think my father is still a member of the church we went to in Colonial Heights – and we haven’t lived there since the early 90s. One pastor said going to a church and not becoming a member was like dating someone but never taking that step of commitment – I definitely didn’t want to be that person. Haha! I enjoy knowing that I am a vetted and approved member of the church and that as a member I get to have a say in how the church is run and how funds are spent. It’s a good feeling.
                I started attending Serve DMV – McLean’s weekly service initiative in June. I fell off after a few weeks as I didn’t feel like I had found my niche. But through volunteering there, I became aware of an afterschool program that was in need of some volunteers. I completed the orientation and had my background checked. Now, on Wednesday nights, I help grade school children with their math and reading homework. It’s mentally exhausting somedays. Some days I feel really good when I leave. And some days I hear my mother come out of my mouth: “Do I look like a dictionary?” “No, you tell me – is that the right answer?” “Are you just guessing?”

                This one I bombed. Completely. Utter failure.
So much so that it resulted in me having a day, not too long ago, where I just had a “word vomit” session with Steve really late one evening. Why the word vomit? Because I had failed miserably about articulating my feelings, my fears, my concerns, my questions over the past several months. Yes, months – not days or weeks, but months. It’s a problem. One, I think that stems from childhood where my questions and feelings weren’t always embraced with open arms and gratitude. So, as a young woman, I struggle with acknowledging that how I do feel does matter to the man in my life and that the only way those feelings can be acknowledged and accepted is if I speak them into the open.

                Emergency fund. Done. October 29th. It was a great feeling. It took patience. Which I will admit, I lost for a few months when I *mumbles* stopped contributing to my retirement fund *stops mumbling* so I could get it done just a little faster. But in the end, I accomplished the task I set out to accomplish. And I couldn’t be happier about it!

                So, I didn’t earn a promotion this year. But, I would not state that this goal – unlike #4 – was a complete failure. I did earn what is called a “soft promotion” (people at my company like to make up terms and phrases, so I’m not sure if this is technical HR-speak or not), aka: I got a pay raise. I asked for more responsibility and I got it. The trick was that I got the responsibility, then I worked my butt off not to fall on my face and to ensure that my manager didn’t look crazy for giving me work that I didn’t really have the job title for. I earned it. And it was after I earned it, that I was compensated for it. And while my title is the same as it was in January – my responsibilities are not the same – they have grown; the people I know and interact with, there have been some shifts there too. I grew, I have a larger span of control, and I got more exposure. I’ll count this as a ‘soft’ win.

Overall, I think I did fairly well. I'm thinking about 2016's goals - I've got to keep pressing forward. That blog will be coming shortly.

Did you have any resolutions/goals that you bombed miserably? Or any that you enjoyed accomplishing so much that you plan to "take it to the next level" in 2016? Share them with me, I'd love to hear about them!