Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 New Year's Goals: A Quarterly Report

I recently attended a talk given by Kim Hodous ("The Kitchen Table CEO") who started a small business making jewelry at her kitchen table that grew into a seven figure company (you can check out her story here). One of her key points was that while it's great to set yearly goals, it's important to review them more frequently to keep them from sliding out of focus. She even recommended keeping one's goals on a piece of paper and carrying it around everywhere for spontaneous review opportunities! I agree it's valuable to review my goals on a frequent basis - it's very helpful not just for focus but also for evaluating progress. We monitor "key performance indicators" in our professional lives - it makes sense to do it for personal goals as well.

In the spirit of this, here's my Quarterly Report! Updates in blue.

A Goals (in order of priority)
1) Finish the first draft of my memoir.
  • Key metric: Chapters with the bulk of their content completed (i.e. the main stories I want to include in the book) by the end of July shutdown. July-Dec: Editing, editing.  Status: Main chapters topics have been assigned with the exception of a few at the end. There are about 100 chapters (wow!). 75% of the chapters are more than 50% complete in terms of content (not editing). The main stories I want to include are in there for the first half of the book. The second is a little farther behind. I need to focus on content creation and less on editing to reach the July goal.
2) Invest in my important relationships. Husband, nieces, nephews, sisters, brother, parents.
  • Seeing my core family (brother & sis-in-law, parents, younger sister, older sisters and their families) several times this year. So far I have seen my mother, sister, brother-in-law, 2 nieces and 2 nephews so far this year, and it's only January. Plans include (in chronological order):
    1.  Visit to see my sister in February. Done, as well as another visit in March. Our relationship has deepened directly as a result of these visits. Both times we've had good conversations and just enjoyed spending time together. My favorite memory from the first visit was rollerblading together and seeing the look of pure joy on her face that was reflected by my own. On the second visit, I had an almost surreal experience hiking to the top of a hill and sitting with her while listening to music - it was amazing. I can't believe how blessed I am to have her in my life.
    2.  Celebrating my oldest sister's 40th birthday in Las Vegas with her, her husband, another older sister, and her husband. I've never been to Vegas so it will be interesting to experience a new place. Done, although it was kind of a mediocre experience. I enjoyed seeing my sisters and making some fun memories with them, but I didn't care for Vegas and there were a lot of people at the house that I didn't know. I kind of had this image in my mind of it being time for just my sisters and me but that wasn't the case. On the positive side, it was nice to experience warm weather in the middle of winter and some of the sights in Vegas were interesting. My favorite experience was the Cirque de Soleil show - first I had been to and the acrobatics and music were amazing.
    3. My college friend's wedding, which is near my sister so I will get to see her as well Done! So happy we went and an added bonus was seeing some of my Virginia Tech comrades for the first time since graduation six years ago. It was very special to me to be able to be at Matt's wedding - it was a beautiful, simple ceremony held in the Old Town Hall in Fairfax, VA on Pi Day - a fitting day for a mechanical engineer to marry a math major!
    4. Celebrating the same sister's birthday with my mom and sisters  for a girls' weekend in Asheville, NC. Busy planning it - should be a lot of fun.
    5. Spending a long weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, husband, and sister this summer. I love hanging out with them, and want to be proactive about making that happen. Also planning this - looking at week of June 8. We'll fly my sister out here, go hiking/camping, then drive up to our brother's place and hang out there for a few days.
    6. Thanksgiving with my parents in SC
    7. Christmas with my husband's family in AR
    8. Probably another visit to see my brother around the holidays 
    9.  Possibly going to SC for the 4th of July weekend. One of my sisters is moving down there this summer so it will be a good time to see them again as well as my parents and other sister's family. In addition, we have a couple of friends down there we'd like to see too.
  • Sending birthday cards to all those whom I can't celebrate with in person. I know it feels so nice when I get cards on my birthday. It's a simple thing to do to remind those I care about that I love them.   I sent a birthday card to my dad but I don't think anyone else yet. Hmm, I need to get a calendar together for this. 
  • Continuing to be a part of my little sister's life, and witnessing her journey toward recovery. I will help where I can, but I acknowledge every recovery is different.  Yes. So much progress - it would take several more blog posts to describe all that we have learned and shared together. The growth of our relationship has brought me  indescribable joy.
  • Dates with my husband, spending dedicated time for conversation and reflection. Also, hiking, particularly some overnight hikes. Something special to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary this year. Every year I realize more and more how blessed I am to have my husband. We've been to our favorite winery several times already. I absolutely love the time for conversation with him without distractions. It's fun to talk about a variety of topics from our careers, family, his business, vacation ideas, and anything else. The wine is good too! We're thinking about an overnight in Louisville for our wedding anniversary, although an overnight at a winery might be just the thing. There's a theme here!
B goals
  • Be more caring and helpful at work, and invest in relationships with my coworkers. Continued technical competence and learning is important too. One of the experiences I have had is mentoring a new specialist - it's been interesting to transition from being the student to a teacher. I've worked hard at investing in relationships at work. It's a balance between helping when it's appropriate and taking on responsibility that isn't mine. I still have a lot of room for improvement here. For technical competence, it seems like every day I am learning something new. I have attended one social activity outside of work and enjoyed it (a German restaurant/bar where we had dinner and played darts). Wouldn't mind doing that again!
  • Continued involvement in our church, particularly our small group. We've done small group 2 times so far this year. Haven't been very involved in church activities unfortunately. I think I would like to plan another church hike like we have done in years past.
  • Switch to a project-based role in my department in May/June. Work days will be much more predictable and less chaotic than they are with my current production-based role My transition in May should be finalized soon, and I've already begun some handover activity (both toward my new role and handing over from my current role). I'm looking forward to more predictable days.
  • Work less when possible. I spend too much time at work. We don't need the money, and it doesn't make me more productive.  My goal is to take at least 15 vacation days in 2015, which will require me to use some of my overtime for vacation time, instead of getting paid for it like I did in 2014. I have worked less overtime so far in 2015 than I did in 2014. I try to leave work at a reasonable time - some days this is not feasible, but when I have a choice I am more often choosing to put a "comma" on the day and leave. This has helped me actually become more productive during the time I am at work (I know, shocker)
  • Begin planning a trip for 2016 to Napa Valley with my husband for our anniversary.Haven't done anything more than talk about it yet, but still wanting to do it. We might look into Sonoma Valley too, based on recommendation from my boss.
  • Train for and run another trail race. Not a big deal if I don't do this, but it would be nice. Been slowly doing more off-road running as the weather is getting nice (did one yesterday, in fact). I haven't picked a trail race yet, but I think I will target one in September/October as well as the usual one I run in November.
  • Possibly going to court again to testify on my sister's behalf This might not even need to happen again, which would be just fine by me, although I am prepared to do so if it does.
  • Possibly moving to a slightly larger house that is hopefully closer to work. Due to my husband's work situation, this probably won't be happening this year. A positive is that I'm therefore going to move forward with planting a garden - this year will be the biggest one yet!
  • More Japan travel, including a hike to the summit of Mt. Fuj! Looks like there will be several trips to Japan this year - I am so excited.
Conclusion: I think I'm making decent progress toward the goals. There is plenty of room for improvement but that is good - I would question setting these particular goals if there wasn't. Next up: Mid-year report in June!