December 28, 2016

2016 Reflections, 2017 Goals

1. I Met Up With My Best Friend (and oldest friend; whom I hadn't seen in 4 years) in Atlanta!, 
2. Private Dining Experience at Restaurant Eugene, 3. Krog St Market, 4. Springtime in Lullwater Park, 5. Learned to Horseback Ride, 6. Taught at an Early Education/Pre-School, 7. Photoshoot in Princeton, 8. Drawings from My Students, 9. Left Atlanta
1. Started School in Ithaca, 2. Explored Upstate NY, 3. Coffee Shop Blogpost Collaboration, 4. Ran a lot, 5. Showed My Parents & Aunt/Uncle Around Ithaca, 6. Couldn't Wait for the Cold Weather, 7. Carved a Pumpkin for the First Time in 12 years, 8. Froze a Little Bit, 9. Celebrated 

Another year has come and gone, and I enjoy looking back and reflecting on what's happened. I made some goals, had some expectations for the new year, and definitely did not know what was coming my way.
To recap, here's a list of the major events/opportunities that occurred in 2016:

1. I found my major - you might not think this is very important, but it was to me. Having confidence in knowing your next step feels so good.

2. I left Atlanta and Emory - and it was hard.

3. I thought it would be a good idea to work three jobs in one summer - note to self, don't ever do that again unless you want to fall seriously ill (twice). My positions were great though, and I absolutely loved teaching at an early education and preschool center.

4. I transferred to Cornell - you can read about this process here, or take a look at some of my photos of my experiences (so far) here, here, and here.

A list of four may seem short, but each one brought along so much change and growth. Transferring to a new school alone exposed me to an entirely new campus/part of the US, a different culture, and a lot more homework ;)

Something that all four have in common is that I was exposed to so many new and different people. 

I've met:
like-minded individuals who are on the same track as me,
people at Cornell who either transferred or have graduated from an Emory program (bonded with them instantly),
people who are food insecure in a town just twenty minutes away from me (and the people who serve them),
teachers who taught me so much about childcare and parenting,
coworkers who graciously and patiently showed me the ropes,
customers who made me realize how difficult it is to work in food service,
and a whole cohort of individuals who call Ithaca one of their homes.

In addition to these events, I set a few goals for myself at the beginning of 2016, and I've been able to keep some of them.

1. Allot quiet time each week to read at least one chapter of the Bible and pray - I finally found the discipline to do this, and maybe it's because there was so much unrest within me that I couldn't find peace without it.
2. Intentionally make time to read books - I was able to keep this up for the first half of 2016, but starting a new school and having to adjust made me put this on the backburner for the second half of the year.
3. Do yoga for at least 30 minutes each week - I know, 30 minutes isn't a lot, but I prefer to run, and setting the bar low enough made me more likely to achieve it, anyways. I've improved quite a bit, even if I haven't been doing it once a week.
4. Stretch every morning - this happened...twice, out of our 366 days?
5. Practice guitar for at least 30 minutes each week - this didn't happen every week, maybe 40% of my weeks. I did have fun, but I definitely have not improved as much as I wanted to.
6. Be kinder to myself - we're all our harshest critics, and I needed a break from myself. This goal was nice to remind myself of when I was too harsh on myself, but that's not to say that I refrained from berating myself completely.
7. Practice the financial guide of "give, save, then spend" - this really changed the way I approached my income, and I can't recommend this practice enough.
8. Achieve my academic goals for my spring classes - this was tough, but I managed to do it
9. Go from 30k to 60k total views on this blog in one year - an ambitious goal, because it took me 3 years to reach 30k. Right now, we're looking at 57k, and I'm very content ;)

2016 was definitely exciting, scary, and full of surprises. 

So what have I learned from this one year, and what do I want out of the next?

1. A few more lasting relationships: yes, I met a lot of new people, but I jumped from one place to another so quickly. Social media is great for staying in the loop, but it's not enough to single-handedly support permanency and stability within relationships. I've kept the lifelong friendships that got me through the past 4+ years, but have kept very few from 2016.

A goal for 2017? Forge a few -  and that's being generous, because quality is so important - more quality friendships.

The motivation to keep going when I'm let down? Reminding myself of the amazing people I'm blessed to call my best friends.

2. Mature Financially: 2016's giving, saving, spending will forever be the financial mantra that I live by. This past year, I really did enjoy using Excel to organize my finances and to work towards my financial goals -- including saving to buy outrageously expensive textbooks (that I opened once and never again)...

As great as Excel is, however, it requires a lot of time to visually organize your inputs. I wasn't as organized as I wish I had been, but I've learned from my mistakes.

This year, I want to supplement my accounting on Excel with Personal Capital's financial tools.
I love its Cash Flow Analyzer (breaks down your spendings into categories) because you get instant information with just one graphic. (It does all the work for you!) It's free to sign up, and their blog offers a lot of great, practical financial tips in addition to articles that keep you updated about the market.

Also, I want to make an effort to become more financially literate. I took a Consumer Ec online course during high school, but definitely didn't pay attention. Credit scores and 401k's went right over my head, and I've gotta go back and learn this stuff again.

There's no doubt that I dread filling out taxes and all the scary things that come with financial independence, but I think easing yourself into the world of finances early on will make those scary things less intimidating. Best of all, there are great tools out there to guide you through those baby steps with you.

3. To enjoy what I'm doing: I get caught up in the "oh, I need to do better" mentality too easily. This past month, I realized that being kind to myself goes beyond not criticizing yourself too harshly; it also means graciously allowing yourself to have fun and even fail. Not everything in life has to be taken too seriously, and it's okay to explore and try things out. You may not achieve significant progress instantly, but gradual growth still helps you to grow as a person, which, in my books, is even more important.

4. Use my words to build others up: I have a quick tongue, and I'm not proud of it. The people who suffer from my sarcasm are my family, and yet, they're the ones who love me the most. In 2017, I want to be more conscious of what I'm about to say and how I'm going to say it before I actually speak. I want to consider the effects of my sharp words before they spill out of my mouth. This is definitely easier said than done, but I'm determined to use my words to build others up.


Four goals? Compared to mu plethora of goals from the year before?
Many of my goals from 2016 were small and intended to get me to develop routines that would help me be more productive with my time (i.e. allotting time to read in place of vegging out in front of a computer screen when I'm done with my work).

These 2017 goals are a bit more personal and challenge me differently - not in terms of productivity, but in terms of maturity. I think they're just as, if not more, important, and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings.

What are your goals for the new year? I'd love to hear them :)


Disclaimer: This blogpost is not sponsored, but is a collaboration between me and Personal Capital.

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