Tuesday, December 8, 2015

3 Things I Learned From My 2015 "Smart" Year

"The days are long but the years are short." - Gretchen Rubin

Everyone I come across is saying it - "Where did the year go?" "How can the holidays be here again already?"

It is so easy to let days, months and even years slip by barely noticing. I am thinking that it must be a mid-life thing to finally take notice of this phenomenon. Or I am just really slow to catch on.

I am now in a place where I get it. Time flies by. The things that are important today will be distant memories soon, if we even think about them at all. Last year on New Years Day my husband and I made a list for our "Smart Year 2015". It was long.

Two sheets of 8 1/2 X 11 printer paper taped together vertically with a colorful magic marker list of all of the things we were going to tackle in the new year. I don't have the document itself handy but I will tell you that it hung on our closet door and then on a kitchen cabinet for periods of time in 2015.

Although we made the list together and were enthusiastic at the time we were writing it (over a bacon & egg New Years Day breakfast) that list became a source of true conflict between us.

On it were things like date night, the 52 week saving plan, Sunday outings with our kids with each child getting a turn at picking the activity and more. I think we included eating right and exercise. Sounds great doesn't it? While we both would agree that all of the "Smart" things on the list were worthwhile the list created arguments and strife. It took a lot of soul searching and research to figure out why. Many lessons were learned. Here are the top three -

#1 - Don't take on more than you can realistically handle. The "Smart Year"  list was too long. Taking on one thing at a time would have been the truly "Smart" way to tackle saving money, spending more quality time together and eating right and exercising. Some of the goals could be paired together and later in the year without even knowing it we did that by joining a walking group. That group paired together date night that was not going out to eat, exercise and saving money (it was 5 bucks to join!) Pairing is a strategy I learned about in my 21 Day De-Clutter Challenge. Read more about the De-Clutter Challenge here - 21 Days To Less Clutter

#2 - Time it right. Only YOU know when you are ready to tackly big goals. Although all of the ideas sounded great in theory to both my husband and I we had differing levels of commitment to each of the "Smart" goals. The start of a new year may feel like a great time to embark on a journey of self improvement and resolutions if you are not ready it is not the best time. Resolutions and goals can be started at any time
Some goals are best worked on together, others are better individual goals. My guy was not ready for the eating right portion of the "Smart" year.
As of this writing though he is about 10 days in to a 21 day period of eating clean. Lots of veggies and lean meat, no gluten,  dairy or alchohol. We are thinking he may have a gluten allergy and he has always been sensitive to dairy products. Because he is feeling so good he is very committed to the 21 days of eating clean.

#3 - Prepare to succeed. A big reason we did not succeed with the "Smart Year" is that we needed to learn some things. Read a book written by an expert, take a class or talk with someone who has successfully done what you want to do.  Another one of the more important lessons learned by our "Smart Year" experiment gone wrong is to take big goals and break them down in to small steps. How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time.
That seems to be theme of mine since it was the title of a previous post -
Does eating elephant bite at time work?

For 2016 one of my goals is to keep posting. Hold me to it!

As always thanks for checking in and I'd love to hear any comments and feedback.

My best, Wendy


  1. These are great ideas, thank you! I will soon revisit my 2015 goals and begin work on 2016 goals. One idea I found from reading posts of this type of topic is setting monthly goals instead of yearly. I plan to schedule out what I want to accomplish next year - helps with procrastination! LOL

  2. Thanks for reading & commenting Katheen! I agree - what gets planned gets done. Any interesting/inspiring stuff on your list of goals? Would love to hear about them. I think the biggest thing for me is figuring out that I may need some training or more info to tackle some goals.