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Every year on January 1, we sit down as a family and discuss our goals for the upcoming year. I guess you could call them New Year’s resolutions, but I think of them more as a family road map. What do we want to accomplish, and where do we want to be a year from now?
2018 was a tough year in a lot of ways. Some of our goals were achieved: we traveled to Las Vegas and the Caribbean. Vic passed two professional licensing exams. Sophia was accepted into the advanced academic program at her middle school.
Other goals were put on hold. We decided to postpone a trip to Europe (maybe for a year or two). Our ski trip didn’t happen either, but that’s at the top of our list for 2019. But honestly, even though those two specific trips didn’t work out, we DID travel a lot, including a couple of destinations that weren’t on the list at all.
Travel Goals + Gains
Obviously, travel has been a big theme for our family for the last few years, and this year is no different. Our travel goals for 2019 include possible trips to Arizona, New York, North Carolina, Maryland (for a wedding), and Puerto Rico. We’re also considering another cruise, and I’d like to finally take a long-overdue 40th birthday trip with my best friends (we’re all turning 45 this year, so it’s about time).
Overall, I think we stepped up our travel game a lot in 2018. We’ve gotten much better at navigating airports & public transportation with the kids. Both girls have learned to pack their own suitcases, which is huge! Each of us now has our own rolling carry-on suitcase, and before each trip I give the girls an individual packing checklist. I also make a family checklist with specific trip-related items (rain boots, bathing suits, etc.).
We’ve worked to come up with ways for the girls to entertain themselves on trips (in airplanes, hotels, museums that don’t hold their interest). This can be tricky, especially without electronics (we’re not opposed to electronics, but we don’t like carrying them around all day). For one of our recent trips, I bought each girl a small, lightweight backpack to carry their essentials and entertainment for the day – chapstick, books, colored pencils, notebooks, small toys or crafts, snacks, etc. This way, if we’re doing something “boring” or eating something “gross,” they have options. This has worked surprisingly well – so well, in fact, that they’ve continued to use their backpacks just for regular outings. We allow them to bring more or less whatever they want, as long as it fits into their bags and we don’t have to carry it for them.
Other Family Goals
In addition to all the travel we have planned, there are a couple of things at home that we’d like to work on too. It’s important to Vic and me to reduce our consumption and to learn to live with less. We’ve had a shift in our mindset and lifestyle in the last few months. Some of it is just a realization that we have so. much. stuff. We’re not big consumers to begin with, but stuff just accumulates. Papers and knickknacks and clothes that we kid ourselves into thinking we might need someday.
This isn’t an entirely new concept for us. We recycle and reuse. We donate and/or sell old clothes and toys, and we try to have a yard sale once or twice a year. But Vic started selling on Ebay and repurposing his old cigar boxes (into cute purses). And the girls helped us make some changes in the kitchen (reusable containers, silicone straws) to help reduce waste. Then I read this article about clearing clutter.
That’s when it all clicked. We don’t need it all. We can keep/buy the things that matter and live without the rest. And with the money and space (and peace of mind) that we save, we can make more room (physically and mentally) for the experiences and memories that matter. So the goal is twofold, really: 1) reduce our current possessions, and 2) make new purchases with intention.
The other big family goal, which falls into the category of “experiences that matter,” is spending more time trying new things and having adventures. Vic bought me a stand up paddleboard for Christmas, and I can’t wait to get out and use it! We want to kayak and hike and explore new places. In the last three weeks, I’ve gone ice skating and roller skating. Both are things that have scared me to death since my spinal fusion in 2016. I’m not throwing caution to the wind or anything, but I’m ready to push some of my self-imposed physical limits. I’m excited to see what new things my family and I can do in 2019.
Of course, we all have personal goals that we want to focus on in 2019 too. Vic is participating in a regional leadership program this year, and Amelia plans to test for her black belt in tang soo do this summer. Sophia wants to focus on being more active, including getting back into running. And I have some blog goals that I’d like to meet this year.
Frankly, my blog-related goals were a bust during the second half of 2018. I set some goals at the beginning of the year and was on track to meet them – but then Google rolled out an algorithm change that was absolutely devastating to my organic search traffic. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a huge setback – one from which I’m still struggling to recover. I’ve let myself slump into a bit of apathy, which is not serving me (or you) well. It’s time to pull myself up by the bootstraps.
Finally, I asked everyone in the family to commit to reading one book a month. I’m excited about this one, although I must confess that we’re 1/3 of the way through January and I haven’t picked a book for myself yet. Any suggestions?
Thanks for sticking with me and my family for another year. I’m hopeful that 2019 will have more ups than downs for us, and I hope the same goes for you!
Happy New Year to you!