It’s a New Year and now is the time when many of us are setting goals for the upcoming year.
I don’t know about you, but I love the clean slate of a new year. I love dreaming big dreams and imagining what can happen. I always have big dreams but I don’t always set the steps that get me to those goals. I also have the tendency to make lots of goals and not keep many of them! Please say I’m not alone in this? For that reason, I did a couple things different this year.
First, I set aside a whole day to dream, plan and set goals. One of my Christmas wishes was for a day to do just that, and my wonderful husband took Nathan out of the house for almost 8 hours one day last week so I could plan in quiet. It was absolutely wonderful!
Second, I simplified my goals. I could list dozens of goals for the upcoming year but wanted to simplify. I wanted to accomplish something rather than losing focus with too many goals. I broke my goals into three areas – personal, financial and professional. I limited myself to 3 goals in each area for the upcoming year.
Third, I gave myself deadlines and action steps for each area of my goals. It looks different for each of these areas but I’ve included some of those specifics below.
After a lot of time reflecting, here are my goals for the upcoming 2016 year.
1. Have a baby and adjust to life as a mom of two. This is my main goal for the year so it’s at the top of the list! Our baby girl is due in March and the weeks are quickly passing by! There are many changes coming so I want to use these final weeks of pregnancy to prepare as much as I am able before, so I can adjust smoothly (I hope!) to life as a mom of 2 little ones. This includes planning for Nathan’s 2nd birthday early, as well as planning the baby’s baptismal brunch. Those are two things that will happen in the first weeks after the baby is born so I want to be ready early. Ready or not, this goal will happen, and I’m looking forward to the exciting changes in our family!
2. Finish 2015 family photo album before the baby arrives. This is a practical goal and one that I really want to do. I have pictures entered in my Shutterfly album up through June so that leaves me with half the year to finish in the next couple months. My plan is to use Friday evenings after Nathan is in bed to work on my digital scrapbook. If I can get this finished before the baby is born, I’d like to get caught up on my pregnancy journal for this baby too. That’s a bonus goal, of course! (Here is why I love using Shutterfly for my digital photo albums.)
3. Eat healthier. Cook more from scratch. Utilize my freezer. My husband and I are both ready to eat healthier after all our holiday celebrations. I want to cook more from scratch and serve more fruits and vegetables. I included my freezer in this goal because I want to prepare some freezer meals before the baby is born so we can continue eating healthy in those early sleepless baby days.
4. Finish saving high deductible premiums before baby is born. As I’ve mentioned before, we have a high deductible plan through my husband’s school. While the school has made some contributions, we are still responsible for several $1000 dollars. The birth of our baby means we will hit our deductible early in the year. We have been putting aside all my piano earnings as well as my blog earnings and are more than halfway there. Still, with 3 months to go, we need to bump up our savings so the money is ready before the baby arrives!
5. Build up savings again. I explained how we use various electronic savings accounts to keep our finances on track. It has helped us greatly to know that the money is there when we need it. However, this fall, we’ve had some unexpected doctor bills and car repairs that used up several of our accounts. We haven’t touched our emergency fund so it is still funded with 3 months of expenses. This year, we need to build up our savings in car repairs as well as house projects. We also need to save for some summer travels we already have planned with our extended family. In addition to that, I’d love to build our emergency fund up to a full 6 months but the other accounts come first.
6. Experiment with additional sources of revenue. To help us build up our savings, Andy and I are both going to experiment with additional sources of revenue. As teachers, we’d like to try our hand at selling things on Teachers Pay Teachers. Goodness knows, we’ve created lots of things for our classrooms that could help other teachers!
I’d also like to try my hand at selling things on Amazon through their Fulfillment by Amazon program. I’m going to try to sell some things on Craiglist and perhaps Ebay, as well. Of course, I’ll continue teaching piano lessons and blogging. I’m going to try using some new money saving / making apps (updates to come!) and resume my use of Swagbucks. Andy’s already been keeping stats at the Lutheran High School for the basketball team this year again for some extra money, too.
We are going to do our best to seek out additional sources of revenue. Some may work and some may not, but I’ve created a word document where we can record all the extra sources of income we make this year. I’ll be curious to see what we can earn from our various endeavors!
7. Double my blog traffic – and income. After taking Elite Blog Academy this year and investing money in a new design and working hard, I’ve seen substantial blog growth. Over the course of 2015, my blog grew from 10,000 monthly page views to 50,000 monthly page views! I owe that to you, my wonderful readers, who read, pin and share my content. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The 10x increase was amazing but I know that large of an increase will be difficult to sustain. For that reason, my goal is to double my monthly page views this year to 200,000 monthly page views. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I have a supportive husband and a determination to grow this blog as a means to help others on their frugal journeys.
I’d also like to double my blog income. I’ve gone from making a mere $25 a month to several hundred dollars a month. Again, I’d like to continue that increase and double (or more) my blog income. I have written out lots of other blog goals and steps to get to this point, but won’t bore you with all those details. The highlights include guest posting, applying for a new ad company, continuing sponsored posts, updating old images and using Pinterest more. (You can follow me here, if you aren’t already.) It’s such a blessing that I can work from home and earn money for our family!
8. Launch a new custom book. This past spring, at the request of several readers, I started selling custom books of my Biblical version of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” It made for a busy couple months as I sold over 100 custom books in 2015. I also created a digital download for sale that did well. As a result of that popularity, I’ve just finished creating a new custom, Biblical version of “Guess How Much I Love You”. I have some finishing touches to put on it but hope to launch that new book yet this winter.
There you have it! Those are my simplified goals for the 2016 year. I’d love to hear what goals you have set for the year! Will you share in the comments, please?