Hello, 2019. It’s so nice to see you. You’re looking all spiffy and new.
Seriously though, can you believe it’s 2019? It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming 2018. Then, suddenly it was summer then back to school then Thanksgiving and now a New Year. What does it say about a year when it goes by in a blur?
Now that it’s 2019, it’s time for me to refocus my energies. Let go of last year’s intentions and set new ones. Breathe and take on new challenges. Years ago, I stopped making resolutions. Like many people, I wasn’t good at keeping them. Instead, I now set a series of goals that tackle various aspects of my life in an attempt to make each year better than the last one.
So far so good.
My 2019 Goals
As I approached my goals for this year, I knew a couple things. First, I only want to set goals I felt strongly about. So I didn’t try to hit a certain number of goals or force them into a pattern. I just stopped once I had nothing more to add. Also, my goals needed to be doable. Lofty goals are great, but realistic ones are better, I think. And, finally, they needed to enrich my life. All of these do.
- Travel More: In 2018, I aimed to take eight trips and did. In 2019, I want more travel! So I aim to take 10 trips, including at least two that are to places my kids and I have never been to before.
- Spend Less: For the past several years, I have focused on saving more, which is always a good goal. But this year, I want to work on spending less. See, saving more is a loving companion of spending less. And if I can really get in the habit of the latter, the former will get a lot easier. I’m starting with buying lunch far less often.
- Exercise More: Perhaps that should really say “exercise regularly,” but both are true. Coupled with buying fewer lunches (and thus bringing my own lunch to work most days), I expect this will benefit my overall health. And weight. Yes, weight does matter — for me, at least — because the more I weigh the greater the stress on my asthmatic lungs. Less stress on my lungs is preferable, so weighing less is too.
- Read More: I have set my sights on reading a book for every week of the year in recent years. The closest I came was during a particularly snowy winter when I worked at home, reviewed books for my sites and others and found a book series I couldn’t get enough of. But if I am being honest with myself, my life today isn’t as flexible and I don’t have as much time to read. So this year, I want to read more than last year. My goal is 35 books. I think that’s a fine number for a working single mom with four-ish jobs.
- Let Go of Perfect: In my post about our perfectly imperfect Christmas, I talked about this. In my quest for perfection, I’ve managed to miss out on a lot. But things don’t have to be perfect to be fun, memorable and worthwhile. So in 2019, I want to let good be good enough.
An Honest Look Back at My 2018 Goals
Make Reading a Priority
In 2018, my goal was to read 52 books. I read 30, but didn’t come close to the number I’d set. Still, I think reading 30 books is pretty awesome. My favorites of 2018? Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy, an imagining of Marilla’s life long before Anne. It’s a lovely read for Anne of Green Gables fans. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a haunting collection of short stories about race in America today. I couldn’t put this book down. And Vox by Christina Dalcher, a dystophian novel about a world not too different from ours where women have been stripped of theirs rights. They are limited to speaking a mere 100 words a day and are banned from speaking to each other or even reading. It’s also haunting.
Make Travel a Priority
My goal was to take 8 trips in 2018 — and I did. With my kids, I went to Orlando, Boston, Portland and three times to Connecticut. I also traveled to Philadelphia myself and made a quick trip to New York. All in all, it felt good to get away and explore.
Make Writing a Priority
My goal was to write often — even a little every day. Well, while I didn’t keep track of whether I wrote every day or not, I did write a lot. Here on Sarah’s Cucina Bella, I wrote with more frequency. Beyond that, I also wrote two books (The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta) and am wrapping up another one.
Make Saving a Priority
I saved in 2018! In fact, it felt like an almost effortless effort, despite also spending on travel, a much-needed new car and more. I ended the year with my savings account looking pretty healthy — a clear success.
Finish Those Outstanding Projects
I completed several of those book proposals and submitted them to publishers. I finished a number of languishing blog posts too. But there’s so much I didn’t get to, and, importantly, I ended up starting and finishing a number of new projects instead.
The Jury’s Out
I didn’t try yoga, get into meditation or find a hobby that inhabits calmness. Although I felt like I was able to do calm better, I am not sure I really learned anything that would make this more than coincidence in 2018.
Two cookbooks. Countless meals made. It started off a little rough, but I did definitely cook a lot more in 2018.
I wanted to end the year weighing less than I started it. I didn’t. Not even close. And that is very much not a good thing. Onward.
Did you have goals for 2018? How’d you do?
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.