Looking back to move forward

Each month this year I reviewed my progress (or lack of!) towards my personal goals for 2014. You can see my goal list in this post here – Goal Setting For 2014 And Creating My Decision Making Framework. Now as the end of 2014 it is time review the highlights and lowlights of 2014.

I knew before writing this end of year review there would be a lot of failures. But before writing the review I decided I had two ways to look at  it:

  1. I could see the failures as just that, failures, and let them weigh me down; or
  2. I could see the failures as a learning opportunity and an opportunity for growth.

I am going to take the latter approach and if like me, you haven’t achieved all that you wanted to in 2014 I encourage you to do the same.

Work – Place boundaries on my work hours

  • Limit my average work week to 30 hours. – For about seven months of the 12 this would have been achieved. As I wrote in a post earlier about how I found having all the kids at school, I overestimated how much time I would have child free and took on more work than was ideal. I am going to be making some changes to my work flow and volume in 2015 to help me better limit the hours I am working.
  • Undertake no work activities before the kids go to school. – This has been an easy one to achieve. I like being techno free actually and it makes the mornings so much calmer and smoother if I am fully focused on the kids.
  • Undertake no work activities after the kids come home from school until the younger ones are settled in bed. – I have met this with the exception of one afternoon a week when the kid’s have after school activities and I will work when they are at them.

Family – Increase family harmony

  • Quarter one only – have the key focus of settling the kids into the new school year. – Achieved and I was glad I had this as a key focus as we had lots of changes and it did take the full term for everything to settle down.
  • Maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative comments (lead by example). – This is an area I feel most disappointed in. I could list excuses as to why it didn’t happen, but they are just that, excuses. This is a super important aspect of family life to me, so I am going to make it even more of a focus in 2015.
  • Conduct monthly family meetings. – Family meetings are a great tool for our family. I know some people doubt their usefulness, but they have provided a clear space for everyone to raise issues in a controlled and positive way. I have received some honest feedback from the kids this year that has then helped me improve my parenting. If you haven’t tried family meetings, then I highly recommend giving them a go. You can read more about them in this post – Family Meetings.
  • Eat out together on a quarterly basis. – This has been a highlight for me and something  I would like do even more frequently – even if the 16 year old doesn’t adore the thought of having to hang out with us all for dinner in public!

Health and fitness – Test myself

  • Run another marathon. – I ran the Great Ocean Road Marathon in May and the Melbourne Marathon in October. In both races I didn’t pace myself well and found my results disappointing, especially my run in Melbourne. I think finding the last 10km so utterly hard and painful in Melbourne, it gave me the lesson I needed to learn and I am now working on how to learn to pace myself better.
  • Run an obstacle course. – Timings of the events I wanted to do didn’t work in well with my other goals. Marathon running is my first love, so I let this goal go unachieved this year.
  • Compete at a local CrossFit competition. – I wrote about my experience at the CrossFit competition here – July monthly review – what I learnt from doing things that scared me. Another event this year which I found hard and taught me quite a bit about myself.
  • Maintain a whole food approach to my diet. – Nutrition is key to me being able to perform all above the above and on the whole it is going well. I think there will always be room for improvement. One thing I notice is how well I eat depends on how well I prepare in advance. This approach does take some planning and preparation but for me it is completely worth it.

Local community – Increase my participation in the local community

  • Undertake the role of class co-ordinator for the prep child’s class. – I enjoyed doing this role. I was certainly better at it when work wasn’t quite so busy. I will take next year off and volunteer again in 2016.
  • Volunteer for canteen duty at the kids’ secondary school. – I didn’t get to do secondary school canteen, but I did do primary school canteen.
  • Allocate a speaking session a quarter to local community groups. – I made the decision to pull back on this to ensure I could achieve my family harmony goal.
  • Find a local community group to partner with for the blog annual fundraising event. – I also altered my fundraising initiative this year so it is not as time intensive. I held my first Clothes Sway with proceeds going to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center which was a lot of fun. 

Learning – Find new sources of information to grow my knowledge

  • Attend four workshops/conferences/seminars over 2014. – I was lucky enough to go to Denver for a conference in May and then Problogger Training Event in August. I took a couple of smaller online courses which were more blog related and have given me great ideas for the blog in 2015!
  • Listen to one podcast a month. – I have been listening to quite a few podcasts and am enjoying getting back into them. You can see some of the ones I have listened to here.

Fun – Increase the time I spend with those I love

  • Organise a night out a month with the husband. -If you counted school functions we attended together then on average this would have been achieved, however I don’t consider this to be successfully achieved. Need to put more planning into this next year.
  • Organise a monthly get together with girlfriends. – Probably about an 80% success rate here, given everyone’s schedules it was pretty good and we were on a roll towards the end of the year which was great.
  • Organise a monthly get together with my sisters. – This has been trickier than I thought. Trying to find times when all three of us can get together. I won’t give up on this but look to try and rework it somehow.

Plus this

There were also many things not set as goals that I achieved this year that I need to acknowledge:

  • Supported my lovely husband so he could complete his first half Ironman in February and then his first full Ironman in March. An Ironman takes lots and lots of training!
  • Ran a Pozible campaign and raised over $13k to produce the Family Planner Lunch Box Calendar.
  • Curated the speakers for Australia’s largest blogging conference – Problogger Training Event.
  • Taught a regular blogging course at the Australian Writers Centre.
  • Picked up new freelance writing work for Money circle and Essential Kids.
  • Made new friends with parents at the kids’ schools.
  • Mentored a number of women, who like me are trying to create a business from home.
  • From emails, facebook and personal feedback received, through the blog I have been able to help other families to organise the chaos of family life a little more to make things easier for them.

Moving forward

The importance of an annual review like this, isn’t to give myself a hard time about what I didn’t achieve or a pat on the back for what I did achieve. It is about helping me determine what I want for the next year.

Looking over this review the things that make me most happy are:

  • Achieving family harmony
  • Spending time with good friends, including my beautiful husband and sisters
  • Helping other mothers
  • Running long distance

My list for 2014 was too long and at times I struggled with it. I go into 2015 knowing that I have in my mind a list as long, if not longer than 2014 of things I would like to achieve. But I also go into 2015 knowing that a long list can spread myself too thin and not allow me to focus on the things that mean the most to me.

My list for 2015 will be shorter. My want to do “all of the things” will not have diminished, but through a more defined set of goals, I will try to reign in my tendency to overload myself.

How did you fare with your goals for 2014?