Year in review: What worked, and how I did on my 2017 quarterly goals

This has not been a relaxing holiday break. I knew it wouldn't be, one way or the other. We were all supposed to go to Colorado to ski. I never really learned to ski. So I was going to be in our rental caring for the 2-year-old all day. For this privilege, I was going to need to fly with said 2-year-old for multiple hours, and deal with the time change, and him not being in his own room, and so forth. So I begged off. My husband took the three big kids and I stayed with the 2-year-old. Which would have been fine, except he promptly got sick. And it was 12 degrees here, limiting our ability to go anywhere.

So...there has been a lot of PAW Patrol, Go Diego Go, and random YouTube videos of mesmerizing colors and shapes (who makes these things??) But anyway, we've basically emerged on the other side. I did a lot of cooking: a steak and beet salad, a creamy lentil soup, roast chicken and veggies. I ran on the treadmill while he was occupied with PAW Patrol, timing it very carefully because if I did not get upstairs in time, he would cause trouble. I have cleaned up soapy water from an attempt to wet-jet swiffer the floors, a broken ornament (knocked down with a butterfly net -- as you do), toddler formula that was spilled everywhere in an attempt to make his own "ba ba" etc.

Since the year is almost over, it's time to do my annual review. Looking over 2017, here are a few of the highlights:

Professional: Finishing the draft of Off the Clock (I've now mostly gone through copy-editing), and writing a draft of a time management fable. I also co-launched a podcast (Best of Both Worlds with Sarah Hart-Unger) and gave the commencement address at my high school. That was a trip down memory lane!

Family: I did "Mommy Days" with all four kids, going to amusement parks, and football games, and NYC, and aquariums, and the American Girl Store, and so forth. We also celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary with a week at Ocean Grove in a great, beachfront property. And I made a photo book to commemorate it!

Personal: A surprisingly robust list. I ran every day, pushing my total mileage for the year well over 1000 miles (and ran my fastest mile time, ever). I read 134 books, though I'm currently bogged down and can't seem to finish either of the two I'm working on. I blame the 2-year-old. And I joined my church choir. I had thought about trying to get back into singing, and finally did this fall. I sang the Faure Requiem with the chamber group, and the Bach Magnificat, and sections of the Christmas Oratorio. Plus, many many Sunday services.

Now, on to my actual stated goals for the year (not a 100% overlap between these lists, of course! Some highlights came out of the blue. And some goals didn't happen exactly as spelled out...). The goals are copied verbatim from the post in late 2016 (hence the chatty tone):

Q1
Career: Write 50% of Off the Clock (my next book) - DONE.
Relationships: Plan a fun summer for the kids with camps. The good ones seem to need to be booked in February! - This happened. Some camps were better than other. But thanks to the camp spreadsheet, they all got to do a reasonable amount of fun stuff.
Self: Do speed work on the treadmill at least once a week (defined as 6 intervals >9.0 mph. Hey, that's fast for me). - This did not happen. I elected to pivot to a new goal of maintaining my running streak through the year.

Q2
Career: Finish first draft of Off the Clock - DONE.
Relationships: Take a family spring break trip. We're still figuring out where. We'd been thinking Bahamas, but the Zika thing is a bit disconcerting (no pregnancy, but 2-year-olds' brains are still developing too). Hawaii looks fun, but I don't think I can stomach 12 hours on a plane with my kids. I welcome suggestions. Not Disney. -- We wound up going to Hawaii without the 2-year-old. The other kids were annoying on the plane, but not terrible. It was a pretty good trip, all things considered. Now I'm trying to figure out spring break 2018.
Self: Run 21.7 miles per week (averaging a 5k a day) -- I hit this for the months of April - June. I don't think I will quite hit a 5k a day for the whole year, but I will be close.

Q3
Career: Read a book a week. I'm anticipating having more free time on weekends once the little guy doesn't need to be watched constantly, which I'm hoping will happen around this point. (Why is this career related? Writers should be readers!) - Blew through this one!! See the highlights, above.
Relationships: Do mommy days with each of the older 3 kids. - Done, with many many amusement park trips, as noted above.
Self: Use my time in the car better, listening to podcasts, TED talks, classical music. - Not only did I start listening to more of these, I am now able to listen to my OWN podcast! (Per the above highlights)

Q4
Career: Either revise the novel (again!) or start over during NaNoWriMo. - Done, in a way, with the fable, which is definitely fiction, albeit a very special form of fiction.
Relationships: Do another overnight date night with my husband. -- We did a trip to Cape May in August to celebrate our anniversary. Then we went into NYC in early December together overnight. That was a work-related event for him, so I'm hoping 2018 brings some non-work related trips.
Self: Make a list of things that need to be replaced, and do so, rather than continuing to work on an office chair draped in a blanket that's covering the giant hole in the seat. I'm already making progress on this: I recently replaced our broken toaster, our broken ice tray, and my entire bra wardrobe. -- I have a brand new office chair. Very, very exciting. I also got new sheets and pillows for my bed. I got shelves for the kids' rooms. And I'm meeting with several potential contractors early in 2018 to start the process of doing some major renovations.

So that's the round-up of 2017. I'm still figuring out my quarterly goals for 2018. Because once I share them, I do intend to do them. Best to make sure I'm holding myself to the right things.

How did you do on your 2017 goals?

Photo: Visiting the turtle at the zoo; at least the reptile/amphibian house was warm!

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8 Responses to Year in review: What worked, and how I did on my 2017 quarterly goals


  1. Melanie Schuele says:

    Hi Laura: working on being more intentional with my time. Almost done mapping out the spring semester in me day planner. Do you set quarterly goals all at this time of the year.? Ie for the whole year? I think the answer is yes.

    • @Melanie – I usually do try to spell out all my quarterly goals at the start of the year, but as I think about it, I wouldn’t have to. I could set them…quarterly!

  2. I did pretty well with my goals in 2017, but I hope–no, I plan–to do better in 2018. I’m mid-plan for 2018, and sorting what I want to accomplish over the course of the year down into quarterly chunks, something I learned both from you and from the book The 12-Week Year.

    Writing down and sharing goals definitely helps me achieve more of them. For the past two years, a close friend and I have been exchanging weekly (minus a week here and there) emails outlining our planned goals and tasks for the week, including an update on how we did the previous week. (I’m a freelance writer and she’s an artist and art teacher.) This year we’re adding monthly planning meetings as well. We’ve both accomplished a lot more during the past two years, but one of the most important lessons we’ve learned is not to put an emotional judgment on the perceived lack of accomplishment of a week, month, or year. We both tend to overlook what we’ve done and focus on what we didn’t get done, never feeling like we’re doing “enough.”

    Congrats on a terrific year, and thank you for taking us along for the ride. I love reading your blog! (Sorry for this brutally long comment!)

  3. Ruth says:

    Laura, did you ever get rid of the OLD office chair? LOL! Just askin’!

    I’ve done pretty well with my 2017 goals. For example, I read 87 books (goal was 50!).

    I retired – early! Yay me!

    I went skiing – first time in 20 years!

    I signed up for a couple of writing classes.

    I signed up for a couple of craft classes – one for quilting, one for watercolors.

    There’s more, but I won’t go on. I really like the quarterly goals. Brilliant!

  4. Marie says:

    My main goal for 2017 was to earn a professional certificate that would require a large investment in time and money. I set the goal but never broke it down, and, not surprisingly, it went unmet. In November, it was announced that the current exam will be retired in July. Funny how someone else’s deadline can cause you to laser-focus on your goals, especially when you’ve sunk cash into training materials…. I’ve made a very specific list of tasks and objectives this time, and so far (two days in), so good.

    • @Marie – ha, yes, very true that having a firm and external deadline can light a fire to get stuff done! Best of luck on pursuing your goal.

  5. Irene says:

    Laura, thank you for sharing your list, I can relate to your Q4 goals regarding the house improvement 🙂 I tend to do those projects annually, usually around the Black Friday sales in November. Last year I replaced a lot of kitchen stuff, and got us new pots, frying pans, knifes, etc (my husband does his share of cooking but he is not particularly careful with those, so our kitchen pans and puts doesn’t last long enough). And this year it was all about bedding.

    Since I usually have in a mind what needs to be replaced in November, I start checking prices here & there starting in summer, and then put one big order in November, and tend to save a lot.

    As regard to myself, I would like to replace my biking outfit and some biking gear, so i can do more bike rides with my husband and kids this year. And in terms of career, my company is pretty good in setting the yearly goals, and doing quarterly reviews for everyone, so i usually don’t worry about those goals. Happy New Year!

    • @Irene – very smart (and frugal!) to do replacements at a time we need to do a lot of shopping anyway AND that places are having sales. Santa brought us some new knives, so that’s good, and we got some new pans too. The house reno begins in earnest later this month!

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