My 2017 quarterly goals (and how I did on my quarterly goals in 2016)

img_2394In two decades of writing, I suspect I have written at least 20 New Year’s timed stories on how to set better goals. I follow some of the better advice I’ve heard from experts. For instance, I try to make goals specific and measurable. I set them in multiple categories (career, relationships, self). And after hearing this brilliant tip from Angela Jia Kim, I now create New Year’s resolutions as quarterly goals. This allows me to focus on multiple things through the course of the year without feeling guilty that I’m not focusing on all of them simultaneously.

One more thing: I am pretty flexible about my goals. They are tools, not masters, and so not hitting them is not the end of the world, especially if some of the ultimate aims were achieved.

With that in mind, here are my quarterly goals for 2017, with an update on how I did for 2016.

Career: Write 50% of Off the Clock (my next book)
Relationships: Plan a fun summer for the kids with camps. The good ones seem to need to be booked in February!
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).

Career: Finish first draft of Off the Clock
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.
Self: Run 21.7 miles per week (averaging a 5k a day)

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!)
Relationships: Do mommy days with each of the older 3 kids.
Self: Use my time in the car better, listening to podcasts, TED talks, classical music.

Career: Either revise the novel (again!) or start over during NaNoWriMo.
Relationships: Do another overnight date night with my husband.
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.

So that’s 2017. How did I do on 2016’s goals?

Career: Come up with my next non-fiction book idea. Done! Although not quite with this timing. I came up with an idea in Q1 that my publisher was not so keen on. Back to the drawing board for another idea hatched in Q3 and approved in Q4.
Relationships: Host the preschool moms party — done. It was fun!
Self: Finish the 18-minute treadmill speed workout from Oxygen magazine. Not quite. I never made it through the full 2 minutes at 9.0 mph. However, I did make it through 90 seconds at that speed. And in the process, I ran my first 8-minute mile, and did several sprints up to 10.0 mph. I did get faster, and that was the ultimate point.

Career: Revise the novel. Again, I did, but not this timing. I did it during NaNoWriMo in Q4. Still not very good.
Relationships: Have a fun time at my 15th year reunion. I did!
Self: Run 10 miles at 10 min/mile. Done. I thought I’d do this during the Broad Street race, but instead I did it during a training run with Jane. Good thing, because Broad Street was so rainy I would have been slow (as it is, I bailed).

Career: Write a “short collection” of sonnets. Well, it was really short. I wrote two. Read them here and here. You can read one from several years ago here.
Relationships: Extended family beach trip. We made the trip. Not terribly relaxing, but so it goes. There were some good moments, like seeing a beautiful sunrise, and making the leader board on one of the arcade games.
Self: Explore Paris during a trip there. Done — I ran through some lovely scenery and went to the Louvre.

Career: Meet my speaking income goal and be 50% booked for next year. I’m not sure what 50% booked means, but I did reach my income goal. More importantly, I gave a TED talk that has now been viewed over a million times. That’s a pretty good outcome for setting an intention to build my speaking business in 2016!
Relationships: Do something holiday related with each of the kids. Meh. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the holidays, but I did the solo mommy days in summer, and that probably worked better.
Self: Learn to play Linus and Lucy on the piano. Fail, fail, fail. I ordered the sheet music and then it got lost in transit, and I never followed up. Oh well!

12 thoughts on “My 2017 quarterly goals (and how I did on my quarterly goals in 2016)

  1. One vote to reconsider Hawaii.

    We just did Hawaii with a 1 and 5 year old. We bought direct flights to honolulu both ways and stayed on Oahu for the week. We got a large air bnb and brought a sitter along for extra help. It was a great trip. The kids did well on the flight even with a 3h delay (on the plane) on the way there, making for >14h on the plane. The 5 year old basically watched 12h of TV/movies/ipad game on the way there. They both slept on the red eye on the way back. The flight is long but there is no customs/immigration which saves time on that end. This is all to say that Hawaii was really doable with 2 small kids. We did miss the stuff on the other islands but the idea of connecting flights with little kids wasn’t for us.

    That said, you have 2 more kids than we do and know how well they travel. Consider giving Hawaii a closer look.

  2. Excited for your new book!

    RE: vacation. I’ve been booking some great deals in Punta Cana. What week is your break? Send me an email if you’re interested. The current promo ends January 3rd.

  3. Life is slightly up in the air at the moment – end stages of my PhD, new job for husband, and grappling with a wicked case of all day morning sickness which makes progress on work and life goals more complicated. Feeling slightly superstitious as well, not wanting to plan too much before the scan (2 weeks). But this quarter, I’d like to:

    Career: Finish my final draft of my PhD
    Relationships: Plan a fun day trip with my husband
    Self: Get back to my 2-3x/week yoga practice (studio is strict about no yoga in first tri)
    Home: Make a plan for what needs to be done around the house (organisation, purchases, painting)

  4. So happy I found you in Ted – you are my fav talk, have watched several times. I also like this simple goal technique & have had my family “fill in the blank” using your format. Looking forward to the new book – congrats! I ordered since I know the 1st week really counts – have a family member who is a author. Re: vacation, I am a travel advisor & book a lot of families. Hawaii is great, I book there often and went for my honeymoon 2016. I don’t know how much time you have, but far to go from PHL w/ kids. If kids don’t have passports US Vigin Islands & Puerto Rico are options. I’ve had several families go, no issues w/ Zika. If kids passports Jamica has great all-inclusives w/ fabulous kids programs, same with Mexico. Non-stop flights from PHL, affordable, and again, I ve not had any families have issues w/Zika. Cruise is an option also – lots of fun for the kids. Good luck & thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  5. Linus and Lucy – that one’s difficult for me. The left hand is doing things rhythm-wise that are completely different from what the right hand is doing! Good luck, once you find your sheet music! I bought a dress pattern for my 2-year-old granddaughter a week and a half ago, and it has disappeared! It will turn up eventually.

  6. I also pre-ordered the book. Even though I’ve listened to it 2x through on audible I need to support. Your advice has changed my life- thanks!

  7. For your 2017 Vacation, try Jamaic and rent a beach house. In Jamaica the beach houses also have a cook and cleaning person. We rented a house on the beach with a pool and a fabulous cook. We loved spending family time together in such a beautiful place. We also ate more traditional Jamaican food than we would have ever had at a resort. Tip – Bring grandparents or an aunt to help with watching the kids. We left the beach house three times in a week. It was so wonderful because I didn’t have to cook or clean up throughout the week. This is still my kids favorite vacation memory.

  8. Another option might be Bermuda–it’s further north than the Caribbean islands (east of the Carolinas, I think) so they have not yet had issues with Zika. We went there on a cruise and it was really nice, although I don’t know that I recommend cruising through the stormy North Atlantic. Since it is more northern it’s not quite as warm as other places, but a quick search showed it is usually in the 70s in March.

    A couple people mentioned Jamaica, but it is most definitely affected by Zika. It might not be as devastating as some places but it is there. I just went there on my honeymoon and it was fantastic, but my OB/GYN said definitely wait six months before trying to get pregnant.

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