Looking Back at 2016


At the end of the year I like to take a look back and see how I did in terms of goal progress and life in general over the year.  I also used to give every year keyword although I kind of dropped it last year and honestly I think most of us would give 2016 the keyword of “death”.  Losing so many icons and celebrities hurt.  I normally just have a quick “aww that’s sad” at celebrity deaths, but this year had some that hit me hard.  Prince had me crying at work, no exaggeration.

And then, for me near the end were more personal losses.  The loss of a loved one in October, a loss I am still grieving greatly and struggling to recover from.  In November, our community lost someone much beloved by many people I know, and while I didn’t know him as well as many, it mourned more than I expected and it only added to the existing grief.

2016 was also a year of stress, a lot of things not going the way that I hoped or planned, that damned roof, and a lot of struggling with disappointment in myself for my many failings. This year I also found myself not only dealing with my cranky knees but also discovering I have iron deficiency anemia.

All that said, it wasn’t a completely horrible year.  I did get to have the experience of a lifetime in going to Italy, which is something I hope I never forget.  I got my main garden rebuilt, and it has managed to stay in good shape for the entire year!  And while I didn’t do as well as I hoped, I was able to accomplish at least some of my goals for the year.

I grouped my goals into five categories for this year so let’s go through them one by one.

Financials

Overall, I think I did fairly well in my financial goals for 2016 though I do acknowledge that part of that is because a lot of the goals I had were easy to accomplish by maintaining the status quo.  For example, paying off the personal loan for the flat roof pretty much just met making the monthly payments but as I likely could have asked for and received an extension to divert funds elsewhere, I still felt it was a goal I wanted to set and I’m glad I got it done.

I am happy that I was able to get my student loan balance down below $20,000 and I got my emergency fund back up to $1000 and have managed to not mess with it since.  Unfortunately, I was not able to meet my goal of getting the mortgage balance below $85,000 because I ended up paying less extra per month than I had planned due to other expenses and having run up a balance on my credit card, partially from the vacation to Italy and the rest from other unexpected expenses and admittedly a few frivolities.

That said amending the year with a credit card back down to zero and while I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be, I do think my financial picture continues to improve bit-by-bit with every passing year.

Fitness and Health

Yeah, this was definitely not a category that I saw enough successes in.  While I did get a new swimsuit, I only swam two or three times in the entire year.  Even I can’t explain why I’ve been reluctant to get back in the pool, while ongoing issues with my knee contributed to the problem that doesn’t explain all of it.  Now I do know towards the end of the year I was more reluctant to swim because I often think a lot while I’m swimming and I was afraid it would trigger my grief, and swimming while crying is probably not a safe thing to do.

I also didn’t ride my bike as much as I would’ve liked or had planned, and I didn’t do as much exercise in general as I was aiming to do.  I did manage to walk a mile or so at work during lunch most weeks, but I know that I’m capable of doing much more.  I also never got back to walking up the stairs at least once a day, and again I can’t give any reason why other than pure laziness and, admittedly, a year heavy with mental fatigue where I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough to bother.

But it is something I need to work on next year and was one of the biggest sources of personal self-disappointment that I had this year.  As for my weight, I not only failed in reducing my weight but ended up gaining back 10 pounds that I had lost in 2015 due to heavy emotional eating from October onwards.  So getting back on track with that is also something I’ll need to work on for next year.

Around the House

My lovely 60+-year-old house is a great generator of goals and it’s almost always the section that has the most goals of the start of the year.  This year was no exception with 14 goals in that section to start off with.  When I set those goals, they all seemed fairly realistic; many of them were low to no cost and just required effort on my part.  As such, I’m disheartened to have failed with most of them.

In fact, I failed in almost all of them.  I did get the bathroom closet cleaned up and reorganized and I, mostly, got the built-in from the cat’s room cleaned up. Only half of the front garden has been cleaned up and revitalized.  The bedroom painting is still a work in progress even though I started it in October.

Some of the ones that required money did end up being delayed due to my deciding the money should be better used elsewhere, but a lot of them just required me to get off my ass and do stuff and I just didn’t.  I had plenty of time where I couldn’t finish cleaning out the other closet, I just never did.

I’m hoping that I’ve taken my own laziness and procrastination into account better as I set my goals for 2017 regarding house tasks.  And I should also note that there are still three days left in this year, and knowing me because I’m now annoyed at myself for how much I failed, I may try to get one or two last ones done in the next three or four days.

Hobbies

This is probably an odd category to set goals in, considering you don’t often set goals for your hobby activities.  However, I set a few goals in this area in part two remind myself that I do have free time and that sometimes I should spend it on things I enjoy.

To a degree, this goal also helps me better evaluate how I use things and my wants vs. reality.  For example, my goals regarding playing PC games and watching DVDs helped me see how many of them I consume versus how many I buy.  And the fact that I failed the DVD goal so badly is a good indication to me that I should hold off buying most stuff, except anime because I always watch anime.  It’s also a good reminder to myself that I need to get over this weird idea of not watching anything if I’m not with my sweetie.

I also set the goal of the long-term projects because I realized I have all these crafty-type things sitting around that I got thinking “oh that would be so fun” and then I never actually do them.  If nothing else, it drove home the point that I need to quit asking for such things are buying such things because again reality rarely matches the dream.

I did accomplish my goal regarding console games although it’s not a particularly difficult one for me; still it did inspire me to play a little faster.  The PC game one was a more interesting one because I technically failed in that I did not complete the ones in the list, but I did buy both Portal and Portal 2 and completed both of those in like a day.  My take away from that is that my PC gaming tastes have changed as well as my lifestyle, and so while I still love the idea of some of those games I just don’t have the time and inclination to play them like I use to.

And of course I continue to fail at my goal of recoding my personal website, An Eclectic World, but that speaks more to my own laziness than anything else.  I did get started on it at least and I think if I just focused and spend some time working on it, it would be done fairly quickly.  It isn’t nearly as complicated as some of the apps we built for work, but working on two large projects at work tends to kill my desire to do any coding when I get home.

As the year progressed, I also added the goals of finishing my ICEE guide and processing and posting all of my pictures from Italy, neither of which I did.  Although again I still have three days left in the year to at least tackle the second one of those.

Everything Else

This one was my catchall category for anything that just didn’t fit the rest, and so it only had a few goals.  I had about a half and half rate of successes here.  I did replace my old work issue iPad with my own personal one and I did replace at least some of my old dated makeup (and throughout the rest).

The other two goals in the section revolved around professional development stuff and trying to do some certification exams, and I decided I just wasn’t in a place mentally to tackle those and struggled with finding any sort of time to do them.  It doesn’t help that neither one of the exams I want to take has any sort of decent self-study materials only very expensive courses, and I had a hard time coming up with any value in doing them.

Final Thoughts

Again, I have to say overall I am disappointed and annoyed with myself at how many goals I did not succeed in.  I’m also annoyed at myself in doing such a poor job in setting goals for this year, because I believe if I had done a better job of setting the goals and I would’ve had more successes.  This is something I’m trying to keep in mind as I set my goals for 2017.

I hope you all had a more fruitful 2016 than I did, but if you didn’t then I know I’m going to try to pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again so hope you’ll do the same.