Last year writing out my goals on my blog and updating on my progress throughout the year helped keep me accountable so for 2012 I'm doing the same. Some are personal goals, some are financial goals, some are fitness goals, and some are family goals.
1. Be more patient with my children. Generally speaking I am a relatively patient person but I know I could grow in this area this year. Honestly now that my kids are older my expectations for them are high and I get frustrated when they do things like ignore me over and over again or fight non-stop with each other. These and other behaviors are not acceptable but my response needs to be more patient and I need to institute appropriate consequences for the misbehavior, and not lose my temper or yell. I think this is a very important goal for me this year with the new baby coming in May.
2. Spend more quality time with my husband, go on dates more, and make it a priority to spend at least two weekends with him this year completely kid-free. Last week we had a nice treat, 24 hours kid-free. I can't even describe how it refreshed my soul. Hubby and I had a wonderful date and lots of time to just be a couple and take a break from parenting. We got about halfway through The Love Dare book last year and we need to make it a priority to finish it over the next couple months. I'd also love to get involved with a small group or marriage study at church if there is one available that fits our schedule.
3. Make more local friends. Spend more time with my long time friends. I'm a people person, plain and simple. People feed my soul and I need that interaction with friends on a regular basis. I'd love to meet more local women to get together with regularly. I'd also love to get together more regularly with my long time girlfriends who I love spending time with but most live 45 minutes away or so. A little progress in both regards this year would make me happy.
4. Learn more about parenting tweens and teens. I feel very unprepared for the challenges that lay ahead now that I have an 11, 11, and almost 9 year old. Babies, toddler, preschoolers, I'm an expert at, but teens they are almost alien like creatures. Luckily none of my kids have gotten to the stage where they "hate" me and think everything I do is wrong. Both 11 year olds have attitudes though drastically different due to gender and personality. The 9 year still hasn't hit the attitude, pre-teen stage yet but I told hubby we've got 1 more good year out of her at most before it starts with her too.
5. Stick to a budget! I am awful at this. I make a budget, I'm frugal, yet we still overspend. It is vicious cycle. Life with three kids isn't cheap but we should be saving and paying off debt quicker than we are. My number one financial goal this year is to stick to a budget. Nate is now helping more with the finances instead of all of it resting on my shoulders and we implemented a new system to track the budget this year so I am hoping it works.
6. Find little ways to cut back on spending. Cut grocery bill down even more, restart The Grocery Game, 2nd hand shop for the kids as much as possible (in 2011 I had great luck with consignment sales and a local consignment shop), cut back on eating out, and any other little way I can figure out. It may only total up to $100-$200 per month but if that can be paid towards student loans and less interest the impact is magnified.
7. Fully fund a 6 month emergency fund, then start paying down student loans. We're having a baby in May. We have a lot of large expenses the first half of this year, $3000 deductible and co-insurance for delivery, a new car that seats 6, finishing a bedroom in the basement for Brennan, and re-decorating Phoenix's old room for the baby. These things are going to take a lot of our extra income for the first 6 months of the year, not to mention everything the baby needs like furniture, gear, clothes, etc. Being realistic my goal would be to have our 6 month emergency fund fully funded by the end of April. Given the expenses we have coming up this year, after our emergency fund is fully funded my goal for our student loans would be to pay $10,000 towards student loans by the end of 2012. That isn't much at all considering the huge amount of student loans hubby and I have but it would be a start in the right direction. I think that amount could at least pay off both of our private student loans and leave us both with only Federal Stafford loans which have low interest rates and the most flexible repayment terms.
8. Get back into running. I was running until about 13-14 weeks pregnant but then it got cold here in Colorado and I can't seem to get the motivation back. I was really hoping to keep running my entire pregnancy and run a fall 2012 half marathon but that goal may be too big for this year. Plus the half marathon I wanted to run is now when we'll be out of town in September. Running a summer 5K and a fall 10K and training well for them are probably better postpartum goals. This will leave me ready to train for a spring 2013 half marathon and the Colorado Marathon is my first choice. It will also leave me very well trained to run a fast (for me) 2013 Bolder Boulder. Running the Bolder Boulder has been my dream since I got into running but this year I'll only be a couple weeks postpartum so it will have to be delayed until 2013.
So those are my goals for 2012. Thanks for helping keep me accountable!