New Years Goals for Anyone

by Sandy L on December 30, 2010

The last week of the year is almost always a week of reflection due to the time I take off from work.  I tend to get introspective and think about how I want the upcoming year to be different from the previous one.

Despite my need to lose those last few pounds of baby weight, I almost never put weight loss as a goal. I hate diets of all kinds and I tend to focus on things that make me happy instead.  When I’m happy, I’m active. When I’m happy, I eat better. When I’m happy, I’m skinnier.

These are the goals I have every year in some form or another:

  1. Visit 1 new place this year.
  2. Learn 1 new fun thing.
  3. Work on improving 1 new work skill.
  4. Eat 1 type of veggie at dinner any veggie.
  5. Pay down 1 Debt or save for 1 thing.
  6. Fix up one room in the house.
  7. Volunteer for one day.

Do you see a pattern?  Yup, it’s all super easy and most of the tasks are things I want to do, not things I should do.  The problem when you’re busy is that it’s easy to forget that you want to try a new hobby or the year flies by and you forget to book that vacation until it’s too late.  The other cool thing about these goals is that you can do them at any budget level.

I also don’t put goals that I do automatically like like invest in my 401K and give to Charity.

Visit 1 new place this year.

Before I had kids, this goal was “Leave the Country at Least Once/Year”.  Over a lifetime, you get to see a lot of stuff.   Vacations have always been a priority, so we’ve spent some major coin on them over the years.  It doesn’t have to break the bank though. How many of you have lived in an area for a while and still haven’t seen some of the local sights? Probably everybody. I’m now on my 15th year in the Berkshires and I still haven’t been to the Norman Rockwell Museum. I have no idea why but I just haven’t made it there yet. I even had free passes on my fridge for like a year.

Anyone can achieve this goal on any budget. It might be visiting a new park or nature preserve…or it might be a safari in Africa. Either way, you’re seeing a part of the world you haven’t seen before and I think that can only enrich your life.

Learn 1 new fun thing

I love Hobbies and I never tire of learning new things. I’ve always lived in dumpy houses so after 10 years of being in ours, I now know how to hang sheet rock, tile, make stained glass windows, lay hardwood floors, refinish furniture, paint, perennial garden, and a whole host of other things.  Okay, so fixing stuff is not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can learn a new sport or start a blog, or get serious about putting your photos in a scrapbook or whatever. Trying to do everything on your bucket list is overwhelming, but getting good at only 1 thing at a time, makes it a lot easier to be pretty well rounded over time. I want to be a renaissance woman and hence I plan on learning new stuff forever.

Speaking of learning a new sport,  I’ve been dying to join the Pittsfield Panty Raid. It’s our local Roller Derby club. My travel schedule makes it hard to commit to the evening practices, but it’s something to work towards. This type of goal is far superior to “lose 20 pounds”.

I’ve expanded this now that I have my own kids. For example, this year I had goals of teaching my older son to swim without a floatie and bike without training wheels. It’s double the fun when your goals include family too.

Work on improving 1 new work skill

I have a pretty structured review process at work, so this is usually incorporated during my self assessment stage.  I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, so a lot of  the time, the goal was just centered around getting to learn the skills of the job.  This year I decided to start a blog so I could learn wordpress. I figure knowing wordpress would be pretty useful in a variety of ways…plus it doubled as a fun thing to do.

You can also take a class, borrow books from the library, brush up on advice off the internet.  There are ways to learn at all budget and skill levels.

Eat 1 type of veggie at dinner any veggie

It’s amazing how easy it is to just carb up and not eat vegetables. We are fine with fruit in this household but veggies can be a challenge. I discovered frozen edamame this year, they steam in 5 minutes and my kids love them.  I also love Alexia Fries.  We call them emergency fries. They have great sweet potato fries.  When I bake them, they get crispy like deep fried fries, but they are not fried and are very nutritious.   Thank goodness both of my kids eat broccoli now because that steams up in 5 minutes too.

Pay down 1 Debt or save for 1 thing.

I actually am a personal finance nerd. This is probably not a fun goal for many, but for a number cruncher like myself, I like to have a purpose behind the hours I put in at work.

Fix up one room in the house.

If you’re a renter, maybe this is not important, but even when I was renting, I’d paint a room a year. I care about what my home looks like and I like change. I’m just now at the point where my house is nice in every room but I still planning on painting a room a year moving forward.  I don’t want to have to do the whole house over at once. This way it always looks nice and I am never overwhelmed with having to do a bunch of things at once.  We also have enacted the “Paint one side of the house a year rule.”

Volunteer for One Day

My company used to organize a volunteer event in September and I usually would go. I figure if everyone in the world volunteered for 1 day out of 365, the world would be a better place.  If you can’t find a charity that doesn’t require a long commitment, then help an elderly neighbor for a day, help a friend with a house project, help someone.  You won’t regret it. We help a lot of people and never have trouble finding help when we need a hand.  It’s a great way to live.

So there you have it, my annual generic goals that always change but are fundamentally the same year to year.  Are any of these goals on your yearly list? Are there any that you will add to your list?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Well Heeled Blog December 31, 2010 at 12:18 AM

I don’t have those exact goals, but I do have plans to travel to new places for 2011: D.C. and Virginia. What places are you thinking of visiting?


Sandy L December 31, 2010 at 3:33 AM

Well Heeled – I’d really like to go to Hawaii but it depends on how the economy is doing. We tend to be opportunistic with our travel and go where the dollar is strong and hawaii is usually pretty expensive. It would have been good to go in 2008 but my young one was just born and it’s pretty far if you live on the east coast.

I’ve traveled pretty extensively through work and fun over the years, so this one is getting harder to do domestically. I also would love to go to Banff in Canada or the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone. I have never really explored the Wyoming, Montana, Idaho area and I hear it’s lovely. I think it’s because our summer season is so short here and I’d like to go during the summer to those places. I hate to eat into the good weather here as there’s tons to do where I live.


Laura December 31, 2010 at 6:13 AM

This is a good way of doing it Sandy and it covers everything. I like the paint one side of the house rule..I did this with garden fence panels, but not intentionally.

We don’t have any travel plans for 2011 because 2012 is going to be a big year for us..but if I can get flights to Lisbon for <£60 return each then we may take a quick trip!

We are hoping to explore our own area a little more though (Nottingham, robin hood country) and take a few trips to London.

Have a great 2011!


Everyday Tips December 31, 2010 at 9:59 AM

I like how your goals are attainable.

You do so much and you are so busy, it would be hard to attain ‘giant’ goals. I think they are perfect. By the way, I know someone that is very involved in roller derby, and she loves it. I would probably break every bone in my body just because I get too competitive and do stupid things.

Regarding mega-travel, I might wait until the kiddos were a little older and focus on other things. But that is just me.


Little House December 31, 2010 at 2:31 PM

I really like how you simplified your goals. I’m definitely on board with the “visit one new place a year.” I’ve been dying to travel to Zion National Park and really want to make that happen this year. And I’m with you on the whole weight loss goal; I never set a diet or weight goal just a “stay active” goal. Makes it much more fun!


John Hartman December 31, 2010 at 8:45 PM

I can’t believe you haven’t seen the NRM yet. You know Heidi used to work there. Don’t let another year pass without checking it out.


Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer January 1, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I also like how simple yet effective those goals seem. Don’t forget to keep us up to date. I don’t think I’m going anywhere new this year, but we are vacationing.


Molly On Money January 2, 2011 at 4:57 PM

I like your goals: simple, interesting and attainable.
I’m never inspired to make goals this time of year. I think it’s because I turn into a bear and am in a deep sleep. If the new year was the beginning of spring I’d be right there with ya!


Sandy L January 2, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Laura – yeah, I wouldn’t be that fussed over rule #1 if I had such a big life change around the corner.

Kris – I have realized I want to do everything all at once, so the only way I can achieve my goals is to make them diverse but small in scope. If I look back to the things I’ve learned and the places I’ve been, I’m pretty happy. It’s more than a lot of people do in a lifetime (travel wise anyway).

Little House – Zion is great…although we went back when anyone could get into the park. We camped in the park. Bryce Canyon is also worth stopping by while you are in the area. I hope you do make it. You can do it on the cheap if you bring a tent.

John – I’s just one of those things I have a mental block with and people always talk great about it. Hey, what country are you in these days? I didn’t have your current address. Send me an email.

Kay Lynn – Interesting that I don’t keep track of my goals, but at the end of the year, I’ve always achieved them. Maybe it makes sense to give myself a midyear review. Good point.

Molly – the only reason I do it is because I have a week off from work and I’m usually home. It gives me a little time to reflect. I like to dream up of where I want to go on vacation around Feb-March because at that point I’m SO sick of the cold.


Squirrelers January 3, 2011 at 3:34 AM

Sandy – these are all really great goals, and I added a comment of my own on Squirrelers regarding your goals. One side note is the Alexa Fries mention you made….I have to say, the first thing I thought of was Alexa as in the rankings:) I’ve gotten more immersed into blogging that I realized, apparently!


101 Centavos January 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

I like your goal of learning one new skill.
The one I’ve had on my list for while is learning how to make cheese. First cheese, then welding.


Invest It Wisely January 3, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Good luck on the goals; I like how you focused on fun and interesting goals to achieve. That will certainly help with motivation toward getting there, and satisfaction from having achieved them.


Barb Friedberg January 4, 2011 at 5:45 PM

This was a fun read. I love to tinker, build and fix things as well. I would love to take a wood working class on day….. but I’m working on really being mindful of the best uses of my time. Making a big commitment to teaching an MBA class, and doing the blog on top of work are about it for me!


Sandy @ Journey To Our Home January 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM

I loved your goals. They seem so attainable because you aren’t putting too many restrictions on them. Just one new thing, item, event.
I’m also excited this year to start visiting more places in our backyard- and I’ve made my husband agree that a Friends of the Zoo pass is a go this year. Only thing is we’ll have to try to MAKE ourselves go once a month for the kids. They LOVE the zoo!


Sandy L January 13, 2011 at 6:31 AM

Squirreler – you actually caught my typo. They are alexia fries, but i just put alexa because of the ranking. I fixed it.

101 – I’ve used their stuff and taken the classes there. I highly recommend and it’s very very easy to make soft cheeses like ricotta and yogurt.

Invest it – thanks. I try to mix things up every year. I like that the goals stay the same, but I still develop as a person as a result.

Barb – teaching is quite a big goal. I don’t know if I’d ever be cut out for that. Good Luck.

Sandy – I’m jealous. Our closest zoo is over 2 hours away, so we are members of the local museum and YMCA (for the pool). I love memberships like that. I’ve really gotten my money’s worth, plus a lot of them do consortium deals where you can see sister zoos or museums for free.


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