A look back at my 2016 Work-Life Goals

Health Goals, Writing Goals, Family Goals and Quality of Life, oh my! How am I ever going to find balance in all of that?

This time last year I ditched the “New Year Resolutions” schtick, and instead opted for long term goals focussed in specific areas of my life. I didn’t want to make vague promises to myself, I wanted specific, defined outcomes. Last year I started on a new treatment plan for my health issues and I’m happy to say they have made the world of difference for me. For the most part I feel like a healthy, happy human released from a world of so much damn pain and fatigue it was crushing me.

So, lets review those goals from last year and see how I did…

The combination of health and writing plus my family commitments add up to my overall goal for 2016 – improved quality-of-life (or QoL).

1) Health and Fitness

* Losing weight. Total success here, I’m lighter than I have been in decades and this makes a HUGE difference for my mobility and self-esteem.

* Eat healthier. I’m still tracking my food, most days, as I’m still on a weight loss plan. I’d like to say that I stuck to this plan 100% last year but that would be a huge lie. I fluctuated rapidly for a while and then I found my groove, I made conscious choices and now I find I’m really in control of what I eat, the choices I make and the enjoyment I derive from the life essential.

* Become more active. What makes me so excited about this goal is that I said “I don’t have the returned health to take on a marathon or even attempt a C25K program,” turns out I was wrong. I’m lifting weights 3 times a week and attempting a C25K program (with zombies) the other 3 days a week! This is massive for me and my hand swims in confusion as to how this is possible. It’s amazing what the right treatment will do for a person’s quality of life.

* Keep up with my conditions. This is no longer a huge need for me. I did keep up with my conditions, which is how I got to the real cause of my decade+ long illness.

* Get regular massages this was amazing and I highly recommend it, even once a month. I was lucky enough to have them once a week for several months at a time and it was just the best thing for feeling nurtured, healthy and pampered.

* Start learning dictation Yeah, haven’t don’t so well on this front, probably because my hands have actually been pretty great again with the drugs and all.

Takeaway – I kicked this out of the water! I am so proud of myself.

2) Write more. Write better and get some real direction with my overall writing goals.

* Learn. I’ve decided this is a lifelong goal because once you start learning, it becomes addictive. I still have a long way to go and decisions to make on where I want/need to take things in the future, but, having this as a focus point last year helped keep me on track.

* Publish. I did this. Three times. Not a landslide and I won’t be paying off my mortgage anytime soon, but I still got published and I still got paid.

* Get my WIP out to beta readers! Well, this didn’t happen. Only because I turned the whole thing into a much more epic story with the previous WIP as the background, research for the new WIP. This isn’t waisted effort, in my opinion, it’s just a second draft that doesn’t resemble the first 🙂

* Read more. Read more diversely.
I really struggled with this and I’m going to have to look back at my reading list for 2016 to see if I really achieved reading 5 books outside my comfort zone. But I did read, a lot.

Takeaway – I didn’t have enough writing focus last year as I was consumed by so much else. I need to formulate a better plan if I want to hit my reading/writing goals for 2017.

3) Get organised. Get productive

* Put systems in place that keep me moving forward.
I have finally settled on a fantastic system that is working for me, see, it must be working because I’m writing this 🙂

I didn’t want to use a physical day planner, there was no single app that fit my requirements and so instead I researched all the planners that are available, looked through them to see what I liked and didn’t like and then created something in Evernote that works brilliantly. I’ll try to write something more about this in the future because I think it could be useful for others.

* Daily Routine.
I’m still very dedicated to the routine rather than a schedule lifestyle. I do have my day planner with times and tasks and all that, but everything is fluid and flexible with room to move things through out the day, week/month as needed.

Takeaway – Getting organised takes time. You need to find the system that works for you, notice when/if the system is failing and quickly change to something new. But being organised is the only way to remain focussed and achieve your goals.

4) Travel and Learn a foreign language

WHAT AN AMAZING ADVENTURE! Yes, I had to yell that out. We had so much fun while we traveled through Europe and America, you can read about it here on my travel blog if you’re interested.

* Journal everything.
I took loads of photos. I used the Project Life app to make stunning scrapbook pages that were simple and elegant and I kept notes in Evernote. Yay me.

* Homeschooling!
This was a HUGE learning curve for our entire family and we learnt so much about each other and ourselves. It has its ups and downs and is seriously time/life consuming, but, world schooling has been a success for us. Our son loves it. He’s learning a lot more than he did in public school and we’ve decided to continue doing it.

Takeaway – You really do have to be dedicated to taking photos, noting down memories, thoughts etc after all your exciting travel days if you want to remember all the details for later blogging/journaling etc. These are two huge chunks of time that have to be entered into the routine.

Many of my friends have said how much 2016 sucked for them, and I feel such sympathy for that. Mine, I am pleased to say, was the positive, wonderful time I’ve had in forever. Bring it 2017, I am so ready for you.

Still giving thanks to www.thecreativepenn.com for the inspiration to write this post for myself. Let’s hope at the end of the year we can compare our achievements with a warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction in a life well-lived.

I’d love to hear what goals others have for 2017 and how you all made out in 2016. Please feel free to post in the comments, on my Facebook page or via a link to your blog.

Tracey Ambrose
"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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