2017 Goals


It's that time of year! One of my favorite New Year's "rituals" is reading my goals from the past year and seeing how my reality matched up, then setting goals for the next year. I also love chatting with Ben about our big combined goals and making plans for how to reach them. It's so helpful to talk through these kind of things with someone else...whether it's your husband, a friend, or even a blog. :) Honestly, that has been one of my favorite things about blogging throughout the years. It's like an online diary where I can record my hopes, dreams, and goals, and refer back to them in the future. And what's even better is when it's a conversation, not just one-sided. On that note, I would loooove it if some of you take the time to comment with your feedback, advice, and your own goals for 2017. It seems like these days, all the conversation is moving to social media, and that's cool too...but I kind of miss getting comments in response to my blog posts. Is traditional blogging dead? Oh well, at the very least, I'm posting this for my future self. Here we go, my top ten goals for the new year!

2017 Goals

1. Figure out where we want to live - The housing market in the Seattle area has exploooded over the past few years, and we feel like it's a bad time to be first-time buyers here. We could keep renting and see if prices drop...or we could move even further out, making Ben's commute super sucky...or we could get a house where the mortgage really stretches us. But none of those options are very appealing. We're both open to moving to a more affordable area, and the more we discuss it, the more we're actually excited about the idea. We'd like to raise our kids somewhere with a slower pace of life, less traffic, good schools, and the possiblity of owning some property. More affordable areas often check those boxes. So we've pretty much decided that we want to move...now we just need to decide where. We're looking for the right mix of cheap(er) housing, good jobs (at least one), people we know, beautiful nature, and things to do.

2. Buy a house - Obviously this goal is dependent on #1, but I'm hopeful that we can accomplish both in 2017. After all, housing prices are a big part of the reason why we'd be moving in the first place. If we go somewhere cheaper, we should have a lot more options within our price range which should make house hunting more fun and successful than our experience in 2016. Theoretically, anyways. Fingers crossed!

3. Get smarter about how we spend money - Now that we're down to one full-time income, we're trying to get smarter about how we spend our money. We quit a few subscriptions that we didn't use enough to be worth it, started shopping at a less expensive grocery store that's a bit farther away (go WinCo), and have been making coffee at home. I'm also looking into a less expensive phone plan (anyone tried Google Fi, Republic, or Cricket?) and have been checking for coupon codes every time before I make an online purchase.

4. Continue traveling - This goal has been on my list the last two years, and I want to keep making it a priority. Ian can fly for free on our laps up to two years old, so I really want to take advantage of that while we can and squeeze in a few more big trips (maybe even an overseas one?). At the very least, we've promised my brother that we'll visit him in Illinois this year.

5. Lose weight - Yet another classic resolution that I've had on my list for years. Argh. Last year, I learned some healthier recipes, went on lots of walks, and started eating more veggies--but I also had a baby. I would really like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and ideally, my wedding weight) before I get pregnant again. It's tough though, because I'm still breastfeeding Ian and I don't want to lose my milk supply. Or maybe that's just my excuse and it's actually tough because I just want to eat sweets and be lazy in the house...haha.

6. Get out of the house every day - Speaking of being lazy, I'm a total introvert and a homebody, and I would probably be happy to just hang out at home for days on end. My tendency to stay home has gotten even worse with Ian, because it takes even more effort to get us both ready and out of the house. But I'm usually happier when I do manage to get out, whether it's going for a walk, getting together with a friend, doing errands, or just stepping outdoors for a bit. So I'm challenging myself to get outside every day this year. I know that might sound pathetically easy if you're a naturally energetic and outgoing person, but honestly this will be hard for me. I'm hoping it will end up helping with other goals though--help me to exercise more, help me remember to set up dates with friends, and help Ian experience lots of different environments and conversations.

7. Document daily life with our "big camera" - This was one of my mini-goals last year too--to take more pictures of our everyday life with the big camera instead of my phone. This is for two reasons: 1) so the photos will be better quality and 2) so I'm on my phone less. Sometimes I pull out my phone for a quick picture of Ian and fifteen minutes later, I'm still on it, checking Instagram or email or whatever. With the big camera, I feel like I'm more in the moment. Also, I'd really like to improve my photography this year and the first step to that is taking more photos.

8. De-clutter - It's starting to look like we're hoarders...we've definitely accumulated too much stuff for our little 1200 sq ft house. If we stay here, then we absolutely need to pare everything down. And if we move to a different place, I don't want to pack up a bunch of stuff that we'll just end up storing or getting rid of there. Might as well deal with it now so we have less to move!

9. Update this blog - I'm super excited about this goal, and the fact that I'm finally in a place where I can put a little more effort and focus into blogging. It's always been a side hustle for me, squeezing in DIY projects on weekends and writing posts in the evening after my "real job." I haven't put any significant effort into the behind the scenes stuff since 2012, when I started this blog...and everything has evolved a lot since then. There's a laundry list of things that I've been meaning to do: make my site mobile friendly, update my about page, put some work into my social media channels...I could go on. It's actually pretty embarrassing. So this year, I'm hoping to tackle that list and make this blog feel more professional. 

10. Less comparing, more community - I have a tendency to compare myself with other bloggers on Instagram, and I hate it. There's always something to covet, something to be jealous of, someone who seems to be doing life "better." I know social media is just the highlight reel of people's lives (and sometimes it's staged anyways--not real life)...but it's hard to keep perspective when you're scrolling through sooo many perfect photos. When I started blogging, part of what I liked was the community and connecting with like-minded people all over the world. There were a limited number of bloggers I followed, but I felt like I "knew" each one a little bit, and reading their blogs made me feel inspired and connected. Gradually, I've stopped reading and commenting on blogs as much, and instead have followed more and more people on Instagram. It's easier and quicker, but it's emptier and more superficial too. This year, I want to go back to engaging with people in a more meaningful way: actually reading their blog posts, getting to know them, and leaving comments, rather than quickly double tapping photo after photo. I'm hoping that will help me feel less jealousy and more camaraderie!

I have lots of other little goals and to-do's, but these are the ten that I really want to focus on this year. I'd love to hear what your resolutions are too! Cheers to a great 2017.

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  1. Posted by Liz on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

    So exciting about the moving and house idea! It amazes me the differences across this country in cost of living. I live in a lower cost of living city. One thing that bums me out is that I assume that buying house or decor items (for example) online is actually "more expensive" for me than it is for someone in, say, Los Angeles (due to salary differences in the city with a lower cost of living). If one could work remotely for a company that will pay the higher salary, that really sweetens the deal!

    Social media is a really interesting topic! I love blogs (yours being one of my favorites), but I have gotten off Facebook and never gotten "on" Instagram, etc. I'm not really technology averse (I am a computer programmer by trade and work at an IT company). However, I guess I don't like the pace of Facebook and Instagram. I cannot keep up. So I've chosen to swim against the tide and not do social media.
    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

      Thanks! It feels like the right decision, but we haven't found THE job for Ben yet so we'll see. That's definitely a big factor because like you said, the only thing that's actually cheaper in a more affordable city is the housing (and possibly less transportation costs related to commuting). Everything else--clothes, home decor, groceries, etc.--will actually be more expensive in relation to our salary (or at least, I assume that Ben will take a pay cut if we move somewhere cheaper). So we'll have to see if it's actually worth it. If he could keep his current job and work remotely, that would definitely be the best of both worlds! Honestly, I've often wondered why so many bloggers live in such expensive cities (SF, LA, NYC) since blogging is actually one of those lucky jobs where you CAN make the same amount, no matter where you live.

      As for social media, that was actually my job for the last two years--social media marketing! I thought it would be such an interesting field to get into, and it was to some extent. But like you said, the pace is so fast. And the content is so insubstantial. I still like Instagram for keeping up with friends & favorite bloggers, and Pinterest for cataloguing ideas & inspiration...but they don't take the place of a REAL conversation. Good for you on swimming against the tide! I think that's totally admirable.
  2. Posted by Liz on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

    I'd love to know more from people who use phone plans like Cricket, etc., too. If I could reduce my phone plan and still be satisfied, I'd like to.

    My husband started using Google Fi several months ago. He likes it just fine. It's neat that it can jump on either the Verizon or Sprint network. Cost-wise, it hasn't been too much cheaper so far, due to the cost of the phone. I believe he pays about $50/month with the cost of the phone factored in [over a two-year period].
    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

      We have some friends that use Cricket & recommend it! I haven't looked into it enough yet...but if we end up switching, I'll be sure to pass along my thoughts. :)

      Good to know your husband likes Google Fi! $50/month is actually less than what we're paying now, especially if that includes the cost of his phone.
  3. Posted by Jenn V on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

    I know where you should move!! ;)

    I would love to use my big camera, unfortunately my battery charger is in storage. So I need to figure out how to get a new one. I have been so lazy with my big camera since having kids...the iPhone is so much easier.
    • Posted by Aileen on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

      :D Haha! It's high on the list!

      And I know, iPhones are just too convenient. But I realized after printing off some pictures of Ian's first 6 months that there is a BIG difference in quality between my phone snaps and my "big camera" photos--it was even more noticeable once I got the pictures printed than it is when I scroll through on a screen. That said, there's something to be said for quick, in-the-moment, no-pressure photos. I loved your video from 2016 with all your one-second-a-day captures!
  4. Posted by Joy Clark on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

    I think the resolution to 'get out of the house every day' is a good one, but I don't think it is actually doable. After all, some days you just don't want to go out of the house and it is a relief if you don't feel like you have to because of some arbitrary goal that you set for yourself.

    I think it would be more doable if you try for 6 days a week. Or set up a rewards system for yourself when you do actually manage to get out of the house.

    But then again... I always have to leave the house and am often jealous of people who get to stay home all day. So I sometimes reward myself by letting myself stay inside all day. Always HAVING to leave the house would be stressful.
    • Posted by Aileen on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

      Hi Joy! Haha I definitely know the feeling of relief sometimes when plans get canceled and I can just stay home in PJs (aaahhhh). That's why I already built in a loophole for myself! I'm going to count LITERALLY stepping outside of the house, even if I don't go far. Just drinking some coffee on our front patio, or stepping out to the sidewalk to get a peek at the sunset...not necessarily a big excursion every day. Basically, I want this to be a reminder for me to get a breath of fresh air and see a little bit of nature every day. But if I miss a day? Then oh well...like you said it's just an arbitrary goal that I set for myself, so I won't beat myself up over it!

      I like your idea of a rewards system though. I'm always up for rewards!!!
  5. Posted by Corlana on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

    I love reading your goals! inspires me to make some for us too!
    And I'm really hoping that once you do move it will be closer to us ;)
    • Posted by Aileen on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

      Aww, thank you Cor! I am good at making goals...not so good sometimes at taking the actions needed to achieve them. You guys are an inspiration to us in that regard! I'm hoping this year we can take a page from your book and have more DOING, not just talking. :)

      Hope we will end up closer to you as well! Or at least see lots of you this year!

  6. Posted by Wanju on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

    Aw, I like all your goals too! Some of them I have also made - particularly the getting out of the house and the decluttering ones! A goal of mine this year is to try to land a full time position to help bolster the bacon brought home. ;)

    Ooh, is Olympia on the list? We've been keeping Daniel and Rebecca in mind. :)
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, January 6th, 2017

      Yay! We should both get out of our houses & meet up sometime. :) I've been (finally) reading "the life changing magic of tidying up" and trying to follow her method for decluttering. Feels good!

      Best of luck landing a full time position this year!!!

      We will probably visit Olympia more now that Daniel & Rebecca will be there (they are moving this weekend!)...I haven't explored it much yet, but I'm excited to see what it's like. :)
  7. Posted by Rakel on Friday, January 6th, 2017

    I loved reading this!! so inspiring! Been meaning to put a list together but don't want to be too hard on myself. I like setting achievable goals. The 'buying a house' goal has been on my list for some time but the market just isn't working in our favor...the savings continue. Maybe when the time is right, things will fall into place. I hope you guys find THE job and the perfect house. Come to Boston :) you'd love it here! Best, -new reader of your blog :)
    • Posted by Aileen on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

      Thanks so much, Rakel! I also like the idea of month-long challenges/goals as they feel more specific and attainable. Could be something to try if thinking in year-long chunks just feels too abstract or lofty!

      I DO really want to see Boston! Maybe that will be one of our trips this year.

      Thanks for the comment! I'm so glad you found my blog.
  8. Posted by Amy on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

    Saaaaaaaaame exact thing over here with #1. It's either get a crappy home in a bad area for O to have a reasonable commute or move so far out that he'd need to quit his job and get a different one. We can't figure out where to go!!

    You have a brother in Illinois! I did too, until he moved to AZ last year :).

    And losing weight is on my mental goals list every year haha. I find myself saying that my body is just changing and it aint what it used to be but that could totally be an excuse for me not wanting to work hard at it. I feel you on this one.

    You've had such a beautiful 2016, Aileen!! Happy New Year to you and your cute family <3
    • Posted by Aileen on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

      I feel your pain, trust me!!!

      Yep, my brother is in grad school in Champaign. We're hoping to visit him there and also check out Chicago. I've never been!

      Argh, trying to lose weight is just THE WORST. I'm feeling like I need to do something drastic like Whole 30 at some point to get things jump started, because trying to "eat healthier" and "exercise more" is so unspecific...it's basically doing nothing for me. I saw you guys are getting rid of all the snacks in your house...I think something like that would also help as I have zero self control!

      Thanks so much, Amy. I feel like I fell behind on blogging this year, but it was SUCH a good year personally that I really can't complain! No regrets. Happy New Year to you guys too! xo
  9. Posted by Jen Spadaro on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

    Hey! If your husband talks to a recruiter they could tell him where his job is hiring in the country. Then you can narrow it down like that? I'm nursing too and I don't feel like the weight comes off as fast. And I googled a lot and some ppl definitely had the same issue. I maybe got it off 4 months after. But I'm still about 2lbs away. I feel like with nursing I have no self control to really diet. Every night it's so many sweets, I honestly wonder if it's hormonal? My daughter will be 1 January 31st, I have to figure out when I plan to stop nursing. I've been reading a lot about minimalism lately. You could potentially look into it for your declutter, spend less resolutions? Although I love my home to be decorated beautifully, I do not like clutter and stuff and I don't want to needlesssly buy and be victim of consumerism. I've really enjoyed just being more aware.
    • Posted by Aileen on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

      That's really good advice! We've always tried to job hunt the opposite way--by picking a place first--but it's probably not the best method.

      I've heard the same thing about nursing. I always thought it was supposed to burn sooo many calories that the weight would just drop off, but apparently for some (including me, evidently) it makes it harder to lose weight. But you're so close! 2 lbs away is hardly anything.

      And yes to minimalism! I've been hearing a lot about the documentary on Netflix. Need to watch that. I really like the idea of buying only what I need & LOVE instead of consuming out of habit. It has the double benefit of creating less clutter & saving money...both of which I'm excited about!
  10. Posted by Megan on Sunday, March 5th, 2017

    I see the Illinois promise in writing.. haha!
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, March 6th, 2017

      Oh dear! Hahaha.