Reflections on 2015: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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What can I say? I’m a total sucker for the proverbial “clean slate” that comes with the start of each new year. Here’s me:

  • The sky is the limit!
  • The possibilities are endless!
  • It’s time to chase my dreams!
  • I’m going to become the best version of myself!

(At least until January 20th or so.) 😜

But before I yammer on and on about my new year’s resolutions, I think it’s important to take some time to reflect on 2015.

The Good

Resolutions I kept, things I accomplished, and other changes I made in the name of self-improvement:

  1. I ran my first marathon. (2015 resolution)*
  2. I completed P90X. (2015 resolution)
  3. I quit Facebook. (2015 resolution)
  4. I decided to start down the path toward financial independence.
  5. I started this blog.
  6. I began tracking my expenses and keeping a detailed budget.
  7. I invested at least $650 per month from August-December.
  8. I started listening to podcasts.
  9. I paid at least $56 extra per month toward my student loan debt from August-December.
  10. I took the first steps toward building a sustainable career path for myself.
  11. I experimented with dividend growth investing (and then promptly realized how little I actually know about it).
  12. In the process of doing #11, I determined a better long-term investing strategy.
  13. After 10 years in my career, I finally let go of the masochistic need to stress about work.
  14. I stopped cleaning my house obsessively every weekend.
  15. I opened my heart and mind to the possibility of a different future.**

*Whoa! I actually kept some of my resolutions from last year!

**I’m being intentionally vague about some of these – I hope to write about them in a detailed way in the future.

The Bad

Resolutions I didn’t keep, things I didn’t accomplish, and other ways I generally slacked off (plus my lame attempts to justify my behavior):

  1. I didn’t read at least one book per month. (2015 resolution)

My excuse: I was too busy reading the whole internet.

     2.  I didn’t do a better job of staying in touch with friends and family. (2015 resolution)

My excuse: This resolution was too vague to begin with! (Read: I made no efforts to improve…not cool.)

     3.  I didn’t max out my IRA. (2015 resolution)

My rationale: I switched my investing strategy midway through the year to accommodate early retirement. I’m not sure if this was a good decision or not, and question myself regularly about it.

     4.  I didn’t save at least $5,000 toward my next car.

My rationale: I don’t want to ever have a car payment again. But, with adequate care and maintenance, I think my current car has several good years of life in it. As such, I didn’t prioritize saving for my next vehicle, and instead used the money to begin funding a taxable investment account.

     5.  I didn’t become a morning person.

My excuse: I made a valiant effort in the fall, but reverted back to my lifelong night-owl tendencies at the end of the year. There’s always 2016, right?

     6.  I stopped juicing on a regular basis.

My excuse: I definitely had this conversation with myself on multiple occasions: “Juicing is an awesome way to start my day! Coffee is also an awesome way to start my day, and requires much less effort!” 

     7.  I made a gratitude jar but didn’t really use it. (2015 resolution)

Confession: I used my gratitude jar on one occasion – to state that I was thankful for the snow days we got in January. Yep, that’s it.  

The Ugly

Random musings about stuff I really wish had gone differently:

1.  I ran my first marathon.

The abridged version: Yes, I finished, but man was it U-G-L-Y! I experienced the full gamut of emotions during that 4 hour and 48 minute period (a pace 35-40 minutes slower than I trained for) – and unfortunately most of them skewed toward the negative. There was happiness and elation for about 5 miles, and then everything took a turn for the worse.

(More on this topic later.)

     2.  I did a lot of procrastinating.

The abridged version: See this post: My Month-Long Visit To Lazytown. This happened more times than I care to admit throughout 2015 (although not usually for a month at a time). I slept in, lazed around in bed reading articles about nothing, skipped my workouts for no good reason, and generally made excuses for myself. Sure, it’s nice to be lazy once in a while, but I definitely should have hustled a lot more.

     3.  I worked too much.

The abridged version: True – I was able to let go of most of my work-related stress, but unfortunately that didn’t translate into working fewer hours. The older I get, the more difficult it is to endure long work days away from home. I have a sinking feeling that this will be my major regret in life. (Luckily, I have been blessed with another opportunity to make changes.)

     4.  I stopped washing my hair as much.

The abridged version: Okay, so this is actually awesome. As it turns out, washing my hair 8 times per week (what I’m accustomed to) isn’t good! So, I reduced that number to about 2 times per week. I love it; my husband hates it. (To his credit, my hair does get a little wonky after about 4 days, but that’s what ponytails and buns are for!)       

*****

As with all things in life, I have to take the good with the bad (and the ugly). And all things considered, I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished in 2015. A lot of self-discovery happened along the way, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Onward and upward in 2016!

How did you do with your 2015 resolutions?

Do you take time to reflect on the past year around this time?

What small step did you take today to reach one of your goals?

I fleshed out a 2016 budget to keep myself on track financially for the year!

(Also – I installed an emoticon plugin, which, in my opinion, greatly enhances this blog.) 😊

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I think it’s great that you consistently paid extra on your student loans last year! I did the same when I was paying mine off and it really makes a difference.

    • Hi Lisa,

      It definitely makes a huge difference in the grand scheme of things! I’ve done the math, it’s amazing how much those little amounts help with reducing interest and the life of the loan in general. That’s what I try to tell myself when the extra amounts I’m paying seem like a pittance ($25 here, $50 there, etc.).

      Happy Saturday!

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