February Small Goals

I skipped small goals in January. The world was all aflutter with everyone’s new plans and lists of things to do in the new year, and it felt like just too much to add on for the month, too.

But I do like the practice of it, and I like how it helps me frame the months. February feels practically over already (“why’s it so short?” she whined), but I’d like to come up with a few things to focus on. I’m having trouble picking, to tell the truth. There’s so much that I could do, and what feels like so little time this month. So I’ll try to keep it simple.

1. Make the plants beautiful. The former owners of this house left some plants here. They’re lovely, and they’ve fared well so far considering my hit-or-miss abilities as a plant mom. But they’re also in plastic hanging baskets like they came straight from the greenhouse, and replacing their pots with something nicer and gifting them each their own macrame hanger will go a long way in making them look less like ragamuffins.

2. Spend an hour every weekday learning. Document it. I started a GitHub repo where I’ll house all the tutorials or side things I do for learning purposes. It’s just called learning-2017, and inside will be directories of the tutorials I’m working through. Currently, that’s JavaScript30. I’m also wondering if I should add them to CodePen. Is that redundant? It is more exciting to look at. Please weigh in if you have thoughts.

3. Make this cake. I made it once before, and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.

4. Make a plan for Chad’s birthday. I’m feeling like we need to do something or go somewhere for Chad’s upcoming 3-0, since we went to Reykjavik for mine. He may just want to staycation and work on his projects all day while I bring him food, though. Either way, we need to start planning now.

5. Get some frames. We now have quite a few prints we’ve collected that are frameless and in storage. And by “in storage,” I really mean gathering dust in corners of rooms that need to be tidied. I’d love to get them hung so I can look at them again and we can finally show them off.

What’s your February look like?

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2017 Goals and Plans

Hello, 2017I’ll be the first to admit that, especially after last week, the NYE/New Year’s goal/planning appeal is starting to wear off. I wonder how much of that is due to the rapid consumerist marketing cycle of advertising to the next holiday. I saw Valentine’s Day stuff in stores immediately after Christmas.

But it’s still the beginning of the year, and it’s helpful to acknowledge the things you want to accomplish. I’m mainly doing this for me, as a record of my goals and plans for the year, with the full knowledge that saying I want to do something won’t make it happen, but with the hope that recording it will solidify it in my head a little bit and encourage some level of accountability to myself.

I had a bunch of things I wanted to do in 2016 that didn’t get done (but I still did a lot of great things!). Here are the carryovers from last year, with commentary:

  • Find community — I think I need to find a few communities, really. A group of Galentine’s Day type ladies, local tech ladyfriends, a church, and the type of friends we had at the end of college.
  • 52 CodePens — This was doomed once I got behind and gave up on doing any. I think I’ll halve it and shoot for 26 this year. I can then pleasantly surprise myself if I surpass this.
  • Echo App — I think the idea is still cool. And I need projects to put on GitHub. So I guess I’ll keep it.
  • Blog series — I mainly added this so I’d blog more regularly. That still applies. Maybe I’ll call it an editorial calendar/plan.
  • Make a quilt — I started one and hope to finish in 2017.
  • Etsy shop of found and vintage home goods — Holding off on this one for now. I have too many other things going on, and it’s clear I want to spend my time on other things.
  • Establish a writing practice — This didn’t really happen, I think mainly for scheduling and mental health reasons. Which is unfortunate because that’s when I need it most.
  • Inbox Zero — Yep. I’m so close.

Things I want to add:

  • Write and share a lot of code
  • Write and share a lot of words
  • Make another bra. I took a Bra Making with Madalynne class in December, and it’s such a rewarding project that can be done in an afternoon.
  • Continued work on the house, both large improvements and small ones that make it feel like home.
  • 12 dinner parties — this one scares the crap out of me, but I really want to intentionally try to forge some relationships in our new city.
  • Learn a little every day
  • Continue to be visible
  • Feel hireable and like I can contribute — or, feel like I’m adequately prepared for the next phase of my career, whether it’s freelance or remote employment
  • Find real, meaningful, tangible ways to resist everything that’s wrong with the present administration
  • Do something musical again. Low pressure, but with some structure. Maybe revisit voice lessons?
  • Book a weekend writing retreat
  • Take scheduled digital breaks
  • Feel strong and energetic — food, running, trying a barre class, yoga, lifting
  • Be well and regularly fed
  • Invest and be invested in in Lancaster — Find my people and make time to explore greater Lancaster County. Lancaster City is so wonderful I rarely leave, and I know there are so many hidden gems in this beautiful place outside of the city.
  • Make time for Philly — for friends, fun time, and professional connections. These three are often one in the same for me!
  • Lisa Eats Cheese — site launch and more videos!
  • Look for a local acupuncturist I like
  • Be steeped in tech, creativity/writing, good friends both new and old, and a church/spiritual community.

These don’t feel like particularly measurable goals. For some reason this year I’m gravitating toward broader themes of how I want to feel, mixed in with a few pretty actionable items. There’s a big difference between 12 dinner parties and feeling strong and energetic. But my hope is that a goal like “feel strong and energetic” leads me to do concrete things I’ve wanted to do, like try a barre class, light lifting while watching TV, and consistent meal planning. At the end of the year, I’ll know if I feel that I invested in and was invested in in Lancaster, even though it’s vague. So we’ll see how that goes.

What are your plans? Are you still feeling that New Years goal glow?

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December Goals

Image of Cat looking at Christmas tree

Last year’s tree. Last year’s #HarperLeeCat.

Oh wow. I skipped November! I mean, I kind of wish we’d all actually skipped November. It was a pretty brutal month. The election and its aftermath really did me in for a bit, and I also gave three conference talks, was interviewed on a local podcast, and organized an unconference from the first weekend of November ’til the first weekend of December. All that’s winding down now, and I’m planning to settle in, get some work done, and enjoy my first Christmas in my little house in my little city.

Here’s a look back at October.

1. Get a bedframe, settle on a mattress, and hang art in the bedroom. Done! Finally! There was more to this bedroom saga that happened throughout October and November, but we have a bedframe, we’re keeping the Helix mattress (with a complimentary topper they sent!), and there is art on the walls. I’d like to get some real window treatments up ASAP.

2. Do an outfit post here! Um, no. I did take outfit photos one day this fall. Just need to edit and post them. I love taking photos, but I have such an aversion to editing, organizing, etc. Anyone else have this issue? Any tips to get over it?

3. Finish my first go at rebuilding this site from scratch. Yes! It’s launched! You’re looking at it! I still need to tweak some styles, but I’m glad to have it out there. I integrated my portfolio and this blog onto one site, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure it’s the best route. But, the beauty of the web (and being a developer), is that it can change and I can change it whenever I want. It’s taken far longer than I thought it would to launch this, but I’m really glad I gave myself the time and space to build this theme from scratch and try a few different approaches before settling. More on this to come.

4. Take some photos of the house and start sharing the process. Nope. Perhaps this month. Or in the new year.

5. Feel relaxed and at home in my space and life. This is a hard one to measure but I’m gonna call it done, but it’s something that I need to continue in the coming months as I’m still dealing with some things that result in pretty low energy levels and unpredictable doctor appointments, on top of the waning northeastern light this time of year that makes it so appealing to stay home in the evenings. So, I’m trying to renew this focus on creating a space — both physical and mental — that feels cozy and nourishing and productive and creative.

Onto December! I’m honestly really hoping to take it pretty easy this month, recover from this busy fall, and enjoy my life. Also, it’s my last month as a 29 year old. Thankfully, we were able to snag flights to Iceland with credit card points, so I’ll also spend December looking forward to turning 30 in Reykjavik. I’m also considering throwing myself a birthday party, but planning parties makes me anxious and we haven’t been here long enough to forge super close friendships yet. Maybe I’ll invite a mix of friends and acquaintances and see what happens. Maybe.

1. Decorate for Christmas! Due to every single weekend being full this season, we haven’t been able to get a tree! I’m excited to check out a local tree farm. I’d love to get a Noble Fir this year, but I’m not sure if they’re available anywhere around Lancaster.

2. Plan time for reflection and planning. For me, this looks like going through Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year workbook every year around this time. I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re looking for some guidance around reflecting and planning.

3. Take some photos of the house and start sharing the process. We did so many house projects this year, mostly painting related, and it’s starting to look good. It’s not perfect, and I’ve mentioned before that it’s hard for me to share things until I think they’re perfect, which of course never happens and then I never share. Really gonna try to combat that.

4. Finish painting my office and put it back together. We cleared out the room I use as an office weeks ago and only started painting it yesterday. It’s a small room so this shouldn’t take long. I’m giving myself a chalkboard wall to track some work stuff a la Kathleen Shannon. Also, it’ll be big enough to mess around with chalk lettering.

5. Feel relaxed and at home in my space and life. For the same reasons listed in October: I have some major things coming up that I’ll hopefully be able to share about down the road, but for now I need to focus on taking care of myself and feeling like I’m set up well for dealing with them. Specific things that will help: A tidy space, minimizing stressful social situations, keeping the kitchen stocked, books to read, exercising regularly, and a creative endeavor, such as journaling, practicing brush lettering, or taking photos.

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September Small Goals

September 2016 Small GoalsAugust went super fast. It started off with me falling down our stairs and injuring my tailbone (on our wedding anniversary, to add insult to injury). From there, we attended an old friend’s beautiful wedding, started getting quotes for a new boiler, road tripped to Pittsburgh to go to Abstractions, and spent a day in Belleville making and canning salsa. I also explored some new upcoming work projects and clients.

A review of August’s goals:

1. Finish painting the bedroom. Ugh. Done! I am so thrilled to be able to say that we finished painting the bedroom and I wrapped up painting the living room last night! No more dirty, ugly walls! More on all of this soon!

2. Finish chapters 1 and 2 of Data Visualization with JavaScript. Nope. I did get a little farther, but I’m wondering if I should read to understand broad concepts instead of doing every single example the book provides. I want to make significant progress in September.

3. Buy some coasters. Done! I stalled almost all month on ordering them, cause I had a hard time paying as much as I did for them, including shipping. But I’ve wanted these particular coasters for so long and I liked them more than any of the others I saw, so I pulled the trigger. I love them. More on these soon.

4. Work on an ebook idea!  Done-ish? I submitted a lightning talk proposal to WordCamp US based on this ebook idea.

5. Post here regularly. Nope.

So on to September!

1. Get through chapter 3 of Data Visualization with JavaScript.

2. Have a new heating system installation underway. Literally two weeks after closing, our boiler busted. So that’s approximately an $10,000 problem that we’re forced to deal with now before fall comes. I’m not thrilled. I’d way rather put that money toward other things, but staying warm is really important. Time to book ALL the web projects.

3. Hang art in the newly painted living room and bedroom! I’m excited to take stock of all of the art we have and maybe mix it up a bit as far as what pieces go in what room.

4. Dig out my calligraphy stuff and spend a few minutes playing with it a few times a week. I’m registered for a handlettering class at PCAD starting next week, so I feel like that will be motivational.

5. Post here regularly. Take time to write, photograph, and share. I want this space to be a community and a record of the story I’m living, more than it has been lately.


April Small Goals

April 2016 Small GoalsHouse and moving stuff is going to dominate my April, so I’m hoping that by recording a couple things that I hope to accomplish and checking them off will help me feel on top of things. It’s like when you add something you already did to your list so you can cross it off and feel good about yourself.

So this month, I aim to:

  • Deliver a solid little idea-generating workshop that is helpful to others at The Blog Connect in a couple weeks.
  • Use my manicure gift card that my sister got me for Christmas so my nails are pretty for said conference.
  • Deal with taxes. I have an accountant, but have a sinking feeling that we are going to owe a ton. of. money.
  • Paint the attic/guest room at the new house.
  • Deal with the wood floors at the new house — I’ve been told by a professional that they’re too thin for an industrial sander, so I’m looking at DIY alternatives to hiring a refinishing service. Will this become a home improvement and interior design blog? It’s yet to be seen.
  • Soak up all the Philly friends and Philly goodness I can get.
  • Move all my earthly possessions, including a couple cats, from Philadelphia to Lancaster.

Ok, so many of these aren’t small. I realize that. But some months are big, life-changing months, and April and May are going to be a couple of them. I’ll try to get better at small, manageable goals going forward, but this seemed like a good time to introduce the concept of monthly goals with all of the intense change and work that’s coming up and requires some mindfulness and organization.

The ever-lovely Nicole from writes like a girl does a “small goals” post at the beginning of each month, reviewing what she’s achieved and what she hopes to do in the month ahead. This was totally inspired by her and her link up. I think the rule is five achievable goals, but I got a lot to do this month. And if I’m honest, there’s a ton more I could add. I’ll get better at this as I go.