Let's look back with thankfulness at 2023 (even if we have to look hard for the good...) and jumpstart the new year with a few doable 2024 goals that help move us forward to the simple homemade lives we want.
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Welcome to the fourteenth year of goal setting and yearly reviews - I can't believe it's been this long, actually!
Some may wonder why I've continued to share this every year and the answer is simple - I hope to inspire you to live an intentional, simple life where you can see growth and forward movement, even if it's baby steps at times.
Inspiration and encouragement, along with knowledge and confidence, are really behind every article and recipe you'll find on An Oregon Cottage - these are the most important things I hope you come away with after a visit to the site - not just another recipe for your file.
Specifically with goals, I continue to share because I want to show the process of planning and how it relates to living a simple homemade life.
Planning and goal setting isn't set in stone - it can and does change as you'll see below - but it DOES provide a framework for the things you'd like to concentrate on during the coming year.
It can ground us and help our dreams become reality because we see the steps we need to take and can actually start getting the work done.
Where to start?
It's great to start with at least a quick review of the previous year. This step can be much more involved with hours of thoughtful pondering, but I've found it really depends on your personality if you find that helpful. I'm more data driven than emotional (Enneagram 1 with 5 tendencies), so I find that a 4-5 question recap works for me.
Which is why I added the Year In Review section to The Flexible Planner a few years ago - you can certainly go more in depth, but these five questions (that you can see in the photo above) are a great place to start your review and goal setting session.
The review is also a great time to find the good and remember those times, even in less than good years. I think I would dwell on the bad if I didn't force myself to look back through the year in photos and my calendar to see all the good things that did happen! It's another way we can practice thankfulness, which is SO helpful for our mental health.
2023 Highlights & Recap
- My word of the year was "rooted" so I started a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year program.
- Shared the fire pit area that we completed the previous November with a Solo Stove and Adirondack chairs - so fun.
- Upstairs bathroom remodel started! Which should only take a couple months...
- Coffee bar area finished with reclaimed wood shelves. Only three years in the making, lol.
- I revamped my Real Food Weight Loss Recipe Books into one book that includes updates and nutrition information. I'd wanted to do this for a couple years, so this was a great thing to finally have done.
- Crescent lake family weekend (note: the link is from 2021 when we visited previously so you can see more of the resort) - we paddled the lake (shown above), hiked, ate s'mores, and hung out together at the quaint resort with rustic cabins. We live in such a beautiful area!!
- We took a number of small trips around the state - we spent July 4th in the Taft area of Lincoln City on the coast, we paddled on North Twin Lake and hiked along the Deschutes on a visit to my parents in LaPine, and our family spent a week at the lake where Brian's family has a house.
- We started on the stairwell and upstairs hallway, uncovering 10-inch old growth shiplap walls and starting the process of getting the old fir doors we salvaged hung.
- Celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary!! We paddled on a nearby lake the day of our anniversary, stopping for a picnic dinner in the middle (that's when we got the selfie you see above) and then we took three days in Newport for beach combing, surfing, and relaxing at the cute Agate Beach Motel.
- Our new couch arrived (6 months after ordering)!! Still in love with the shape and color - so different from our other squishy sofa, but goes just as well in our farmhouse.
- We finished the upstairs bathroom!! This was HUGE. I thought it would take 2-3 months and it ended up taking about 9 months for various reasons. I'll be sharing the finished space in an upcoming Good Things List, so be on the lookout for that.
- Visited a tree farm with my extended family, complete with a soup and bread lunch afterwards that was so fun. I hope it's a new tradition!
2023 Goals Recap
Personal: Half of these are continuing goals and they are pretty much habit now, so it was easy to meet them. In 2022 I started a Line a Day 5 Year Journal and this year have been REAPING the rewards of seeing what we were doing the same time last year. How do I forget so many things?? Highly recommend a journal like this - the commitment is low, but the reward really great. And I actually increased my workout schedule to 5 times a week with three days of strength training and 2 days of HIIT workouts (since February). I did NOT make the food budget goal - who knew the prices would skyrocket?
Home/Financial: This is half and half - we finished the bathroom, but not the stairs, we took a number of smaller trips, but no big trip, and we maxed out our retirement savings but are no where near to completing our kitchen porch area.
Business: Again, half and half with these goals - I did use the wall calendars for planning, kept up with my finances (yay!), and added more ebooks to my shop. I didn't reach my email subscriber goal, though I did add almost 2K - I think I need to reduce my number goal, lol. I also didn't open an Etsy shop - I decided not to at this point and instead to focus on the shop I already have.
In the Goals Section of The Flexible Planner I leave an area for "big" five year goals. The idea here is to have long-range plans and dreams that your smaller yearly goals are working towards.
For example, one of our big goals is to fully fund our retirement accounts so each year one of our financial goals is to put as much as we can monthly and at the end of the year.
Our other big goals include travel, finishing our farmhouse remodel, prioritizing relationships, and increasing streams of passive income (Brian and I are both self employed).
I encourage you to make bigger dream/plans like this that can then help guide you when making your yearly goals that will move you closer to making those dreams a reality!
Then choose 2-4 measurable, doable goals in each area of your life that will either help you towards your big goals or are just things you'd like to accomplish in the coming year, whether it's a one-time project or a habit you'd like to cultivate.
- Continue Line a Day journal with a focus on thankfulness.
- Keep 5x/week strength and HIIT workouts - make them a habit.
- Consistently count macros for health to get more protein and balance fat and carbs better. (I started it this year using a program and then moved to this free app which is the best of all the options I tried for macro counting I think).
- Finish upstairs landing/hallway and stairs (they are still mostly just primed and need molding).
- Laundry room finished (a sink and faucet in the garage have been waiting 3 years now...).
- Kitchen covered deck started - hopefully finished, too!
- Continue funding retirement accounts as able.
- Plan a few smaller trips and one larger trip (England and The Netherlands, maybe?).
- Grow email list by trying different opt-in ideas.
- Watch and implement course on Shopify store improvements, including adding more products.
- Plan content quarterly (use the free calendars on clipboards on my office wall).
- Site redesign - this has been needed for a few years to improve how easy it is to find things and back-end stuff and I hope 2024 is the year to get it done.
As for what you can expect in 2024, look for even more easy recipes, garden tips and products that can help you live the simple homemade life you want.
I will celebrate 15 years (!) of writing here in February and I know it is only because of YOU that I get to call this my job.
So thank you for visiting, leaving comments and star reviews, and encouraging me with your heartfelt email responses. I read each and every one and you bless me more than you can know. Here's to a wonderful 2024!
Curious about my past goals? You can see them all here.
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