A 2017 Bucket List

It's officially 2017 and officially my first post of the new year!  Welcome.  I love the fresh start of a new year.  I know some people don't, or are at least ambivalent, but everything about the month of January appeals to me.  The cold, the snow, the quiet, the days off (today!), the productivity of a new year, the clean slate, the minimalism, the slow down.  January might just be my favorite month of the year.

I think goal setting, in general, is really important for me.  Without some attainable goals in the various part of my life, it's really, really easy to get distracted by things like unhealthy habits or career and workplace drama.  Goals keep me making progress and enjoying the moment, leaving no time to worry about that other stuff.  So yeah, I have a lot of various to do lists going, but I'm good with that!  As for the new year, sometimes I make resolutions and goals, sometimes I pick a word of the year or a theme.  All depends on how I'm feeling in that moment (the moment when I'm typing up the corresponding blog post, that is.)  I kind of did both this year, making this a rather excessive post so you might want to grab a cup of coffee and settle in.

First up, let's talk goals.  Two weeks ago when I posted about my winter to do list, I mentioned that one of the tasks was to fill out my bucket list page in my 2017 Simplified Planner.  Filling out that list was just about the first goal I checked off.

1. 30 Bags in 30 Days

First up, I am kicking the year off with a 30 bags in 30 days challenge.  I originally saw this challenge by following Living with Less on YouTube, and she linked to others doing similar videos.  Since then, I've seen a blogger version where it's 40 bags in 40 days, but I like the 30 idea because it's one month long.  It's a declutter challenge that's exactly like it sounds - 30 days of removing 30 bags of things from your home.  People who have a lot of work to do use full size kitchen garbage bags, but people who don't have quite as much clutter (me!) use shopping bags.  I plan on using this smaller bag size to remove 30 bags worth of actual trash as well as to donate any sort of clutter, which John said he'd contribute to - starting with the dismal inside of his truck.

2. 30th Birthday for John

John turns 30 in July!  I think I already know what we're planning on doing, but it'll depend on his work schedule if I can plan it all out like we want.  But regardless, there will be a very fun 30th birthday celebration.

3. Plan a Vegas Trip

And hopefully actually take it.  John gets a furlough this year at some point, at least we think he does, which is a few days off in a row.  Perfect time for a Vegas vacation.  Even if he doesn't, a plus side of the fire department is trading shifts - John can pick up someone's Christmas shift, or their kid's birthday, and then that guy will owe him a shift.  He can then line all those 'you owe me' shifts up in a row, along with his Daley Day (I think other departments call these Kelly Days), to take off a bunch of time.  We really want to go back to Vegas, and soon.

4. Save $10,000 in One Year

One goal on my 101 list is to have a $10,000 savings account, just by itself.  As in, not in my IRA, not attached to any specific goal.  Just sitting there, for emergencies.  We'll definitely get to $10k in that account this year since it's already started, but I also want to save $10,000 in a single calendar year.  Outside of investments and all that.  Just as a challenge!  Since a lot of my paycheck is auto debited into various savings accounts each month, saving this extra money means earning more, so see #15.

5. Grow My Blog

I need to flesh this out with some specific ideas.  I'd like it to grow but since numbers don't really reflect how I want it to grow, I can't say growing = X number of followers.  Perhaps page views, comments, re-pinned posts, something along those lines would be a better indicator.  Let me know how you track your blog growth.

6. Finish Invisalign Trays

I should have been done already but I'm only on tray 3 or 4 out of 6 or 7.  And I have been on said tray for months, because I don't wear it enough to get to the next retainer.  I need to be better about that.

7. Post More Instagram Photos

I'm not naive enough to think that I'll post daily but right now I post like 4 days in a row and then nothing for a week.  I'm thinking 15 to 20 photos a month would be doable.

8. Follow Shopping Ban Rules

I'm always trying to follow some form of a shopping ban!  I want to follow the 'one in one out' rule for at least 1 year (which is a goal on my 101 in 1001 list too) but I lost track of that with my birthday and Christmas. I'm going to track that in my planner this time around, starting yesterday.

9. Take More Zero Waste Steps

I'm a big fan of baby steps when it comes to going zero waste.  It's tough to fully get there all at once, though I do think we made great progress last year.  I'd like to try a few more things this year, perhaps buying things in bulk.  And I definitely need to help John cut down on his plastic usage.

10. Improve My Handwriting

I won't be writing in calligraphy all the time or anything (or ever...), but I need to improve my handwriting.  It's gotten worse and worse over the years with all the typing we do now.  Just look at my goals list!  It's all over the place.  How does one even go about approving handwriting?

11. Get to My Goal Weight

This is always on my list.  Remember that when I talk about my word/theme of the year down below.

12. Cut Out More Chemicals

This definitely will happen as I take more zero waste steps, but I do want to cut out more chemicals.  I'd like to try making some makeup items myself, as well as more cleaning products (I currently DIY all my skincare and hair care products to be totally natural, zero waste, and chemical free, let me know if you'd like a post on that. It's all super easy, healthy and WAY cheaper.)  And buy less prepared food.  This is going to apply to Hawkeye too, she's getting more homemade food!

13. Adjust to John's New Schedule

We have a good rhythm going right now while he's in the academy but he graduates in February (likely the 15th) and starts working at a firehouse then.  He'll work for 24 hours and then be off for 48, barring him switching shifts with other guys and having training days.  They have a chef at every house, so I won't be cooking for him on work days, which is fantastic, but we will have to figure out a new cooking and cleaning routine for the rest of the time.  It'll be a whole new schedule!

14. Finish My 101 in 1001 List

Well, almost finish.  My end date isn't until the middle of next summer, but I'm moving it up to April because I want to finish the same time as Betsy and start a 3rd one on the same date.  I got close to halfway done in 1 year, so I definitely think I can do it.

15. Make $1,000 Per Month Online

This is a lofty goal since I don't blog full time and I don't intend to.  I spend at least 9 hours a day at the office and commute at least 1.5 hours a day.  Not a lot of time left to be doing things online.  But I'm going to try to reach $1,000 each month either through the blog, swagbucks, online surveys, whatever else I have time for, I haven't totally planned out a strategy yet.  This is where a lot of the money I mentioned in #4 will come from.

16. Celebrate Parents' Birthdays

My mom's birthday is in a couple of weeks and my dad's is in September.  The past couple of years we've been bad about celebrating.  My mom never wants to do anything in the winter cold and last year I was sick on my dad's birthday and the year before that (or two years before?) we had a wedding to attend.  This year, we're going out for dinner on everyone's birthdays, or at least very close to the date.

17. Dress Up For Halloween

Usually, by the day after Halloween, we have costumes planned for the next Halloween.  But we don't have anything planned yet, I need to get ideas flowing. Also, I didn't bother dressing up when trick or treaters came; this year I will.

18. Spend $0 on Christmas

I actually save a ton on Christmas every year through strategic planning plus swagbucks and other online earnings.  This year, I want to spend no money on Christmas.  That's right, 0 dollars.  But same amount of gift giving.  I can do this.

19. Post 100 Blog Posts

Tough but not impossible.  I wrote over 100 in 2016, so I just need to keep up the consistency.

20. Revive Steph and Tara Show Podcast

We started strong but we totally failed towards the end of this year!  We're switching to weekly podcasts and blog posts, so I think that will help keep us on track.  First one went live this morning, find it here (or on iTunes.)

21. Paint Nails More Often

Whether it's getting them done or doing it myself, I want polish on my nails more regularly.  I love when they're done, I just get annoyed at the dry time.  Gels and anything like that just wreck my nails, so I'm not a fan unless it's a vacation.  I think I'll stock up on the CND Vinylux line and do it that way (no base coat, faster dry time, no chip but no UV light either.)

22. Limit Ponytails to Once Per Week

I've been steadily improving on this over the years, since in college and law school I'd argue that I wore a ponytail every single day.  I can french braid my hair almost as quickly as I can put it in a ponytail, so there's really no reason to wear them as often as I do.  Not like I'll be straightening or curling it daily (I severely limit the amount of heat I use on my hair) but I could figure out a few more braided or half up styles per week I think.

23. Eat a Vegetable Daily

Yeah I don't currently do this, which is pretty ridiculous.  I do eat vegetables most days, but there's times when I have coffee for breakfast, have a busy day and just have cereal for lunch, and then John ends up wanting to order pizza for dinner and I don't even get a green pepper on it.  Every day, at least one vegetable.  It's happening.

Theme of the Year - Follow Through

I was going to say word of the year, but since it's two words we're going with theme: follow through.  I always make tons of goals.  Seasonal ones, the 101 list, this 2017 bucket list, my love of goals and lists is pretty constant throughout my life.  I'm usually ridiculously good at checking them off but there are ones, like #11, that appear on list after list because I never get around to them.  Usually they're they ones about being healthier, let's be real.  If something gets particularly hard or complicated, I tend to just quit it.  So my theme for this year is follow through.  On my goals, on plans I make, on my cleaning schedule, on re-doing the closets and cabinets, sticking to my blogging calendar, my theme is following through on the things I start.  Which I think is a pretty solid theme, if I do say so myself.

Dear lord, did you actually make it to the end of this post?  You deserve a prize.  I don't know what that is yet, but I'll get back to you. 

What are your plans for embracing the new year?  Do you make resolutions and spend January clearing the clutter out of your life?  If you have any tips on my bucket list, let me know in the comments.  Also if you want to see any future blog posts about any of these (how I checked them off, how my progress is going) just let me know, I can definitely track them.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  On the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

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