An easy way to sum 2012 up for me would be to call it the Year of Goals. I’m a planner by nature, keeping lists and lists (and lists) of anything and everything. But I think a better description would be to call it the Year of Change. I declared that I needed to change my life, so I did. I stopped making excuses for myself, I faced my fears head on and I lived.

Last January, I wrote:
I hope that a year from now, everything has changed. I hope that I’m debt free. I hope that I’ve travelled. I hope that I’ve lead a healthier life. But most of all, I hope that I’m leading the life I want instead of the life that I’ve accepted. I hope this year has radical changes in store… and I’ll make sure it does.

Everything changed.

The following week I started an online course that set the tone for the entire year. Jenny Blake’s Make Sh*t Happen (affiliate) is easily one of the best things I ever did for myself… leading me to reach deep within myself to figure out what I really wanted. The scariest and most difficult part was accepting that at that point, I was still “figuring it out.”

Five top moments of 2012:
  1. I figured it out. I am currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia.
  2. This girl (who is terrified of heights) jumped out of an airplane 12,000 feet above the ground.
  3. After discovering I actually enjoy running, I finished a half-marathon distance run (and have a full marathon in my sights someday).
  4. I paid off all of my consumer debt.
  5. I met some really cool people at #WDS2012 and the MSH Weekend of Genius.

What were a few of your top moments of 2012?

12 for 2012 Update

Just an update from my initial post last December… So how’d I do?

12for2012 540x1024 12 for 2012 Update

9/12 that I consider complete. Not bad at all.

1. Pay off debt. - consumer debt: check. student loan: deferred.
2. Complete 52 in 52. complete 4/8/12
3. Minimalize. – complete
4. Knock five things off my 30 before 30.complete
5. Save $ for travel. - complete. Visited Costa Rica, NYC and Portland. And Ethiopia.
6. Max out Roth IRA. 
7. Drink more water.complete
8. Practice yoga.complete
9. Work on sixteen personal commandments.complete
10. Learn French. (Does Amharic count?)
11. Create a piece of art. complete 2/14/12
12. Be grateful every day.complete

I’m pretty happy with how 2012 turned out… can’t wait to see what I accomplish in 2013!

Against All Odds

In the past year, I’ve had a lot of new experiences and done a lot of seemingly impossible things.

  • I traveled to Costa Rica
  • I ran a half marathon
  • I jumped out of an airplane
  • I gave up meat  (for awhile) and began eating healthy.
  • I quit my job without another lined up
  • I paid off $10,000 of debt
  • I made new friends
  • I joined the Peace Corps

Most of the time I tell someone (whether old friend or new acquaintance) what I’ve done or what I have planned, that person will typically give me some variation of the following:

“That’s so cool! I wish I could do that, but…” or “Wow, I’ve always wanted to do that, but…”

But what?

In fact, I shouldn’t have been able to do ANY of the things that I mentioned above. And here’s why:

  • Go to Costa Rica? I’m not adventurous. I don’t know Spanish. Central America is dangerous. It’s too expensive. I don’t have vacation time.
  • Run a half marathon? I hate to run. I’m lazy. I don’t have the motivation. I get bored easily. It’s too hot in Texas in the summer.
  • Go skydiving? I’m terrified of heights. People die jumping out of planes. It’s too expensive.
  • Give up meat and eat healthy? I could never give up meat. It’s too difficult to eat healthy. I’m lazy. I hate to cook. I don’t have time to cook or even to go to the grocery store. Fresh food is too expensive.
  • Quit my job? I won’t be able to pay my bills. I won’t have health insurance. I’m a terrible interviewer. I have been applying to jobs for years without anything. The economy is crappy.
  • Pay off my debt? I don’t have time for a second job. I won’t have any fun. It’s too hard. Life is so unfair.
  • Go to a conference for world changers? I’m an introvert. And shy. I don’t like to put myself out there. It’s too expensive. I don’t have the time off.
  • Join the Peace Corps? I could never do that. What skills do I have to offer anyway? I have to live WHERE? I have to learn WHAT?

But you know what? I didn’t let any of that stop me. I did all of the above despite the reasons I couldn’t. I did it anyway.

What could you do if you didn’t let excuses control you?

Thoughts + July Goals Update

ET B767 large 1024x682 Thoughts + July Goals Update

via Star Alliance

As I’m writing this post, I’m feeling absolutely exhausted. I’ve had a fantastic week, but the funny thing about being tired is all the strange thoughts that begin to enter your head…

When I was in the process of applying for the Peace Corps, I found a blog post by a current PCV in Ethiopia called “The Real Peace Corps.” It was one of the best posts I’d encountered at the time and still remains one of my favorite posts today. It’s so beautiful, so open and so honest about his experience there.

To say I’m not scared out of my mind of moving to somewhere in Africa, I would be lying to myself and to everyone else. To say spending this Thanksgiving and Christmas 8,500 miles away from my family and friends won’t be hard, I would be setting unrealistic expectations. I’m thankful for these thoughts and these doubts, because they remind me every single reason why this is the life I want for the next two years. And like anything worthwhile, it absolutely terrifies me.

Anyway, I think this will be the end of my monthly goals as I know it. I don’t want to give up goals and tracking them, but it’s hard for me to know what to focus on until I have a better sense of what my life is going to look like just under two months from now. So without further ado, here’s my July update:

July Goals

  1. Clean up the apartment.
    Pass. I did this!
  2. Read 2 books.
    Fail. I only read one.
  3. Re-start up gratitude journal.
  4. Run 70 miles.
    Fail. I think I got 35 or something.

June Goals Update + July Goals

downtown portland oregon June Goals Update + July Goals

I leave on Thursday for Portland. SO EXCITED! It will be nice to get out of this summer heat for several days and be around some really awesome people.

Moving on… I had a hard month. I only successfully completed three of my eight goals, but you know what, I’m gonna celebrate! Two were HUGE and I am so happy to have knocked them out. So yay for that.

June Goals

  1. Finish my Peace Corps Medical Clearance paperwork and send it in!
    Fail. I am picking it up today or tomorrow (I hope). This has been nothing but stress and drama for me the past several weeks…
  2. Finalize date to take French CLEP Exam.
    Fail. With the aforementioned medical paperwork drama, I haven’t even thought about French in the past month.
  3. Keep up with gratitude journal.
    Another fail. I don’t even know where it is… it’s probably been at least a month.
  4. Volunteer once per week.
    ANOTHER fail. I think I got 1 or 2x in.
  5. Run 60 miles total.
    SUCCESS! I ran 67.36 miles this month.The next 4 are from this post
  6. Finish my full inventory of items.
    Another fail.
  7. Pay my Discover card back down to $0 (it’s currently at $495).
  8. Become Red Cross CPR/First Aid certified.
  9. Spend money ONLY on necessities.
    Fail. Unless you count new running shoes and some more work clothes as necessities… icon smile June Goals Update + July Goals

July Goals

  1. Clean up the apartment
  2. Read 2 books.
  3. Re-start up gratitude journal
  4. Run 70 miles.

What are you doing for July?