Well technically it’s July but it’s roughly 6 months..ish.
Either way I wanted to write a post that provided a check-in on my goals for the year, and to be honest, I haven’t really been keeping up with them. And it’s easy to say, “Well, the year is half over, so why bother?” but it’s just as easy to think “Well, I still have 6 months left, there’s still so much I could accomplish.”
I know that New Year’s Resolutions is always a polarizing topic. Some people love them, some people hate them. However, I do make them at the beginning of the year and to be honest, I didn’t 100% remember all of them when I began writing this post. Luckily, I did list them (bullet journal style) in my notebook in January and here are what my 2018 goals look like:
Every year, I choose 5 goals to achieve in different areas of my life. I learned this rule from Lauren Conrad when she wrote about how she created her NYE Resolutions. To me, 5 is doable, it’s not too much and I have to add the element of it being qualitative. So here are my 2018 goals:
1. Continue Learning French
Actually, I’m starting this off on a pretty good note because I actually do think I’ve been getting better with my French. In June, I took my B2 exam, at Alliance Français as they administer DELF which stands for Diplôme d’études en langue française (English: Diploma in French Language Studies).
For anyone who is not familiar with the DELF exam format, there are essentially 6 levels of certification:
[table id=4 /]
I recently just received an email that my results are pending pick-up and I have to make a date to go pick them up. Unfortunately, the office is kind of far from my apartment and they have very limiting business hours but regardless if I pass or fail, I’m actually pretty happy with how the exam went. I don’t do this for anyone but myself, so there’s no pressure for me to pass or fail. I originally failed the B2 in November because I took the B1 in June and 5 months was definitely not enough time to prepare. The difficulty level skyrocketed and I didn’t understand most of the the B2 exam in June. However, whether I passed or failed, I did understand the content of this exam much more.
And I’ve been more diligent about learning French. I watch more videos, listen to more podcasts, and read more in French now. I’ve also re-started using Duolingo to refresh my grammar basics. If learning a new language is also on your goals list, I’ve previously written on 5 Creative Ways To Master A New Language.
Overall, I’m happy with my progress on this goal. However I’m careful not to lose momentum. If I failed the exam, I can re-take it in November which will re-motivate me to learn more. However, if I pass, I won’t be taking the C1 exam until next June. I learned the first time that 5 months is too short to prepare for an exam. I’m also looking for different opportunities to speak in French. I’ve recently joined a new French meet-up and am hoping that my French speaking will improve in the last 6 months because it was definitely what I struggled the most within the exam
2. Use Less Plastic Bags
I like to think of myself as a pretty environmentally conscious person, but before this year, I had been using more plastic bags than I care to admit. It’s SO incredibly bad for the environment, I know. As a scuba diver and a fisherman’s daughter, I’m also super conscious and protective of the oceans.
However I do use plastic bags. Not only is it costly for the environment, but it also costs 5 cents a bag nowadays. For this goal, I think I have been achieving it pretty well, although I am not perfect. I still use some thin plastic bags (for vegetables/fruits) but for the most part I bring my own reusable bags for my big groceries. To prevent myself from being caught without a re-usable bag, I now keep one emergency one in my backpack (that I bring to work), at my office, and in a convenience place at home so I don’t forget. On the off chance I do forget to bring my re-usable bag, I use a grocery store cardboard box! This is a little hack for anyone who also forgets a bag. Most grocery stores keep their stock in cardboard boxes (like soup or noodles, etc.) and I just grab an empty box that will be sent for recycling and use that instead of a bag.
My next focus will be to use less plastic straws!
3. Start Investing
Investing has always been this alluding concept that I thought was only for older men in suits or cut-throat business kids in my school. I never, ever thought it would be for me. And truthfully, the first 6 months have proven that true. At the beginning of the year, on the recommendation of a friend, I opened a stock trading account. Essentially, that meant that I could now buying and selling stocks on the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange). Now, I know every personal finance blogger will tell you that investing in individual stocks can be extremely risky and I’m here to tell you that the advice is all true.
This is probably one of the worse decisions I’ve made so far. I invested in two companies on the recommendation of a friend and they tanked literally the day after I invested in them. No actually, THE DAY AFTER. I’ve never been in the green for my investments. All of them plummeted so it’s probably safe to say, I’m an investment jinx.
So while I’m obviously not going to be the next Wolf on Wall Street (I’m more like the Chihuahua of Wall Street), I’m trying not to have my losses get the better of me right now. I still have my RRSP retirement account (which is an investment) and as soon as I get enough savings to stabilize my emergency fund (I’m sooooo close to 3 months! I’m at like 2.5 months) I will start buying into GICs and mutual funds. I’m hopeful to at least re-cooperate my funds by the end of the year (there’s some industry changes in my investments that I hope will boost them). However, I’m not giving up on investing. By the end of the year, I will contribute to mutual funds and be more active investments by contributing to more stable stocks.
This was one I had to really fight myself to do. It didn’t come naturally and back in the Spring, I really struggled with making time for myself. My life is filled with wonderful friends, and family, and co-workers. But it’s so important to also make time for yourself. I’ve learned that self-care time can be created and applied in different ways.
Earlier this year, I felt like self-care time had to mean a whole day to myself. And as you can imagine, that was really difficult to schedule. Even though I work a flex schedule and have every other Monday off, it was still difficult because things would come up. I loved having the day to myself and every now and then it’s still important but I also felt kind of lonely/guilty some days where I would have an entire day off but push everything else aside. And then I’d feel worse when I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be and just spent the whole day on my laptop and napping.
Now I look at self-care as not just “relaxing” but truthfully, I don’t enjoy a whole day of doing nothing. I need to do something to feel productive. So instead of just pushing all of my self-care time to one day after I’ve burned out and resented everyone around me for no reason, I’m going to intentionally set aside time to take care of myself.
5. Start A Side Hustle
This is probably the one that I’ve most actively been trying, but I seem to fail at every time. I have yet to find a side hustle I really enjoy but also one that I can create into a business. I’ve made a few attempts this year so far:
- Making Candles:
I love candles, and as someone who obsesses over candles, I thought about making my own. However, I soon discovered that while I like using candles, I actually don’t like the process of it that much. I get overwhelmed by the strong scents (they give me tummy aches) and there are a lot of factors to it that I was nit-picky about. I wanted them in a certain jar that was hard to find, and with certain lids. All of these things could be overcome of course but I also didn’t want to hold inventory. It was starting to look very costly and I know that as a seller even on Etsy I would have a hard time because materials are a lot cheaper in the U.S. These are all easily overcome obstacles I suppose but the fact that I had no interest in anything but burning candles, proved that this was not the side hustle for me.
I also tried Fiverr. I’ve heard of it before from Chris Guillebeau, author and podcaster of Side Hustle School (I’ve actually met him as well, super nice guy). I thought about what kind of service I could offer online and how to create a business out of it. I realized what I loved doing – redesigning resumes. I actually really enjoy it. I do this for my friends all the time because I like editing and also the design aspect of a resume. If you haven’t already noticed, I also geek out to a lot of career stuff on this blog and Twitter. But I had a hard time finding a way to promote it. This is something I am thinking of coming back to, maybe tie into a service for this blog? Or maybe it should live as its own separate project. I’ve parked this idea for now and may come back to it eventually or re-evaluate it at the end of the year.
One of the reasons I’ve put redesigning resumes on hold is because I really didn’t have any kind of foundation for it. Here’s this random person on Fiverr, pay her to redesign your resume. It lacked substance. But also I found the thing I really enjoy is writing and designing which I can definitely do as a part of this blog. I have no concrete plans right now to make my blog into a business. It’s more of an online documentation of me stumbling through adulthood, but I really enjoy writing. And I think with anything, it will take practice. So my side hustle one day at this point will be to a freelance writer, but that’s something you have to build towards. And this blog is building towards it. I get better with writing and editing the more I do it (ground breaking concept huh?).
Lastly, I know it would be easier to get another job as a side hustle, but that’s a route I’m actually trying to avoid. Not because I do not want to work a second job, but because I did that for almost 7 years. I worked multiple jobs, 2-3 at any given time, 7 days a week. It was insane. And while I could get a second job but it’s not the income I’m after right now, it’s just the creative freedom. I used to burn myself out with my second and third jobs; I had very little time for friends and family or for myself. And that’s not my goal right now. Before, there was no balance in my life and that allowed me to save for things like travel and a place, but now, I’m looking for balance. My goal is to find a creative passion I could turn into a side hustle eventually. So far internet, 2, Kim, 0.5.
Okay so well, that was my 6 month check-in and I have to say, I’m not as off track as I thought I was. I really haven’t thought about my New Year’s goals in months and months and couldn’t even remember all of them until I wrote this post. However, I have been subconsciously working towards them. They aren’t perfect, and there are still lots of room for improvement but that’s the beauty of this goal check-in – I have 5 months left!
I was a little hesitant to write this post but I’m actually glad I did. I really thought it would be more of a self-pity/self-deprecating post of all the things you shouldn’t do to achieve your goals but it didn’t turn out that bad. Even my side hustle goal. Even though I haven’t made a penny from my side hustle, it’s not like I’m not taking steps towards it. It’s just that I haven’t found the right side hustle and succeeded just yet. But there’s still 5 months to go!
Anyways thanks for reading! What are your 2018 goals and how are you doing? I would love to hear them below!
Keep goal digging!