Time to pull out the list and see what progress has been made.
- Stick to a monthly budget – Under budget both months! Although it wasn’t by much, still, mission accomplished. Also did a better job these past two months sticking to the limits I’ve set in each area, or anticipating where I’ll come up short so that I can move money around accordingly.
- Put at least 20% of my income this year towards savings – Done and done. I actually managed to do some extra savings, too, for some upcoming vacations.
- Blog once a week – March was pretty dismal. April was slow-going, at first, but I got back on track a couple weeks in.
- Learn how to knit – Sadly, I’ve made very little progress since my first knitting lesson with Lucy. New strategy here: commit to picking up the needles once a week.
- Actually learn how to play the guitar, which I started to do two years ago but sort of forgot about after a few months – Nope. Good thing I still have more than half a year left.
- Run my first marathon (hopefully NYC!) – I found out a few weeks ago that I didn’t get a lottery spot in this year’s NYC Marathon. I’m giving myself the next month to figure out whether I’ll run NYC for charity, run the Richmond Marathon in November, or the Long Beach Marathon in October.
- Run 9 New York Road Runner races so that I gain automatic entry for the 2012 NYC Marathon – Three races down! You can keep track of this goal over on the Pavement Pounding section, if you’re so inclined.
- Apply to a graduate program for social work – Not yet; this is more of a summer/fall deadline. This one’s become slightly more complicated, too, as I’m trying to figure out other long-term plans.
- Take better advantage of New York City – go to a lecture, live theatre performance, concert, or museum at least once a month – Joanna and I saw Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark in March (yep, it is a train wreck, but a really, really fun one!), and The Guy and I fit in a visit to the MoMA during his trip. I particularly enjoyed both the Counter Space and Abstract Expressionist New York exhibits.
- Read two books a month (this number feels shamefully low, but hey, it’s a start; I devoured books up through college, but fell out of practice once I started working full time) – I’m epically failing at this one. Part of the problem is that my ability to read before going to sleep has exponentially declined over the years. These days, I’m out like a light before I finish half a page. Now that spring has sprung, I’m going to try and get in some sunny, outdoor reading on the weekends.
- Travel to one location outside the United States (when I went to Paris in the fall of 2009 I said I’d do this once a year then totally dropped the ball in 2010 – Costa Rica bound in less than 6 weeks!
- Watch at least 2 movies on my Netflix queue each month – Please Give, The American, Winter’s Bone, and Dead Poets Society got crossed off my queue this month. And, yeah, it took me 22 years to get around to seeing that last one.
- Finish turning the corner of my bedroom space into a reading nook – Not much to report here. Almost found a rug I liked, but the color’s not quite right. Still on the hunt for that, and the perfectly-sized set of shelves. As for the artwork, my sister’s working on a set of 4 paintings that I’m very much looking forward to.
- Install Elfa shelves on the living room wall – Check! Pictures forthcoming (I mean it this time).
- Get furniture for the balcony – It turns out my old TV stand makes for a nice balcony plant stand. Or will, once I get some plants; right now it’s just sitting out there, waiting to be of use. Next up: a couple of chairs, and a little table if there’s space.
- Start a gardening project on the balcony – This is a Memorial Day weekend to-do.
- Come up with some type of art/design scheme for the bedroom wall, since there’s so much dead space there right now – My sister was in for the past week, and we played around with a couple of ideas. I’m shooting for a mid-to-late summer execution.
- Give the kitchen and bathroom a mini-remodel – Negative.
I never would have guessed this back in January, but the financial goals, which I thought would be the most daunting, have become the easiest items to check off each month. Initially, I chocked this up to the fact that they’re finite goals. At the end of each month, it’s something you’ve either done or not, as opposed to some of the more long-term projects that don’t necessarily have an end point. Projects like knitting, learning to play an instrument, or re-designing a space, for example, are less of a yes/no and more of an ongoing thing. This theory falls short, though, since it doesn’t explain why certain finite goals – like blogging each week or reading a couple of books a month – keep getting overlooked.
When I look at this list, I realize it’s more about the fact that some of these things are becoming habits. With regards to the financial goals, I’ve made it a point to balance my budget each week and put money into savings at the beginning of the month, rather than wait to see what’s left over. I’m now in the habit of racing about once a month, so I’m making steady progress on that goal. The same is true about taking the time to enjoy the city.
With that in mind, I’m going to try and hone in on a few of these unaccomplished tasks by making them weekly habits. Here’s to Sunday afternoon reading sessions in the park, and one night of knitting during the week. Hopefully. =)