Drinking Copious Amounts of Vodka and Waking Up WITHOUT a Hangover Is a Very Good Way To Start The New Year (2005 in Review)
I took a look back at my blog this time last year to see where I was then and what my goals were for 2005. I was curious to see which goals I had reached, which ones I made progress with, and which ones I didn’t quite suceed at.

2005 Goal #1) Eat well and exercise often.

I celebrated turning 30 by participating in a duathalon – in May I began training and spent the summer months running, biking, lifting weights and doing lots of yoga to help prepare. Completing the duathalon was quite possibly one of the most challenging things I have done (EVER), certainly it was the most challenging of 2005. I continued to run and do yoga after the duathalon and once the weather started to get colder, I buckled and signed up at a gym near work, where I’ve been going to run on my lunch hours and do body pump.

I purposely didn’t set a goal to lose any weight and while I’m conscious of the number on the scale (always), instead spent the past 12 months focusing more on my body fat percentage, my BMI, how my clothes fit, and how I feel about myself. It was a fairly good year in that sense.

2005 Goal #2) Reduce my debt.
My plan was to cut my debt in half and I had it all worked out – I even developed a budget as wo when things would get paid, and how much payments would be. But then I learned VERY quickly that I have a VERY HARD time working in a difficult work environment and not seeing barely ANY financial reward since most of my pay goes towards household bills and then my personal credit cards. My spending money per week for 2005 was a mere $50 a week and from that $50 a week I had to buy bus/subway tokens, the occasional lunch out, any sundries I needed (ie. makeup, hair products etc.) Some weeks I kept with my budget, other weeks I cheated a bit, more times than not it was next to impossible to not spend any money – and it seemed as the year progressed harder and harder to make a dent in my debt.

This year I’m being more realistic, and holding back more of my pay for myself rather than trying to live off meager bits of cash. I’m still going to be fairly assertive about reducing my debt, and my goal IS to reduce my debt by half, but I’m going to be a little bit more reasonable about how much spending money I work into my budget.

(I finally registered for RRSP group savings plan through work – they’re matching 3.5% in RRSP contributions so that’s another step in the right direction. )

2005 Goal #3) Write.
I did no creative writing this year other than my blog but 2005 was a very creative year for me through work – I was given the freedom and creative control to design number of marketing pieces for work that I was very proud of. And while it wasn’t writing fiction like I had originally hoped, it did satisfy the urge within me to be creative.

4) Learn something new every month.
Every month was a little ambitious, I realize that now. But in 2005 I did learn a few new things and did try and number of things for the first time.

I learned how to knit, and eat with chopsticks. I figured out how to do a very basic tarot card spread (to answer a yes/no question), I spent a lot of time reading about red wine and built up a fairly respectable wine collection of over a dozen bottles. I increased my level of skill in no-limit poker and learned how to play limit poker – and discovered they were two different games with two very different strategies. I learned how to make cosmopolitans and hummus from scratch. I mastered sun salutations in yoga, and discovered in body pump that you can work your body hard enough that your ELBOWS will actually sweat. I learned how to BOWL. I did a Solo 2 school AND a Solo 1 school and gained a new appreciation for the Type-R. And probably, the most recently, I learned the very hard way how to check and add oil to the car (something I NEVER had to do before and a story that I didn’t share here simply because there would have been so much headshaking, heads would have just bobbed off their necks :).

And finally, I learned that I am capable of more than I thought I was capable of, especially in situations of extreme stress and awkwardness and that I’m able to handle such situations with grace and dignity. And perhaps I’m proud of that accomplishment most of all.

2005 Goal #5) Give to my community.
Last year, I donated to the red cross for both the tsunami, and Katrina, I raised money for both Big Brothers Big Sisters and Heart and Stroke, I coordinated an event at work that raised money for Breast Cancer Awareness month. And every payday, deductions come off my pay cheque in support of the United Way. And that doesn’t include the number of times that I’ve pulled out my wallet for whomever stops by my office door with pledge sheet in hand or raffle tickets or 50/50 tickets.

And, like my husband says, I work in non-profit and make less money than I could if I worked in the corporate sector which in itself is my own personal way of giving back (and sharing this information works wonders when people show up on my doorstep soliciting for money).

(And so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for still having a mountain of debt ;).

Goals for 2006*

1) Eat well and exercise often

2) Reduce my debt

3) Learn new things

4) Be creative in whatever medium available to me

5) Give to my community

(*One thing I have learned about myself is that I’m prone to set my bar fairly high, and then am quite disappointed when I have difficulty achieving my goals – so for 2006, I’m hoping simplicity is the key).

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