18 for 2018: How it went


I put together an “18 for 2018” list at the beginning of the year and did not do a great job of reviewing my progress. I sat down this week to see how I did and was pleasantly surprised!

I am making a “19 for 2019” list now and am coming up a few items short. I have not yet decided if I’ll push myself to get to 19 or leave it as is. The symmetry of 19 things for 2019 appeals to me, but I am practical enough to avoid adding things I am not invested in to my list.

I love this time of year because I love introspection. Sure, we could make goals anytime—and I do, throughout the year—but I love thinking about what works and what doesn’t and continuing to hone and refine my approach. My list for this year looks different: I noticed I didn’t put any professional goals for this past year (which was not a conscious decision on my part), and this year I have. Some of the items on my list this year will happen, I already know, but they are challenging and important and worth noting (think: military training). I will have less control over my time this year, so my aspirations lean conservative.


Circling back to this year, here’s the report card for my “18 Rules to Live by for 2018”:

1.  Nab the early appointments. 

For the most part, yes! I’m getting better about scheduling appointments when they work for me instead of taking whatever is available.


2.  Start my morning well before the kids wake up. 

This was a mixed bag. Some weeks I was great about this, other weeks not so much. Consistency in bedtimes and wake up times helps me sleep so much better, so it’s a work in progress.


3.  Natural beauty and personal care products are worth it.

I have replaced almost all of my make-up and personal care products with natural items. I haven’t loved every product I’ve tried, so I’ll still search for some new favorites.


4.  Quality beats novelty. 

This referenced my search for a signature dish and signature gift. I consider it halfway successful. I made several batches of tortilla soup this year to take to others, which I think is a good, solid meal that pleases most people. It fits the bill but I’d love to come up with something more exciting or delightful. Our approach to gifts changed this year—we went the Secret Santa route with many of our gift exchanges—so I had less need to find a signature gift.


5.  Less is more.

Yes! We continue to sort through unneeded items and make regular donations.


6.  Connect with God intentionally and differently.

I tried a few devotionals and never found one that I loved. As a family, we started sharing a “sweet, sour, service, and savior,” which was neat. For the “savior,” we each share a moment we felt God’s presence during the day.


7.  Take regular inventories.

Yes. This is the corollary to number 5.


8.  Stop apologizing (or be more intentional with my language).

I don’t know? It’s a hard one for me to determine for myself. I let go of some things that weren’t working, which gave me less reason to be sorry or regretful.


9.  Foam roll.

Some. I could do more, along with stretching and yoga.


10.  Make a to do list for the day and for the week.

Yes. Next I need to take it one level further and work on scheduling out blocks of time


11.  Choose reading for free time.

I joined Audible, but I notice that I still gravitate towards podcasts. I always read more when I love what I’m reading, so I need to put together a thoughtful TBR list.


12.  Write more notes.

Nope. This may go on 2019’s list. I think I need to set a particular numerical goal here.


13.  Get outside everyday.

This was maybe my most successful item. I took the kids and the dog whether it was nice weather or not. Yay Vitamin D!


14.  Do not hit the snooze button.

This happened sometimes, for sure.


15.  Tracking offers freedom.

Budget tracking went great!


16.  Take the few minutes to do hair and makeup.

I wish I was better about this. I feel so much better after I have done it, but I don’t enjoy getting ready, especially if I have no plans to see anyone but my family for the day. Of course, those are the days when I get all of the unexpected visitors and come to the front door in sweatpants, and I do not enjoy that feeling.


17.  Wear the right pajamas.

Yep. I’m 30 and finally know which pajamas allow me to sleep comfortably.


18.  Take more deep breaths.

In a metaphorical sense, yes. I cleared some significant space in my life this fall. In the literal, day-to-day sense, I could always use more. Couldn’t we all?

Emily Rowell Brown