A 2017 Retrospective

As I reflect on 2017 and reread my three, yes three, goal posts from the beginning of that year, I am struck by how appropriate my theme for 2018 really is. If I had applied that theme to my actions in 2017, I believe that I would have had greater success.

For this post, I will reflect on each goal in the same general format in which I published the original posts: running, finances, health and nutrition, reading and writing, and finally, teaching.

Before I reread my post on my running goals, I was sure that I had outright declared that 2017 would be the BQ year. (I did that in 2014 and learned my lesson.) Instead, I saw that I acknowledged that 2017 may not be my year but I would certainly try. As I documented, Chicago, while an awesome race, produced a time much slower than I expected or hoped. I know, looking back, that I shortchanged my training. The training plan I used called for specific paces and other techniques on the long runs. I took the easy route and executed exactly none of them. I should not have been surprised that I produced such a lackluster performance. I fI bothered to write out this plan, why did I not bother to execute it properly? Too hard. I considered it too hard or not something I wanted to bother with that day. That will change.

Of all the categories, I had the most success in the financial category. I have become much more intentional with my spending while avoiding the path to financial miserliness. (Been there. Done that.) Although I did not succeed in raising my savings rate to 40%, I did manage to raise it from 24% to 34%, a 10% increase. I managed this by increasing my income halfway through the year after submitting a change of action for my teaching certificate. I now earn a salary reflecting a Masters+30 instead of simply a Masters. (The +30 comes from my 2013 MA in History.) I also revamped my classroom rewards system which decreased the amount I spent on teaching related expenses. I spent $250 less on teaching related expenses in 2017 when I taught two semesters than 2016 when I taught one. I could continue into the minutiae but I will refrain.

My results for my health and nutrition goals were a mixed bag. I swung back and forth on things like drinking enough water (thanks to a schedule change for this school year) and consuming too much sugar, especially lately. I have also fallen into a food rut which has increased the tendency towards unhealthy eating. I plan to continue to work on this as part of the deep dive. One of the areas that directly affects my running performance is how I fuel, not just during the race but during training both during training runs and in daily life to prepare and recover.

When it comes to reading and writing, I have had success, especially with reading, but when it comes to writing, I have not been as successful as I hoped. I could discuss individual aspects of this goal that I set out in the initial post but those are specific surface habits I hoped to establish. Since they do not speak to the deep dive, I will not spend time discussing them now. I have, however, had success when it comes to writing. With the exception of two Tuesdays last year, missed because I failed to schedule the post, not write it, I have posted an essay each week, much more than I have regularly written, especially in nonfiction. I want to dive deeper though. I want to stretch myself and not only increase the volume but also the quality. This applies to my journaling as well. I came nowhere near my stated goal of daily journaling. I believe this will help significantly with all three of my chosen deep dives.

Finally, there’s teaching. (I’m skipping photography since I abandoned this goal shortly after making it.) This goal drives my theme for 2018. This goal typifies my grand planning which lacks proper execution. I can wax eloquent on what I want to do and even sketch out a plan for accomplishing those goals. My execution comes woefully short. I realized late last calendar year that I too easily succumbed to apathy. At the very end of the semester I realized that my observations of the inefficiencies (euphemism alert) led me to apathy. Instead of figuring out how to game the system for the sake of the students, the reason I am there after all, I gave up. I went through the motions, met the bare minimum required while chafing under the intense, and often unjustified scrutiny. This will be my main focus area for 2018, the area I struggled with the most in 2017.

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