At the very end of last year I set myself 18 goals to achieve in 2018. Most of them are ongoing, so I can’t necessarily definitively tick them off until the end of the year. However, I wanted to hold myself accountable so I thought I’d share my progress every three months, so I can see how I’m getting on.
1. Have a baby!
Well, I can definitely cross this one off the list!
2. Overpay the mortgage
This one is ongoing so I can’t really truly tick it off until the end of the year, but I’ve taken a bit of a liberty and ticked it because it’s going to plan so far! Since 1st January, I have overpaid the mortgage every month, even if it’s just been by £5. Most months it’s been more than that (in February it was £17 as I sorted through hubby’s spare change jar that he’s had hanging around for years, and that’s what it amounted to!) but it hasn’t been more than £20 in any one month.
It might not seem like small amounts like that will make a difference, but when you consider that any overpayment comes directly off the capital and saves you over twenty years’ worth of interest, it really does in the long run. I’ve been on the mortgage overpayment calculator on Money Saving Expert. For our mortgage, overpaying just £5 per month will save us £396 in interest and means we’ll be mortgage free 2 months earlier. If we can manage to increase that to £50 per month, it will mean we’ll be mortgage free 18 months earlier and save £3,657. Definitely not to be sniffed at!
3. LAUNCH A NEW BOOK AND ACTIVITY-RELATED SERIES ON THE BLOG
A big tick for this one! In fact, as well as launching Pondering Playtime, I’ve also launched a new Facebook Group, Play, Craft, Explore, with my lovely friend Leslie from Messy Blog UK. In it we share play and learning ideas and I’ve even done a few live videos to show what M and I have been up to in the tuff spot. It’s definitely worth a look (if I may say so myself!) so do pop over and join us if you’re wanting some Early Years play and learning ideas.
4. JOIN IN WITH THE LIVING ARROWS LINKY EVERY WEEK
Again, this is one that will run all year. But so far I have managed to join in with Living Arrows every week and I do love it! It’s really my personal diary of what I’ve been up to with M that week. It’s helping me stick to the essence of why I have my blog – to document our lives – and I’m looking forward to continuing it now that there are two children to photograph each week!
5. LEARN HOW TO USE MY NEW CAMERA
Okay, I haven’t ticked this one off because I am yet to take my camera off auto. So while I can use it to take fairly decent photos, I haven’t a clue what the majority of the functions do or how I can make them work for me. So this one is a ‘not yet’!
6. WORK WITH AT LEAST ONE EXCITING NEW BRAND
I’ve ticked this one off because I’m thrilled to be working with Britax this year on the launch of their Britax Römer DUALFIX i-SIZE car seat! My first impressions review is here, but I’ll be writing a more comprehensive review soon, now that baby is here and it’s properly installed in our family car.
7. TURN THE SPARE ROOM INTO A NURSERY
Yep, we did it! The spare room is now a nursery. I wanted to have it done before baby arrived as I couldn’t bear the thought of building nursery furniture with a toddler and a newborn to look after. I’m pleased to say it is done and while not necessarily insta-worthy, all of the furniture is built and the room is ready to be used!
8. SORT OUT MY MATERNITY ALLOWANCE
This one was a bit of a headache, but it’s done! The lovely people at Job Centre Plus totally ignored the fact that I wrote on every single page of my application form ‘please send form MA7 to HMRC‘ and, you guessed it, didn’t send form MA7 to HMRC, so I had a few ranty phone calls to make to ensure I received the proper amount. Fortunately, I received a letter informing me of this two days before I had my C-section and officially started my maternity leave. Talk about cutting it fine!
9. READ A BOOK FOR PLEASURE
I’ve managed to complete this one, too! I made sure I got a move on with this straight away at the start of the year as I knew the likelihood of me reading a whole book from cover to cover with a newborn around was pretty slim! I read The Power by Naomi Alderman* (*Affiliate link) and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Oh gosh, have I decluttered! Considering the new nursery is the smallest room in our house (aside from bathrooms!), it’s incredible the amount of bin bags of stuff that have come out of that room! It feels so much better to have less stuff, and I’m yet to wish there was something I hadn’t thrown out!
11. GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
I’ve been a bit better at this as I took quite a few bump shots during my pregnancy, but I still haven’t taken enough of the lovely natural shots with M that I was hoping for. Mainly because it involves hubby operating the camera and, well, he’s just not that good at it! (Sorry, hubby, you have many other wonderful qualities!) I’ll keep training him and see what we can do (or learn to use the remote camera app on my phone along with my tripod!)
12. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE MORE
I haven’t ticked this one off, either, as I don’t think I’ve done it justice at all. We tend to go out as a family regularly at the weekends, but it’s still not something I’ve done enough during the week while hubby’s been at work. I think I’ve realised that I feel a bit vulnerable about the idea of walking around a lake or through woods when it’s just me and M, so I need to find other activities we can do that feel more ‘safe’. We love going to Bop Tots classes so that’s a start, but I’d still like to do more.
13. HAVE MY HAIR CUT REGULARLY
Okay, I haven’t ticked this off because, while I have had my hair cut this year, I definitely haven’t had regular appointments! One to work on…
14. PAY OFF THE CAR FINANCE
We’ve done this! Hurrah! I’m so pleased we have as now it means that we have extra money as a buffer each month – perfect timing with a newborn when it’s a little bit too much to concentrate on budgeting!
15. GET ORGANISED
I’ve ticked this one off as I absolutely love my diary and have been planning and scheduling posts for almost the whole year, in some cases! Don’t get me wrong, most of what you read here is still written the night (or sometimes minutes!) before, but I’ve planned out things like my Pondering Playtime activities to the end of the year, so that I know what I need to do and when.
16. BE MORE PRESENT
I haven’t felt I can tick this one off just yet, as I’ve spent lots of time working on the blog this first quarter of the year in order to have some time off now that the baby has arrived. A definite work in progress!
17. BOOK A HOLIDAY
I haven’t booked a holiday holiday, but I have booked accommodation for when we go away for my friend’s wedding in June, so I’m totally counting that!
18. BE KIND TO MYSELF
Still a work in progress! I am my own worst critic!
Have you set any goals or resolutions for yourself this year? How are you getting on with them?
*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.