Way back in January, I published our family’s list of goals for the year.  I’ve learned over time that if I don’t write down Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timed goals, there’s no point in making goals at all.  We also set a BHAG (a big, hairy, audacious goal) to pay down a chunk of debt that amounted to 19% of our bring home pay.  We wanted to shoot for the stars!

So how did we do?  Well, we reevaluated those goals several times.  We finally realized that we would have to set aside some of our goals to focus more on our BHAG.

Sometimes success ends up looking much different than you envisioned.  And I’m ok with that!

A final check in on our SMART goals and BHAG for blogging and getting debt free in 2016. Here's how we reached our crazy goals, and why it's ok that we didn't reach all of them.

Reaching My SMART Goals for 2016 (Or not?)

Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.Home/Barn

  • Get a water plan in place.  We’ve decided to table this until 2018 (or until we have all credit card debt paid off).
  • Barn driveway.  We’ve also tabled this plan for now.
  • Improve goat pens and fencing. Working on the barn is ongoing and probably always will be!
  • Finish the bathroom project.  Done!
  • Paint baseboards and staircase.  I’ve put this off until we have cc debt paid off.
  • Swimming.  Done!  One of the best things we did in 2016.  (I hated that my kids couldn’t swim enough to get out of water.)
  • Vacation.  We had a fun camping trip!
  • One on One Time.  Another ongoing goal.  This could probably be made more SMART.

Marriage

  • Date.  We didn’t have monthly dates, but we improved over previous years.

Personal

  • Faith.  I used a few different books to improve on this.
  • Read.  I did not make it through 12 books in 2016.  I probably did about half that.
  • Blogging.  I made this much more SMART (see below).  In 2017, I plan to dedicate these goals to their own blog posts.
  • Exercise.  This was a no go in 2016.  I spent all my extra time on the blog and couldn’t fit it in the schedule.  Now that I’m learning to blog smarter I hope to make this a priority in 2017!

Our BHAG

Our main goal and biggest focus of 2016 is to pay off debt.  The debt we are focused on amounts to nearly 19% of our (after taxes and deductions) bring home pay.  So for every $100 we bring into the house, $19 has to go back towards this debt.

Debt payoff progress in 2016. How we were able to pay off a big chunk of debt in one year.Our #yearofno taught us a lot about ourselves.  We’ve changed the way we think about spending money.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.  In fact, I’m hoping to turn the lessons we learned from our #yearofno into an ebook in 2017.

That said, we didn’t quite reach our goal.  It was a stretch from the beginning, so I can’t be too upset about the fact that we got our debt down by 78% rather than 100%.

The Hidden Benefits

What you can’t see by looking at that number is the big changes we made in our lives this year.  Here’s a list of just some of the life overhaul we made in 2016:

  • Paid off our van early.
  • Covered all Christmas expenses without touching a credit card. (This is huge and will change our finances all year!)
  • Finally broke the bad habit of hitting the drive thru or the pizza joint whenever life was a little busy.
  • Adopted a new mindset about spending.  That “just $1” item is often not worth it.
  • Reevaluated spending with the kids.  They learned to delay gratification a bit better.
  • Covered heat bills using our sinking funds.

While 2016 was rough for many, it’s a year I will remember as pivotal for our family.

Blogging Goals

I’m glad that I set these goals, but the truth is I had no idea what to shoot for.  Now I realize that I should have aimed much higher!  What a fun way to learn about blogging goals.  🙂

  • Improve social media.  My goal is 5,000 Twitter followers, 600 Facebook likes, and want to have 3,500 pins to my Pinterest page by year end.
    • 2016 is close enough to over that I’ll call this at 6,541 Twitter, 606 Facebook (squeaked it in!), and 6375 pins.  I later decided to track these stats: 2392 Pinterest followers and 527 Instagram followers.
  • Learn.  Take 12 classes on ways to improve my blogging.
    • I took at least 12 classes from big to small to help me improve my blogging.  I chose free courses as well as paid.  And I took advantage of the Genius Bloggers Toolkit, a lite version of EBA, and more.  I’m proud of how much I learned and the improvements I’ve made to Medium Sized Family in 2016.
  • Views.  In January, I had about 6,000 pageviews per month.  I’d like to increase that to 18,000 pageviews per month by the end of the year.
    • I reached a high point of 22,820 in September.  Each month my numbers bop around a bit, so it’s tough to get a good average.  My December views are at 17,076.  I anticipate higher numbers in January once my Secure Your Savings and Find Peace in the New Year series begins.  Very happy with my slow but steady growth this year!
  • Guest post.  I’d like to start writing at least 1 guest post per month.
    • Guest posting has been valuable for me in 2016.  I was excited to write for The Penny Hoarder, Money Saving Mom, The Peaceful Mom, and more.  You can find those posts on my Start Here page.
  • Monetize.  I need this blog to earn some money to help with our BHAG, so I’m always exploring ways to monetize.  Since I’ll only share things that I truly find beneficial, I pass on a lot of opportunities.
    • I never realized there were so many ways to earn money while blogging before this year.  I’ve earned money through sponsored posts, ads, affiliate links, social media, and freelance writing.  I’m hoping to improve in all of these areas again this year.  I’m proud of the fact that I’ve only accepted jobs that I can truly stand behind, and I will continue that in the new year.

That’s how we spent our 2016.

We had a good year, and anticipate a great 2017.  Stay tuned to read all about our goals for the new year!

How did you do in 2016?  Was it all you’d hoped for?

Subscribe