This year, next year: 2017/2018 edition

Here we are: 2017 is drawing to a close and ushering in a shiny new year. And that means it's time for another This Year, Next Year post here.

this year next year 2017 2018

Truth be told 2017 was exhausting in so many ways, and many things on the running front weren't any better for me than they were in 2016. In fact, things have pretty much gone downhill since 2015 and I haven't been able to recover. It's now been more than 2 years since I've PR'd in any race and my running this year was even worse than last year. Sigh. 

This year, I still struggled with health issues, and running pretty much sucked. I only ran a few races and none of them were anything to be very proud of with the exception of successfully pacing a friend to meet her goal at the Disney Wine & Dine 10K. 

Where things did improve a great deal was on the career front. 2016 was a near complete train wreck in that area, so at least one of my trains got back on the right track in 2017.

In general, I did better than I thought I would in completing my 2017 goals, and several of them, I knocked out before the mid-year point. Some I decided I was no longer interested in right now, like attending a blogger/fitness conference, and crossed them off the list. Some I just straight up missed, like getting enough sleep and getting up to speed with Javascript. And I completely missed anything in the product design area. But while fitness and running was a bit of a dumpster fire this year, the other areas I set goals in worked out nicely.

2017 Mind map results

2017 Mind map results

This year's highlight: Income diversification

One of the things I didn't list on the mind map, but still had as a major goal was to diversify my income streams for 2017. I've been burned too many times in the past to put all of my income into one basket. And I'm happy to say I accomplished my goal.

I expanded my user experience and product strategy business so I had fairly steady work from different clients (some simultaneously) from May through the end of the year, and I took on a part-time job as a design blog editor for a tech company. Plus I mentor for the UX workshop on a well-known online learning platform. And of course, there's my full-time job.

So as I say goodbye to 2017, I now have several income streams, none dependent on the others, and various types of work (research, design, writing, teaching). And that was probably my largest success this year. 

So what's up for 2018?

Honestly, when it comes to running, I have no idea. My health is all over the place. Case in point: when I started this post, things were starting to go sort of well and I was feeling pretty good and picking up some speed again. Then a week later (when I came back to finish this post), I got hit with random piriformis pain that sidelined me.

I feel like I just can't seem to get it together after having a baby. He's 3.5 and the past 3.5 years have been a huge health struggle bus for me between allergies, asthma, and anemia (and a nasty, lingering infection this past fall), as well as random back issues and now, piriformis fun. I think this is largely due to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and stress combined with everything else I handle (see: full-time job, part-time job, side business, hobbies, mom life). 

With that said, I have no big goals for running because with my luck, I'll probably just be slogging through everything wishing I was the runner I used to be and can't seem to find anywhere. Really, I just want to be healthy again and look forward to going out for a run rather than having it be a source of depression or dread because I can't do it or I can't do it well. That's all I want when it comes to running, 2018, do you hear me?

But other than that, here are a few other things I'd like to do in coming year:

Health: Move more

I know that sounds strange coming from someone who generally attempts to work out 5 days a week, but really, I need to move more in general when I'm not working out. When I worked in an office, I'd get up and walk around all the time. In one office, the coffee shop on campus was at least 1/4 mile away and I made that walk a few times a day for my regular doses of caffeine.

Now I work from home and I walk to the kitchen or bathroom, and back to my desk. This is unacceptable. 

Neighborhood trails

Neighborhood trails

There are gorgeous trails around our new house and they're perfect for taking short walk breaks throughout the day (plus my dogs will be thrilled to get out more, too). In addition to my regular workouts, I want to get out for one morning and one afternoon walk, each just 5-10 minutes long (even if they don't result in me getting a caffeine fix), and maybe one short 5-10 minute bike ride around the neighborhood, too. That's somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes of extra movement that I'm not getting now.

Who knows? Maybe someday there will also be a coffee shop at the future shopping center that's supposed to be built at the entrance of our new neighborhood. That would really be motivation for me to move more. Until then, I'll have to find it elsewhere.

Health: Maintain better

This one is closely related to the "move more" goal, but it's more focused on overall health and wellness than one specific area. In general, I need to eat better, take the supplements I need because my near-vegetarian diet misses them a lot, and do more strength training (not just yoga or BodyFlow), but actual strength workouts. 

I recently had my annual blood work done and while it's not nearly as bad as last year, I'm on the low end of some things and could use a little bit of a supplement boost. I started taking B12 and extra Vitamin D two weeks ago, as well as iron and Protandim (milk thistle and turmeric), and I started feeling more energetic within a week or so. Clearly, I need these in addition to my regular multivitamin from Ritual.

As for strength training, I've really struggled finding a place that has classes I want to take at times I can take them. I'm thinking of trying a new-to-me place that's relatively close to home because they have class times that work with my schedule and it looks like I'd like the classes they have.

And a yoga studio finally is opening close to my house with a schedule that works for me, so I'm hoping to add a ton more yoga to my life in 2018.

Then, I'm thinking of going to Orange Theory Fitness on Saturday mornings (if I'm not racing) for a little bit of speedwork and a little bit of strength work.  

So my schedule would look something like this:

Monday Strength workout + Yoga
Tuesday Easy run
Wednesday Yoga + Speedwork
Thursday Easy run + Strength
Friday Off or Yoga
Saturday Race or Orange Theory (speedwork)
Sunday Long run + Yoga if I have time
Totals 5 runs
3 strength workouts
4 yoga sessions

Wealth: Establish multiple streams of passive income

Diversifying my regular, time-boxed income was only step one. Next, I need to continue diversifying. But because my time and energy is finite and I can only stretch myself so thin, I need to find ways to make money that don't require my ongoing time - things I set up once and people can buy again and again. Or rental income.

We already have rental income from two properties, but we're looking at ways we can do better (like AirBnB instead of longterm rental for one of them), as well as exploring other markets to purchase real estate. We're in two right now: Charleston, SC and Lancaster, PA, but next we're looking at possibly Myrtle Beach, SC or Savannah, GA (or maybe even a beach town in North Carolina or Florida). I doubt that extra market will happen for us in 2018, but it's still a goal we have in mind. 

Our house in PA that we hope to use as an Air BnB Rental

Our house in PA that we hope to use as an Air BnB Rental

As for products I make once and sell over and over...well, that will take a bit more work up front on my end but it all has to do with expanding my user experience and product consulting business, which is that small business I mentioned earlier.

Eventually, I'd love to publish a book with a company like A Book Apart, but that's more of a longterm goal than one for 2018. But until then, there are smaller things I can create (shorter e-books, workshops, templates, etc). We'll see how I do here with the time I have.

There's a small chance I may also get my shiznit together with other products, like mugs and t-shirts, but again, we'll see. 

And lastly, we need to move all of these out of sole proprietorships (the UX business and the real estate) and into separate LLCs as soon as possible in the new year.

I'd be happy this year if we have one AirBnB property and I have one product that sells over and over. 

Happiness: Make (and sell!) jewelry

No, seriously. I keep talking about this. I create sketches, design moodboards, and collect supplies, but never find the time to actually make anything. This must change.

About 10 years ago, I had a small jewelry business where I sold on Etsy as well as in local boutiques and farmers markets. There were so many less opportunities back then to sell than there are now, so I'm missing out by not taking advantage of it! Plus, I just love stepping away from the screen for a bit, and designing and making things with my hands.

Bundled up in this goal is also learning how to lampwork. I've been wanting to learn how to do that for years and D got me lampworking classes for my birthday and a torch for Christmas. I haven't had time to do the classes yet, but I plan to start rolling with them in mid-January or the beginning of February. 

My goal here is to launch one small collection. Nothing big, nothing crazy, baby steps. Just one collection. 

The rest?

I still have other things on my radar like getting up to speed in Javascript (for real), learning some new design tools, taking more art classes and getting into different mediums, and maybe making moves toward another graduate degree in industrial design. But, I can only handle so much at a time and that's quite a lot. 

If I learned anything in 2017, it's that even though things are going well, burnout is still very, very real. I lit the candle at both ends and burned that sucker right down the middle in 2017, and I'm ending the year frazzled, frustrated, exhausted, and injured.

Somehow, in 2018, I also need to figure out that little thing called balance. In workouts and in life. 

How was your 2017? What are your 2018 goals?