Episode #121: Evaluating Our End-of-Year Goals

Episode #121: Evaluating Our End-of-Year Goals

As we near the end of 2021, it’s a good time to do an end-of-the-year goal audit. Listen in as we walk you through the five steps to evaluate your goals. Plus, we have a question for you (and we share our guilty pleasure treasures).

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-What’s the most annoying Christmas song that you get stuck in your head? Let us know in the comments!

Emma: You’re listening to the Beautiful Mess Podcast. As we near the end of 2021, we think it’s a powerful exercise to take some time to do a little end of the year goal audit. So there are lots of ways to do this but we’re going to walk you through a few steps that we think are helpful. Plus, we are sharing a for the listener question at the end of the episode. 

Elsie: I love goals. Goal episode is like one of my top favorite subjects that we do on the podcast so I’m excited about this one.

Emma: Me too. I feel like everyone’s expecting it as you get really close to January for New Year’s resolutions. This is more about taking audit of the past year rather than setting goals for the next year. We can talk more about that another episode we’ve talked about in other episodes before, but this one’s just about reflecting. So I won’t speak for everyone else, but at least for me, this is an area that I could use some improvement because I’m a very like forward, forward forward. I have these next goals. I finished that, okay, the end, next thing, like always, next thing. So this is more like taking audit of what worked, what didn’t work, and how that can help you set some ideas for the next year, or if you do your goals every three months or whatever. So anyway, we got five steps.

Elsie: I completely agree. I think I feel like I’m the designated person in kind of like all of our various friend circles, who’s like, excuse me, excuse me, aren’t we going to go out to dinner to celebrate this big achievement. But I do sometimes breezed past the what you can learn from the goals that didn’t get achieved so I think I could also be more reflective.

Emma: Yes. So okay, we’ll go through these five steps. Like I said, there are a lot of different ways that you could do this. So these are just kind of to give you ideas. If one of these steps sparks an idea for you and you have a way to do it differently. Cool, do that. Like there’s no real right or wrong way. Step one is set aside intentional time. So I feel like if I don’t schedule things, at least right now the way my life is, it is not going to happen. So if anyone else listening…

Elsie: Me too. Raise your hand if you’re a tired mom, because we know that we have one or two tired moms in this podcast family. 

Emma: Yeah, and you don’t have to be a mom to be busy but it really does get you. So anyway, 

Elsie: It’s kinda just like a next-level mind f*ck, honestly, 

Emma: A little bit. 

Elsie: I remember having overwhelming busy work seasons in my life before kids, and every experience is valid for sure, but for whatever reason for me, this is definitely the most like if it’s not on the calendar, it will never happen season of my life. 

Emma: Yep, me too. So I’ll put things on my calendar that are semi-ridiculous, but it just won’t happen otherwise, 

Elsie: Like take a shower or what’s ridiculous?

Emma: Just honestly, I’ve thought about putting time to read my book because I haven’t been able to read and I’m like, maybe I can just put that on the calendar, and then everyone will know like, just let me read my book. 

Elsie: I definitely relate with that. I have a bedside book and so far I’ve read it one night for like 20 minutes and then I fell asleep. Then every other night I open it up and then I close it and fall asleep.

Emma: Yep. Anyway, okay, so this is an important step for me and you at least so set aside the intentional time. I think you need at least three hours to do this. That’s part of why we’re recording this episode a little bit before the end of the year because it’s hard to find three to four hours in your schedule sometimes. Some weeks it’s just really full and I get that but I think you should set aside around three to four hours because you’re going to go through a number of little exercises.

Elsie: Oh hell yeah, alone time. Okay. I don’t know when I’m going to get my three to four hours but I am excited to do this. Okay, teach us what we need to do, Emma? 

Emma: Yes. And I will say you might want to go to a coffee shop. You might want to do this completely alone. I like to talk to myself out loud whenever I’m really thinking things through so you will never find me deep working at a coffee shop because that’s just not the environment for me.

Elsie: I don’t like working in public as well. My preferred place is I like to hide in my closet. You know, my romcom closet. I like to go in there with my journal. I’m being dead serious. That’s where I can think right now.

Emma: Once you hear the five steps you’ll know too there’s certain parts of it where you could like go on a walk or something and for me, that’s a great time to think

Elsie: What about a bubble bath? 

Emma: Bubble Bath, great idea. Love it. Get those bath bombs going. Okay, so set aside some intentional time. You can be at a coffee shop, you can be alone, whatever you need about three to four hours, so that’s step one. Step two, make an outline of the past year. So if you’re a person who does an agenda, or you have a planner, or calendar, or maybe you journal, anything like that, have those with you, because you need to go through your past 12 months, 11 months, and basically make an outline of all the big events that happened. This is in your work life and your personal life and your mom life, anything that’s important to you whatever’s going on for you. Maybe you renovated your house so the big highs and lows of renovating your house, whatever. But you’re just trying to make like a high-level major events outline of the last 11 to 12 months. I’m very forgetful so I have to look at my calendars and be like, oh, what did I do this month? Oh, yeah, we went on this trip, I totally forgot about that already.

Elsie: Me too. I think if I looked back at all the things I did the last 12 months, I would be sort of proud too so maybe that’ll be a good moment for people to realize even when you’re overwhelmed or struggling that you still achieved a lot.

Emma: I think of this kind of like the KonMari exercise where you put all of your clothes in a pile. You are often amazed by how much you have. Maybe you still end up keeping most of it or maybe you don’t, but it’s just like when you don’t really realize how much, it’s easy to forget. So anyway, so make a big outline. That’s step two. Step three. Now look through the outline once you’ve made it and identify your top threes. So there’s two parts to this, you want to identify your top three wins. So these are successes, moments that you loved, maybe some of the happiest events from the year, whatever. You can put more than three but put at least three. So top three wins. Then your top three pain points. I like to call them pain points but you could also call them things that didn’t work, mistakes, things you would have changed if you had known whatever.

Elsie: Whoopsies. 

Emma: Yeah, you can give it whatever label you want. But I like to call them pain points because, in my mind, that’s like a way of kind of saying, here’s something that maybe I could solve, it’s pain point. So anyway, so make those top three wins, top three pain points. Step four, you’re going to love this one, Elsie because this is the one you’re good at. Step four is called gratitude or celebration. This is just to take a little time however you want and look at those three wins. Look at those three successes, moments that were amazing from your year, and celebrate. Thank the universe. 

Elsie: Hell yeah. 

Emma: If it was something that you worked your ass off to make happen, celebrate yourself and your achievement. Really sit with those wins, however many are on your list three or more because we don’t do that enough.

Elsie: I don’t think anyone does that enough. I think that’s actually one of the things that entrepreneurs miss from a corporate environment is you can get really rewarded for meeting your goals. When you’re an entrepreneur, you sometimes don’t remember to reward yourself so I think that’s really meaningful.

Emma: Yeah, and it doesn’t even have to be a work thing. Maybe it will be but it could be a really successful moment, family moment, or really successful personal goal that you had.

Elsie: Yeah, well, I know that one of yours, at least for this year is a successful family moment.

Emma: Yeah, for sure. I was like on your list could be your biking thing, all the rides you did.

Elsie: Honestly, yeah. That was a really joyful part of my year and something that was a big step forward for me as an athletic person.

Emma: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, so step four is gratitude celebration. For me, this is a great time to take a little walk around my neighborhood and just think about those three wins, and thank the universe, and congratulate myself for trying so hard. 

Elsie: Nice. I love that. 

Emma: Step five is since we just had a gratitude celebration for the three wins, obviously, step five is about those three pain points. So brainstorm how to improve on the pain points from your last year.  I like this as step five as sort of the conclusion because these might lead into making some goals for the coming year or the coming quarter or however you like to do your goals.

Elsie: I would make a strong case for sometimes you’ve had a goal that you haven’t hit it over and over. Sometimes there’s goals like that, that you need to just let them go or put them in the trash or say like, I might come back to that at some point but that’s not something that I’m gonna wear myself out over anymore right now. I love to just put a goal on the shelf and be like, see ya in five years or so. Whenever it’s in certain seasons of your life, you just sort of need to clean your plate a little bit.

Emma: Yep, I’m literally in my office right now, which is where I record the podcast, I have this half-made diorama that was just like a fun project. It’s literally just the inside of a shoebox painted white. That’s as far as I got. I was putting it on my list for probably a solid month.

Elsie: She thought she was a little Wes Anderson. 

Emma: I was like, oh, this will be a fun little thing to do. I just wanted to make this, no reason. It’s not for work. I finally had to be like, okay, I’ll just save this but I’m not making this diorama right now. It’s just not going to happen.

Elsie: Yeah, I have a lot of things like that in my life right now. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Remember last year when we talked about those charts, about how your life changes through the years, it’s like we will have progressively more and more alone time until we die. This is probably the point in our life where we have the least amount of alone time and I think it’s okay to just honor that and sort of like course correct for it.

Emma: Yeah, I might make a million dioramas in my 60s and I’ll be so stoked then. 

Elsie: Exactly. I mean, I love to think about my retirement future about how I’m going to like wake up and have my coffee and make a painting, and sort of like live the same life our mom’s living. I think that that’s a really pleasant thought but if I did try to do that right now, it would be a mistake for me.

Emma: While and two I think I’m trying so hard. I think I’m doing it with varying amounts of success, but a good amount of success, where I just constantly remind myself, I will miss this season when it’s over. 

Elsie: Oh, yeah.

Emma: Just like, enjoy it, and when you don’t get that stupid little diorama done, who cares because you got to spend an hour staring at your son sleeping. He’s only gonna be a baby once and it’s just a precious time that will go by fast. But yeah, so on the list, as Elsie alluded to is like this isn’t about, oh, I’ve got to solve each of these pain points, or oh, I need to make a harder goal or a bigger goal, like no. It could be that you just need to adjust your expectations. It could be that you need to consider changing some habits in your life.

Elsie: Maybe a different strategy. 

Emma: Different strategy, seeking additional guidance or getting some more education. Those might be things. Maybe you need to take a step back from achieving a certain goal and just be like, I need to learn a lot more about this. That’s what I need to do first. It could be a lot of things. This is not a step where you should look at those pain points and identify yourself as a failure. That is really not at all what you should be doing. It’s a time to reflect and think, well, how could I go through this or let this go. What’s serving me? What isn’t serving me? Make a plan for the future. Don’t think you have to solve every single issue. I also kind of just want to encourage people like growth is not a straight path. It’s very windy and curvy. It sometimes feels like you’re not making progress, but that’s what it’s like, for everyone, even if it doesn’t look that way from the outside when you’re looking at somebody else and comparing yourself like we all do and probably shouldn’t. But growth is just not a straight line. 

Elsie: I mean, I think that that’s a very important thing to remember. Going through seasons where we can push ourselves and then seasons where we lower our standards more than we ever thought we would. I think is a great way to live life.

Emma: I think too, you don’t need to blame yourself but you may need to think about adjusting habits. 

Elsie: So Emma and I, because of how we were raised, our little church trauma, I guess I shouldn’t say little, our significant church trauma and all of that stuff we’ve talked about before. We are big on guilt-free living and so anything that is guilt-free is what I want to advocate for. Being driven by guilt or motivated by guilt, I also don’t think it’s an effective or lasting way to change yourself or to get things done or to stay motivated, any of that. So yeah, I would say whatever you can, wherever you can, clean up and remove the guilt from your life and just put it in a permanent trash bin.

Emma: I agree. On the flip side of that, I would also say as you’re looking at these top three pain points from your year I don’t have the inclination to do this I’m much more likely to just blame myself. I also think another common thing that, it’s basically a trap that you can fall into, is to just blame others because that’s taking your power away. So it’s one thing if you’re in like a toxic relationship of some kind, friendship otherwise whatever, that’s something to evaluate for sure. But I think it’s really easy to kind of look at your year and kind of blame somebody else. Blame your job, blame you know whatever for not getting something that you wanted. All you’re doing is basically not making a plan to change because you can’t change other people’s so what can you do? What is your power?

Elsie: What I would add to that is, maybe it’s okay to blame people, but not without doing something about it. So if you see a problem, see if you can also find a solution or a way to pivot, or a way to reevaluate. Like, Emma was saying, I mean, I’ve definitely been in toxic relationships before and it’s not always like a one-day solve. I have a lot of compassion for that so we’re also not trying to make you feel guilty. I think that a lot of people can spend years or longer blaming the situation that they’re in for not being able to do simple things that would bring them joy and hopefully, we can stop doing that.

Emma: I just think you got to be careful where you hang your hat and it should be somewhere where you can make a difference with your choices. Otherwise, you’re going to be disappointed over and over again. 

Elsie: What do you mean by where to hang your hat?

Emma: If you’re like, well, I wish the daycare that my son goes to didn’t have so many days off. Okay, well, your options are to go to a different daycare, or figure out childcare on those days, or just accept it and plan for those for the next year. But if I’m just gonna stay angry and this is a weird example I don’t even know, but I’m just gonna blame them and get on their Facebook page and I’m like can’t believe your guys are so unprofessional. It’s like, well, that’s not helping anyone. That doesn’t help me. That doesn’t help them. It doesn’t do anything. So it’s just gonna make me feel worse and worse, more and more angry and more and more bitter but nothing’s actually going to change. So it’s like, well, maybe it would be better if instead I just identify, this isn’t working for me so what can I do to change the situation? 

Elsie: How can you reframe it and put yourself in a hopeful, productive position? That feels good to me as well.

Emma: Yeah. So anyway, that’s the five steps for how to do a once-a-year goal audit. It’s not super deep, but it will take some time. Hopefully, when you make that big pile of clothes on your bed, you’ll make that outline of your past year, that you’ll see, wow, it was a really full year and a lot of great things happened. Sure, there’s some things that I’d like to change and move forward differently with. But hopefully, because I think it’s just every time that you have a down moment, that becomes like the headline. There’s so many other headlines that don’t get enough air time in our minds so this is an opportunity to kind of see those, I think.

Elsie: Yeah, I hope that this is productive. Send us what you think if you do it because I’m curious to hear everyone’s experiences and I’m excited to do it. I feel like I’ve definitely lived my past year in a little bit of, what’s the word, where you’re like waiting for certain things to happen to feel good. Where you’re sort of like delaying your own happiness.  I’ve definitely been doing that. I know that that’s not good, but I’ve been doing it. So for this next year, I kind of want to reposition and make sure that I’m living each day in the moment a little bit better so that feels exciting. One of the things I love about goal setting is just the opportunity to have a fresh start over and over again is so exciting and so helpful because we all need that. 

Emma: I think goals are the most hopeful thing because they’re just thinking about the future and the opportunity to build something or grow something or change something, which is really exciting. This is kind of like, not a heavy episode, but kind of serious. So let’s move on to 

Elsie: Something dumb. 

Emma: Something dumb. So this is a question for you listeners. We want to hear what you think and you can leave us a comment really anywhere, but the best place is the show notes which is abeautifulmess.com/podcast. We’re going to answer the question too. So the question is, what is the most annoying Christmas song that you get stuck in your head? So mine is the hippopotamus song, I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. The version where it’s like a little girl singing and the girls so cute, but man I find that song annoying and as soon as it’s on the radio then it’s like in my head the whole rest of the day.

Elsie: Emma is like be aware I’m not shaming a child, but I totally hate it .

Emma: But I don’t like that song.

Elsie: Okay, in defense of the hippopotamus song, I will say that our most listened to, in our family our most listened to Kacey Musgraves is definitely the Christmas record and we love it. We listened to it a lot every year. I like how she focused on classics and she does that song, which when it came out, I was like, wowers, that’s kind of like an extreme choice. When we had kids and everything, it’s so cute. They love it. I do think that is less annoying for sure. Well, I shouldn’t say less annoying, I should say more fun to listen to the other version. The whole record is so sweet. So my annoying song, I couldn’t figure out the exact name of the song, but do you know what the Trans Siberian Orchestra is? 

Emma: Yes, do I. 

Elsie: So it just has a very Dwight Schrute vibe about it. That’s the song I don’t really like. For some reason, it plays on the radio kind of constantly and in stores and I think it’s really funny. I actually think I did maybe like it when I was in junior high, which makes sense but now not as much. So yeah, that’s probably the one and for some reason, it just sticks like glue in my brain. So yeah, it’s funny. Can I just say something random, I love on The Office when they do the Christmas karaoke. That’s one of my favorite scenes of all time, and I just remembered how Angela’s sings The Little Drummer Boy, which is also one of the worst songs but she makes it so good.

Emma: She just makes it so religious.

Elsie: Does she have prayer hands maybe?

Emma: I think so.

Elsie: So oh, we haven’t done a guilty pleasure treasure in a long time. One of our original segments from episode one, probably. 

Emma: Probably. Yeah, yes. So Elsie was like, let’s do a guilty pleasure treasure in this episode. So I was like, I got to think on what something random that I have recently been excited for and spent money on and spent time on whatever. Here’s what came to mind because I was like, I don’t know when else I’m going to talk about this. So I have been getting laser hair removal.

Elsie: Ours are gonna be the perfect pair. We could not be in more different universes, okay. Go for it because I want to hear everything. I love this subject and I wanna hear every single thing about it. 

Emma: This is just something I wanted to get after Oscar was born. I’m really excited for swimsuit season this year. I always got terrible razor burn in my bikini area. I was like, why don’t you just get laser hair removal? 

Elsie: It’s a modern miracle.

Emma: Yeah, and it was just a thing for you. I do a bad job prioritizing those so in my mind that was never even a possibility. But then I was like, wait, why do you think that’s not a possibility? You could go do that if you want. So I am and I think it’s like four to six appointments. My gals named Shelly, she’s really nice. I’ve gone to two appointments so far. I don’t know what it’s like everywhere in the country, but you can get this kind of numbing cream. Yes. So I’m not using the numbing cream because you can’t use it if you’re nursing, just a heads up to all the nursing moms out there. So I’m just doing it just straight up. 

Elsie: Hardcore. 

Emma: My review is it hurts less than a tattoo but it’s definitely unpleasant. Like I said, I’m getting my bikini area, or I guess it’s called Brazilian, and it takes about 20 minutes. So it’s pretty quick, but it does, it kind of stings. It feels like a rubber band like snapping your skin, basically. Like I said, I’m really excited for swimsuit season this year. I don’t know, it’s just something that I was like kind of sick of those like razor burn little red bumps so I was like, it’d be nice to not have that anymore. So there you go.

Elsie: Whoa, that’s awesome. Yeah, that makes me really happy for you. Okay, mine is that I’ve been collecting every single American Girl book. I’m doing the OG 1990s American Girl books that have the white covers because there’s newer ones that are more colorful. I’m doing the old school ones with the white covers. They’re from my childhood. Hopefully, if you’re listening, hopefully you read them as a child. I know not everyone did but it was a very big part of my childhood. So I recently read one and they’re like an easy reader. They’re really short and the words are really big. So I’m hopeful that our daughter who’s six who’s learning to read now, I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to read them maybe kind of soon. I think they would be the next graduating step after you can read like a kid’s book all by yourself, a little kids book. Maybe this would be like the very first level of a chapter book. So yeah, I’ve been collecting them. I did a printout for my purse. So I’ve been collecting a lot of series maybe I should say all this. So I made this like print out in my purse of all the books I wanted to collect and then it’s sort of a checklist so that I could just like thrift them. In Nashville, we have this amazing use bookstore called McKay’s. It’s really big. It’s like a wonderland of used books and it’s how I collected all my rainbow books a few years back for our last home. Now I’m collecting books for, we’re doing like a library-style dining room. I’ll talk about it fully in a future episode. But anyway, I’m collecting books again, I’m on the hunt. This time I wanted to do some series because we’re also adding a children’s library, which I’ll save that for later too but it is so epic. The things I’m collecting are every single Goosebumps, well I already collected all the Harry Potter’s and The Twilights. Which that was fun. All the American girls and then I did the Series of Unfortunate Events. Those are really cute, really good easy readers. The covers are really cute. I’ve never read them, but I watched one of the movies one time I thought it was kind of boring, actually. 

Emma: Have you seen the TV series? 

Elsie: No. 

Emma: It’s very charming. Nova might be into it. It’s a little scary for little kids maybe at parts, but it’s a good spooky vibe. Yeah, really, really charming, I would highly recommend it. 

Elsie: I would love suggestions on what else series to collect because it’s actually really fulfilling to me having these little checklists. I’m really enjoying it. I did some Nancy Drew’s, I think one through ten. I’m considering whether or not to do the full collection. There’s lots of different series in the young reader aisle. So yeah, I would love to hear from everyone what you think is worth it and holds up and stands the test of time. I started reading a Babysitters Club the other day and for me. I’m not sure that it does stand the test of time, as well as like a Goosebumps does. I don’t know if you’ve read one recent. 

Emma: What about did you ever read Little House on the Prairie? I read that with mom growing up. It was at our church library. They had them all. 

Elsie: Yeah, that’s cute. How many books are there do you think?

Emma: I don’t remember, but it’s definitely a series.

Elsie: I loved those as a child so that could be fun. 

Emma: I feel like they probably hold up because they don’t have like technology in them because of its Little House on the Prairie. You know what I mean.  Be interested to see what our listeners recommend. 

Elsie: Yeah. So I have one more little, crazy story. This is so cool. I’ve been collecting all the books I started with all the ones I read as a child, obviously. But there was one, the character Josephina I never read her books. Did you ever?

Emma: No. 

Elsie: Maybe she was just a little bit after our time. I don’t know what order they made them all in. But I only remember maybe five books or characters and there were a few more than that. So anyway, I ordered her, there’s six in each series, I ordered her series on eBay. A lot of times you can find them on eBay for like 30 bucks for all six, which I think is a good price, could be even less at a thrift store or something. Anyway, so this eBay seller wrote me and he was like, oh, I’m so sorry, I only put five of your books in, I’m going to send the other one and also, I have an original Josefina doll that I’m gonna send you as a thank you for being so patient. I was like, okay, well, that’s not necessary, but I have two little kids and that is so, so wonderful. I know, like an American Girl doll, can you even believe that? I feel like my 10-year-old self was mind blown.

Emma: Yeah, that’s a great seller. What else are they selling? You should buy more stuff. That’s amazing.

Elsie: I was so excited and I was like, who could I tell this story? I know who, the podcast. So anyway, American Girl books are definitely sparking joy for me. I hope that if you haven’t read one, just pick one up. It will give you this burst of nostalgia that you won’t even believe.

Emma: Love it. Thanks so much for listening. If you have a question, we would love to hear from you. We love answering questions. It can be about home decor. It could be about business. It could be about money. It could be about the holidays, whatever. Leave us a voicemail at 417-893-0011. That’s 417-893-0011. Thanks.

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