Personal Goal Setting Roundup - The Bossy House

Personal Goal Setting Roundup


Every year I do some personal goal setting to figure out what I really want to work on for the coming year. 

My year starts in August. That’s because my life has always been in a school-based rhythm, first as a student and now having worked 25 years in schools. That’s why I set my goals in the summer.

This year, I had a lot to reflect on. And of course I wrote about it all.

I set big goals for myself each year, and they take the form of themes. I like to have a direction I’m moving in for the year and, though the goals may shift, the direction remains the same. 

In most places, I’m proud to report I met my goals and grew into a bigger understanding of who I am and what is next for me!

Check out my goals below!

mom and daughter

Theme: Spend Money on What’s Important

This year, I pledged to get really clear about what mattered most to me, and spend less money on the things that are unimportant. 

Important: trips, hobbies, activities, and our future. Not important: books, toys, clothes.

Personal Goal: Stop buying books

In particular, our book buying habit was really out of control. I wanted to buy every new book by a favorite author. I bought beautiful picture books my daughter didn’t even like. 

And once I read these books? I just put them on the shelf. I have hundreds of books I’ve read once and never looked at again… but somehow want to keep around. I know my fellow English teachers know this particular problem. 

I pledged to stop buying books unless they were reference books, books I’d refer back to again. And I pledged to get to know our neighborhood library. 

library shelves

It turns out, the library is amazing. AND we’re reading MORE! 

You can find out all about our journey to stop buying books, and see which books I DID buy this past year.  

Personal Goal: Stop buying Clothes

I also pledged to stop buying clothes.

I actually really hate picking out clothes in the morning and discovered that I actually feel most comfortable (and look the way I want to look) when I wear a blazer and pants with a sleeveless shirt. Turns out, you only need a few pairs of blue and black pants, a variety of blazers, and five or six shirts to pull this off. 

I purged my closet and worked with what I had. I rejected the lies I’d been telling myself-- the lies like “if you lose weight you’ll like getting dressed in the morning” or “maybe if you had MORE clothes it’d be easier to get dressed.” 

Turns out, simplifying my wardrobe lightens my mental load so much AND saves money. 

It’s a bit harder with my daughter’s clothing since she’s growing, but I didn’t buy any clothes for her either since she insists on wearing the same five tennis skorts and t-shirts every day. EASY. 

Theme: Physically recover and heal

For both myself and my daughter, we had big life events this year related to surgery and long-term health. I’m happy to report that my daughter is doing great. 

Part of my goal this year was to completely focus on her needs and give her as much attention as possible as she went through a tough surgery. 

As all moms know, this was a lot of work. I'm proud of how much warmth I had (on very little sleep) and how many snuggles I got to share with her.

For myself, this wasn’t a goal last August. My goals was “GET STRONGER.”  But in December I had a big knee injury that has sidelined me for almost a year now. 

Because of that, I made physical recovery a big goal for myself.

Personal Goal: ComMit to daily exercise or physical therapy

peloton bike mom

First, I had to come to terms with my physical limitations. I’m not able to do much walking or yoga, which were my primary forms of exercise.

Biking was going to be about the only exercise I could do. I made the decision to purchase the Peloton bike back in December when I was injured. 

I planned to use it to recover, and in the meantime it has allowed me to make my workouts WAY more intense than before and more frequent too! Committing to daily exercise or physical therapy has been a goal I’ve kept all year. Hooray! 

Personal Goal: Persist in finding a solution for my knee

My knee hasn’t recovered well from surgery, and truth be told I have terrible knees (this is my third knee surgery in 10 years). 

I haven’t walked well since December. It’s taken a lot of stamina and persistence plus four different doctors to get to a place where I am now.

Now, I am in an experimental trial to see if the tendons in my knee will regenerate. I’m only two weeks into treatment and it lasts four months, so I’ll be continuing this goal into this new year. 

I’m reminding myself that getting stronger takes time, and that part of recovery is painful. Gaining weight, being cranky about how difficult walking is, feeling frustrated about not knowing what’s wrong with my knee… it’s taken a toll. 

It’s been slow going, but there have been major victories. Finding this new treatment, getting committed and consistent with exercise, and shepherding my daughter through a tough physical time- these are all major victories. And the work continues. Onward!

Theme: Building Independence for The Girl

As my daughter enters what Montessori calls the Reasoning Mind stage, I am noticing she is asking “why” more often and trying to figure out her place in the world. Questions like “who is in our family?” and an increase in imaginative play and an interest in friends are all signs that she’s shifting into a new phase. 

This past year, I wanted to capitalize on the last years of the Absorbant Mind Stage and build The Girl’s independence. 

Personal Goal: Operation sleep in your own room

mom and baby co-sleeping


We have been sleeping in our room together for five years, and mommy needs a break. Or at least to sleep through the night without being kicked in the face. 

This February I started moving her into her own room.

I had the idea it would probably take six months, and by August I wanted all the bedtime routines and sleep supports to be located in her new room. So white noise machine, unicorn light, pajamas, and bedtime books all had to move permanently. 

There were months where that unicorn light went back and forth between rooms. And MANY nights where she couldn’t get to sleep in her own room. 

girl's bedroom

But now, six months later I can report that she is successfully STARTING bedtime in her bed every night. She usually ends up with me around 3am but this still counts as a victory! At 3 she usually goes back to sleep with me and requires minimal waking up from me. 

Personal Goal: Teach about consent

It’s hard to decide when to teach our children about consent and body safety. Until this year, I chose not to directly teach her about consent but to have a particular stance towards bodies and permission in general. 

This year, I wanted to sit her down and talk about body safety in a more direct way, this time acknowledging that there might be people who could treat her body or her person with less than full respect. 

This was a tough one for me. I hated to break it to her that this is a world where people could treat her as an object, disregard what she wants, or hurt her. I agonized over this conversation. 

Of course I wrote about it, in a four part series on consent. One of my favorite in the series is the post about teaching children that their bodies belong to them.

And of course I created a worksheet that helped me flesh out my ideas about what I wanted to teach her about body safety.

body safety worksheet

My worksheet helps you have this conversation with your child, complete with places to list the words your house uses for body parts and write down your child’s trusted adults. You can get your own copy here!

Personal Goal: Independent work

Getting The Girl ready for Kindergarten, I started to pay attention to her stamina for sustained work. 

She’s always been interested in handwork and workbooks, but I ramped up our collection of books she could work on by herself to give her long uninterrupted periods of work time.

I also increased the time in our lives without screens, put workbooks in the car, and brought her workbooks with us everywhere. 

It worked! She can work quietly and sustain her focus on written tasks, just in time for Kindergarten homework!

child working on workbook independently

Theme: Miscellaneous Mom Goals

As The Girl gets more independent, I have more time for things that sustain me, things I love to do to express myself and exercise my mind. 

personal goal: Write!

I had a huge goal this year to get back to my writing roots. I wrote op-eds for local and national online magazines, and launched my blog with this fun personal post. I got clarity about what I'm going to write, and decided to focus for a while on offering budgeting support for people who hate budgeting (like I do!) 

Professionally, I continue to fight for equity in our public educational system in New Orleans.

I wrote about the segregated and racist history of New Orleans education and the chance we have to right old wrongs with our new system today.

I also wrote an opinion piece about our local enrollment successes, and how we have to take an honest look at our enrollment practices that could jeopardize our ability to grow into a truly equitable educational system. 

personal goal: expand our school

teacher celebrating 25 years

Highlight: This year, in my final year as principal of the school that I founded, I celebrated 25 years in education.

Of course, my school celebrates teachers making 10, 15, and 25 year milestones with champagne and cookies

I’m so proud of the work we’ve done in New Orleans to increase academic achievement and turn around a failing school system.

Having been a teacher in the system 25 years ago and now a principal in the decentralized system of public charter schools, I know that we have a long way to go. 

At my school, one of my professional goals was to complete a three year expansion project, taking over two failing schools in our neighborhood, purchasing a new property for our Montessori campus, and transitioning the leadership of the school to three leaders who will be principals of our three programs next year. 

school principal in her office

Ten years ago, our team took over a failing school with 175 students, and now Harriet Tubman Charter School serves 1100 students in grades preK through 8th and has had incredible growth and success. I’m most proud of the amazing work we’ve done as a team to improve outcomes for our kids and families. 

Over the years we have taken our school from an F to a C, added an economically diverse pre-K program, created the only open-enrollment Montessori program in our city, innovated to launch an alternative program that serves students from all over the city, and expanded across two campuses to serve more students. 

first day of school picture

And of course one of my proudest moments was getting to share this all with my daughter, who started Kindergarten at my school this year.  

There are so many ways this has helped our family. One, I'm not managing a huge group of babysitters to make the schedule work anymore, but also The Girl is thriving in Kindergarten at a school that is just right for her.

Unmet Victories

There are some victories not yet achieved. Here goes:

  • Goal: Use intermittent fasting and a low-carb way of eating to lose the weight that's stressing out my joints. I did not do this. In fact, I gained 30 pounds with the mobility issues related to my surgery and the stress related to my daughter's. I'll be putting it on my list for this year. 
  • Goal: Spend more time outdoors. I did not do this. Between knee surgery and climate change making this place HOTTER THAN EVER, I feel like I've been inside all year. Must change. 
  • Goal: get all new routines settled before school started in September. We are still in the middle of settling routines in our house, I think about a month too late. I would have liked to make all the changes we made this year with my daughter coming to school with me, but I opted out of it until school actually started. 

All in all, not a bad year! Stay tuned sometime in the fall for a listing of my new themes and goals for the coming year. Happy goal-setting (and meeting!) to you!

Is one of your goals to get your money organized?

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Financial Planning Templates from The Bossy House