Presenting my year in review! I was recently contemplating my 2017 New Year’s resolutions when I received an email from business coach Sarah Liddle. A prolific writer, Ms. Liddle is a coach to coaches, and her writing has been featured in Huffington Post and Lifehack, amongst many others. And in her insightful email, she said you can’t create goals for next year without reflecting on this past year. Great advice! How could I possibly set my resolutions for 2017 without seeing how I succeeded and failed this past year? That reflection will ultimately affect my 2017 choices. So here’s a look at the progress I made in 2016.

Family

I celebrated my son’s first birthday! I can barely believe that my son is now one. Where did the time go? It’s so amazing that he went from an 8 lb 3 oz tiny little nugget to a… dare I say it… toddler! At the time of this reflection, he is a year and a half. He’s so tall. 99th percentile, of course. He is my Mini Me but is slowly getting to look more like his father, mostly in the faces he makes. He runs, he jumps, he climbs, oh how he climbs! Nothing is safe. He says banana (“nan-a”), apple (“ap-l”), Mom (“mum”), Dad (“dada”), blueberries (“b-b-b”), sippy cup, really trying to say bottle (“bot bot”), and Bronte, our dog’s name (“non-nay”). He loves to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I couldn’t be more in love with him.

And what else happened as my son turned one, but I turned one as a Mom! One year as a Mom, ack! I can barely believe it. It has been a whirlwind of a year. Being a Mom is absolutely the hardest thing I have ever, ever done. First and foremost, sleep deprivation. Let’s talk sleep deprivation. It’s cumulative, folks, and I have no idea when you catch up, if you ever do. I can certainly tell you that you start waking up to pee in the night during the end of the second trimester, and it has never stopped (the not sleeping, thankfully the peeing does). Maybe you sometimes get one complete night of sleep, but please! That doesn’t make up for the 300 days before it.

Also, I think becoming a parent gives you an insane amount of respect for your own parents. No matter your relationship, at the very least your Mom carried you and gave birth to you. And then she had to recover from that! And whether or not your biological parents raised you or you were adopted, someone cared for you as a tiny human. They fed you, clothed you, changed your diapers, and cuddled you. That person, or people, loved you! They lost sleep over you. It makes you have a lot more respect for their sacrifices.

Lastly, as a parent, you make a thousand decisions a day. I have always been a boss and a decision maker (well, since I was 16… ). I’ve now been a boss longer in years than not. But being a parent pushes decision making to the nth degree. You have to decide all of these things all of the time, and hope you are making the right decisions for your child! Gosh, it’s a lot of pressure!

Finally, my last family notable moment was my and my husband’s 5 year anniversary. We spent our 4th year anniversary in the hospital having my son. That was certainly memorable! This year it was dinner and a movie, and our first date night since our son was born! We have been on a thousand or more dates in 11 years of being together, but this anniversary was special. I’m glad I found my penguin. And he’s an amazing Dad! I love watching him be a Dad.

The Notable Woman

I started a blog and a podcast for The Notable Woman. I did a lot of personal reflecting to come up with this idea in the first place, and then I actually followed through on it! I learned a lot about the online space, blogging, and podcasting! I took classes and joined groups. I built a website in WordPress, and I launched it! Even better, I understand what I am doing (uh, technically speaking).

Add to that all I learned about podcasting! I learned about audio and microphones and software. I learned how to put together an episode. I learned iTunes. I put together the creative content. I couldn’t be happier to have this podcast to show for my 2016 work.

This year, I celebrated one year in my mastermind group! I love these people like my family. If you aren’t in a mastermind and you’re trying to change the world, get yourself in one! You definitely need like-minded people to bounce ideas off of. I’d be happy to give you pointers if you’d like some.

Resolutions

Every year, I endeavor to read 52 books and watch 12 movies. I always read my books and then some, and I never ever finish 12 flicks. What can I say? I love to read and although I like movies, I just don’t get into them enough to watch with any consistency.

But this year, everything changed. I saw over 30 movies so far and read 35 books. At this point in December, I can say with confidence that I am not going to finish my book challenge for the first time since I started this challenge.

Why?

Well, I saw a lot of movies because babysitters in NYC are pricey so my husband and I stayed home and watched movies. The end. I didn’t get more enlightened, just poorer. But my husband did force me to watch all sorts of deep films and fascinating documentaries, and I liked them.

As for books, it’s near impossible to read in front of a toddler, or perhaps, it’s just near impossible for ME to read in front of MY toddler. I can barely read a text longer than a few words without my son shot putting my cell across the room. I did read a lot during my commute into and out of the city, but I also did a lot of writing, researching, and work on the train this year. And, I read far more non-fiction / self-help / teaching me something books, which often cause me to stop and contemplate before moving on to the next chapter.

Either way, I’m proud of what I did this year, and I think it’s good for my big head that I didn’t finish something I wanted to do.

Endings

I’ve always known that having a pet as an adult would be different than as a kid. A kid loves a pet without necessarily having to care for it – you know, the walks, the baths, the litter, the poop. Your poor parents might have gotten stuck with that. And then when your adorable life friend is older and sick, your parent or parents had to decide what care to provide, how much they could afford on vet expenses before it was just too much, and whether or not to have your pet euthanized or not. These are really big decisions for someone who has been a part of your family for decades or more.

And this year, I had to make all those decisions for my old man cat Atticus. My husband scheduled the vet appointment for me because I refused to acknowledge that Atticus was sick. At the vet, I was horrified to discover Atticus was only 8 lbs, smaller now than my son when he was born. How could I not see how sick he was? And they just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, and I had to make the decision to bring him home when we could no longer afford the exploratory tests, knowing he would die. We made him as comfortable as possible, gave him the medicine the vet gave us, and prayed that now wasn’t his time. The day before we were going to bring him back to be euthanized, he passed away.

I always knew that my first pet passing as an adult was going to be rough, and it was. But what I’ll say is that Atticus rescued me as much as I rescued him, and I am forever thankful for my time with him.

I’m really thankful for Sarah Liddle and this exercise. I think I’m far better prepared to tackle my 2017 goals. What about you? Want to give this a try? I’d love to hear how it goes.