my 2013 goals in review


Biggest and proudest accomplishment of 2013: my contribution to creating and caring for this family of mine!

OK, after a year of work… 2013 is over, and it’s time to review my goals for this past year! Sharing them publicly with all of you is definitely a way to keep me accountable, and I think it helped me stay on track a little better this year than I did in 2012.

If you’d like to, I would love to hear about how well you accomplished your goals (or resolutions), or you could link to your blog posts about them in the comments, too!

Here’s how I did with my 2013 goals:

  • Love Elliott and Lena and our Baby Boy.  

Nothing like keeping my priorities straight! How can I measure this one?  I definitely found myself frequently stretched to love my family with patience, compassion, creativity, and humility, particularly when Gil was tiny and we were adjusting to being a family of four. Through it all, though, my love for my family has become deeper than ever, and I am more in love with Elliott and more invested in my whole family than I was a year before. It is wonderful to see my heart full to bursting with love… and then realize a year later that my love has miraculously grown.

  • Finish War and Peace!  

Fail. Total. Complete. Fail. I literally did not even open the book all year. I did move it from my bedside table (where it was mocking me) to the floor (where it continued to mock me) to the guest room (where I was grateful to finally forget about it). I’m hoping for better luck next year with me and Prince Andrei, Natasha, Pierre, Hélène, Nikolai, etc. etc. etc….

  • Read at least 10 classics that I haven’t read but have always wanted to read.

In the minutiae of motherhood, reading is a respite and a relief to me. (How alliterative! Now I’m on a roll.) Reading books continues my education in an academic sense even when the rest of my life is mostly preparing and cleaning up food, facilitating sleep, and providing wholesome and creativity activities for little minds. When my body is exhausted, I can rest with a book. Other than conversations with Elliott before we fall asleep — or sleep itself — I can’t think of a more restful activity for me.

I also have a deeply satisfying sense of accomplishment when I read the last page and close another book. I can’t quite describe it. It is an accomplishment that cannot be taken away from me, that cannot be undone by little fingers, that is recognized by everyone as a great achievement, and that contributes profoundly to who I am as a person.

I’ve set book reading goals for myself for two years in a row now. In 2012 I resolved to read a book a week for 52 books total, and this past year I resolved to read 40 books. At 11:33pm on December 31st, I finished my 45th book of 2013, including 10 classics. And oh, that feeling of achievement!  I’m so glad I did it, and I think I’ll set the same goal again next year. These are the classics that I read in 2013:

  1. A Passage to India by E.M. Forester
  2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  3. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  4. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  5. Confessions by St. Augustine
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  10. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

(I use this Book List Challenge to help me keep track of classics I’ve read and want to read. It’s not definitive, of course, but it is fun! I’ve read 50 of these books… 50 more to go.)

If you’d like to challenge yourself to read more in 2014, I highly recommend Goodreads. It’s like Facebook for bookworms! It’s a fantastic way to learn about new books, see what your friends are reading, keep track of your own reading (because otherwise I never remember), and set reading goals. You can become my friend on Goodreads right here.

  • Sell 50 handmade items either through craft fairs or through my Etsy shop.

I sold 56. Thank you to all of you who bought something from me!

  • Study Italian

I planned to complete this Italian workbook my goals for 2013 as well as the two volumes of Pimsleur Italian audio series. I finished the audio series but not the workbook. I did made good headway into it, though, so I think I’ll finish the book as one of my 2013 goals… before we leave Italy, of course!

  •  Learn more about and practice the manual settings on my camera.

I did do this, but I am still scratching the surface of the manual settings. I know this is the next big step for me in improving my photography (umm… duh), but I have such a comfort zone with the automatic settings on my DSLR and find it hard to imagine that my fumbling with the manual settings will really change my photographs very much. I know that’s not true. Right?

  • Launch my blog on a new website.  

Done as of January 28th, 2013 (< also the day I announced Gil’s birth). I still don’t feel as comfortable with WordPress as I did with Blogspot, but I am grateful to own all my content and to have complete power over the look of my website.

Maybe I’ll beautify a few things around here in 2014. If you have any blog-improvement suggestions (like formatting or helpful features or whatnot), I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Publish a piece of writing (fiction or non-fiction) in a non-blog setting.  

Nope. Sigh. I did read a piece of my writing at our church’s women’s Christmas event, so maybe this goal was partially accomplished. But speaking vs. writing wasn’t exactly what I was intending when I made this goal, so I think I’ll try again in 2014.


So that was 2013! Tomorrow I’ll publish my list of goals for 2014. I’m still working on writing some of them, but other goals are underway already. Again, if you’d like to share your 2013 or 2014 goals, I’d love to hear about them!

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6 Responses to my 2013 goals in review

  1. esther. January 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Casey and I were just talking about the blind naivety with which so many make their New Year’s Resolutions and then about making solid, serious goals that co-exist with one’s entire life vision and I must say that I am just so in awe of you and your drive to continue to make yourself into a better person. You inspire me!

    I don’t know how you read so many books/year. I think I spend too much time watching TV shows on Hulu. But you must just be a really fast-paced reader! I want to work my way through my Goodreads “to-read” list and THEN work on the classics.

    Your desire to sell 50 (FIFTY!!!) handmade items is inspiring to put myself out there and book more photography clients. I need to put a number to my goal but my fear of failure (even in meeting my own goals) is too strong right now. I need to seek some Truth on that!

    USE those manual settings. It will be a stretch but you’ll slowly start to see your photos take on the look that is in your head (or that you aspire to in other photographers). Focus on one thing at a time, F-stop, Shutter Speed, ISO and go from there.

    And last – I’m doing just the opposite with my website/blog. Reverting BACK to blogger from WordPress with my own URL and with a lot of editing to the HTML. Is there something I should be aware of as far as content copyright and ownership that I’m not picking up on? I have a disclaimer on the new site that all content is copyrighted by myself but your comments about ownership have piqued my curiosity.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Becca January 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Esther, thanks for this thoughtful comment! I love making goals instead of resolutions for all the reasons you mention, and it’s been so encouraging in the past couple of years to see achievements finally attained! If things don’t happen, well… there’s always next year. Like with photography! Thanks for your encouragement; I KNOW you’re right.

    I think if we watched TV shows I would read less than half of what I do. Seriously! I’m thinking about doing a blog post about reading because it does take some discipline. We watch very few movies and TV shows in our house, but we do spend a lot of time online for blogs’ and friendships’ sake, so we still have to manage our media intake a lot.

    I asked Elliott about the Blogger/Wordpress thing, and he said that the main thing isn’t that Google isn’t going to just steal or dump all your content or something one day BUT it could just decide to shut down a program because it isn’t worth the trouble. Like Google Reader, may it RIP. Since we have so much invested — photos, words, memories, maybe future careers — wrapped up in our blogs, it was worth it to make the change now when we had less invested and it would be less work. We also wanted to consolidate all our online presence (other than social media) into one website so that people would come to one place every time they looked for us; our self-hosted website will allow us to add a shop or a business page or whatever else when the time comes. It does require some money (I hate that) vs. Blogger which is gloriously FREE, but Elliott sincerely believed it was worth it, and I’m happy to hand over as much of the computer geek stuff to him as I can, so I stopped arguing. :-P

    • esther. January 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      Looking forward to your entry about reading!

      And that makes a lot of sense about obsolescence and Google’s ability to take things away. I really hadn’t thought about it from that angle. IF I had someone handling the coding/tech end of the website situation for myself, I’d probably handle it the same way. I think I just can’t really justify the expense when I have so many available resources that ARE free. Good food for thought (esp for future expansions), though!

  3. Marmee January 3, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    This is wonderful, Becca. You truly are inspiring with your goals and degree of completing them.

  4. Becca January 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Thank you so much, Mom! Your son is very encouraging in all of this. :-)


  1. my goals for 2014 - Becca Garber - January 3, 2014

    […] you for your encouragement about setting goals and working them out in everyday life. I’d love to hear what your goals […]

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