2018 New Year’s Resolutions Revisited

With 2019 now nearly a week old, it’s time to look back at the resolutions I made a year ago.

  1. Survive

Check.

2. Use Data to My Advantage

Check. Throughout the year, I made a google spreadsheet to keep track of a few key categories related to health and fitness — lifts, “other” workouts (like kayaking, hiking, running on a treadmill, etc.), yoga, and how often I eat out. The per weekly averages are in: 3.5 lifts, 1.3 “other” workouts, 0.58 Yoga sessions, and 3.15 meals out per week.

Merely by keeping track of these things, I was motivated to make better choices. For example, my average number of meals eating out per week dropped as the year went on. When I realized I was behind my usual pace for “other” workouts, I’d find ways to add more. I think there’s plenty of room to improve next year. I want to eat out less, and I want to increase my other workouts, especially cardio. I think my sheet will make a return in 2019 but with some modifications.

For the past few years, I’ve used google spreadsheets and mint to keep track of my finances. I’d be lying if I said I’m great with saving money, but doing this has allowed to watch my spending habits and make better decisions. It’s going to be a tough year between the wedding, the honeymoon, and my new car (RIP, Silverado). However, I can at least mitigate the damage if I use the data to drive my financial decision making.

3. Save Money

Nope. To be fair, it wasn’t all my fault. My truck died unexpectedly this November and coupled with the large compounding costs of the wedding, it’s been a bit of a struggle. Although I’ve had to take on a fair amount of debt to make everything work, I do have a plan to work things down. Paying off the wedding (and, to an even greater extent, the car) will take some time. However, it can be done as long as I make good decisions.

4. Be Less Wasteful

Check. Kari and I have been doing small things (like buying reusable grocery and vegetable bags) for a while now, but we knew there was a lot more we could do. We found a number of ways, some big and some small, to be better at reducing our waste.

The biggest (and probably easiest thing) was to commit to recycling. It seams small but buying a bin to put our recyclables made a big difference in our total waste. Additionally, whenever possible, we tried to donate or reuse items instead of throwing them out. We’ve made several trips to goodwill and started reusing things like seasoning shakers (and making our own seasoning blends along the way). I’ve also done a better job of planning out meals and eating leftovers for lunch in an attempt to reduce food waste.

Homebrewing gives a lot of opportunities to reuse items. All my beer bottles are reused. What I can’t use gets recycled. Additionally, we use the spent grains from the brewing process to make dog treats, cookies, pizza dough, and bread.

By being more mindful, I’ve continued to find creative ways to be less wasteful. Today, for example, I decided to take a shot at making my own stock from leftover turkey bones. There’s always ways to improve, but we’ve made a lot of progress over the past year.

5. Be Healthier

I don’t think there’s anyway I can justify this one. I haven’t lost weight. I haven’t done a ton of cardio. Through my social sport leagues, I’ve been more active in some ways, but those social sports generally involve the consumption of a fair amount of beer. I know I can do more cardio, and I definitely want to lose a little weight before the wedding. I’d be lying if I said I thought I was lazy or unhealthy, but I know there’s still plenty of room to grow here.

6. Brew a Beer That Doesn’t Suck

Check. I started brewing last January after getting a kit for Christmas. My first beer was pretty questionable, but I got better with each batch I brewed. It’s been fun learning the process and making some unique and interesting beers. I’ve always been a big fan of IPA’s, so I’ve made quite a few of those, but I have also tried to branch out and make a few different styles. I made a Hefeweizen last spring, a Kölsch for a friend’s Oktoberfest party, and a Gluten-Free White Ale as Christmas gifts for some friends and family who have varying levels of gluten intolerance.

So far, my beers have received mostly positive reviews from those brave enough to give them a go. Honestly, I’ve surprised myself. I’m not a professional by any means, but the process is fun and I’ve created some pretty tasty beers along the way.

7. Read at least Three Books

Nope. I didn’t read a single book (again). I suck.

8. Guitar Goals

My goal was to complete at least two of the following:

  • Perform at an open mic night
  • Learn two (or more) songs that I don’t currently know how to play
  • Write a new song
  • Record a song and post it on my soundcloud

I did none of these. I figured performing at an open mic night would be pretty easy; I enjoy doing them and found one I really liked going to two years ago. Unfortunately, it’s on Wednesday nights, the same night as our favorite yoga class and all of our social sport leagues. I just felt like I never had a free Wednesday. To be honest, once football started, I feel like I barely touched my guitar at all. I need to do a better job of staying consistent this coming year.

9. Use All My Old Gift Cards

I mean, I technically failed this one. I didn’t use all of my gift cards. Kari and I did use most of them, though. If nothing else, we were far more active in trying to use the gift cards we’ve received. So, although I didn’t succeed here, I definitely made a real effort to better utilize what I have.

10. Experience Something New in 2018

2018 was marked by several new experiences. I went to new cities, joined new groups, and tried new things.

New Cities: Austin, Texas, Asheville, NC, Red River Gorge, KY

New experiences: I tried my hand at axe throwing. I joined kickball and dodgeball leagues. I skiied for the first time in years at Perfect North with Kari (and plan on going back). I attended my first pop concert by seeing Taylor Swift at Ohio Stadium. I brewed my own beer and made baked goods with the spent grains. I bought my first car on my own. I tried numerous new restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.

There’s probably more I forgot to include, but I’ve been very fortunate that Kari is so willing to try new things with me. It’s easy to stick with what you know, but there are so many great things out there to explore and experience. Life is a lot like a buffet — if you only stick to the things you know you like, you could easily miss the best parts.


For the second year in a row, I’ve only batted .500 on my resolutions. Frankly, though, that’s okay. This is the eighth year I’ve done this, and although I’m rarely successful in accomplishing everything I set out to do, this process has led to a greater mindfulness of how I spend my year. It’s lead to me pushing myself in new ways and to continuing to push to improve myself.

Score:

Checks: 5

Nopes: 5

Past years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017