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Looking Back and Moving Forward: A Review of 2023 and Goals for 2024

It's that time of year for reflection and redirection, my favorite!!

Goals are my artistic palette with which I paint my life.

My interests become the colors from which I choose, each habit becomes a brushstroke, creating a canvas of personal growth and achievement. Setting goals is the act of blending my visions onto the canvas, while tracking my progress acts as the fine brushstrokes, refining each detail. It's a symphony of dedication, a harmony of commitment that paints the tableau of my life with purpose, hues of perseverance, and the evolving beauty of accomplishments waiting to be unveiled. Goal setting isn't just a passion; it's my soul's canvas, where every brushstroke of ambition and every tracked milestone embodies the essence of my journey towards personal excellence.

Reflecting on 2023

Three years into my journey of setting and tracking New Year's goals, I've come to embrace the rhythm of surprises and challenges that each year brings. It's a dance of re-evaluation, redefinition, and re-engagement with my aspirations. As I gaze into 2024, I've learned that achieving every goal set today is not guaranteed, and that's more than okay. Embracing this fluidity grants me the flexibility to seize unexpected opportunities that might lead to greater success than my initial objectives.

Reflecting on 2023, my slate of annual goals was ambitious and diverse:

  1. Read 20 books

  2. Save up for a 3% down payment

  3. Pay off all credit card debt

  4. Buy and move into a new home

  5. Paint 80 canvases

  6. Increase intercultural competence

  7. Pursue a project management certification

Among these seven goals, I surpassed two, made significant strides in three, and decided to discard two altogether.

Notably, my aspiration to paint 80 canvases remained unfulfilled, which left me with a tinge of disappointment. As a passionate artist aiming for an annual output of 80 -100 canvases, falling short of this target was disheartening. Yet, the unforeseen surge in face painting gigs became a pivotal reason behind this unmet goal. Surprisingly, I found myself dedicating nearly half of my weekends in 2023 to painting faces—more than in any previous year! This unexpected twist led me to embrace this newfound avenue and document my lessons from it. Remarkably, face painting emerged as my top revenue generator for 2023! Reflecting on this, I notice that if I had stubbornly clung to my canvas-painting goal, I might have missed out on these lucrative opportunities.

I've also learned that beyond monitoring goal progress, recognizing all measurable accomplishments paints a more accurate picture of my pursuit of personal excellence. This journey isn't just about ticking off objectives; it's about navigating the uncharted territories, embracing opportunities, and painting the canvas of my life with adaptability and growth.

2023 Achievements:

  • 400+ faces painted!!!

  • 51 canvases painted

  • 22 books read

  • 21 face painting events

  • 5 online painting classes

  • 5 in-person painting classes

  • 3 speaking events

  • 2 art shows

    • My 1st and 2nd, ever

  • 2 singing events

  • 4% saved up for a home down payment (still searching)

  • Led 4 enterprise-wide projects and/or programs

  • I applied for several art galleries. While I was not accepted into any, I am still celebrating the courage it took to put myself out there!

In the gathering of these achievements, I'm enveloped by gratitude and pride.

Reminiscing in this way feels like stepping into an art gallery, observing the ebbs and flows, the contrasts and harmonies, the spontaneous splashes and shocking strokes that compose the portraits of my journey. Each painted canvas is a testament to a life richly lived and a narrative worth telling.

Some of my most cherished moments from this year:

  • Officially changing my names

    • (yes, it took me a while lol)

  • Embracing the great outdoors while camping at Crooked Lake resort, and the thrill of off-roading in the Jeep.

    • (Despite the incessant swarms of enormous blood-hungry mosquitos)

  • Played on a co-ed volleyball team with my sister, Kat, and a bunch of strangers who became our friends!

  • The Barbie movie

  • The most enjoyable Christmas season I've had since pre-pandemic

  • Basking in the sun while boating with an amazing group of friends and family, creating memories that will last a lifetime

  • Celebrating love and commitment at a few beautiful weddings

  • Collaborating with Christine Leonard, another fellow Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist to curate dairy-focused events, which was an enriching and nostalgic experience!

  • Enjoying clearing out the woods my parents own

  • Making unforgettable memories visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Duluth, a trip filled with gnomes, trolls, a bad-guy mobile, and laughter.

  • Attending the New Years Day Vikings vs. Packers game with my hubby

  • Riding in a helicopter for the first time!

  • My 29th Birthday Party/My sisters Golden Birthday Party

  • Fitness classes with friends and sisters

  • Treasuring every moment spent with my incredible nieces and nephews, creating priceless bonds and cherished memories.

  • Losing myself in the magic of the Renaissance Festival

  • Celebrating a full year of marriage with my kind-hearted and adventurous husband, reflecting on the wonderful journey we've begun together.

Aspirations for 2024

This year, I'm drawing inspiration from the insightful wisdom found in some of my favorite books, "Atomic Habits," "High Performance Habits," and "The Vision Driven Leader." I am shifting to identity-based goal setting. Using this as my guiding principle, my habits and goals should align with and reinforce the person I aspire to become. Instead of solely fixating on specific achievements, I'm delving deeper into crafting goals that reflect the core of my identity.

This shift signifies not just a pursuit of success, but a journey towards embracing my authenticity and fulfilling my purpose.

I am an artist; I am a singer; I am fit; I am financially secure; and I am a writer.

2024 Goals

  1. I will workout 3 times per week, every week of 2024!

  2. I will apply to 10 art galleries or art shows

  3. I will paint 80 canvases

  4. I will s eek and seize opportunities to sing more

  5. I will create a daily writing habit

  6. We will save up a 10% home down payment

  7. We will buy and move in to a home

  8. We will pay off credit card debt

  9. We will surf in Nicaragua (again)!

Here's to a year of growth, learning, and progress! Happy New Year!


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