Goals for the Year 2018

This is the third year in a row I’ve made New Year Resolutions. I started back in 2016 (see my 2016 resolutions and 2017 resolutions) and was so impressed with how successful it was, I kept on doing it. Without my yearly and quarterly reviews, I wouldn’t accomplish half of these goals. Rose Colored Water has been instrumental in what I achieve every year, and even if I never posted, the check-ins alone would keep me going.

This year, I decided to stop calling them resolutions and start calling them goals. My plans and desires are not resolutions by definition. A resolution is something you “resolve” to do. My goals are more than just things I am resolving to do. I could resolve to eat better, but I would rather make a specific goal to cut out dairy three days a week.

See what I mean?

2018 Goals | Rose Colored Water

For 2018, I made concrete goals I can take specific steps to reach. Plus, most require a lot of work and aren’t dedicated to making me a better person. I am not trying to lose weight, eat better, or pursue minimalism. This year, I need to get things done. If I don’t, other parts of my life will rearrange and change course.

CAREER

There are very specific career goals I have in the Air Force, and I hope to complete all of them in 2018. I’ve mentioned it before, but if I don’t get into nursing school, then I can’t apply to the NECP. That will mean another year of waiting for the next cycle to open again. There’s also the possibility that I will get into a nursing program, but not into the NECP. My goals extend past my acceptance into that program.

1. Get into nursing school.

I am applying to five programs, but two of those may fall through before I can finish their application. I will update you as things develop. Acceptance into nursing school means I can move forward with my application to nursing school.

2. Get into the NECP.

Once I am accepted into nursing school, I will move forward with applying to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program. If I don’t get into the NECP or can’t apply, this goal will roll over to next fall where I will reapply.

If I don’t get into nursing school or the NECP, I plan on hopping into a few more college courses (pathophysiology, general chemistry II, and medical terminology) to increase my chances and gain more educational experience.

3. Score a 90 on my PT test.

Typically I take my test in October. However, if I get into the NECP, it is highly recommended I test in June or July so my testing cycle falls during summer sessions (less going on and more time to prep). I have never scored below a 90, and I don’t plan on starting now.

4. Make Staff Sergeant (E-5) first time.

I will become an E-4 (Senior Airman) just in time to test for the rank of E-5 (Staff Sergeant). Staff Sergeants are given more responsibility and take on supervisory roles and responsibilities. I want to make E-5 the first time because it comes with a big pay increase and I would finally be the same rank as many other people my age. That’s the tough part about enlisting at an older age. I believe I am ready for that position and hope to have a positive impact in my work center.

If I don’t make it this year, I will have to wait another year to test. If I don’t get into the NECP, it would be horrible for me if I didn’t make this rank the first time. Talk about feeling like a failure…

5. Volunteer 100 hours at the hospital.

I volunteer in the emergency department at a local hospital, so over the next year, I would like to gain at least 100 hours. This provides invaluable experience for me and looks great when applying to nursing school.

LIFESTYLE

These are the general goals I want to accomplish in 2018. They aren’t necessarily important to anyone but me, but I place them high on my priorities.

1. Take one big trip.

Hopefully, this trip will be a big move to wherever I get into nursing school, but if that falls through, I would like to take a real vacation. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been so I can forget about my problems.

2. Move closer to work.

As you may already know, last year I moved to be closer to my husband’s (now ex) work. This increased my commute time from 30 minutes to more than an hour each way. Now that I am divorced, I can move back to the area I lived before – shortening my commute time, increasing my happiness, and reducing my expenses.

I will have to give up my two bedroom lifestyle because my roommate is PCS’ing in April and I move in March. There is no one else available to live with right now, so I think it’s best for me to downsize and sell some stuff. This will help with some of the debt pay-off and improve my minimalist mindset.

3. Read my entire 2018 book list.

Every year, I make a reading list. This year, I am attempting to read 39 books. It’s an audacious goal, but some of these books are from my 2016 and 2017 lists. Check out this page to see all my book reviews as I work through the list this year.

4. Make intentional purchases.

I hope to spend very little money in 2018, but I also want to create a space that feels cozy and minimal. Right now, I still feel my home has too many odds and ends. Reducing the amount of stuff (furniture, random knick-knacks, etc.) will create a much quieter, peaceful environment.

I’m going to continue purging old things I’ve found in dumpsters (literally) and start saving up for specific furniture and decor pieces I’d like to have. Check out my Home Decor Pinterest board to see some of my minimalist style wants.

FINANCIAL

1. Pay my debt down to $40,000.

I have about $60,000 in debt. This is scattered across credit cards and student loans. Paying off $20,000 on my salary is going to be tough, especially since I will be living alone. However, I’m dedicating 2018 to the biggest, most bodacious, nearly unachievable goals.

If I can put an additional $1000-$2000 a month towards my regular debt payments, I can achieve this goal with the help of other things. Paying down my debt to $40,000 would be ALMOST as good as getting into the NECP.

Below are some goals that will help put more money towards my debt.

2. Refund my extended warranty on my car.

I admit it. Buying the extended warranty for my GMC Terrain was a decision made out of fear. It felt like the right thing to do to reassure myself. Now that I’m trying to cut my expenses and find some loose cash, the warranty must go. I’ve never needed it, and with a healthy emergency fund, I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

The fine print reassured me that even if I did need to use it, they would find a way to not honor it. So… through a bunch of hassle and letters, I will attempt to get back the pro-rated amount left over on this extended warranty. It will go right back into paying this car off.

3. Pay off my car.

Of the $20,000 I want to pay off this year, my car is the first priority. I am still underwater on it and it is the biggest payment I have. I hope to pay it off in full by September.

4. Switch to the Blended Retirement System and get my employer match.

As of January 1st, a new retirement system is available for military members. I won’t go into details here, but I’ve decided to opt-in to this plan, which will now include a 5% employer match to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). I want to continue contributing 10% into my TSP, so now it will be like I’m putting in 15%. Pretty dope, right? Once I pay off more debt, I’ll increase my contributions.

5. Reach $5000 in my emergency fund.

That ever-elusive $5000 I’ve been trying to save is finally going to happen. Honestly, I’d rather have this sitting in my bank account than paying down the debt to $40000. I want to feel secure financially, and this is the most important way to achieve that.

BLOGGING

1. Monetize Rose Colored Water.

Last summer, I said that monetizing my blog was a priority and I wanted to make $500 a month by the end of 2017. This was also around the same time I decided to end my marriage. Everything blog-related was put on the back-burner and I vowed to eventually get back to it. This is the year. I am still keeping the goals of making $500/month on the blog by the end of 2018. Through affiliate marketing and ads (possibly), monetizing my blog will help me reach the goal of paying $40,000 in debt off by the end of the year.


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2. Retake/Finish the Making Sense of Cents Affiliate Marketing Course.

I started this course back in April 2017 and never completed it (for the same reason as above). After May, I really want to dig back into this course and get to work on affiliate marketing and optimizing my posts.

3. Publish 10 posts a month.

I have not wanted to blog for a long time, but I am dedicated to growing my site and helping others. This year, I hope to publish at least 10 posts a month. This will require me to re-motivate myself and work through my lack of inspiration. I have a ton of ideas and drafts; I just can’t bring myself to write them. This is my year though. I’m going to make it happen.

4. Finish re-optimizing my blog posts.

This is something I worked fervently on last spring, but fell to the wayside when all my life changes happened. I hope to continue this and finish making all my blog posts beautiful with Pin-worthy images.

These are big goals for the year, but I believe I can accomplish a lot of them if I stay motivated, excited, and energized. Many of my friends are PCS’ing this year, so I will be spending more time indoors (alone, sadly). The positive side to this, if I don’t get into the NECP, is that I will be able to put more time into reading and blogging.

What are your goals for the year?

A Final Review of 2017’s Resolutions

Woo boy… 2017 was a real humdinger. Let’s talk a little bit about my original goals set back in January 2017. I had such big plans, but it all went crazy when I had to move and got divorced, etc. My entire life transformed into something I never expected. A majority of my 2017 resolutions weren’t relevant after May.

That meant adjusting and tackling the changes head on.

Quarterly Review #4 | Rose Colored Water

1. Pay off the cars.

This did not happen. My financial life somewhat fell apart in the latter part of this year. I won’t recap the whole situation, but you can read about the third quarter to learn how my finances went crazy after the divorce. I have moved a lot of debt around to pay the least amount of interest possible. This is working well, and I have a positive outlook for 2018.

My big financial goal for 2018 is to pay off the Terrain and my USAA credit card. I wasn’t able to pay the Terrain down to $11000, but it is under the $14000 mark. I know I can pay it off in 2018.

2. Buy a house.

The house is a no-go. The housing market is out of control here and I am glad we didn’t buy. That would have made the divorce a lot more complicated.

3. Finish my CCAF.

Got it! I finished the HR course at Community College of Aurora, and as soon as the credits transfer, it will be official. I am really excited to have it out of the way.

4. Earn A’s in my nursing pre-reqs.

Yassssss! I am finished with my nursing prerequisites and I earned A’s in all of them!

5. Complete my 2017 reading list.

FAIL. However, I did make some great progress on my list over the Christmas break. You can read all my book reviews here.  I have big plans for 2018. I’m setting the highest goal yet, plus trying to catch up on all the years I failed (hello 2016 and 2017 leftovers). I think my time for reading will increase, especially if I don’t get into the NECP.

6. Be smarter with my time.

The last six months were not great for time management. Still, I think 2017 as a whole was successful. I tried to live with intention and purge unnecessary items.

7. Take one big vacation with Mike.

Mike and I took a trip for our anniversary in May, but it was in the midst of me wanting a divorce, so it wasn’t great.

Check out my review of Roswell and the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

8. Purge more junk.

I’m about purged out. There’s little else I can purge. I’ve actually been addressing my wardrobe situation and making a point to buy high quality, classic pieces. It’s been a healthy transition.

9. Get a 90 on my PT test.

I got a 94.7! Now I do not have to test again until next October!

10. Spend more time outdoors.

This was a win. I spent a lot of time outdoors this year, and it was great.

That was my year. 2017 is a wrap. Soon, I’ll be making my goals for 2018 and I can’t wait to share them with you! How was your year?

Quarterly Review #3 | 2017 Resolutions

Quarterly Review #3 | Rose Colored Water

This is such an odd post to write because many of my resolutions for the year have changed since separating from my husband. It’s kind of like an awkward dinner party. “How was your anniversary trip to New Mexico, Liz?” Me: “Oh… It was… swell – even though hubs and I were in the middle of ending our relationship. Ha. Ha ha.”

Bwah, bwah, bwaaaaaaaah… Awkward.

Image result for spongebob awkward fish

But yeah. Life Goals. In January 2017, I made some hefty goals for myself. A.K.A. 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. It’s one of my most favorite times of year because everything seems possible. Some of my resolutions have been total failures, and I know they won’t be successful, even though I still have three months to complete them. Still, I have been successful in other goals, and some have been dodged bullets.

Let’s review below.

Quarterly Review #3 | Rose Colored Water

1. Pay off the cars.

Ha. Not happening. What a complete failure. Not only am I stuck with my husband’s truck bill (which I have actually reduced to about $5000), but I have made little progress on my Terrain. Ain’t it fun paying two car payments when you only own one of them? I really wrecked myself on that deal.

Anywho, we’ll say the truck loan sits at $5000 on a 0% credit card, and my Terrain sits at $15,275 at 4.95%. At the beginning of 2017, I owed around $9k on the truck and $17k on the SUV. So, I guess it hasn’t been a total failure. That being said, neither is being paid off this year. My goal over the next three months is to pay more on my Terrain because its value is around $11,000. There is a good chance I can get the loan down to its actual worth by the end of the year, but it will take sacrifice and planning on my part.

2. Buy a house.

I made no secret that the housing market in Denver is insane. We did not buy a house and what a blessing that has been. I can’t imagine how difficult my divorce would be if there was such a massive asset and debt to contend with. This was the dodged bullet I spoke about.

3. Finish my CCAF.

I took a DANTES management course to fulfill 3 of the 6 credits I need to finish my CCAF. Unfortunately, I took another DANTES test to fulfill the remaining three and failed. There is hope for me though. I can sign up for a management course through CCA, the college I take my pre-reqs at. This would be an accelerated 8-week course. I could finish my degree before the end of 2017. However, it will put more pressure on me as I am already in Microbiology and have a lot on my plate applying to nursing school and the NECP. I may let this goal slide until the beginning of next year.

4. Earn A’s in my nursing pre-reqs.

YES. Every course I’ve taken this year has resulted in an A. Microbiology may be the death of me though. I believe it will be the one that got away. Still, I am proud of myself on this.

5. Complete my 2017 reading list.

Reading for fun isn’t happening for me anymore. If it’s not on audiobook through my library, I can’t seem to make time to read it. I have two books on my shelf that are on my reading list, and I just can’t sit down to read them. This is the problem with being in college. Also… fun reading for me goes in waves. I burn out quickly. I was on fire the first half of 2017, but the last half has me dragging. Maybe over Christmas break?

6. Be smarter with my time.

This resembles my reading list. The first six months of 2017, I killed it. Then my divorce happened and non-important things (like reading) fell by the wayside.

It is essential that I rekindle my time management tempo because the next three months are going to be intense. There is much to do in a short period of time, and I cannot dally.

7. Take one big vacation with Mike.

See awkward introduction paragraph. 

I did take a big trip with Mike. It just wasn’t as fun as it should have been. Still, we made some memories and I gained a deep love for the enchanted land of New Mexico. This trip to New Mexico was eye-opening and cheap. I planned on writing more posts about what we visited, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Do check out my review of Roswell and the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

8. Purge more junk.

I’m about purged out. There’s little else I can purge. I’ve actually been addressing my wardrobe situation and making a point to buy high quality, classic pieces. It’s been a healthy transition.

9. Get a 90 on my PT test.

My PT test is October 11. I’m on track to get a 90 and be set for another year. I’ll let you know how it goes.

10. Spend more time outdoors.

It’s been in the low 40’s to high 70’s in Denver. Fall is officially here and I am drinking it up. Note: I hate pumpkin spice lattes. Still, it has been beautiful as the days fluctuate between cloudy, dreary, and perfect blue skies. I have had all the windows open with fresh air and light shining in. Motley and I go out a lot, so I hope the weather doesn’t become too frigid too soon.

Am I a failure? Not quite. Things could be better, but they could be worse. The money is flowing; my friends are supportive; I’m healthy and happy. Life is good. Cheers to the last three months. Let’s kill it. 

How are your goals going? 

Summer 2017 Blogging Goals

5 Blogging Goals for Summer | Rose Colored Water #blogging #goals

In July, Rose Colored Water will be three years old. It’s hard to believe, as this is the longest running blog I have ever had – not to mention, the most consistent. Rose Colored Water is the only blog I have written that has brought in real readers. It’s a blog that helps people and provides honest information, especially for those enlisting in the military or trying to get out of debt.

A lot of sweat and love has went into this space. I have wanted to quit a couple of times, but am glad I persisted and kept on writing. Now it’s time to push further out of my comfort zone. It’s time to take this blog to the next level.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now, but I have wanted to grow and monetize my blog for several months. Last week, I took the first step towards making that happen. This summer, I plan on making some big changes to Rose Colored Water. The content will stay the same, but I hope to increase the amount of helpful posts you find here.

5 Blogging Goals for Summer | Rose Colored Water #blogging #goals

Below are five goals I set to make Rose Colored Water better and more informative. I plan to document how these changes affect my traffic and income, and hopefully these changes will make you love this blog more than before.

1. Create fresh new images for old posts.

This is something I started working on a few weeks ago, but am far from finished. I am weeding through my archives, deleting irrelevant posts and rewriting the ones worth keeping. Over the coming months, each post will have a more powerful image attached to it.

2. Monetize the blog through affiliate marketing.

This is the thing I was talking about above. I have wanted to try affiliate marketing for months now, but with school and work, it has been difficult to find time. I purchased the Making Sense of Cents affiliate marketing course last week and am slowly working my way through it. Michelle makes around $50,000 a month with her blog and has helped countless other bloggers increase their income through affiliate marketing.

I felt the course was worth purchasing because I have seen tons of awesome reviews. Over time, you will begin to see affiliate links in my content. However, as any good blogger should know, these links will be dedicated for products I believe in and know will help readers – not hinder them.

My goal is to make $500/month by the end of 2017 through affiliate marketing.

3. Increase traffic to 15k pageviews/month.

In 2015, I saw a significant increase in my monthly traffic. I know this increase came from my posts about joining the Air Force and by ramping up my Pinterest strategy. For the past year, I have been reaching about 9,000 pageviews per month. By December 2017, I hope to increase that to around 15,000 per month.

4. Create relevant, helpful content on a weekly schedule.

I started publishing two posts a week, Monday & Thursday, in April. I have done well in sticking to that schedule, though I have missed some weeks when work was crazy and class finals were looming. Throughout the summer, I plan to continue that schedule, writing evergreen posts and income/debt updates with my experiment in affiliate marketing.

5. Revamp the top 20 most popular posts.

My blog statistics show there are around 10-20 posts on Rose Colored Water bringing consistent traffic in. Those posts revolve around living in Colorado and joining the Air Force. This summer, I am going to revamp and rewrite my top 20 so they are more relevant and informational for my readers.

These summer blogging goals are meant to keep me focused and help better the blog so many people turn to for honest insights into big life changes they may be making. I believe these changes will make Rose Colored Water a better blog for you and me. What do you think?

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

2017 New Year's Resolutions | Rose Colored Water

Last year, I had high goals for myself. There were so many things I wanted to do – so many things I wanted to accomplish. I failed at many of them, but many of the goals and plans for my life changed over the course of the year. I learned to be flexible with myself and this blog. We must be gentle with ourselves, and remind ourselves how blessed we are.

I am blessed, and though much of what happened last year left me irritable, there were so many blessings. I am grateful for all opportunities, and I refuse to let them pass by.

2017 New Year's Resolutions | Rose Colored Water

As I’ve mentioned before, I am pursuing the Nurse’s Enlisted Commissioning Program. This has affected a huge part of my life, and I’ve had to change to accommodate this goal. Along with that, Mike and I will be purchasing a home in the next month. We have to be out of the apartment by March 11, so we are on a time crunch. With a new home, there will be much work to do, such as unpacking, painting, arranging, etc. This could take months since I’ll be juggling work, school, and my relationships.

It will be a year of learning balance. I spent most of 2016 in a haze of busyness. I can’t do that again. My relationships suffered because of it. We’ll continue to put extra money towards our debt, but I’m not going to stress as much about it as I did last year. Many of my friends and family have reminded me how lucky we are – that we can pay our bills and have a nice place to live. Mike and I both have good jobs, and in time, we will kill the debt.

Even though I’m striving to relax and stress less, I still have big goals. I plan to do quarterly check-ins to keep myself accountable. It is my hope that 2017 will be one of the best years yet.

1. Pay off the cars.

Last year, I wanted us to pay off 5 different debts. We succeeded halfway. This year, our main financial goal is to pay off the two car loans. Our Mint account likes to remind us that we are underwater on both vehicles (the problem with buying a vehicle with financing and no down payment) and we have higher interest rates than necessary.

Based on past issues we’ve encountered (car crashes, bad drivers, and high insurance premiums), we both decided that paying the cars off would make us feel better. If we can’t pay them off, we can at least pay them down where we owe less than what they are valued at. We need this bit of relief in our lives because…. Resolution #2.

2. Buy a house.

This is not as much a financial goal as it is a necessity to continue living comfortably. Mike and I have weighed the pros and cons. We understand the responsibilities and obligations. We know the water heater or furnace could die at anytime. We get it. However, in Colorado… at this time, it is cheaper to buy than to rent. In late December, management let us know that our apartment rent would be increasing more than $100/month. That was enough for us – a turning point in choosing to stay or go.

3. Finish my CCAF.

I am so close to this it hurts. If I CLEP 2 management courses, then I’ll be done.. I’ll have to work in studying for these between my nursing pre-reqs, but I think I can finish this up before the end of the year.

4. Earn A’s in my nursing pre-reqs.

This year, I will be taking Intro to Stats, Anatomy/Physiology II, Microbiology, and Human Growth & Development. I am most worried about Statistics. Math is not my forte. I struggle with numbers. Overall though, I think I can do this.

5. Complete my 2017 reading list.

I’m trying to read more and become well-read. I failed at finishing all the books on my 2016 list, so I’ve added them to the new one. Needless to say, I have a lot of reading to do, in addition to my courses.

6. Be smarter with my time.

I spent a lot of 2016 sleeping. It may sound funny, but it cut into a lot of my personal time. It has to do with my lack of work-life balance. I work a lot of more hours than I used to, resulting in extreme exhaustion. I haven’t figured out how to manage it all yet. I guess I want to be more present in all I’m doing and to need less sleep.

7. Take one big vacation with Mike.

Last year, Mike and I went to the Great Sand Dunes. It was wonderful, but it wasn’t very far away. This year, we want to go somewhere a bit farther. We are planning a huge two-week road trip where we hit up several national parks. We want to make this happen so badly, but much of it will depend on Mike’s work schedule and if he enlists in the Air Force.

8. Purge more junk.

Moving means purging. The two terms belong together. I will be purging a lot of stuff in the next month to make way for our next big move. Less stuff = more life.

9. Get a 90 on my PT test.

In October, I will take my third PT test since entering the Air Force. I have yet to score under a 90, and I expect this year to be no different. Still, as of now, I am out-of-shape. The next 10 months are dedicated to getting fit for that test.

10. Spend more time outdoors.

This resolution will be easy once we buy our home. Last year, there were {literally} hundreds of days I wanted to be outside, but not away from my home. It simply wasn’t feasible. I want a private space where I can meditate, garden, exercise, read, play with Motley, and relax. Every home we’ve looked at thus far has had a lovely backyard. It has played a key part in saying NO to townhomes. We must have a home with a backyard. And I WILL spend every beautiful morning, afternoon, and evening outside.

So, what do you think? Are they doable? I think so. I’ve got to learn to manage my time though. GOT TO. What are your goals/resolutions for the year?