My 2016 Strategic Plan

Happy New Year’s TMM readers! Anyone else excited to see 2015 go? I sure am! On to the new year!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m reviving the personal strategic plan for 2016. Even though summer will be a mixed bag of no sleep, lots of diapers, and mucho baby cuddles, I still want to be focused this year. If this last year taught me nothing else, it’s that moving forward, even if it’s in the wrong direction, is better than not moving at all.

I have an official document with bullet points and subpoints I’d be happy to share with you if you’re really interested (and want to see how dorky I really am.) This document has already served its purpose to keep me focused when shiny objects presented themselves. It also worked to aid in communication with Randy. Randy is ALWAYS supportive, but this is a great way to help him get an idea of what I’d like to get out of the year.

Moral of the story – if you’ve got a spouse, significant other, or friend that serves as a teammate and cheerleader, be sure to share your plans for the year with them.

Since I could use all the cheerleaders I can get, here are my highlights in a very particular order. Keep me accountable, friends!

1. Keep family first.

The whole reason I got so wrapped up in professional endeavors in 2015 is because it was the only part of my life that wasn’t working. My family life is awesome. In 2016, I want to do a better job remembering that I’ve got a pretty great set-up at home and celebrate these folks that share it with me. This needs to be my priority.

While I try to “better myself” through the rest of the year, I want to focus on Crab Rangoon during the summer months. I look forward to that time together and that forced break from the rest of the world.

At the same time, I’m really struggling with losing my one-on-one relationship with Eggroll. She’s going to have to share the attention. Will she be good with that? Will I? While there has been plenty of whining on both of our parts, I’ve really enjoyed our dates when it’s just the two of us. I want to plan at least one activity with just the two of us per month until the shock of sharing wears off.

Finally, that guy who helps run the show deserves a little focused attention, too, right? We’ve done a great job of continuing to date each other even with Eggroll around. Folks tell us it’s harder with two kids, which we don’t understand. We appreciate that now we double our chances of having someone get sick or being too tired to put on real make-up, but we have an outstanding cadre of babysitters and the desire to get out just the two of us. If we end up being completely wrong and homebound, we’ve agreed to doing an at home date night at least once a month that doesn’t involve sitting on the couch and staring at the TV. That’s not bad for a worst case scenario.

2. Pay attention to non-professional ways I feel fulfilled.

Since there is a good chance that this won’t be the year I win the 40 Under 40 award for my professional endeavors, I want to spend time on other aspects of my life that make me feel happy, worthwhile, and valuable. I really do appreciate that there are plenty of ways to be successful besides having a corner office and a fancy title. 2016 will be the year I live that theory.

Probably most important for the world is a renewed dedication to charitable outlets. Since I have extra free time, I’m going to put myself out there as a volunteer where I can really dig in. I’ve already started at the Hunger Task Force a couple times a month. So far I’m just assisting with data entry which is an interesting way to truly learn about their programs vs. working on an event committee and staying out of the fray. I think this will be an eye-opening experience that’s good for my soul.

Speaking of “eye-opening”, I recently realized that I haven’t taken a picture where I thought I looked pretty in a long time. I think I look OK live, but on film (or JPG), I just don’t dig what I see. I’ve got a color I love, but I need to figure out a hairstyle that works better. I need clothes in my closet that fit the person I am today, not that I was five years ago. Sure, there is the obligatory “get back to pre-pregnancy weight by 12/31/16” goal on this list, but it’s less about weight and more about being strong and active.

Reading is my favorite “me” outlet, so I gave it its own line. Also, I have this family yearbook that I did for year one and haven’t completed another year’s since. It’s a great photo album recap, so I need to do years two through five. Talk about accomplishment! Finally getting these done will make me so happy!

3. Find a business model that I can focus all professional aspirations on in 2017.

When I first lost my position last fall, this first thing I thought was “shoot, I can’t go work for someone else now just to ask for 12 weeks off seven months later!” I knew I’d have to do my own thing, but even that thing would have to be put on pause for the summer. What the heck do I do with that?

In that spirit, I am trying to take the first few months of the year to test out ideas. Not building websites and setting up LLC bank accounts to build new businesses… Just testing out ideas. I’ve got three to explore.

  1. Manage a dinner delivery service.

    This would be a la Blue Apron local to Milwaukee that focuses on regional ingredients and recipes that can be made with and/or appease little kid appetites.

  2. Write a pregnancy book.

    I’ve already started this once-a-week look at what really to expect when you’re expecting. (Ex. Unexplained tears, stinky gas, and nightmares involving technicolor cartoons, old boyfriends and your dead dog) Currently I have it tied into a food memoir since that seems to be in vogue and well, food.

  3. Freelance as a food photographer and recipe designer.

    I recently read Three Many Cooks where the mom made a career out of recipe testing. Is that even a thing anymore; because I want to do it! I guess that’s what I was doing at the 2015 jobs, so I need to find it again. Even with my limited skills and equipment, I’ve put together a beautiful food photography portfolio. Let’s do more of that.

I always think I have more time than I really have (she says as she sits at a coffee shop, running two hours late on an afternoon of errands), but my plans are to dabble in all three endeavors from January through April and dig deeper into the pros and cons of each. The blog will probably benefit from a few more food posts as I practice, so you win, too.

Depending on the hour of the day, who I am talking to, or how the wind is blowing, I change my mind on which of these projects sound the most promising. I sincerely hope this time where I can just do it for fun shows me where my interests lie. Then, when I resurface in the real world in the fall, I can move toward professional goals with a more focused approach. Here’s hoping.

So that’s a lot for my 2016. What are your goals for the new year? If you need a cheerleader, let me know. I am happy to wave my pom pons for a friend in need!


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