New Year’s Resolutions

So for many years I’ve written about how you shouldn’t have New Year’s resolutions, but instead how you should focus on what you have accomplished, rather than what you don’t yet have. There are a lot of good reasons to not set goals at New Year’s, but this year I decided, all that be damned, I want to make a list!

Now to be fair, some of these are goals I’ve already set, and they are just a reaffirmation to myself. After this post I’d love to hear your goals and tips for reaching goals!

Goals are important things. They bring a focus to your life and they allow you to determine how to prioritize things. They can make decisions simpler: “does this action get closer to my goal?” They can also be used to achieve a much larger goal, by breaking that big goal into smaller steps.

The list of goals could be a bucket list, a list of affirmations, it could be New Year’s resolutions – whatever form or name you use, there are a few key things to consider.

  1. Write your goals down and post where you’ll see them daily
  2. Make sure your goals are specific, concrete and realistic
  3. Have deadlines. Someday almost always turns into never
  4. Make them worded so you can objectively know when they are achieved

Looking back at 2014 I am really happy with what I achieved. Here are some of my really big wins.

First, I was able to write and publish a book through a publisher and see it on the shelves in Barnes & Noble. The book also just hit number one on Amazon for two categories, making it the top tiny house book of 2014. You can check it out here.

Another big goal for me was to travel to and live in another country. For this, I chose Croatia for a lot of reasons. You can read about it here.

In 2014 I decided I wanted to read more fiction. Most of my reading has been nonfiction and I felt like I was lacking in reading fun stuff. So I set myself to read more fiction this past year, and in the end, I read 41 fiction books.

Finally and most obviously, I moved into my tiny house! It’s been great finally getting to live in it and life has changed a lot for the better.

So for 2015 my goals are going to look a bit different from last year because I’ve now hit my three largest and toughest goals on my bucket list. Plus, living in a tiny house has opened a lot of doors for me: financially I have more funds to make things happen, time-wise I have a lot more free time and how I meet my obligations has become a lot more flexible, and finally I now can work from anywhere, so I can be anywhere (with my tiny house or otherwise).

My Goals For 2015:

  1. Have an awesome Tiny House Conference in Portland and meet a lot of cool people doing it!
  2. Take at least one extended vacation: road trip across the US and/or live in Budapest/Berlin for 3 months.
  3. See my sister walk down the aisle: She is getting married in March
  4. Start a new business in order to diversify my income
  5. Find or start a Mastermind Group

My Long Range Goals:

  1. Sail from Florida to Mexico, arriving to see the Giant Sea Ray migration
  2. Do a river boat tour down the Danube or Rhine
  3. Go see the fall colors in New England
  4. Go on the Trans Siberian Railroad in luxury class
  5. Learn to play the harmonica
  6. Continue being self-employed
  7. Pay with cash for my next car

Your Turn!

  • What are some of your goals?
  • What are some tricks and tips to achieve your goals or keep motivated?
  1. My New Years resolution is to own my own little piece of dirt and not to be told how to live nor what to think.

  2. Live another year. If for no other reaaon than curiosity. Happy New Year strange and wonderful people may all you dreams come true.

  3. My New Years resolution is to start writing a blog. At your suggestion, I will give myself until the end of January to get my first post up….a deadline….we shall see.
    I have just been introduced to the tiny house movement and it is very interesting. My husband and I sold our five bedroom house last year and are living in a rental two bedroom condo. We love it. I don’t know that we would ever go tiny, but I love all the ideas and fewer things. I will look forward to reading your book and your blog. Congratulations on all your accomplishments this year.

    • I think people should be able to make New Years resolutions and still be thankful for what they have. I have the greatest gift on earth, my son who’s grind and rooted through the mud and dirt to get where he’s at. He’s walked through the fire and was not tarnished, when all odds were against him he closed his eyes and let God lead him through the dark tunnels of a deceit against him an he’s still shining like a star. You shouldn’t ever be envious of what another has and no one should be envious of what you have. So go ahead and make New years resolutions. If you accomplish them be thankful and if you don’t at least be thankful to the Lord for allowing you dream. You’re dreams tell a story of who you are, not what you do or do not accomplish. Happy New Year!

  4. This year, I plan to start my own business (maybe more), graduate high school, and start college (in that order). Within the next four years, my dream is to build my own tiny home, (hopefully) have my own plot of land, and earn my BSN (I’m forseeing plenty of cereal suppers in the future).

  5. Just be prepared if you sail a long distance like that. There’s a great documentary that will scare you straight if you are not properly motivated. “Deep Water”. Very interesting and well done movie.

  6. I’ve always made aspirational lists and it’s fun to run across an old one sometimes and see what happened, what didn’t and what changed. I ran across an old tool list from 1976 the other day (tucked into a cookbook) pretty much got that one covered but there are still a few gaps. It has nothing to do with New Year other than the number on the year changes. I have short term lists of things that need to be done, longer term lists for various plans and lists of interesting things I’d like to do some day. The short term lists are pretty much maintenance and improvement things that are well defined, with deadlines. The longer term stuff is a bit more flexible and still has guidelines but the fun stuff is all over the place and very flexible. The fun list is more opportunity/inspiration driven but long term projects often have shorter term “support projects” that can be done in the meantime.

    I like keeping the crossed off lists just for the record and occasional inspiration if you start getting that “what have I ever accomplished” whine going in your head. This year I’m going to make a Bristol board sized project list for the tiny house I hope to finally get started on this summer. It will include the steps taken so far to get there and small interim steps that I can take even if the big project is delayed. It’s also good to list steps that need to be taken in a certain order to keep it clear in your mind why you’re doing some seemingly useless, mindless thing when you really want to be raising walls and roof.

  7. My goals for 2015 are to get my 20×28 small hiloft barn home built, and get moved in….hopefully before my daughter gives birth….due in May.
    Have an auction to purge all my stuff
    Get my full knee replacement the end of January and my deviated septum surgery next week with a fast full recovery from both
    Join a bowling league
    enjoy my grandkids!!!

    • Good luck with your project and I hope your surgeries go well with a speedy recovery.
      I’m no stranger to roughing it. I don’t take it personal from God because of what he let Job go through.
      I’m trusting that there will be some kind of reward in the end. I feel like my son is reward enough sometimes but sometimes I forget and have to ask God’s forgiveness.

    • I’ve had TKR on one knee, once you get past the first couple of weeks it gets a LOT better. I found it really handy to use a leg lifter to get in and out of bed the first few weeks. It’s basically just a webbing strap with a foot loop at one end, hand loop at the other, easy to make yourself. Also handy for getting in and out of cars. The “real” ones are pretty cheap and have a stiffened part that makes it a bit easier to use. I found the crutches were pretty useless after the first week and a rollator was much better as well as giving you something to sit on when you needed to sit right then and there. Best of luck and do not stint on the physio, even when it makes you use bad language.

    • Almost forgot another really important tool for TKR recovery, an icing device like this It makes a huge difference in keeping swelling down, faster increase in range of motion and a bit of pain management and you can often find them second hand. If you don’t have an ice maker or people to buy ice while you’re not so mobile then stock up on bags of ice beforehand. Sorry to be a nuisance if you already know this but it’s such a great little machine.

  8. I’ve been keeping quarterly “fun lists” for the past few years. Not resolution drudgery, but things I really want to make happen. Usually they take the form of travel destinations, but also include other ways to appreciate the season (going to a pumpkin patch in autumn) or ridiculous dares (trying a goofy sport).

  9. My goal is to learn to cook more foods from scratch- Stop being lazy and get my hands dirty in the kitchen!!

    • Hi Hollie:
      Usually the ones who put themselves down are the ones most willing to work.

      Cooking, alone with anything else takes a lot of practice and I wreck my brain all the time trying to be creative in the kitchen. Got any suggestion?

  10. Hi Ryan, I just found your website. Love it! Thanks for putting all this information out there.

    My goal for 2015 is to finish my own tiny living project–a van that I started working on in 2013! Good luck with your goals, hope to hear more about them over the course of the year.

  11. Goals if they are to really work should be treated like a science experiment. Generate a plan/set of procedures, carry them out making notes along the way, evaluate your activities,data, accomplishments — then if you have not reached your goal, create a new plan based on the evidence and begin again.

    Wishes are different, allowing for dreaming, open quiries without preconcieved expectations, and unexpected outcomes.

    I hope everyone has some of each . . . and a happy new year.

  12. First, congratulations on making your goals, and especially the great success of your book!

    Secondly, New Hampshire, especially the White Mountains, has spectacular views of autumn foliage!

    My general goal is to move into a small, not quite tiny, house (380 sq ft) before 2015 is out. After 30+ years of accumulating “stuff” and storing “stuff” for others, I’ve decided my first goal is to sell, give away, and throw out my “stuff”. I don’t think I need to hang onto receipts from the turn of the century! LOL To that end, I have decided I must do something every day, even on a day when I don’t have time I must find at least one thing to throw out or put in the give-away bin. I began January 1st. There was only one day I didn’t have a chunk of time to devote to this, but I found something to toss out.

    I’m so glad I found your website and newsletter. I’ve learned so much that applies to a small house. Thank you!
    Happy New Year!

  13. My goals for the year:
    1. Build and move into my small concrete block cottage (21×22.5).
    2. Spend at least 4 months in Guatemala, helping some young girls.
    3. Attend family reunion and 50th high school reunion.

    With that said, I believe these are all attainable goals for me, a 67- year old retired woman on a very limited budget. But not without some help from family and friends!

  14. …reminds me of the joke:
    “What happens when you take away an obsessive-compulsive’s lists?

    They become listless.

  15. Too negative for me. I believe in having lots of joy with a creative mind and loving God for giving it to me.

  16. I very much appreciated this article. Inspiring! Thank you for sharing your goals and your thoughts about setting them. You’ve got some great things on your list of already-dones and on yet-to-be-but-will-be-dones. I am inspired to put some bigger goals on my own list. Thank you.

  17. I liked your wish to come to New England in the fall. Being from the area we intimately call Vernadia (part Vermonter and part Canadian, it has its own language and social skills set) we always recommend September 23rd as you will hit either the beginning, middle or end of foliage which is stunning up here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. We also have a couple of kids in Portland who would like to attend the conference there. The family (with seven kids) are really interested in the tiny house movement. Another couple are looking into a tiny house for a move to Montana. A third liked the design of the Minim in Washington D.C. and the fourth are looking at an “earth ship design”. Kinda runs in the blood.

    My bucket list would include:
    one or two tiny houses on our land for visitors
    design and build a tiny house village of 14 or so homes of character and beauty
    as well as great functonability and low maintenance.
    to do a split again;)

    Thanks for your blog, blessings!

  18. Hi Ryan,

    I recently subscribed to the newsletter emails, and today I read about how you got into your Tiny House and about when your whole company got laid off. It made me remember my actual self – the person who is not interested in the way most do things,(for reasons like your experience, and more) and the person who just wants to be free to create and have a small zoo, most of all.

    But how to do this? This is where all your good thoughts and communities interested in Tiny Houses have begin to come in. Thanks for sharing all you do!

    My hope for the New Year is to somehow get a little bit of property and a little bit of house to stick on it, as well as get through a book list, a movie list, and dropping some excess baggage, on several levels. 😛

    I had so many thoughts whirling in my head after reading the newsletter that I considered doing a response blog, particularly for the New Year, as for once in…uhm…my lifetime (?) I am actually internally motivated rather than trying to shove motivation into some crevice of my being, only to watch it drain out in the next 4.5 seconds.

    Looking forward to more posts,


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