A Month in Review: January 2018 Edition

At the beginning of January, I was trying to get back into the groove of blogging.  Because I was so focused on creating new content and figuring out exactly what I wanted from this new (and hopefully one day improved) blog, I missed out on linking up with Kristen and Gretchen.  I will hopefully not miss out on this link-up again.

I always consider January a month of new beginnings.  It's a time when I start thinking about my goals for the year, including more specific goals centering around a certain area of my life (in this case, that area of my life is reading/books).  It's also a month in which I try to set the tone for the rest of the year.

That being said, January was a really great month overall.

Here are a few of the highlights:

- I stuck with my savings plans for the month.  While I'm not comfortable sharing the exact number, I'm pleased to report that I'm on track for saving my desired total for the year.

- I went out for dinner with one of my closest friends in the area.  We often have a hard time finding a date that works well for both of us, so it had been a long time since we'd gone out.  She's not the type to share pictures of herself online (or, for that matter, take a lot of pictures), so you'll have to be content with this picture of my meal:

- I read several amazing books that were worthy of five star ratings.  (You can read all about what my book ratings mean here, if that's something that interests you.)

- I booked airline tickets to visit my family and friends in West Virginia.  I haven't been back since Christmas 2015, which seems crazy.  It doesn't feel like it's been that long (probably because my mom has flown to Omaha several times to visit since then), but a trip back to my hometown is clearly long overdue.  The trip is still a couple of months away, but it's something to look forward to.

- I tried a lot of delicious (and healthy!) new recipes.  Since I'm not blogging about food/recipes as much anymore, I neglected to take pictures of most of these meals.  (Whomp whomp.)  I did take a picture of the sweet potato enchiladas skillet casserole that I linked and talked about here, though:

- I lost a few pounds.  I wasn't happy with where I was on the scale at the end of last year.  Between my mom's visit in October, our anniversary trip to Barcelona in November (I shared one of the reasons for my weight gain when I discussed our experience at Tickets), and, of course, the holidays, I wasn't exactly eating that well or exercising regularly.  I'm not trying to lose a ton of weight all at once because, let's be honest, that's usually not the healthiest or most sustainable route ... But I do want to get healthier this year.  And that includes losing some weight, eating better, and working out more often.  So far I seem to be on track!

- I signed up for a free online course in creative writing offered through my local library.  It begins February 14th, and runs for six weeks.  I'm really excited about it!

- I enjoyed a romantic mini staycation with Eric.  We went out for dinner and then enjoyed a (free!) night at the Marriott along with a free breakfast at the hotel the next morning.  Eric won the free hotel stay/breakfast at his company's holiday party, and it was nice to be able to do something a little different for a weekend without spending a ton of money.

I also wanted to use this post to share my monthly goals for January and my successes (and failures).  Although I make yearly goals, I like to create smaller monthly goals to ensure I'm staying on track with my bigger goals.  (And, in some cases, to give myself some incentive to get certain things done in a reasonable amount of time.)

January Goals:

- Read 8 books.

Fail - I just didn't have as much time to read as I thought I would this month.  I finished the month with 6 books (and I'm about halfway through another book), which obviously isn't bad ... I just didn't hit my goal.

- Work out a minimum of 3 times per week.

Pass - I was really proud of myself for sticking with this one!  I didn't go beyond the three times per week minimum, but it's a vast improvement over the previous few months.

- Incorporate at least 2 types of workouts each week (for example: yoga and cardio, cardio and strength training, yoga and pilates, etc.).

Pass - I stuck with two days of yoga and one day of cardio throughout the month of January, but it's kept me consistent and happy with my progress.  I hadn't bothered to do cardio in a long time, but I'm slowly building up to where I was when I worked out (and did cardio!) more regularly.

- Begin substituting cauliflower rice for other types of rice.

Pass - I don't intend to completely phase out other types of rice from my diet, but Eric and I eat a lot of rice-based meals.  In January, we substituted cauliflower rice in three different meals, and you know what?  They were still awesome.  I know three meals isn't much, but it's a start.  We plan to continue using cauliflower rice on a regular basis.

- Post at least 3 times each week on my blog.

Pass - One of the most difficult things about blogging for me has always been consistency.  While I don't always respond to comments/emails/posts on the same days each week (just as I have time, really), I wanted to make sure I was at least posting on a regular basis.  My schedule of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday has been working out well so far, so I plan to continue posting on these days.

I know this post is getting long, but I wanted to share a few more statistics from the month of January.  I've been tracking pretty much everything I do with my new Erin Condren planner (not nerdy at all), and I thought this was the perfect place to share some of those things:

In January:

- I read 1986 pages.
- I completed 6 books.
- I earned 6313 Swagbucks (including earnings from referrals).
- I drank 89 glasses of water.
- I worked out for a total of 10 hours and 25 minutes.

... And that was January.

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