A Year of Focus, not Goals

I haven’t posted a 2018 Goal article yet this year.  Why?  Well, honestly, I’m not setting goals this year.  This year is going to be a year of massive adjustment for our family.  A year of patience as we begin to navigate our new life as a single income household.  It will be a year of forming habits.  A year of slowing down to enjoy the moment.  And hopefully a year of reflection and refocus.

No Big Goals

To that end, I am not setting big goals.  There is too much going on, too much in flux, too many variables for me to tie myself to certain goals.  I tend to be quite competitive and stubborn, so if I set a goal now and realize in April that it is not a good goal or our priorities have shifted, it will be VERY hard for me to adjust.  So, I am not setting myself up to stubbornly stick to certain goals.  Instead, I am setting myself focus areas with smaller “sub-goals” that may align within the focus area.

And just to be clear, I am not “anti-goals” 🙂  I find goals incredibly useful at times and have benefited greatly from setting goals, both big and small, in the past.  But this year is not a year of goals in the Adventure Rich household, so we are using focus areas to help us stay on track throughout the year!

Shoutout here to the Fairer Cents Podcast who spoke about this topic during Episode 8: Goals, Resolutions and Self Care.  Thank you for the inspiration, ladies!

Mindful Focus Areas

I would like to share a few of my focus areas today… with the strong caveat that I reserve the right to adjust these focus areas at any point 😉  That is the whole point of this for me right now… learn to be more patient with myself, my plans and my life when I am challenged to be flexible.  Which leads me to my first focus area…


Magical Winter Morning Light

Surprise surprise, my first focus area is flexibility.  Bet ya didn’t see that one coming, huh? 😉  I am focusing on being more flexible in many areas of my life.

— We plan to head to an event early but something (I’m probably looking at you, AR Jr.!) delays us?  Take a deep breath and be ok.

— We want to see a Net Worth increase but when we run the numbers, we are negative on the month as we adjust to our new income situation?  Hey, it wasn’t in the plan but we are learning as we go.  Take note and work to improve next month.

— I train for months for my first marathon (see below!) only to get injured or sick close to race day?  God has a funny way of telling me things.  Take the situation with grace and gently help my body back to health.

I could go on and on with all the scenarios and what-ifs in life, but my point is that I am focusing on flexibility and taking the unexpected with grace, patience, and understanding.


Icy Walk by the Bay

I’m a bit plugged in.  I work full time at my computer, I blog, I have my podcast cue filled with great content, and I have a few favorite Amazon Prime/Netflix shows I like to unwind to with Mr. Adventure Rich a few times a week.  All this interaction with technology can be great, but I would like to be more mindful about being unplugged and more present in my surroundings, the people, animals, noises, settings… even just the silence.

Ways I Plan to be More “Unplugged”

Read More

I am cueing up my library requests to keep me knee deep in good books so I grab for a book instead of the remote or computer in my downtime or in the evenings.  When I am reading a good book, I find myself looking for time to read more and skipping out on the more mindless “boredom” activities.  I downloaded the GoodReads app to keep me accountable and to manage my reading list.  Any recommendations?!?  Here are three new books already on my list!

Run Unplugged

I am not saying I will ALWAYS run unplugged (treadmill runs can be torture without a bit of music or a good podcast!), but I will be working to run unplugged more often.  This will help me with my focus area as well as help me re-focus on running smart and running well!

Getting Outside

 Getting outdoors for a quick walk, a bit of yard work (er, shoveling mountains of snow at the moment) or adventure time with the family is a great way to break out of the plugged-in atmosphere more easily created indoors.

Single Task.

I multitask even though I know it can be TERRIBLE for me and my attention span.  I listen to podcasts while making dinner and working out, I update the blog while watching a show, I listen to music while I work, and I check my phone while we drive to or from an event as a family.  Technology can be a great tool (I am more productive while listening to music vs. silence at times).  But more often, the constant multitude of inputs creates a life of distraction and competing stimuli.  So I will be focusing on single-tasking, unplugging from anything other than my main focus.

Batching Blog Work

Instead of trying to work on the blog a little bit each day, I am trying to batch the work into longer chunks of time… writing 1-3 articles at a time and setting up the week so I can go a few days without  doing anything more than sharing an article or two on social media via my phone.  This will allow me to be more unplugged in my non-work hours.


Snowshoe and Winter Bonfire Night!

I know I sound like a broken record, but life is (say it with me) “always an adventure”.  And finding that adventurous spirit is a key in my search for a fulfilling, generous, mindful and loving life.

There will never be a point when I meet my “adventure limit” or I look around and say “I made it, I am adventurous!”.  And I don’t want to!  I want to be reminded each and every day that I need to seek adventure… do something a little crazy and exciting.  Yes, I hope to be the 90-year-old woman who canoes with kids (Grandchildren? Great-grandchildren?!?) 80 years younger than me or who blows flour in Mr. Adventure Rich’s face while baking cookies… just because I can 😉

So yes, true to our name, I am focusing on seeing life as an adventure and seeking grand adventures on a small scale each and every day.

Discomfort (the “good” kind)

Quite the opposite of discomfort…

I find that pushing limits and getting out of my comfort zone is one of the most effective ways for me to grow.  I am focusing on adding more “good discomfort” into my life this year.  Pushing my limits, putting myself in positions I may fail at, expanding my horizons.

Discomfort Areas


Oi, I am eating my words on this one.  I have ALWAYS said I will never run a marathon.  Well, guess what?  I signed up for a marathon in 2018.  This is double my longest running race distance (I have three half marathons and a few 13-14 mile runs under my belt) and it is scary!  I will be working to “run smart” and train mindfully (more on that coming soon!) throughout this marathon journey.

Reading at Church:  

wrote about this last month, but I am pushing myself to do something I find hard… reading during our church service.  It is a way for me to both volunteer, give back to our community, become more ingrained in our community, and step outside my comfort zone all in one!

Income Adjustments:  

With our new set up as a single income household, we will be looking for ways to pinch our pennies here and there.  I’m not sure how this will specifically look, but I know there will be ways we cut back that are new and not our norm that may pose some discomfort.

Sole Breadwinner:  

While I have brought home the larger paycheck throughout our marriage, I have never been a sole breadwinner.  I will be diving more into this soon, but I will tell you it is certainly a bit outside my comfort zone and will pose some discomfort as I adjust to the role and the pressure associated with the new set-up.


We want to have a focus on giving this year.  Giving of our time, energy, resources and money to those we need and organizations we believe in.  I am putting this in the discomfort category because it can be a challenge to give generously… to open our wallet or give up a Saturday afternoon.  But it is an important focus area and I find that the discomfort is often rewarded in some way 🙂

Deep Conversations:  

Mr. Adventure Rich and I have lived in a whirlwind the past few years.  I know that time will not suddenly slow down now that he is not working, but already we have had a few deeper, harder conversations. I expect (and hope!) these conversations will become more frequent as we work to re-align our life, adjust to our new mode, and figure out what’s next.

New Relationships:  

Mr. Adventure Rich and I have been in our new hometown for about a year and a half now.  And guess what?  We are starting to make new friends!!!  Haha- while it is easier for me (I’m a bit more extroverted than Mr. AR), making new friends is a challenge for both of us.  We look forward to the “good discomfort” that comes with navigating new friendships and deeper connections with people, whether here in our area or elsewhere in the world 🙂


Ice Formations by the Bay

First off, let’s simplify our income to one… check!  Ok, ok, kidding aside, we are looking to simplify our lives in several ways this year.

Family Time:  

The best moments we have experienced as a family have been the simple, “small” moments.  The mornings piled in one bed watching the sun cast shadows on the wall, the walks down our driveway to get the mail, the impromptu bonfire or picnic.  It doesn’t take much to have a simple, wonderful time as we paint memories together… so we want to make the enjoyment of simple moments a priority


With more time at home, both Mr. Adventure Rich and I have a goal of cooking more from scratch and batch cooking/freezing meals in anticipation of busy days.  This may add more work in some way, but it simplifies our budget, the ingredients we are putting in our bodies, and our decisions (why eat out if we have a great meal that can defrost in 20 minutes?).


If there is anything you want in the house, you better grab it now… I’m on a purging rampage!  After Christmas this year, I decided I wanted to reassess the items in our home and make a few trips to Goodwill.  We really don’t have a crazy abundance of stuff, but I want to be mindful of what we bring in and keep in our home.  So I am going to be targeting simplicity of “stuff”.


This is closely tied to being unplugged and single tasking (vs. multitasking).  I want to simplify my attention, focusing on one thing at a time and hopefully focusing more on things that matter to me.  Faith, family, friendships, community, work, adventures, reading, and writing to name a few.


I love challenging myself in many ways and trying ALL the workouts and ALL the sports.  But I have a big focus on running my first marathon this year.  So I am simplifying.  During marathon training, I will focus on mindful running, gentle recovery (stretching and yoga), targeted cross training (strength training) and true rest by taking days off.

A Summary of My Focus Areas

While the examples I provided are incomplete and the implementations may vary wildly from what I expect throughout the year, here are my 2018 focus areas:

  • Flexibility
  • Unplugging
  • Discomfort
  • Adventure
  • Simplicity

Um, Aren’t You Missing Something?

You may notice that I don’t have a strictly financial focus area listed.  While I would like to grow our Net Worth, continue to live frugally and save, these do not warrant their own focus area this year.  This year is not about strict money goals or money focus areas… instead, it is about incorporating our money decisions into our focus areas.  Finding flexibility, discomfort, adventure, simplicity and unplugging in our financial life.

What are some of your goals, focus areas or focus “words” for 2018?  Do you have any tips or thoughts for me?  Any good book recommendations? 🙂

Always an Adventure,

Mrs. Adventure Rich

ps- looking for the next pieces in our Journey to One Income series?  Stay tuned, they are coming this week!