2016 Recap and 2017 Goals

Wow, 2016 has been a whirlwind of a year you guys. I’m going to get pretty candid in this post, because I feel that when you get candid, you learn from each other. I’m going to touch on the good and the bad, how well/not well I’m doing at adulting, and what my goals for 2017 are. Ahhhh, here we go.

2016 started off with the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. The year pretty quickly started off with the death of my grandfather, who was one of the most important people in my life. That shook me pretty hard, and I wasn’t in a stable enough mental place to deal with that pain, so I tried to shove that pain aside. My family is all in New Jersey and I’m in Colorado, so it was easier to put that pain away while I wasn’t facing my family every day. At the same time, I missed my family an incredible amount and wanted to share in that pain together. Grief is a really emotional and personal process for everyone, and I definitely went on my own personal journey with that grief.

Shortly after my grandfather died though, Stephen proposed to me and gave me the perfect fairy tale moment. He took me on a magical snow-filled horse drawn carriage ride through the Breckenridge mountains, asked me to be his forever, and followed it with champagne and an engagement photography session. My sister and brother-in-law were also in town visiting, and they got to celebrate with us afterwards, along with my dad and step mom, which really meant a lot to me. He really nailed that whole proposal thing.


cat-steve-1-31-16-30cat-steve-1-31-16-45Another major change that happened was that it was the first year that I supported myself 100% financially with my own business. This meant taking a step back from this very blog and focusing on my social media management business. As hard as it was to not put my blog at the forefront, I knew that in order to succeed financially, I needed to do this. I took several months off from The Rustic Willow to focus on working with my clients at The Social Willow.

This leap of faith in myself and my business was just what I needed to go from a struggling ex-social worker, to a retail worker, to a thriving business owner. I needed that shift in confidence that this has brought me. I’m very independent when it comes to finances, and I don’t like when people pay for things for me, so being able to build my business and be financially comfortable has not only brought a shift in my bank account, but a shift in my confidence and self worth.

This year I also took the plunge and financed a car. Prior to financing that car this year, I owned an old Durango I purchased off of Craigslist. It wasn’t the safest or most reliable car, but now I drive a car that I feel protected in, and that was a big step for me.

I also signed up for a secure credit card to try to build my credit score. I admittedly don’t have very good credit, but I’m hoping that by signing up for this secured credit card, it will start building my credit.

One of the biggest “adulting” tasks I accomplished this year was to begin to plan for my future. I met with a financial advisor to secure life insurance, and to start working towards a commendable retirement plan. This is something I knew I needed, and knew I wanted to start earlier rather than later. At 26 years old, I felt that now was the time.

This year was quite a ride. I feel exhausted, but excited. I feel like I’m on par with where I wanted myself to be at 26 years old. I feel successful, prepared, and organized, which is a nice change from the frantic state I found myself in at the end of 2015.

Looking to 2017, I have set a few goals for myself to continue pushing myself to live up to what I want to accomplish:

  1. Budgeting. I have a hard time at budgeting my money. If it’s in my bank account, I want to spend it. I’ve set out to budget more, and not splurge as much as I tend to. (If you’re in the same budgeting boat as me, check out Personal Capital’s personal finance software to keep yourself on track for 2017),
  2. Saving. This year I’ve worked with my financial advisor to set up a separate account to save money for taxes since I’m a small business owner. That was a great step in the right direction, but I really need to work on saving for my rainy day fund and for my emergency fund.
  3. Adventuring. Guyyyyyyyys. I live in Colorado, and I don’t take enough advantage of its beauty. Yes, I explore. Yes, I hike. Yes, I adventure. But, I don’t do it as much as I’d like to. Since I work for myself, I set my own schedule, so I really don’t have an excuse to not to adventure more. I strive to go on at least one adventure a week next year, even if it’s a little teensy adventure.
  4. Get married. Ahhhh, I’m finally realizing I’m getting married in six months. My goal in the next few months is to finish wedding planning (so hard!) and to walk down the aisle to my man.

Writing this post and reflecting on everything I’ve accomplished this year has made me feel like I’m doing a lot of things right. It makes me feel really good. Even if I have a bad day, or a hard day in business, I can look back at this post and be like “hey Cat, you’re doing alright.”

Alright, now it’s your turn! Let me know in the comments below what goals you’ve achieved this year, and what goals you’re setting for yourself next year.

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