reflecting on 25 before 25 and why goals matter

In April I turned 25, and reached the cut-off point for my 25-before-25 list. I only accomplished about half the things on that list, but I’m still really glad that I made it. Why? Because  it helped me learn to do things on purpose.

That is what I’ve learned about goals and plans in the past year and a half. Setting a goal doesn’t mean that you’re a loser if you fail to reach it; it means that you’re equipping yourself with a map. You know where you want to go. You can live on purpose and do your best to get there. Plans may change in the middle of it all, but at least you’re doing things on purpose, instead of just drifting along.

goals help us do things on purpose

Several of the things on my list morphed into different to-dos, and I’m glad that they did. Some of them just plain didn’t happen. In January instead of sharing resolutions I focused on what had gone right in 2011.  I did make 6 goals for 2012, but I didn’t share any of them. Maybe I will eventually. The list lives on the fridge, and some of them have gone better than I expected! And… some haven’t.

Here’s my final recap of this list, with the results in bold text.

25 before 25 (January 2011- April 2012)

  1. Make homemade tortillas. Just plain didn’t happen. Still want to do this!
  2. Donate items to Goodwill or a local charity once a month. Probably came out to about once a quarter. 
  3. Organize my recipes.  I’m so glad that I did this early on! I still use this system all the time.
  4. Complete perpetual calendar and make/send birthday and anniversary cards regularly. I finished and use the calendar, but I’m still working on being on-time with cards!
  5. Sew something. Anything! I sewed some paper books, but that’s about it.
  6. Finally get the 120 film from my Holga developed (in Austin) and buy and take more. This still hasn’t happened. 
  7. Plant a garden, however small.  I grew different kinds of lettuce and herbs on our apartment porch, and right now I’m growing a tobasco pepper plant! In the fall we’ll hopefully plant a full-size garden.
  8. Scan and save Mom’s tintype photos, and other old photos of her family. Didn’t happen.
  9. Take a weekend to go to museums in DFW. A while back I visited the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth with Mom and Melissa, but that’s about all the museum-ing I accomplished.
  10. Learn how to use all of the controls on my SLR. Done and Done. Happy to report that Manual Mode and I have been on good terms for a good while now.
  11. Go to Antiques Week in Round Top.  Definitely will do this again this year!
  12. Go on a 1 year anniversary trip with my love! This was a huge highlight. 
  13. Take tutorials to improve my Adobe Photoshop and InDesign skills. Done and Done. But, there’s always more to learn!
  14. Wear that amazing black dress for the first time. Still need to do this. To the symphony or something.
  15. Join a gym and start lifting weights again.  This one cracks me up because it directly resulted in me hurting my knee and preventing the accomplishment of part of #23 (running a half). Oh, life. I learned the hard way that I can’t squat 1/4 of what I could in high school. 
  16. Read through old journals and spend time reflecting. Still need to do this. 
  17. Memorize new scripture every month. Failed. Need to return to practicing this.
  18. Visit Marfa, TX. (Almost! Made it to Monahans!)
  19. Read and finish 25 books. (See book list below this list.) Mostly failed, but also FINISHED more books than I have in years! (I think I finished 8/25, and ended up finishing a handful of other books, too.)
  20. Catch up on all scrapbooking (8 different projects). Caught up some, but not totally.
  21. Make Christmas stockings for Garret and I. Nope.
  22. Improve my 5K time. WHOOP!
  23. Run a 10K in Spring 2011, and a half marathon in Fall 2011. Absolutely loved running the 10K, and I’m thinking about going for a half in December. 
  24. Sell my photographs and make a profit. Started a lifestyle photography business instead! 
  25. Improve my blog. Make it encouraging, artistic, and profitable. Completing my 31 Days Series really helped increase my readership and taught me a lot about creativity and writing. I’m yet to figure out what monetizing my personal writing would look like. Still a (not impossible) dream. 

Here’s to making goals and doing things on purpose!

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9 Responses to reflecting on 25 before 25 and why goals matter

  1. Sarah says:

    I love the way you write- you’re upbeat! It is very motivational 🙂 I am about to turn 25 (in 3 weeks time) and you have helped me realise I should be setting more goals. Thanks for the words of encouragement!
    All the best. ❤

  2. Sarah Seidel says:

    I love reading your blog! You are so inspiring and remind me that you just have to do the best you can and not always expect to accomplish everything. Thanks for letting me read your thoughts. 🙂 Sarah

  3. Debie Grace says:

    I don’t think that’s something you have to frown over! That’s a lot! And it’s amazing to know that you did half of them! That’s awesome! 🙂

  4. Love this list! I turned 25 in February, and I wish I had made a list too! But I guess we can make lists before each birthday, right? There’s always lots more to learn, and as you say, having a purpose is the key! 🙂

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  8. audrey says:

    I love this list, Leslie! It’s definitely too late for me to do a 25 before 25- since I’m 26 already, lol- but I totally agree with what you said about how goals help us do things on purpose. They’re not for beating ourselves up with when we fail or being so lofty that we’re scared into inaction but just to help us do things with purpose and intentionality. I love that!

    And regarding #1, homemade tortillas are super easy! I started making them a few weeks ago and they’re delish. Haven’t perfected them yet, but I’m sold on the homemade kind. 🙂

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