Filling the Jars First Blogiversary: 2016 Review and 2017 Goals

{An Update on My Household and Blog Goals}

Wow, here it is — my Blogiversary! I can hardly believe I’ve been blogging for an entire year now! It’s time to give you a household and blogging goals update, talk about how things have been going, and contemplate whether or not to make any changes for 2017.

When I first started blogging, I read a daunting statistic: Most bloggers quit by the 6-month mark. I worried that I would be one of them, but decided to give it a try anyway. I’m still here! Yes, I’m actually a little relieved about that. 🙂

Text 2016 year-end blog and home goal report on turquoise background.

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Blogging Update:

What I love:

– The fantastic mastermind group I’m a part of! The ladies are kind, funny, straightforward, and always happy to share advice and what’s working or not working for them. It’s great to connect “in person” (Skype) with them! I’m really looking forward to what we will accomplish in 2017!

– Writing. It’s always mostly been about the writing and sharing. When I first considered blogging, the idea of putting my words “out there” was sort of frightening. What if everything I wrote was awful? What if nobody even bothered to read it? While I’m always trying to find a better way to write the perfectly helpful post, it’s truly awesome to see some of the things I was most nervous about posting end up helping people in ways I never imagined.

– Watching other bloggers succeed. It often feels like every blogger is in this together, and seeing hard-working and helpful bloggers have amazing success (whatever that means to them) is one of my favorite things! Plus, it’s inspiring and gives me hope for the future of Filling the Jars.

What’s surprised me:

– My perfectionist tendencies have STILL not gone away. I keep going anyway, but it gets frustrating.

– I’m really pretty tired of social media. I do still adore Pinterest, although technically that’s more of a search engine than social media. (By the way, you can click here to follow me on Pinterest.)

– My most popular post: Stop Thinking and Start Doing: A Goal Setting Starter Plan. I never EVER would have imagined that it would be so popular when I wrote it. (Apparently I’m not the only Overthinker in the world.)

Review of Blog Goals for the FOURTH Quarter of 2016:

Continue posting twice per week. No, this didn’t happen. I struggled with my blog focus for a while. Now things seem to be moving in the right direction, but that means I didn’t post as often during Q4 because much of what I wrote didn’t seem to fit with the direction I wanted to take.

Complete modules 5 – 9 of Elite Blog Academy. Yes! I am actually finishing module 10 as I write this. 🙂

[*note: The Elite Blog Academy course I took is no longer available. I now recommend Suzi Whitford’s Blog By Number course.]

Create more printables and spreadsheets. I created some checklists/cheatsheets that are available in several different blog posts.

Make a final decision about starting a writing blog. I have decided NOT to pursue this right now. Too many other things on my plate.

Begin producing an income. I actually DID earn some money in Q4! I did a book editing job (the opportunity would not have happened without my blog), and I also earned some affiliate income. I won’t see the affiliate payout for a while, but that’s okay. It was pretty amazing just to finally see that I earned something! (A promise about affiliate links: I only recommend things which I have personally used or believe would be super-beneficial to my readers.)

My Biz + Blog Goals for the FIRST Quarter of 2017:

Post once per week. In the interest of my goals to simplify life while working on more projects, I’ve decided one post per week is a good goal.    

Complete modules 11-12 of Elite Blog Academy 2.0. I should be able to finish this by mid-February, just in time to begin again when EBA 3.0 is released. (I’m crazy-excited about that!)

Take another blogging or business course. I have my eye on a couple, but I’m holding to my resolve to not purchase more blog-related courses until I have completed and implemented EBA 2.0.

Write and self-publish a book. It’s time. I’ve read books and blog posts about how to do it. I’ve learned from the ladies in my mastermind group who have gone through the process. I’ve always dreamed of seeing something published with my name on it. This is a HUGE goal, and it’s one reason I will be posting less during Q1.

Begin producing a consistent income. While I was able to BEGIN producing an income in 2016, I need to turn that into a CONSISTENT income during 2017. I don’t expect it to be huge during Q1, but a little something every month will be a good start.

Household Update:

To see the original goals I had when I launched Filling the Jars, read this — Filling the Jars: Family, Home, Money, Life and this — My Buzzword for 2016: Positivity.


2016 was definitely NOT the year for DIY home improvements.

Our 2016 Goals WERE:

Redo the master bedroom. Nope. Maybe summer 2017.

Build a new pumphouse. No. Hoping for late spring 2017.

Build a walkway from the house to the driveway. Again, no. Also hoping for late spring 2017.

Another round of decluttering. Most of that is in my “office,” a.k.a. The Room of Everything where I don’t even have a real desk. For the past month I’ve been working at a table by the woodstove to keep warm. I am gradually decluttering the office and other areas of the house. 

– If you read any of my “Reading What I Have” posts, you may remember that I started 2016 with several hundred print and digital books on my TBR (to be read) list. Throughout the year I read, deleted, and donated or returned most of the titles. I’m happy to say that right now I only have 29 unread physical books on my shelf! While I would LOVE to have been able to read the other 70 books I just returned to my mom & dad, I finally had to admit it’s just never going to happen. Honestly, now I smile when I look at my bookshelf instead of feeling a little bit of panic from the self-induced pressure to read ALL the books. I also deleted 310 unread digital titles throughout the year.

2017 Home Goals:

Redo the master bedroom. Yes, it’s on the list again.

Build a new walkway and pumphouse. I would actually be okay with paying someone to do the walkway. It just needs to get done! (But first the weather needs to warm up and we need to set aside the money.)

Build a covered porch off the kitchen. Seriously, this should only take a weekend or two. We were supposed to build it when we renovated the kitchen almost 7 years ago, but silly life things happened and we never got back to it.

Continue decluttering. It’s an ongoing thing. Our younger son graduates high school in 3 years, and we want to be able to just pick up and move at that point. Every single thing we get out of here (and DON’T replace) before then will help us reach that goal. I’m thinking about doing some specific decluttering posts throughout 2017.


How 2016 Went:

Pay off the home equity loan. We mostly made minimum payments.

– Our younger son got braces, so I had to funnel cash to pay the difference insurance doesn’t cover.

– Oh, and then our septic system completely failed. We had to hire someone to replace the entire system in November and do a major upgrade to a larger tank and a raised field with a pump. Fun times, let me tell ya.

Fund Roth IRA’s. No progress on this.

Help out with college expenses for our older son. Done for 2016. We contributed approximately the amount of our education tax credit toward his tuition expenses. We would love to help more if our own retirement accounts were fully funded, but that is not the case right now. As every financial book I’ve ever read says, “Your kids can borrow money for college. You can’t borrow money for retirement.”

Focus on SOME sort of freelance “side hustle” that actually makes money. I put up a Work With Me page on the blog. I also began taking on editing jobs. (No longer accepting editing work.)

2017 Money Goals:

Our current budget is something we can survive on, but I’m going to have to really step it up and create more income for us to accomplish the goals I’m setting right now:

Complete an Emergency Fund. It’s been too many years since this was full to a comfortable level. We are fans of Dave Ramsey and have managed to keep the $1,000 baby EF funded, but I would breathe easier knowing it was a full EF. (If you need help with managing your money, you HAVE to read The Total Money Makeover — it completely changed how my husband and I think about and handle work and money. I shudder to think about the situation we would be in if it weren’t for that book!)

Help out with college expenses for our older son. Once again, we will contribute approximately the amount of our education tax credit toward his tuition expenses. We also pay for his phone and vehicle insurance.

Fund Roth IRA’s. We really can’t keep taking a break from this.

Earn a consistent income from blogging and other side hustles. That’s on me, and it’s the only thing that will make some of the above goals possible, including the home improvements. Our combined regular incomes barely pay the bills (does anyone else feel like they would be rich if it weren’t for all of the insurances we need to carry?), and I want to be able to take some of the earning pressure off my husband.


Drink more water, work hard & fast, read books every day, and enjoy my family. That’s it.

There it is, my 1-year blogiversary and household goals update. I’m excited for 2017, and I hope you join me for the adventure!

First Blogiversary: 2016 Review and 2017 Goals | A review of my first year in the blogging world! Click through to read whether I accomplished my 2016 household and blog goals, if my side hustle produced an income, and what's ahead for 2017... |

6 thoughts on “Filling the Jars First Blogiversary: 2016 Review and 2017 Goals”

  1. I have followed your progress throughout the year and I’m really excited for where this blogging thing is taking you! You now seem comfortable in this world and your progress is showing. And yes, I could see the perfectionism in you (I did benefit from it, lol). All the very best for the new year Julie.

  2. Modern Day Girl Blog

    Hey Julie!

    Some great goals right there. I must also say that I’m loving our skype chats too! It’s so nice seeing your and the other women’s progress and so rewarding when we get to help out! Here’s to a productive, healthy and happy 2017 ?

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