Filling the Jars Second Blogiversary: 2017 Review and 2018 Goals

How Did 2017 Pass So Quickly?

Seriously, I lost track of which month it was so many times during 2017. The weeks and months simply flew past! Overall it was a good year — another year of learning, adjusting, and celebrating every small (and big) win.

This blogiversary update is short and specific on purpose. I have learned that long, emotion-filled lists of lofty and detailed goals do not work for me. Keeping things simple is a priority.

If you have difficulty narrowing your goal focus, you might also try setting FEWER goals. Not necessarily SMALL goals, but very limited and specific. It really does work. And as life changes throughout the year, don’t be afraid to adjust with the changes. Just because you say one thing in January, doesn’t mean it will still apply ten or eleven months later. It’s okay to re-prioritize!

Text 2017 goal report blog and home in brown and pink text.

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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. Two years later, I’m still here! And I’m excited about what this next year will bring for Filling the Jars!

In Janaury 2016, I didn’t have a clear direction for where Filling the Jars was going. My first year included posts about some pretty random things as I was finding my way. I had a lot of goals and thoughts, and I wanted to talk about all of them. But after finding a focus and reflecting on what I want to put out into the world, I finally understood that this blog isn’t about me at all, it’s about helping YOU.

With this in mind, I continue to move away from posts about my personal life that don’t specifically relate to my FTJ mission statement, which is to bring you inspiration and tools to help you plan, simplify, and take action to build your best life.

Related post: Filling the Jars First Blogiversary: 2016 Review and 2017 Goals

Female hands writing in journal surrounded by books and computers on wood desktop.

Blogging Update

What I Love

– Having a specific focus to help overwhelmed overthinkers. Part of that is posting to let you know you’re not alone in your struggles, part is telling you about what has worked for me, and another part is introducing tools to help you focus and make your everyday life easier.

– Communicating with other bloggers and readers. It never ceases to amaze me when I get emails from people who are actually able to put the things I write into practice. Best. Feeling. Ever.

What Surprised Me

– This is STILL my most popular post: Stop Thinking and Start Doing: A Goal Setting Starter Plan. It’s hard to imagine now that I almost didn’t post this because I thought nobody would relate to it. The response to that post shaped almost everything I’ve done for the past year.

– I wrote and published a nonfiction book! That goal had fallen to the bottom of my list, but then I got the amazing opportunity to work with the wonderful Lise Cartwright of Hustle and Groove. My book “The ONE FOCUS Method” was released in October, and it’s currently available on Amazon.

– I started an author blog, even though I had said I decided not to pursue it during 2017. Well, everything changed, and I ended up doing it. You can see it here if you want to have a look: — My blogging there will be limited, as it’s mostly an author website. But I do randomly throw up a blog post about writing.

Review of Blog Goals for 2017:

Post once per week. This didn’t happen. As my goals refocused, constant blogging was not my priority. 

Complete modules 11-12 of Elite Blog Academy 2.0. This happened. I have been working through the updated EBA 3.0 during 2017 and am looking forward to putting it into practice on my new author website/blog.

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

Take another blogging or business course. I purchased The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles, which had several courses included. I have taken a couple of relevant courses from the bundle, so I’m counting that as accomplished.

Write and self-publish a book. This SOOOO happened! In addition to my nonfiction book “The ONE FOCUS Method,” I have published four novellas in the Miss Fortune Mysteries Kindle World and am working on number five for a late-January release.

Begin producing a consistent income. This happened, but it came from writing, not blogging. At the moment, writing supports my blogging hobby. 😉

Planner cover snapshot of the quote always believe in yourself.

My Biz + Blog Goals for 2018:

Post regularly on each blog with helpful posts and relevant recommendations (mix of free and paid) specifically chosen to assist readers in improving their lives and reaching their goals. Laser-focus posts for Filling the Jars to reflect my desire to help overthinkers to plan, simplify, and take action.

Shift business focus toward author income. This involves much more than simply writing books, although that’s always the first challenge. 😉 Advertising and marketing are new frontiers that I will have to practice.

Write good books that people enjoy reading.

Improve computer time ratio = more focused writing sessions, fewer browsing sessions.

Use my new Tools4Wisdom planner for all of my personal, author, and blog goals and tasks. This will eliminate two binders. Although I loved having separate, focused planners for personal and blogging tasks (for which I printed my own planner pages), I’m going to try keeping everything in one place, more compact and portable. We’ll see how it goes.

By the end of the year, be on track to replace previous full-time monthly income. (I am currently at the very part-time level.)

Household Update

To see the original goals I had when I launched Filling the Jars, read this — Filling the Jars: Family, Home, Money, Life


How 2017 Went:

Home improvement goals went straight to the bottom of the list this year. My husband and I are DIY-ers, but my husband ended up having the most intense work schedule he’s ever had since we got married over twenty years ago. We kept waiting for things to slow down, but they didn’t. I’m not complaining, because that’s a HUGE part of why I was able to accomplish some of my own goals this year. However, it’s changing how we think about some of our projects.

I do want to say that I maintained my level of declutter, so that’s a win.

2018 Home Goals:

In keeping with my personal word for 2018 – Essential – I am only setting one goal this year: Build a new pumphouse. I drew up a plan, but I honestly don’t know whether or not we will have time to do this ourselves. We may have to hire it out.

Cozy image of roaring woodstove with backdrop of windows and winter mountain scenery.


How 2017 Went:

Complete an Emergency Fund. (Per Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover method, one of my favorite personal finance books!) Didn’t happen. Our used vehicle purchases and repairs were a ridiculous percentage of our income during 2017. Thankfully we were able to cash-flow everything, but it meant only partially funding the EF.

Help out with college expenses for our older son. Done. We 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. Didn’t happen. Our income is in transition.

Earn a consistent income from blogging and other side hustles. Done. I’m earning a small but consistent income. This meant I was able to quit my part-time outside-the-home job to become a full-time author and blogger. I love it, and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to do this!

2018 Money Goals:

Again, one Essential goal — increase my income. I plan to do this by writing and releasing more books and moving into writing a series of novel-length cozy mysteries. (You can sign up here if you would like to be notified about future releases: Julie Hage Author Updates)

Related Posts:
How to Save $500 in 15 minutes (and Achieve Your Dreams) — Penny Pinchers’ Paradise /
Life After 50: 18 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep in 2018 — Traveling in Heels


How 2017 Went:

Drink more water, work hard & fast, read books every day, and enjoy my family. Mostly done.

2018 Life Goals:

Eat better so I can feel better mentally and physically. Sitting and working on a computer all day every day for the past seven months hasn’t been good for my joints, bellyline, or brain fog.

Other than that, the same as 2017 because they are good goals for every day, no matter the year. 🙂

I hope you will join me as I embark on year three at Filling the Jars!

Text 2017 blog and home goal report on gray background with notebook and pink border.

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