March Recap/April Goal-Setting

Goodbye, March… Hello, April!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged in here. With two months left in the school year, things have been super hectic and I guess I should have predicted that. TELPAS testing, the state assessment I played a big role in executing at my campus, is officially over. I’m hoping with one less responsibility, I can dedicate more time to blogging during the month of April. I might have been too ambitious last month.

With that said, let’s take a look at the goals set in March:

1. Work on the landscaping around my house – Check. Justin and I planted corn, squash, cucumber, and green beans, and they are really taking off! I also replaced the mulch in our front and back yards.

2. Continue improving my Spanish language skills by dedicating at least six hours a week to language learning – Check. I slacked off near the end of March, but overall my studying has remained fairly consistent.

3. Work out at least 4x a week. Fail… huge, epic fail!

4. Write 8 blog posts –Another fail… not even close!

5. Plan for summer travels. Unfortunately, we found out during Spring Break that one of our furbabies, Theon, is positive for heartworms. We adopted him during Thanksgiving break, and at the time, he tested negative. The veterinarian informed us, however, that simply because an animal tests negative doesn’t mean they don’t have larvae in their system. We made the mistake of not putting him on heartworm prevention as soon as we adopted him, but… lesson learned. We are undergoing expensive treatment for him, which may prevent us from traveling during the summer.


And now, for April goal setting:

1. Write 4 blog posts – I think this is a realistic goal. I set my goal too high last month and wasn’t able to keep up, but I think 1 post per week is totally doable and may even be exceeded this month if I am smart with my free time. 🙂

2. Continue improving my Spanish – 6 hours/week is what I shoot for, but if I am over or under that,  it’s fine. The key is to remain consistent until I have more dedicated free time over the summer.

3. Limit eating out to once per week or less – I am trying to be more conscious of how much we eat out. It’s hard to tell what you’re putting in your body and the costs add up over time.

4. Work out 3x per week – I set the goal of 4x per week last month and failed miserably. 3x a week is more realistic and not restricted to just gym work outs. This includes landscaping, dog runs, etc.

What’s on your goal list for this month?

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February Goals Update and Progress

I hope every one had a great Valentine’s Day this past week! Ours was pretty low-key, since every day is Valentine’s Day at the Love Nest. It’s hard to believe we only have 9 days left in February!

Unfortunately, I’m already not doing too well on two of my February goals. One of the goals was to post twice a week (epic fail for this past week– I didn’t even get to 1 post!) and the other was to get started on rolling over my old 403b from my first job to a traditional IRA (another epic fail– I haven’t even gotten the ball rolling).

On a positive note, I am making progress with my 6-hour weekly Spanish learning commitment, yesterday I watched about 12 episodes of Destinos, and I went back on Duolingo and practiced on some of my weaker skills throughout the week. I’m also poised to complete my first principal certification course with an A. So far, I’m making good on 50% of my goals for this month.

But 50% is not 100%, and when I set a goal, I aim to achieve it… especially since I openly shared these goals on my blog. 0 blog posts last week mean that I’m on the hook for more posts this week.

This month has been a complete whirlwind. With testing season upon us in the public school world, my duties at work have completely dominated my life. I coordinate placement and testing decisions for all ESL students at my campus (and we have the highest number in the district), which means this is an extremely hectic time of year– and it doesn’t help that this is my first year in this job! March will only become busier.

I could go on and on about how busy and stressful work is, but that doesn’t change anything. I set goals earlier this month, and damn it, I’m going to achieve them! More on this at the end of the month.

Love,
Eva

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February: Goal-Setting

February so far has been absolutely nuts for me. I know it makes much more sense to make a goal-setting post at the beginning of the month, instead of 10 days into it, but what can I say? This idea presented itself to me a couple days ago, and I’m just now able to write about it. I’m sick at home with what might actually be the beginnings of a flu… fingers crossed that it is not!

I’ve always been big on lists and goal-setting. It keeps me organized and gives me a clear vision on how to properly allocate my time and energy. It was creating lists of goals that allowed me to graduate college with honors a year early, earn scholarships to pay for my undergraduate and graduate degrees, pay for our wedding, down payment on our house, lose 40 lbs, etc. Goal setting = good. So here are my goals for the rest of this month:

1. Complete my first course for principal certification with an A – I’m at the tail end of my first course for my administrative certification program. So far, I have an A, but there is a lot that still needs to be completed and graded. This program is way more demanding than I initially gave it credit for.

2. Rollover my retirement savings into a traditional IRA – Several years ago, I opened up a retirement account with my first school district. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I figured at some point I would need to save for retirement. Going with this particular type of investment strategy and company ended up being a mistake, so I’m finally trying to get the ball rolling on putting this money into an IRA without all the ridiculous fees I was paying before!

3. Post at least twice a week and grow this blog – With so much going on, it’s easy to ignore this blog. I’m going to make every effort to not let that happen. I enjoy blogging and meeting new people/blogs on WordPress; it’s fun and relaxing. I’m interested in learning from more seasoned bloggers how to improve this one.

4. Dedicate at least six hours a week to language learning – I’ve written about my quest to improve my Spanish twice in this blog so far. Six hours a week is much more realistic than 1 hour a day, since my schedule doesn’t always allow that kind of time for explicit language learning. Typically I use the weekend as my catch-up time!


Those are some pretty big goals for the next 17.5 days, so I’m going to leave it at that. I will follow up on this blog at the end of the month to check my progress and set new goals for March!

Love,

Eva

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Hola y Buenos Días, mis amigos!

Day 21 of Learning Spanish / Día 21 de aprender español

Since my last post, I have continued to actively learn Spanish on a daily basis. Even though I am far from fluent, I am already pleasantly surprised by my ability to speak in simple sentences and converse with Spanish speakers (using the term “más despacio, por favor” or “more slowly, please” plenty of times)!

I am dedicating anywhere from 1-3 hours a day to Spanish language learning. That may seem like a lot, but a lot of this time is spent actively speaking and listening to my colleagues who are Native Spanish speakers, as well as the occasional student. Here are the 5 key things I have been doing that is working for me:

  1. Completing 5 mini lessons on Duolingo per day – Duolingo is a free language app that helps you learn a language through various written and spoken exercise in a game-style format. Although it is not a standalone resource, it is perfect for getting quick practice in and memorizing high-frequency words.
  2. Reading and completing Spanish exercises via books – Yesterday I finally managed to finish Easy Spanish Step-by-Step by Barbara Bergstein. I purchased it off of Amazon for about $12 back in November, and it took me about a month to make it through all of the exercises. It is an excellent resource and really lays out all of the basic grammar rules. Today I will get started on the Advanced Spanish Step-by-Step… hopefully I’m ready!

spanish books

3. Listening to A LOT of Spanish Music – Selena, Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin, Shakira. I’ll listen to the song and attempt to translate as much as possible. LyricsTranslate.com is an awesome website that will bring up the lyrics in both English and Spanish, side by side. I try to sing a long as much as possible.

4. Switching iPhone settings to Spanish – What a great idea. I can’t believe I waited until yesterday to do this. Not only will most things on the iPhone appear in Spanish, but people’s posts on Instagram have an “ver traddución” option that will automatically translate an English post into Spanish.

5. Lastly and most importantly, I make an honest attempt to speak in Spanish, even if I know my grammar is wrong – I’m trying to focus less on always conjugating correctly and more on simply communicating, which is helping me learn words faster than if I wait for my Spanish to be perfect. This is a mistake so many language learners fall into, and it really hurts progress.

Yesterday I also discovered an awesome resource on the Internet and YouTube called Gringo Español. Even though he is a Native English speaker, he really breaks down Spanish concepts in a way any one can understand. Here he is explaining one of the concepts I’ve struggled with the most:

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New Year’s Goal Setting: 2017

How could I allow an entire MONTH to pass by without updating this blog? Bad Eva. Fortunately, however, we are about to embark on another year– and keeping this blog updated at least once every two weeks (until I get into the swing of things) is in order. My husband Justin and I had an awesome holiday with his little brother and my aunt. Since Christmas, I have been studying Spanish intensely and haven’t had time for much else. I could make an entire Christmas break-themed post, but I rather focus on the task at hand: New Year’s Goal Setting for 2017.

  1. Become fluent in Spanish – I’ve allowed 27 years to pass without really being able to speak Spanish. Considering I am Latina and from South Texas, where Spanish is basically the “unofficial” language, this is unacceptable. Enough is enough. Not knowing Spanish is inconvenient on so many levels, and knowing the language fluently will make me more marketable in my career. There is no excuse not to! I plan to achieve this goal by finishing Barbara Bregstein’s Easy Spanish Step-by-Step, then progressing to her advanced level book; using the Duolingo and Memrise apps on a daily basis; listening to Spanish music and watching Spanish films; conversing with my husband and coworkers in Spanish as much as possible.
  2. Re-dedicate myself to fitness – This is always on my list, and to be fair, I do maintain a fairly healthy eating and moderate exercise regimen throughout the year. Since this will most likely be my last year without a baby, this year will be a little different. I plan to complete the RIPT90 workout DVD set Justin purchased for me and continue eating 85-90% clean. I do not have a weight goal, but I am shooting for 19% body fat. I am currently just under 24%.
  3. Earn my principal certification – This January I will be starting a principal certification program while Justin begins his Master’s program in Educational Administration. I am due to complete the program in September, then take the certification exam to make it official. This is another goal I want to accomplish before we start a family!
  4. Be more consistent with blogging – Blogging used to be such an important part of my life, and I dumped it to the wayside when I moved to Houston and started my career. That is going to change. Blogging is therapeutic and allows me hold myself accountable and preserve precious memories over time. For 2017, I want to focus on being more consistent with my blog while gradually seeking to increase traffic on this site.
  5. Be financially healthy – Like fitness, this is something I aspire to every year, and for the most part – I was true to this resolution last year. We paid off our car, more than $30k, in less than one year! That was a huge accomplishment. This year I want to focus more on building up our retirement accounts, paying off our mortgage more aggressively, and saving money for our nest egg.
  6. Learn Microsoft Excel – I am trying to learn a lot of things at once, so Microsoft Excel is going to take a backseat until I am more conversational with Spanish. I intend to treat learning Excel as a major summer project while I continue my ESL and principal certification studies. This is simply too useful of a skill to not learn/master and add to my resume.
  7. Travel more – Justin and I travel as much as our schedule allows, taking road trips to various national parks and making the occasional trek to Puerto Rico to visit my aunt. This year, I would like to see some new places– preferably Spanish speaking countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, maybe even Cuba? As I progress in my Spanish prowess, I would love to go to Spain and a few countries in South America… but that will be later down the road. We have not decided whether we will go camping up north this Spring Break, so we shall see!
  8. Last but not least, I want to be better about maximizing my time so I can be the most productive self I can be. Normally, I am pretty good at this, but there are definitely times where I get sucked into social media or websurfing meaningless topics. This is exactly what I want to avoid. The way I see it, every minute is precious– it could be spent achieving my goals, whether that is learning Spanish, excel, dedicating time to fitness, etc. Life is simply too short to waste time.

Well folks, there you have it. GOALS, not simply resolutions, for the new year. I intend to achieve each and every one of these and update this blog on my progress. What are your goals for 2017?

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