A year to remember: A review of my 2012 goals

Year 2012 has already ended and 2013 is already upon us. But, before moving forward, I would like to recap the things that happened the previous year, especially those that have greater impact in me and change my life a bit. And to do that, I examined once again my goals I set for myself that made 2012 a year to remember.

So, these were my ambitious goals:

Goal 1: Personality and Appearance: As much as I can, I will satisfy my day with joy and serenity. Have to laugh and smile often. Handle my problems with open-mindedness and flexibility. Love myself and keep within my limits. Spend my precious energy on rewarding tasks and fulfilling hobbies. Visit to a dentist, get my teeth cleaned, and wear dental retainers. Prettify myself once every three months by getting a haircut or a mani-pedi treatment at the saloon. Buy clothes and RTWs as well as accessories that are on sale or reasonably cheaper and choose pastel and earthly hues. Dress up myself for success and keep being inspired always.

my way of dressing at work

my way of dressing at work

–       I am a person with a soft heart and can be easily carried away even on sweet-pretty-little-silly things like my hubby’s love note on a sticky paper, my little daughter’s funny tricks, or my son’s warm hug. Praying, laughing and smiling were reliefs to charge my day. And when I’m down or sad, I secluded myself in a quiet room and  pray. Now, I enjoyed my hobby of baking choco cakes, cheesecakes, and truffles during parties and the choco chip cookies for my kids’ snacks. Last summer, when I went home to Philippines, I had dental cleaning but never had the retainers. After all, the dentist advised me to have dental braces instead. That summer I also tried whole body massage with a complete package of facial cleaning, manis-pedis, and hair treatment that was quite affordable and I am greatly satisfied with the results. On weekends, I also prettified myself with DIY pampering moments or have hair makeover with my trusted stylists every three months. When dressing up myself, I visited discounts-thrifts shops where I found vintage clothes that were becoming fashion trends. I’m beginning to amass a handful of accessories to highlight my style. I now shifted my wears to comfy, light but a bit of conservative dresses especially here in the Oman, a muslim country, where the temperature is hot and humid most of the year.

Goal 2: Family and Relationship : Spend ample time each day with my kids and husband. Regularly tutor my son on his studies or sometimes play with him along with his educational toys. Read books(of every kind) to my little girl every day and teach her more baby tricks. Treat my husband to affordable restaurants or a least have one fine dining within this year. Involve my family in my projects and plans so that they will feel that they are part of my success. Stay in touch with my families, relatives, and friends through facebook, twitter, skype, emails, or phone calls.

my beautiful kids and wonderful husband

my beautiful kids and wonderful husband

–       I am fortunate to have a wonderful family and every moment I spend with them is essential because it helps to strengthen our relationship.  I set regular study hours with my son who is now in Standard II.  His favorite subjects are science and mathematics. He is smart, boisterous and a fast reader too. At home we have a mini-library of his favorite books and magazines. My 17-month little girl is ever cute and adorable. Her baby tricks like “pretty face”, “high five”, “twinkle stars”, “hello n hi”, and “flying kiss” always melted my heart away. She loves bedtime readings and converse with me in a “baby language” when she saw colorful images and attractive figures. Now she’s beginning to show her dancing and singing talent whenever she hears music or watch performance on TV. Although my husband and I didn’t have any “date night” last year but we have plenty of family outings and trips. He’s also involved in doing domestic activities like cooking and babysitting. At least I can say we have quality time together whether it’s at home or during our travels. I made commitments to phone call my ageing parents at least once every week and regularly chatted with them online to get updates of their latest happenings and health conditions.

Goal 3: Career and workplace: Manage my time wisely to learn new skills and grow professionally. Declutter and organize my desk and file cabinet. Practice recycling methods and conservation. Maintain a healthy relationship with my co-worker and team mates. Cultivate new friendships and gain more Omani friends. Study software language programming and come up with a new project this year (our college website needs to be updated and modified). Continue to love my work and be thankful always for my job in the college.

the plaque of award

the plaque of award

–       I have practiced the 5s methodology (Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) whether at home or in my workplace. This kept me organized and focused on my job and work schedules. I developed an attitude of frugality and thriftiness. I wisely spent money and embraced simplicity in our everyday living. I curtailed non-essential habits like procrastinating and regretting. For five years of working in the college, I have encountered bunch of workmates. Some were demeaning while others were nice and accommodating. I socialized to those I am comfortable with and eventually developed sweet friendship among each other. Our team won first place in the National Competition for Best Common Portal and we were grateful of the award. It was definitely one of the reasons I loved my job in the college and I am hoping to continue my career here in the next two years.

Goal 4: Knowledge and Education: Learn to speak and communicate using Arabic Language. Read more magazines, novels, and books. Download useful and helpful information on parenting, babycare, finances, and home living from the internet. Watch classic movies as well as Indian or Italian movies. Continue with my doctoral studies in IT (now I’m on the second semester). And hopefully, conduct a lecture or training to huge and wide variety of audience within and outside of my college.

i am one of the paper presentor

i am one of the paper presentor

–       At the beginning of the year, I enrolled in an Arabic class by an Omani ELC Lecturer and we met two times a week. However, I only attended for barely a month because the timings did not agree with my personal schedule. I just learn to read some few Arabic sentences though. But, I am good at downloading e-books and online newsletter and read them directly from my iPad. I also signed up on for an online newsletter and followed blogs of many interesting bloggers whose focus were on parenting, homemaking, traveling, and design and fashion. I also conducted series of lectures in the college as part of our staff development program as well as short term courses among higher diploma students. There were a handful of Indian films i downloaded and watched with my hubby at home like the Three Idiots and My name is Khan. With my doctoral studies, I am about to take the comprehensive exam this coming summer. Good luck to me! Then make a dissertation proposal afterwards. Fortunately, the research paper with my buddy Jhonna went to the National Symposium in May and we presented our study to huge and varied audiences in the academe and industry. Oh boy! I can’t believe I have come this far and I am giddy taking small steps towards career growth.

Goal 5: Finances and Investments: Practice frugality in every aspect of my living and spending. Dedicate a portion of my paycheck for emergency funds. Claim the maturity value of my policy and invest on mutual funds and insurance. At least, complete the first floor of our dream house in Philippines (this coming summer break, inshallah!). Pay the utility bills monthly (which I didn’t for half a year now). Record all the daily expenses down to single penny on the accounting journal. As much as possible, I will set aside 25% of my salary to my long-term investment or time deposit account. Stop spending on unnecessary wants and control my impulsive-buying attitude.

–       When I went home last summer, my husband and I openned various accounts and investments such as mutual funds, time deposits, and insurances. Luckily, I claimed my matured policy and immediately bought a piece of agricultural land in the outskirt of the city as our future farm site. We have completed the first floor of our dream house and it only needs some finishing touches to make it suitable for lodging. The utility bills were already paid in full before the end of December and I continue my habit of journalizing our daily expenses. It’s a way to keep track of our finances and developed wise-responsible spending behavior.

Goal 6: Electronics and Gadgets: Try to get a new mobile phone (my old unit is Nokia 3120 but still functional) as a gift to myself this year. Buy a big LCD or LED TV and surround audio system.

–       I bought an iPhone 4s smartphone as a gift to myself on my birthday. With internet capability and helpful apps, I can be online 24×7. This is the convenience that technology brings to our modern life. When Samsung electronic items were on sale, we grabbed the opportunity and bought 42 inches Smart TV and placed it in our living room for the whole family to enjoy.

Goal 7: Health and Fitness: Get back to my pre-mom shape and normal weight of 47 kilos. (now im 49.4, so just little more patience to get there). Start with Zumba dancing then gradually to cardio-aearobics. Try to jog at least two or three times a week and aim for 10kms run this year. Possibly get rid with junk foods (hope I can) and eat healthy organic food instead. Reduce coffee intake and have milk instead or perhaps drink more than 8 glasses of water a day.

hot mom on a beach.. yikes

hot mom on a beach.. yikes

–       You see, I didn’t exert any effort on losing weight and getting back to my pre-mom shape. But to my surprise, I dropped to 44 kilos during summer. It’s 3 kilos beyond my normal weight! And it gave me so much confidence to wear my two piece hot-pink bikini during our beach escapade. I am not bothered with the stretch marks around my tights so long I have the slender figure. Yikes! I begin to eat organic food but sometimes I can’t stop myself from eating sweets and chocolates and the junk food. They were my cravings I can’t resist! I have regular green tea time at the office and slowly  cut my coffee in take to two cups a week. I hydrated with 10 glasses of water a day and consumed 3 glasses at most in the morning.

Goal 8: Travel and Culture: Go to Philippines on summer with my family and spend one and half months to get in touch with my homeplace. Visit Manila and Cebu City. Meet my high school and college friends. Get together with my barkadas and close girlfriends. Swimming at the beach and island escapade. Celebrate Anyah and Andrei’s birthday at my parent’s house in Surigao City. Eat at one of the barbeque houses in the harbor terminal. Try to travel to Catbalogan, Samar in the Visayas and Tuguegarao in Northern Luzon. In Oman, explore as many wadis, jabals, beaches, and tourist destinations as possible. Go to Ibri, Nizwa, Al Buraimi, and Sohar. Enjoy a camping trip on eid holidays and long vacation (possibly go to further south). Visit museums, mosques, and Omani schools. Get invited to an Omani Wedding, at least one, this year.

–      This goal comes so easy to me and my family. That’s because traveling is our favorite family bonding time to experience the thrill and fun altogether. We love to visit places that we only see in pictures and immerse to its sights, food, culture, and people. Jesse and I made careful planning on our trips. I have actually posted tips on how to travel in a smart and frugal way. In Philippines, we traveled from North to South by airplane, ship, and bus. Places of our visits include Manila, Cebu, Surigao, and Siargao. While in Cebu, we encountered the whalesharks in Oslob and offered prayers at the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Simala where St. Mary is known for miracles and prayers granted among thousand of worshippers. However, due to time constraints, I failed to visit the Northern Luzon and eastern Visayas areas. Back in my beautiful hometown of Surigao, I was able to see my friends and relatives again. I invited them over dinner at home or took them to some fancy restaurants within the city. We also celebrated my son’s 8th birthday at a private beach resort likewise threw a grand and beautiful birthday to our little girl on her first birthday.  We also spent one week in the island of Siargao where I get to experience surfing, kayaking, and other water activities. I will post stories of all these happenings later in this blog. In Oman, we continue to explore the country together with our close friends. We have been to Nizwa, Qurayat, Sur, Ibra, Ibri, and all around Muscat. We have also seen many wadis, forts, farms, mosques, and museums. We also camped along the beaches of Ras Al Madrakah, Siefah, Yiti, Al Hamra, and Sawadi and in the highest peak in the country – Jabal Shams where temp is freezing cold especially in cooler months. Some places left me flabbergasted because of their unique stories and  rich historical context like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Nizwa and Jebreen Forts, Misfat Al Abriyeen, Wahiba Desert Sands, Bimmah Sinkhole, Al Kasfah Hot Spring, Wadi Bani Khalid. Even though I haven’t witnessed any Omani wedding but I am glad we were invited to celebrate the Eid festivity by an Omani family.

Goal 9: Passion and Interests: Buy or download food recipes and cook book. Bake at least one new pastry or cake every two months. During summer in Philippines, have a one-one baking session when my mother-in-law of her favorite and famous Filipino delicacies and pastries. Bake and design the cakes of my son and daughter for their birthdays. Invite my barkadas at home and let them taste my own-style of brownies, cakes, pastas, and smoothies. I will buy a table top sewing machine, and start fabricating pillow cases and covers then eventually my little girl’s dresses. Establish a mini-garden at our flat’s backyard and plant tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, drumstick tree, and fruit trees.

–       I was so happy that my mom-in-law granted one of my bucket lists during the summer vacation – that’s having a one-one baking session with her. She demonstrated how to make the coconut macaroons, custard cake, double chocolate cake, and empanada (a rolled pastry stuffed with meat, veges, and cheese). I am her assistant when we baked and designed the birthday cakes of my kids – Ben10 for my boy and Minnie Mouse for my daughter. I even mastered my own recipes of brownies, pastas, and cookies in my own kitchen. But sewing and gardening were the areas I flopped. For one, I didn’t buy the table top sewing machine I am longing to have. Second, our backyard is constantly visited by stray goats and dog plus the soil mixture is acidic making home gardening a huge problem. I will pursue again these two things this year. 

Goal 10: Faith and Spirituality: Attend holy mass celebration every Sunday. Pray the rosary. Meditate and spend time talking to God. I will always lift up my life to God who heals everything. Instill Christian values and share bible stories to my kids.

The inside of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ruwi, Muscat, Oman

The inside of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ruwi, Muscat, Oman

–       Although I am not so active in every Church festivities, but as a religious believer and devotee, I managed to attend the Holy Mass if not on Thursdays but on Sundays here in Oman. Early morning, I breathe short prayer to God for giving me life everyday but I never meditate. I will focus on intentional meditation this year. I have instilled Christian values among my kids beginning with saying prayers and respect the elders earnestly. They also learn to give and share to others and cultivate friendship with fellow kids in the neighborhood.

Goal 11: Social and Community: Each day I will try to give something good to others and make at least three people smile including myself. Understand ones weakness and forgive someone’s mistake but I will keep myself away from people with habitual negative vibes and bad attitudes. I will not mind what others will think of me as long as I know I do the right thing and exert the right attitude.

–       I have mixed evaluations on this. I tried to be friendly and give something to others like sharing my knowledge and skills or even giving some sweet little things like my homemade pastries. But no matter how good and nice I am to others still there are those who were boastful, rude, and harsh to me. I am talking about workmates with negative vibes and bad attitudes. I observed there’s envy and jealousy over job accomplishments and work performance.  I confronted this people and talked to them straightforward on any form of misunderstanding. After then I stayed away from them and just let myself be surrounded with colleagues who were real and honest.

Final thoughts

All of these goals that I hold myself accountable throughout the year have lasting effect that I didn’t expect to happen. I celebrate success and feel grateful for the things I accomplish. I won’t even berate myself and feel bad for those goals I fail to commit. Because what is important I made effort to take smaller steps at a time and be thankful for the blessings, gifts, and experiences I earn as I journey this amazing and beautiful life.

It is my hope that challenging and exciting things will be in placed as 2013 unfolds.

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